I consider last night a success. I laminated tagboard, used an Xacto knife and glue, producing Honey Bunny Bookmarks a la Martha (only please, who has proper chenille pipe cleaners on hand?). Crossed a few things off The Wish List, reminded myself of all the things to be happy about, and I managed to slip out to Vivo for queso (melted cheese, tomatoes, hamburger meat, cellulite) and a prickly pear frozen margarita. Bunnies and booze, not bad.
The prickly pear was too sweet, so I sent that lady back and went with my old standby: mango. Talked movie formulas and genres with Phil, explaining how, aside for Memento, they’re all formulas. Every last one of ’em. How M.A.S.H. is an institutionalized genre of "am I crazy or are they?" whereas Private Benjamin is a fish out of water / the fool triumphs story, where our underdog is overlooked. "Then what’s Erin Brockovich?" Phil wanted to know.
"That’s a fish out of water story."
"No, it’s not. It’s a hero story."
"Well, maybe. I kinda think it’s both. It’s fish out of water because she’s in new territory. Put a risque dresser in a conservative atmosphere. Fish is in a desert of Brooks Brother’s prints and dowdy hemlines. No one took her seriously. She’s basically Elle Woods, just with rat nest hair and more cleavage."
"No, you’re getting it all wrong. Hers is a David and Goliath story."
So, I guess what he’s saying is that not all underdog stories are "the supposed ‘fool’ triumphs in the end" stories. I guess that’s right. But I think if you’re the underdog, by nature, you’re seen as a "fool," someone who’ll never ever make it, and then you prove everyone wrong, ending in triumph. The only real difference is conviction. Conviction is what separates a triumphant fool movie from a hero movie formula. Because the fool never really thinks s/he can do it (look at Bill Murray in Stripes, Goldie Hawn in Private Benjamin) vs. Erin Brockovich and A Beautiful Mind, where everyone doubts them, but they, above all others, believe in themselves, do it against all odds. So Rudy, Lucas (the movie, not my bear), and Erin are hero stories. And Phil’s mine, for making me think about these things.