In recent weeks, I've seen two movies that delve into the subject of memory: Oblivion, starring Tom Cruise, and Trance with James McAvoy. Oblivion is a big budget, sci-fi extravaganza that was probably produced by the Church of Scientology. No I'm totally kidding. Because Morgan Freeman is also in the movie, and he's like an atheist.
In Oblivion, Tom Cruise plays one of the last humans still left on Earth following an invasion by aliens. We are told these aliens, called Scavs, launched a nuclear war that left the moon with a giant hole in it and purportedly much of the planet uninhabitable. Most earthlings left for a space village in the sky, while Tom aka Jack and his lady friend Victoria are charged with minding the slow removal of the Earth's water. They are kept company by a fleet of drones, known only by their numbers, that are programmed to target and destroy any remaining Scavs.
Tom goes on patrol every morning to repair downed drones. His lovely partner keeps an eye on his progress and warns him of Scav sightings. Those pesky Scavs. They are having a run of good luck lately, damaging drones and downing a US spacecraft that's from the past, but in the future. It's this incident that causes a rift between Jack and Victoria, heretofore always considered an "efficient team." And the unraveling of secrets begins, including the fact that this team has had their memories scrubbed.
I won't give all of the plot away. It's actually pretty twisty and likely the film deserved better ratings then it received. But IronMan 3 is kicking ass in the big budget movie department with $75 million in box office last weekend versus $4 million for Oblivion.
Trance on the other hand is a film by Danny Boyle, the director made famous for Slumdog Millionaire. James McAvoy's character, Simon, is in security at a prestigious auction house when an expensive painting is stolen. During the robbery, Simon is hit over the head and suffers a serious injury. From that point forward, his memory is shaky. This plot also takes some major turns and it becomes imperative, if not life threatening, that Simon recall the events of that day.
I Coulda Been a Contenda on Name That TuneMy memories are a strange thing. I can remember many, many, many song lyrics. If Name That Tune was still on, I would rock that show. (This is so cool. I just googled Name That Tune and a free app came up that is like Name That Tune for the iPhone.) But I can't remember other things. Important things. Like my anniversary. It took me forever to remember it correctly. I got married on July 6th and my husband's birthday is July 9th. But I always feel slightly panicked when I try to keep them straight.
We moved a lot as kids. Thanks IBM. So I also have trouble remembering where I was when something happened. Was that California or was that Connecticut? Sometimes I can remember because of what was around me. Was it sunny? What clothes was I wearing? If it's sunny, and I'm wearing OP shorts, that was Cali.
As a teenager, I worked in a home for retired Jesuit priests in Weston, Massachusetts. Kind of a weird job but all the Friendly's waitress jobs were taken. Some of the retirees could remember everything. Brother Sullivan, for example, looked after the wine in the apparently enormous wine cellar at Fairfield University. He could remember all the wines. For Father Eberle however, every day was a new day. Every day, I was the new girl.
Last weekend, my husband and I went to Radio Shack to invest in something called an RCA cable. We had to google that too. My husband walked in the store then shortly after walked out. He wanted to check the connection to the cable. "She was right," he said. Then he walked back in and out again. Cable in hand, we were trying to read the Tiguan owner's manual to see how to work this magical cable that would allow us to connect our iPhone to the CAR! Spooky scary cool.
I said, "What do you think Radio Shack girl would say if we asked her to help us? I think she would say we are old." He nodded in agreement. I actually figured it out before we had to enlist the help of Radio Shack girl. Thank god!
The first song that played from my phone through the magical car cable was an oldie from the Counting Crows Mrs. Potter's Lullabye. "If dreams are like movies, then memories are films about ghosts." That's the line I've been thinking about.
The Persistence of Memory pictured is a painting by Dali, in case you don't recognize his style.