Before I even got out of bed today - heck, even before 6 AM - I had received two identical text messages:
"Remember, remember the 5th of November, the gunpowder treason and plot. I know of no reason why the gunpowder treason should ever be forgot."
That will serve as a preface to this story.
Rainy day, 2006. My dad and I decided to go see a movie. For reasons I can't recall, we decided on the Wachowski's film adaptation of Alan Moore's graphic novel, V For Vendetta. I don't know why I wanted to see it or what piqued my interest, but that's what we chose. My dad ultimately fell asleep, waking up for the ending to groggily mutter some words about several plot twists. I don't remember anything else he said as we left the dimly lit theater. I was transfixed.
That movie changed my life and the foundations of my then-18 year old mind.
Maybe a pit hyperbolic on my part, but it didn't end there. I starting working at a music store the summer after I graduated high school and when the DVD release for V For Vendetta approached, I was told by my manager about out store promo - anyone who preordered the DVD would receive three movie posters of the film. I immediately signed up. I still remember the incredulous look on my manager's face as I told him that yes, I did indeed want those posters.
Those posters have hung proudly on my walls for years. They have since been killed off prior to my recent relocation to the Pacific Northwest because they have been taken on and off walls so many times during so many moves that they are just too torn up to look good. Upon receiving my preorder, I watched the movie countless times. I remember thinking for the first time that Hugo Weaving was quite possibly one of the best actors ever.
So therein began a tradition: every year, on the 5th of November, I would watch V For Vendetta. I've watched it in a shed-turned-bedroom, a band hall on a massive projector - heck, even last year I watched it in a psych ward because that was the week I was hospitalized for mental reasons.
In all circumstances and in all places this tradition remains the same. There is also another constant I'm not ashamed to admit - I tear up during the same exact scene every single time I watch this movie since I've owned it. I won't tell you what part it is but it's possibly the most triumphant moment in the movie.
Since its release, I've enjoyed sharing my enthusiasm of V For Vendetta with many friends, introducing it to countless dozens of people over the years who have never heard of it. I've wanted nothing more than to dress up as Guy Fawkes for Halloween every year (I can never find the costume but I admittedly don't look hard enough). I even wrote a critical essay entitled A Marxist Reading of V For Vendetta for my Literary Criticism class my second semester at ACU. It wasn't very interesting.
The point of this post is mostly singular in form - I simply want to share a favorite annual tradition of mine. The timing is of course interesting because of our country's impending presidential election on the morrow, but I refuse to let this blog venture anywhere near the waters of political commentary. I've even thought about deactivating my Facebook account this week to avoid all the naysayers, show-boaters, and blind fools but there will be far too many trolling opportunities ripe for plunder.
However, I will say this again - just so this post isn't a completely meaningless fanboy-ish rant coming from a nerd: this movie changed my life. It changed the way I viewed governments and their role in our everyday lives. It got me interested in literature and films I would have never expressed a desire in before. It shook free my perceptions of what it means to hold on to grudges. It has taught me more than anything else how much difference a single determined individual can make in a corrupt and dark world. Most importantly, it taught me the importance of redemption and sacrifice. Some of that may be a stretch but I assure you it's all there.
So now I'm off to watch the film for the thousandth time, quoting every line and performing every "karate gimmick" in the not-so-private privacy of my cramped apartment.
Don't forget to vote, folks. Viva la Revolucion!
PS you didn't seriously think I'd leave you without this, did you:
Still reading Life of Pi, biding my time until the November 21st theatrical release.
Listening to unhealthy amounts of less-than-stellar metal (i.e. The Black Dahlia Murder) for the sole purpose of increasing my guitar playing strength and agility. Some people don't get that, and sure it sounds nerdy but it's an amazingly simple concept. And it works - my right arm is visibly stronger each day. Weird.
And I'm excited about a spring tour that was announced today featuring two of my all-time favorite bands co-headlining in the spring, including a February Seattle stop: Between the Buried & Me and Coheed & Cambria, the best bands around with the "&" symbol in their names. But seriously, these two groups are two of the best prog-rock acts of the modern era. I saw Coheed once back in 2006 and I've seen BTBAM three times. They will be joined by post-rock band Russian Circles, which is another band I enjoy. Hot dog!