Monday, June 23, 2008

Finding Serenity (all over again)

Note to self: Do not go the library around 11 a.m. on Monday. That's when the toddler "Mommy and Me" story time seems to be letting out, and the library is full of screaming, whining toddlers. Not that I begrudge the idea of this program. I think it's a great idea to instill a love of books, and I fully support it. I just don't want to be there when I'll be surrounded by about 20 two-year-olds, all screaming, "Moooommmmmyyyyy!" I now have a headache. And then I got home to realize I don't have much of anything in the house to eat for lunch. I guess I need to go grocery shopping, but I'll be out of town this weekend, so there's not much point in stocking up. I suppose I could have had a sandwich at the library cafe, but then there was a very high risk of being surrounded by toddlers whining about wanting cookies. You know, maybe they should have teen summer sessions at the library that would coincide with the toddler group's session finishing. It might drastically cut the teen pregnancy rate.

I did go to the Can't Stop the Serenity event yesterday, and I did actually talk to Tim Minear. It turned out that they had it set up so that as you got checked in, you filed past his autograph table on your way to get in line for seating. I didn't know they'd have it that formalized, so I hadn't brought anything to be autographed, but at least since it was that formal, there was a structure in place for approaching him and I didn't have to worry about working up the courage to go over and talk to him in a mingling environment (in fact, while I was waiting in the lobby for the people I was meeting up with, I realized after a while that he was standing pretty much next to me, and then of course I totally panicked and couldn't think of anything to say, so I didn't even try). Fortunately, one of my friends was right in front of me in the autograph line, which helped as a bit of an ice breaker, because I could sort of chat with him through her before it was my turn, and she was far more coherent than I could be, introducing us as local authors while I laughed too loud and generally was a total idiot. I'm sure he was wondering how I managed to string two words together, let alone a whole book. When it was my turn, I mentioned the Angel newsgroup, and we got all nostalgic for Usenet. I had him sign the back of my badge, and he signed it to his "Angel newsgroup homey." He was also highly entertaining in his Q&A.

Then it was one of the better Serenity screenings I've been to. The first one was the rough cut with a temp soundtrack. Then the LA premiere had some sound issues, as did the theater where I saw it on opening day. It was okay the next couple of times I saw it in the theater, but this one had a really amazing sound system that got the most out of it (I'm just not enthralled with the movie grill concept because every time the wait staff come and go, the opening doors cast light on the screen and distort the picture for a while). And, you know, it's a really good movie. It's not so much that I've forgotten it was a good movie as it is that sometimes the source material gets forgotten in all the whirl of other Browncoat stuff. I've met so many people through Firefly fandom online and in person, and so much has spun off from that, that occasionally I almost forget that, yeah, there was a TV show and a movie behind it all, and then the show and the movie get so entwined with all the positive experiences I associate with them that I lose track of how much I really like the show and how much it's just all happy fun time.

But it's been a while since I've seen the movie or thought much about the show, and most of my Browncoat-formed friendships have developed to be about so much more, so I think this may have been one of the first times I just watched the movie as a movie, and I think that even if I didn't have all the positive baggage surrounding it, I'd still love this movie. It's a truly good movie that takes bigger risks than this sort of thing usually does, and it scratches all the same itches that the original Star Wars movies did that the prequels didn't. It appeals to whatever it is in me that went nuts over the original Star Wars back in 1977, but on a mature level (as I don't think I'd have loved Serenity when I was nine). Then again, as I like to say, Firefly was essentially the original Star Wars from Han Solo's point of view: a smuggling ship captain gets more than he bargained for when he takes on two new passengers -- a mysterious old man and a young man on a desperate mission to save his sister. Plus, the spaceships looked used instead of new and shiny (something that was praised a lot in the original movies and totally forgotten in the prequels).

A few months ago I was talking about that writing book that said you get better stories when the hero not only has a psychological need -- something he needs to fix in order to be the person he should be -- but also a moral need -- some way that his behavior is hurting people around him. I realized while watching Serenity that Mal very much has a moral need. He's doing what he thinks is right to take care of his crew, but in doing so he's tearing his crew apart. And a lot of that stems from his psychological need, which is that he doesn't let himself believe in anything. I may have to take the outline/checklist from this book and watch Serenity with that in mind to see how it works. And I need to do some refreshing on Firefly since I'm on the Firefly panel at WorldCon. And I guess that's something I should have mentioned to Tim Minear. Duh.

And now I think I need to go lie down in a dark room as that headache has suddenly exploded. I don't think I can entirely blame the toddlers, but they do deserve partial credit.

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