Sunday, December 23, 2012

The World Of Henry Orient

I went back and forth for a couple of days about writing about this one because I'd already seen it before (years and years ago, but still) and there was a problem when I taped it and I didn't get to see the ending. But I feel like I have a lot to say about the movie, though a lot of it is intangible so it might be touch to write anything.
First and foremost, I read a thing that said that Ghost World was inspired by The World Of Henry Orient, which is a despicable thing to say and everyone who ever even thought such a thing owes The World Of Henry Orient a massive, grovelling apology.
Valerie Boyd and Marian Gilbert, students at an all girls private school, meet by chance one morning ("You're new here, too, aren't you? Do you like it?" "They say it's the best girls' school in the country." "Me neither.") and immediately become best friends, despite one other student's warning to Gil that Val is crazy.
The girls keep coincidentally running afoul of experimental pianist Henry Orient ("And then two small bladders came out of their mouths."), usually when he's with the married woman he's currently dating. Val falls madly in fangirl love with him after they attend one of his concerts, so she and Gil dedicate their lives to stalking him, creating a scrapbook of him and speaking in vaguely Asian accents.
Things start going wrong when Val's parents come home from wherever they happened to be this time and her mother finds the scrapbook and assumes her daughter has been fooling around with Henry Orient because Val's mother is an idiot who's never met a fangirl before.
There are certain movies that hit me a certain way and The World Of Henry Orient is like a weird, warped mirror of my own life. I relate so immediately and strongly with Val and Gil. I've had friendships exactly like theirs: sudden, immediate, intuitive, fangirly, adjectives. Watching this movie is like watching the year of high school I spent almost exclusively in Jenny's company. If I'd remembered this movie existed that year, I would have insisted we rent it.
I actually have the same reaction to Heavenly Creatures, but to a lesser extent because Jenny and I never had sex or killed anybody. Henry Orient is much more my life; if there had been a way for us to follow Mike Patton or Tommy Kirk or somebody around while wearing conical straw hats and speaking a secret language, we probably would have.
But the reason I love The World Of Henry Orient is more than just that. I can relate to it in that way now, but when I was a kid and it was one of my favorite movies I'd never had a friendship like that. I'd barely had friends at all at that point. But I could always relate to it, I always admired Gil and Val, it was always a movie that punched me right in the stomach in the most wonderful way possible. I just don't know how to explain what exactly it is I relate to or the feeling it gives me.
It's just a wonderful, wonderful movie and I want to watch it again right now. I want to live it, I want to be it. I want to watch it with every close friend I've ever had.
I want to put on a conical hat and wait across the street from its apartment so I can kowtow to it when it looks out the window.

End of line.