I often run into a certain guy at Manhattan screenings, a guy I’ll sometimes shoot the shit with, but mostly I tend to avoid him because he’s always talking but never saying anything. Everything out of his mouth is droll, flip and glib. Nothing is of any consequence. Nearly ever word slides across the surface like a gravel rock across an ice pond. This guy is so comme ci comme ca about almost everything that I sometimes want to shove him. You have to stand strongly against or for something to have any contour or character or personality. You can’t just go “yeah, I heard about that and I tweeted about that and I saw her on Jimmy Kimmel and blah blah blah blah” about everything. You have to give that shit a rest every so often.
I almost said to this guy once, “Is there anything at all that you strongly despise? Is there anything at all that you truly love to the point of…I don’t know, shedding tears?” Taste is a result of a thousand distastes, and if you can’t recognize and admit to strong distastes (and for good Pierre Rissient-type reasons) then who the hell are you? It all comes down to being or not being a person who is ready to “die” for deeply-held principles. By “die” I don’t mean standing in front of a firing squad. I mean there are lines you won’t across, types of movies you’ll refuse to go easy on, shit you can’t or won’t tolerate or shrug off.
I can tell within seconds of meeting someone if they’re a person of substance or not. By that I mean a guy like Alec Leamas in The Spy Who Came In From The Cold or Tom Dunson in Red River or Richard Blaine in Casablanca. It goes without saying that I’m a member of this club. I would never quit the cattle drive because things have gotten tough. I would probably side with Matt and take the cattle to Abilene but I wouldn’t feel good about it.