Walking into the theater to see Uncut Gems, I saw an unusual warning notice sitting on the ticket counter: “STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER contains several sequences with imagery and sustained flashing lights that may affect those who are susceptible to photosensitive epilepsy or who have other photosensitivities.”
This triggered a whiff of nostalgia for my ten year-old self, back when the notorious Pokemon episode “Dennō Senshi Porygon” took out damn near every epileptic in Japan — in fact, the name has never been translated because the episode was banned from import by every other country on Earth. It also caused me to scoff at the very notion of being taken down by any movie. Twenty-two years after the Pokemon incident, I’m a healthy grown-ass man with excellent blood pressure and no history of motion sickness, let alone seizures. What mere media could possibly put a dent in my iron constitution, I asked myself, with no small amount of self-satisfaction?
An hour after I left that same theater, I found myself gripping my chest and giving serious consideration to the idea of going to Urgent Care for an EKG, since I was pretty sure that watching Uncut Gems caused me to have an arryhthmia.
This was a novel reaction for someone who loves movies so much that I pissed away my chance of a perfectly good liberal arts education to go to film school, who gets paid minimum wage for horrible hours just to play a small part in producing them. I fully grasp that they’re a caveman’s dumb idea of art, trafficking hot people’s sexual charisma into stupidly convenient narratives and daring to equate that with literature; but deep down, I’m a chimp who likes looking at hot people, and damnit if I don’t feel every frame in my bones.
My weepy Irish ass goes looking for excuses to have a good cry, and cry I do, at every schmaltzy orchestral swell and minor triumph, no matter what it is — there are two parts of Legally Blonde that get me every time, I spent my first few hours of Disney+ ownership bawling profusely at Up!, and I can make myself cry…