If I said, “Cutters” to you would you know the reference?
I ran across a photo today that brought to mind a movie I really enjoy every time I watch it, 1979’s “Breaking Away”. I watched this movie on a VHS tape for the first time in the early 1980’s. I was serving in the United States Marine Corps Reserve, I was going to the University of Oklahoma, I was the son of a civil servant (F.A.A.), and we were the definition of middle class in Oklahoma at the time.
So if you know this movie you can imagine it struck a nerve when I watched it. I didn’t fit in with the Greek fraternity/sorority scene at the university nor did most of my friends. I was fiercely proud of my independence and my disdain for those things I considered the realm of the rich (like food, spending money, and automobiles that ran EVERY TIME you turned the key to start them) was almost visible. My friends and I even got a softball team together and played one season in the Intramural League. We called ourselves Gamma Delta Iota (GDI). If you were a frat you knew immediately what that meant. We were outsiders. (See also, Revenge of the Nerds (1984), Better Off Dead (1985), Sixteen Candles (1984))
I paid my way through school, no help from my parents or the public through grants or loans. You see, we were middle class and I did not qualify for public assistance. As a matter of fact, my second semester I needed help with tuition. I asked my parents about “the college fund” that was supposed to be put aside from the proceeds from the stud fees on my dogs, it didn’t exist. So I asked for a loan to be paid back in two months from my Marine Corps pay. “No.” was the answer. A week after tuition was due and I had withdrawn from school, my parents bought new furniture and carpet for the house. The jumbo bonus was my mom had secured a janitor job for me at T.G.&Y. from her boss at the newspaper who it turned out was also the manager at the T.G.&Y.
Things haven’t changed too much today. The poor, or economically challenged, or what ever you want to call them get assistance from the government to go to school. The rich, you can imagine generally don’t need help getting their kids to the university. So I watch my middle class kids pay for their college with loans and a little hand from the Mrs. and I when we can. It makes you wonder if there really is a “class war” in America. The ultra-rich stay rich, the moderately rich are taxed down to the middle class, the poor are assisted in order to achieve the middle class, and the middle class remain in the middle riddled with the debt to keep them there.
Sorry for that. You don’t come to this website for social or political commentary so, back to the movie. Well for one thing, its great. I highly recommend it.
Imagine how I enjoy this picture!
I’m already writing the sequel in my head. And frankly since there are no “new” movies in Hollywood I’m surprised some “B” studio hasn’t optioned it for a remake. They’ve remade nearly all the 1980’s great movies, time to slide down into the 70’s. Hell, they’ve remade “Robocop”….ROBOCOP! Really? How do you remake greatness? Do you think they’ll make it closer to the book like they did with the brilliant remake of “True Grit”? That’s a joke of course. The book was written after the screenplay and is different from the movie. Insert eyeroll here.
Okay, lets clear somethings up.
- I have rich friends, I have middle class friends, I have poor friends. I hold no animosity in any form toward any of them. My rich friends got their money through damn hard work. My poor friends work harder than most people do and who could begrudge any of that?
- This post oozes irony…
- I am fiercely middle class and independent. It is ironic that I have such disdain for the Greek system yet I belong to the largest (and most deadly) fraternity in the world, the United States Marine Corps.
- Today, ironically, I drive a car that only rich people could afford brand new.
- I am no longer angry at my parents (deceased). It sucked at the time to be told no to my education. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t resent it at the time. It sucked a little harder to be out of school and a janitor again. But I learned a lot from that. And for the record, T.G.&Y. turned out to be one of the funnest jobs I have ever had.
- I really don’t want Breaking Away remade. Please Hollywood, I’m begging you on my knees, stop re-making movies. Write something original and add to the mystic of your venerated Hollywoodland. As of the publishing of this blog post no jackass in Hollywood has planned a remake. You could see the soul of Hollywood escape the minute they started filming a live-action movie of Scooby Doo.
Once again, sorry for the soapbox, thanks for reading and Happy Rovering.