Since I've returned from my trip, I've been staying at my mom's place deep in Brooklyn (think of the last stop on the 2 train right next to Brooklyn College) since my subletter has my place until the end of the month. Though I've found it annoying to be so far from everything, her house has one distinct advantage: television.
I don't own a television (wow, try saying that without sounding pretentious) though I do watch a healthy amount of it on my laptop. On the other hand, my mother, who doesn't own a computer, has a sattellite dish, which means lots of channels. I have mostly been watching the History Channel and repeats of Law & Order SVU (I prefer my L&O with some sexual deviancy) but the other night I stumbled onto a broadcast of the late 90s film The Craft and decided to take a break from shows about the formation of the universe.
I had only seen this film one time before- when I was a patient at Boston Children's Hospital in 1997. I had just undergone spinal fusion to correct severe scoliosis. I was miserable and angsty. I was 14. I spent a week and a half in the hospital trying to make everyone as miserable as I was- the doctors, nurses and especially my mother. Needless to say, I was not a fan favorite on the ward. (One nurse kindly reminded me that, "There are some kids here who have cancer." Burn.)
But one nurse took pity on me. She had been a gymnast and understood that I wasn't simply mourning the loss of my spinal mobility but of the sport that demanded it. She loaned me gymnastics tapes from her own personal collection and one time offered to rent a video for me and my mother on her way to work.
I had wanted to see The Craft when it was in theaters but never made it to a showing so I asked if she could get that for me. She looked towards my mother to make sure she didn't mind her young, Orthodox Jewish daughter watching a movie about witchcraft. My mother simply nodded. (Even if she had been the type to censor what I read, watched or listened to, at this point I had broken her will to live. Since I couldn't sleep due to excruciating pain, I decided that she shouldn't sleep either. Such is 14 year old girl logic.)
The nurse delivered the tape to my room the next day and we watched it that night, my mother sitting in the reclining chair next to my bed. I raised the head of my bed so I would be upright. While I immediately fell in love with the film and overidentified with the girls' teenage angst, wishing I had had the power to fix my back via magic (as did one of the girls to her burn scars), my mother was less keen on it, especially when it came to the snakes. My mother has a strong fear of snakes and couldn't sit through a showing of Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark. When it came to the third act scenes that were filled with snakes and other creepy crawlies, my mother climbed into bed with me and hid her face.
As I watched the film for the second time 13 years later, a few things struck me. First of all- The Craft is actually a good movie. Decently scripted and acted with special effects that didn't seem especially low budget or cheesy upon review over a decade later even after James Cameron brought us Avatar, which I still haven't seen. And then there was the nostalgia part- Aw, remember Robin Tunney and Neve Campbell? Where are they now? (Of Party of Five alums, I'd much prefer that Campbell had a career instead of Jennifer Love Hewitt, who I've never been able to tolerate.) And though I no longer overidentified with the characters' angst-I am pleased to say that at 27, I have finally overcome my adolescence- I still appreciated the story and development. Also, from the perspective of a feminist adulthood, I do appreciate that men weren't the main focus and that the heroine saved herself without help from a romantic lead.