Mel Gibson was probably the biggest.
Always late to the party, her fancy had been caught a good decade after his own run up to stardom. Averted by poster boys, she’d decided – likely due to an inborn resistance to popularity trends – that anybody celebrated should be shunned.
The trigger appeared to be trauma. Back then, the loss of her mother so swiftly to aggressive, blindsiding brain cancer just over five weeks from diagnosis, the grief was two fold. This abrupt departure would predicate divorce, from a husband in absentia. Emotional abandonment rendered her isolate; she would cocoon, death and divorce birthing escape into creative fantasy. Enter the surrogate, larger than life, to appear as hero.
Braveheart was released, that summer. She sat in the theater, transfixed by fearless, brute strength and a warrior love for the ages. Then, out she went to find the VCR cassette set. Thereafter, endless return trips to the video store for every movie in Gibson’s repertoire, she couldn’t settle for idol worship. This was serious succour; the actor in all his characters, whether conqueror, lover, or martyr, had to supplant her every unmet need. Two years hence, she submitted a completed screenplay intended for his perusal to the Library of Congress.
In need of nothing, she’d been the last innocent of her generation. Well, almost. Preserving her honor in the name of “godliness”, a trait reserved for zealots and virgins, she’d sacrificed intellectual focus at the feet of chastity, squandering potential for a life among the most highly qualified creative academics for the sake of saintly character. This would require its own unique liberator. Appearing at the front door in Sex, Lies, and Videotape, James Spader rang that bell. His penchant for soft porn splayed across her imagination with such magnetic allure, she spent months draped over the davenport, arrested by agony.
Bradley Cooper embodied what had thereafter become her lifelong persuasion: love, and the addict. Hers, seemingly benign, sugar sweetened chocolate; his, any manner of substances, Cooper’s Jackson in A Star Is Born knocked her flat out, so stunned was she by recognition. Of all these figments, he’d come the closest to stepping right into the frame of her actual reality. Perusing his catalogue, however, proved truncating; other characters were less relatable, at times too ambitious or clamoring. In Cooper, she’d responded only to the tragic, already plenty of pathos unfolding every day in her world.
Likely the last, Timothee Chalamet emerged gradually. Bones hardly reaching full growth, yet a gaze so arresting, clear pools reflecting a depth almost daring descent. Add to that French mystique, unbound by any convention, and you had the perfect pseudo paramour for a woman of any age, certain or unnamed. He would, among them all, likely outlive her. In this, she found comfort.
Every generation had its zeitgeists, so said Edward Enninfel. She wasn’t about to bow to mere adoration. Hers was a trauma bond. What the realm of cinema provided was an alternate reality which spoke far more poignantly than its art form alone. Her roster of personal therapists had played their roles worthy of prestigious award; what she gleaned, these had offered freely.
Fixations predictably fade. Every catalogue ultimately closes. By whatever name the value of each, in the end, is priceless.
Copyright 2/18/23 Ruth Ann Scanzillo. All rights those of the author, whose story it is and whose name appears above this line. No copying, lifting, screen grabbing, pilfering, parsing, or translating permitted. Sharing by blog link, exclusively, and that not via RSS feed. Thank you, personally, for representing professional integrity.