The Three-Way of Abject Sorrow

First off, get your mind out of the damned gutter.

But as long as we’re talking about sex, this title would totally work for a story about a lackluster sexcapade with two other people.  We’ve all had that bad three-way, amirite?

I’m not?

We haven’t?

Just me?

Ok, moving on then…

I was talking with the Needle Man last night during my acupuncture and we started discussing movies.  We were – no idea why – veering all over the place and I commented that he really had a wide range of cinematic tastes.  

Naturally, I had to ask, “Bit if you were stranded on a desert island with only one type of movie…”

He kinda verbally processed his response.  Slowly he disqualified each class of movies until he landed somewhere between comedies and inspiring biopics.  It was interesting to me that he specifically tossed horror films and scary movies out because the creepiness followed his mood out of the theater and he liked to go to movies to feel good.

I knew what he meant.  Still, I’d totally take comedies between the two, because I had a bad experience with biopics a couple decades ago.  It could have been because the movie in question – Shadowlands – was the third movie in a row that was just sad.

I think the first in this miserable movie ménage a trois was The Piano.  I mean, a movie about a mute woman sold into marriage, loaded onto a ship with her daughter and belongings and then shipped off to New Zealand – Australia, maybe?  How could that not be a thrill ride of a movie?

Secretly, I’ve decided that it was made simply to provide Anna Paquin with the acting Fred to later share screen time with Sir Patrick Stewart, Halle Berry and Hugh Jackman in the X-Men movies.

Anyway.

A bit later in that same movie season – I swear it was Christmastime and I saw these movies over the course of two weeks – I saw Philadelphia.

We all know how that goes.  But it was important to see, particularly for me as a 25 year old gay man still struggling to find my community and Chosen Family.  It might have helped if I didn’t move cities every couple of years.  Plus, this film was one of the first times a mainstream Hollywood actor played gay.  

At this time in my life, I was living outside Houston, TX.  The theater chains there had little wooden waiters outside the theaters holding giant bowls of mints.  I thought it was a nice touch since buttery popcorn and diet soda usually gives me bad breath.  I generally grabbed a couple on my way out.

The final movie in this series of movie misfortunes was Shadowlands.

I’d seen two serious drama, I wanted something a little more uplifting.  The story of TS Eliot finding love sounded like just the ticket.

Wrong.

Finding love in a marriage for the wrong reasons only to have that love suddenly ripped from him by cancer…yee friggin’ haw.

At least it was only Anthony Hopkins playing the lead.  Yeah, he fucking destroyed mourning and sorrow.  Watching him lose it wrecked me.  I remember thinking of how I must look in the theater:  hand hanging suspended over my uneaten popcorn, mouth hanging open, tears spilling from my eyes.

At the end of the movie, I was angry-sad.  I remember walking out of that theater, not caring that my face was slick with buttery smears and tears.  Dropping my mostly uneaten popcorn and soda aggressively in the trash, and angrily grabbing a handful of mints as I stomped past the wooden waiter.

That was how I felt after these three films:  wooden.

So, yeah…I like comedies.

The Three-Way of Abject Sorrow

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