I went to the Jurassic Park re-release over the weekend. I was struck by how well the movie held up, considering it was my ABSOLUTE MOST FAVORITE movie when I first saw it. When I read the novel in fourth grade, it became my absolute most favorite novel and started a short-lived love affair with Micheal Crichton books.
But I am not here to talk sci-fi stories of technology and corporate greed run amok.
No. I would like to talk about Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum).
God damn am I hot for Dr. Ian Malcom. It doesn’t hurt that Goldblum circa 1993 is a damn fine piece of man. It doesn’t hurt that his character wears a fitted black v-neck. But it’s the god damn charisma. The charming smart ass gets me every time.
But why? Why do I lust after Han Solo, Roy Mustang, the lawyer Robert Downey Jr. played on Ally McBeal? What is so appealing about the charming smart ass?
Well, charming is the first adjective, isn’t it? And the charming smart ass tends to use his charm for good–self-effacing humor, witty quips, banter– rather than manipulation or deception.
He is confident. He is assertive. He doesn’t take himself seriously. He lives on his own terms and doesn’t give a fuck.
In real life, I mostly meet not-so-charming smart asses. Emphasis on ass, rather than smart. They jam jokes into conversation, take nothing seriously, and fail to engage in any kind of intimacy. They are irritating, smug, and self-centered.
And, they are usually at odds with me when they realize I am more charming and more hilarious than they are. And, gasp, for once they are not the funniest person in the room.
Unlike these IRL “funny guys,” Mr. Solo and Dr. Malcom have confidence. They don’t base their self-worth on their ability to land jokes. They do it to amuse themselves.
And, as I write this, I feel myself writing a view of my personality. I laugh at my own jokes. I respond with sarcasm because honesty would be too boring, painful, or melodramatic. I deflect emotion with humor.
I am confident. I am assertive. I am charming.
Or so I tell myself.
Is it because I want to be more like them? Because I know my confidence is very much a facade? Because I know I need someone who would drag me across the universe in his space ship? Because I want to be free and fearless?
Or is it darker than that? Do I find these guys so appealing because of their inability to deal with emotion, at least when compared to their whinier, and duller, brethren (Luke Skywalker, Edward Elrich, the boring paleontologist in Jurassic Park).
Am I afraid of intimacy?
I tend to live in my head, in my screenplay worlds. I feel more connected to characters in films and books than to people I meet in real life. I almost always find people too boring, shallow, or insincere for a real connection. (God, listen to what an ass I sound like!)
Of course, it would be fitting that I feel connected to these fictional film characters.
Is it because these fellas are clearly one hell of a good time?
Because confidence is fucking attractive.
Or because these characters are played by exceptional male specimens?
I think it’s the existentialism. How does Malcom respond when he’s about to be attacked by a dino–“boy, do I hate being right all the time.” The stuff of movie characters, sure, but a calm, bad-ass response to danger nonetheless.