– By Alice McShane
The reverend mother once mused, “How do you solve a problem like Maria?” Rhetorical, ambiguous, indefinable, Maria was to the Abbey what Nicholas Cage is to mankind. “How do you find a word that means Nick Cage?” How do I review the hot mess that was You Are Here’s (YAH) interactive screening of 1997 action epic Con Air?
Reclining in an armchair at Fletcher Jones I resigned myself to the reality that not only was I out of the house but the entire audience for this piece was comprised of just four persons. My twitter assessment of the situation (that this “Caged Heat” was getting intense) quickly drew a response from the YAH twitter account, assuring me that it was going to be O.K. And so it was, for allaying my fear of watching Con Air in stony silence, a pride of YAH festival organisers joined our quartet, squishing adorably together on a couch, putting their feet up and letting their hair down.
Speaking of hair – long live the deranged Nicholas Cage lion mane! I spent much of Con Air ruing its current day absence. For those who haven’t seen the film, allow me to explain. Free from the shackles of plot, characterisation and plausible dialogue, Con Air is a celebration of the magnificence that is Nicholas Cage walking shirtless in slow motion. The viewing rules laid down by YAH were as follows:
1. When Cage referred to his wife as “hummingbird” we were to belt the immortal ballad “How do I live?”
2. Every argument between John Cusack’s liberal minded federal marshal and the cantankerous DEA agent was to be matched by our own nonsensical bickering0
3. Choose a criminal stock character to call your own.
4. Heckle as much as possible, e.g.: in response to the weary “Christ” uttered by an officer upon finding out the convicts had hijacked the prison transport plane, a YAH organiser cried “Not again!”, “Must be Tuesday” said another to uproarious laughter.
At the evening’s end we were thanked for attending the event which could just as easily have been a celebration by and for the terrific YAH staff. One of them revealed himself to be the YAH tweeter and demanded I reveal myself as the “actual person tweeting in the audience”. Mortified, I raised my hand and swore never to tweet strangers I’m in the same room as again. Recommendations? Get to next year’s YAH interactive screenings and be reminded that over-blown, train-wreck Hollywood blockbusters need our love and support too.
Alice currently works in regional television, occasionally writes television commercials
but mostly writes film essays. Obviously she should be followed on twitter @aliceclaire, and