We met doing youth theater when we were 13. We've had almost 20 years to potentially drift apart, or be shitty to each other, or let things get weird, but it's never happened. And while that's no doubt partly because he's just a kickass, tolerant, smart, forgiving friend, it's also gotta be at least a little bit because neither of us wanted to take for granted what a lucky fucking thing it is to get somebody and have them get you.
The world's full of cool people, but it's rare to find a friend where the vibe is effortlessly awesome, right? Chris and I clicked regarding many references linked to the intense nerdery of our tweens (Vampire Hunter D, Iron Maiden, Castlevania), but the crazy part is that it didn't end there. We went on to share a shit ton of interests on both ends of the spectrum: smarty pants high art and irreverent, cheap laughs. He's got the brains and emotional depth to be the friend I want to talk to about rhetorical criticism, art, and philosophy. But probably more importantly to me (if I'm being honest), he's got the sense of humor to be the friend I go to with a butt joke.
Anyway. I kind of owe my knowledge of movies to Chris. And everything else, probably. We've spent a lot of time, particularly during those formative teen years, watching everything from Jean Cocteau films to Van Damme flicks. I came in with some semi-decent basic cable background knowledge in mostly film noir and kung fu movies, but Chris already had taste -- and an affection for bad taste. One day, we'd be getting our young, art-nerd heads around the use of music in The Shining. The next, we'd be continuing an ongoing search for the shittiest movie of all time (FYI, it's Mac and Me). We'd listen to Queen and we'd listen to Beethoven. We'd talk about the Dutch Masters and we'd talk about nachos.
These are the things we still do, by the way. We both clearly came in with back stories that helped make us compatible as buds, but I don't think I'd be half as informed about art in any sense of the word if it weren't for our friendship. It yields so much more net enjoyment if your experience of a book or a movie or something isn't boxed in by strict notions of liking or not liking it -- there's so much more joy available if you can appreciate it on its own terms. That's probably a natural mentality for both of us, but I developed that perspective in a hardcore way because of Chris. Also, it's more fun with a buddy.
So anyway, for Chris' birthday in recent years, I've made a tradition of inserting our pictures into stills from whatever movie we've been discussing most recently, doing so as jankily and ridiculously as possible. Last year it was the Alien franchise. This year, it was Francis Ford Coppola's Dracula. His birthday was actually like a month ago, and I gave him these images as part of a multi-page card (with a pie) but you should be accustomed by now to this blog being at least that far behind on everything.
Happy Birthday, dude.