Saturday, September 30, 2006

James Byron & Jake

    Today, 51 anniversay of James Dean's death, I remember two films in which his name was brought up in very different angles. In the movie "Come back to the five and dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean" (1982) by Robert Altman, the neurotic Mona (actress Sandy Dennis) has kept alive her memories about meeting James Dean 20 years ago during the filming of "Giant" and she reunites with her friends in a Woolworth store in a small town of Texas. I watched this film on T.V. in the 90's and I could easily relate to the lead protagonist -who recreated a similar role (Honey) in "Who is afraid of Virginia Woolf?"- because her obsession with James Dean's myth is so blindly absorbing that has forced her to live apart of reality. In the end, stuttering a resentless poignant confession, she reveals us why she lied to herself half of her life.

    In the other film, the controversial David Cronenberg's "Crash" (1996), where the characters attend staged recreations of famous car crashes for erotic purposes, like the one that killed James Dean, Vaughan (actor Elias Koteas) says: "These were the confident last words of the brilliant, young Hollywood star James Dean as he piloted his Porsche 550 Spyder race car toward a date with death along a lonely stretch of California two-lane blacktop Route 466... Don't worry that guy's gotta see us. The year... 1955. The day... September 30. The time... Now. The first star of our show is Little Bastard. James Dean's racing Porsche. He named it after himself and had his racing number - 130 - painted on it."
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