You’ve stumbled upon Circle of Jerks, our sporadically published, weekly feature in which we ask the questions that really matter to our writers and readers. It’s a time to take a break from our busy lives and revel in the one thing that we all share: a deep, passionate love of movies. If you have a question you’d like answered by the FSR readers and staff, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our inaugural question comes from Managing Editor, Cole Abaius.
I recently took the plunge by getting my second tattoo. In an effort to display my love of films while avoiding the cliched “Howard the Duck With Your Nipple As His Eyeball” that’s so popular with the kids these days, I chose to get a crystal clear rendering of the spaceship-crashed moon from A Trip to the Moon (the first science fiction film). It’s something that will be with me forever. Keeping that eternal aspect in mind, what cinematically-themed tattoo would you get?
This isn’t exactly consistent with the rules, but I would get a tattoo of 70s-era Woody Allen in the “Say hello to my little friend” pose from the ending shootout of De Palma’s Scarface. Not only would this tattoo make for quite the conversation-starter in almost any social circle, it brings together communities of filmgoers who have tastes that could not be more disparate. It isn’t so much a tattoo showing love for a certain film, but instead represents a vague, arguably unattainable ideal for cinema that transcends parameters of taste and culture.
It would also act as a comment on cultural appropriation and problems of authenticity: as Scarface features an Italian-American actor posing as a Cuban whose persona was later embraced by an African-American dominated hip hop culture. Transposing one “ethnic” face for another by exchanging Pacino’s iconic antihero for Allen’s scrawny New York Jew personality archetype illustrates the process in which what one American subculture represents can be readily appropriated by another while its meaning is potentially changed in the process (particularly relevant as Scarface is, at its core, really about the difficulties of assimilation in the immigrant experience).
But most importantly, such a tattoo is just ironic enough for my hipster-in-denial brain to handle, and it’d be a damn funny image to have etched on my skin for the rest of my life.
If I ever got a tattoo, I don’t think it would be of a specific film or character. Tattoos are serious business, so I’d go with something that either represented film in general or some other specific aspect of my life.
Since that’s not the question, if I was being forced to get a specifically movie related tattoo, no contest: Han Solo’s DL-44 BlasTech Pistol “taped” to my shoulder Die Hard-style with Season’s Greetings tape. How awesome is that? Super awesome. And it’s a super geek move. Crossing over two pretty unrelated movies, just because they’re cool. In fact, I might go get this tattoo right now. Or wait, do they have glow in the dark dick tattoos yet? Because then, a light saber. On my dick.
If I had to get a tattoo, and offhand I can think of no scenario wherein I would be forced to do so, I would definitely get the Alamo Drafthouse logo branded upon my skin. I considered the bevy of films I love and the host of characters from those films whose visages could find purchase on my shoulder blade – or lower back if I were feeling particularly haughty – but no single movie character has had an impact on my life the way the Alamo has.
I uprooted everything I knew and moved across the country when I discovered the Alamo. Not so much because it’s a phenomenal movie theater, which it is, but more so because it represented a lifelong commitment to film for which I wanted to strive. The logo itself, a grand old movie house sign sans the requisite neon lights, is a beacon of movie geek Mecca and would spark the kind of conversations I would desperately want to have with upstart movie lovers. The Alamo has given so much to me personally, and I mean that beyond the innumerable, life-altering movie experiences it offers, that I would feel proud to wear its mark about my person.
I already have a single tattoo, and while it’s not inspired by a movie it does feature a Dr. Seuss character. (Sorry Fure, I know you expected me to say it features a lactating Asian woman.) The idea of getting one based on a film leads me naturally to the movies I love… Memento, Amelie, Eternal Sunshine Of the Spotless Mind, Seven… all boast fantastic and beautiful scenes, but there’s little that would translate well into a single and clear tattoo image. How recognizable would a bed on a winter’s beach be in tattoo form? Or the silhouette of a fedora-wearing killer in the rain? Or a head shot of Amelie holding her spoon? Memento‘s Leonard Shelby is himself covered in tattoos, and while the idea of “Remember Sammy Jenkis” inscribed onto my hand is tempting, I prefer pictures.
A wordless image should not only remind you of the film’s greatness, it should fill you with emotions too. Which is why I settled on the films and drawings of Wes Anderson. His artistic style is unique and immediately identifiable. Royal Tenenbaums is my favorite of his films, but this would need to loop around an entire ankle. The Crayon Ponyfish is a bright and vibrant reminder to always value imagination and wonder, but Life Aquatic is a good film, not a great one.
Which leaves me with Rushmore and a certain little wanker named Max Fischer. The image of Max on his go-kart, wearing a beret and racing goggles, is a perfect reminder of so many things I value from imagination to individuality to staying true to your dreams. And I could probably add a lactating Asian woman riding behind him.
What would you get?