Wednesday, April 30, 2014

My Tale of High Adventure

Last weekend, as the wife was out of the house for a long evening meeting, I settled in with my teen boys to watch one of those films that I'd been wanting to share with them for a while.  It was Conan the Barbarian.  Not the recent thing, which never seemed worth my while.  Instead, it was that utterly delightful bit of swords and sorcery silliness from the early 80s.

As a pastor, I suppose I shouldn't like films like this, but Lord, I just can't help myself.  It could easily have been a terrible movie, easily.

But despite launching Aaaahnold into cinematic stardom, it somehow managed to be a really rather epic yarn, one that's held up in the thirty years that have passed since I first viewed it.

It wasn't shabbily written--Oliver Stone wrote the screenplay.  It was also capably directed.  Those who could act--James Earl Jones and Max Von Sydow--were given room to do so.  Those who couldn't?  Well, they were given space to glower and flex.  And unlike many of the films of that era, it has a sweeping and visceral soundtrack, one that evokes the steppes and Cimmeria in ways that just work.

The boys, sharing their dad's XY chromosome, loved the film.  It's a Manly Man Man Film, but of the peculiar sort that honors strong, smart, and capable women.

And that soundtrack?  It stuck in my head, as it had years ago when I first saw the film.

I found myself listening to it today, streaming it through my earbuds as I moved through the tasks of my day.

It was delightfully absurd.

Here my audioscape was filled with the great sweeping sounds of high adventure and ancient lands of mystery, of mighty and laconic warriors and inscrutable gods.

And me?  I'm scrubbing the dishes in the sink, and schlepping laundry around the house, and paying bills.    Or I'm struggling to work through quadratic equations with my eighth grader, sharing earbuds, teasing our way through the problems as if we were infiltrating the tower of a serpent-cult.

It was amusing, juxtaposing the sounds of wild adventure with the mundane actions of my simple day.

Funny, how the right soundtrack can change the feel of a life.