Monday, August 20, 2012
RIP TONY SCOTT: A CRI DE COEUR
For most of my life, I've been prone to (literally) crippling periods of melancholy, in which I've been convinced others are conspiring against me, that everyone hated me, that there was no reason to go on, that I was out of options. This thinking has gone far enough that I've narrowed the means of The Final Solution (I always stopped short of calling it suicide or killing myself, I always resorted to either mordant euphemisms or shibboleths like “checking out”) down to a couple options. The common thread in all of them—opening my wrists, walking out into the ocean with stones or some other weights in my pockets, jumping (as Tony Scott did Sunday) from a great height—was a period of easing into it, a gradual transition into either nothingness or whatever unknowable otherness awaits after life as the human mind perceives it ends. Three things always put the breaks on the immediacy of these thoughts. One, I didn't want anyone to have to clean up after me once I was gone, which ruled out “checking out” in a public place. Two, I have no idea what comes next. I don't believe in God or the devil or heaven or hell. If it's nothing and there's no “me” left to perceive . . . well that sucks. Finally, three: there are things in this life I love passionately and make me feel life in its most fully vivid splendor, to which I cling ferociously in those low moments. Among those are Tony Scott movies.
I started blogging following in late December 2009, after a long, brutally profane rant on Facebook about how much I hated Michael Mann's Public Enemies (which had to do with how much I loved Heat, Collateral, Miami Vice, and his other pictures). A number of my friends urged me to start a blog consisting of similarly long-form profane rants about movies. So I started one (which led directly, in the coming years, to my current semi-steady freelance film writing career), and sat around thinking of ideas for posts. The idea of starting one of those blogs where you do a couple posts and then forget about it was unthinkable. I wanted people to read it, and the only way I knew to get attention was to lead with passion and honesty. So one of the first posts I ever did, all awkward searching for an authorial voice and ignorance of form and big messy fucking passion, was about Tony Scott. And that's because I fucking love Tony Scott movies. I love them in all their immense loudness, their lurid colors, their violence, their tales of capable troubled people kicking fucking ass, and their gigantic motherfucking balls.
I'm not going to try and sell you on some story about some time when I was thinking about killing myself and then I watched a Tony Scott movie and it brought me back. That would be too neat, and in any case a goddamn lie. I'm also not going to try any whining fucking solipsism about how Tony copped out on me or his other fans. And no “I've been through that shit too, I can't imagine how Tony Scott, proprietor of his own testicle-shaped wing in the Hall of Ownage, wealthy family man could possibly feel the need to take his own life” hand-wringing either. I know, intimately, like I know my own name, how he could feel the need to take his own life. It's because, for reasons that make no sense to anyone else but yourself, you just need to. And goddammit it sucks. Because here is someone who was once alive enough to make movies that tap into the elemental stuff in the universe out of which intense visceral pleasure is made. It would look to any observer like this is a man who has the life force, who would not only want but need to keep living because he knew nothing else. And yet.
Whether there is still a self that perceives remaining of Tony Scott to know peace, I have no way of knowing. I know his family must be in unspeakable pain now. There's nothing more to say.
Fuck, this sucks.