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Out of the Blue

Another old one I found and rewrote to make it not just a review of my cowboy boots

Watching Out of the Blue reminded me of an old pair of cowboy boots I used to wear to highschool. They didn’t fit and I would clomp down the hallways in them towards my classes. Everyone told me they were the worst boots they’d ever seen. Even I knew they were horrible, but I wore them every day for two years, the heels eventually wearing down until they were lopsided, making walking difficult.

At any point my father could have asked for them back. They were after all his. He had bought them from a van on the side of the road one night when he was stumble drunk. But even he soon realized they weren’t worth wearing. He would never again find the right concoction of beer and amphetamines to make them sparkle quite like they did that night he brought them home, and so left them in his closet for me to come across one day when I was angry and hating everything and looking for something real special to wear to school.

And so there they were when I needed them. They sat there amongst the clutter of his other drunk fashion miseries: fringe suede jacket, karate outfits, Satan’s Choice fundraiser T-Shirts, moccasins, and all of the other looks he had briefly adopted until sobriety made him opt instead for a lifetime in nothing but pajamas. But when I saw them there, these boots called to me. They were exactly what I was looking for. The kind of fashion accessory that would defy the odds of anyone continuing to remain my friend.

There were other faux-pas’ of course. Who doesn’t have a legion of them in highschool? But it was these boots that called the most attention to themselves. They were noisy, unpleasant and desperate for attention. They were also an obvious posture. Defiance for defiance's sake. Horribly embarrassing, but noble in their own stupid, shallow, brash as well as frighteningly insecure way. The qualities of any typical mixed-up adolescence.

All of which will be the basic ingredients that make up the performance of Linda Manz in Dennis Hoppers “Out of the Blue”. Like my boots could not help but do, she makes too much noise for how little attention she will want. The manner in which she under smokes and over puffs her cigarettes tell us not only that she wants us to see her smoke, but that she still hasn’t yet figured out how it will make her cool. When she quotes rock and roll lyrics, they are less a rallying cry of rebellion, and more that she has run out of adult things to say. And even as she walks, it will be with such an off-balanced swagger, that her short legs can’t quite keep up with the quick determination of her steps. She is constantly giving us glimpses of who she wants to be, and what she want to sound like, and where she wants to go, but rarely any sense of the place she actually fears she is. Which is nowhere.

The end result will be the greatest child performance of all time. Manz will play teenagerhood with such a fearless commitment towards all of its inherent contradictions, she constantly risks becoming completely unnatural with every movement she makes. Which is exactly how it should be! The only way to get to the truth of such an age is to lose all sense of what is true and natural. To act completely unconscious towards the all-consuming self-consciousness of this very particular time of our life. To willingly let yourself rattle around in boots that don't fit your feet. The result will be like watching an old teenage photograph of a bad haircut. But, in this cinematic instance, it will be twenty-four haircuts a second. And every time we cringe, our hearts should ache just a little bit more.

So, thank you Linda Manz. Thank you for allowing me to finally make peace with the bad memories watching you has conjured up. Maybe if you can one day also absolve me of the sin of painting Jim Morrison on the back of my jean jacket, you will be granted a sainthood. And as you levitate up to the heavens, I can only hope your cowboy boots are just enough sizes too big that you will rise out of them as you leave this filthy and embarrassing world behind.

Say hello to Elvis, for me.