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#ThirtyScenesInThirtyDays: Day Four - My Girl: Thomas J's Funeral

July 27, 2017

 

Okay, let's get serious for a minute. 

 

SPOILERS. (But not really, though. It's the fucking movie where Macaulay Culkin dies and the girl who is now in Veep becomes a woman.) 

 

As a chubby, introverted, sensitive eight-year-old kid who had an affinity for acting, Macaulay Culkin was my hero. The dude was a legit, bankable movie star, getting top-billing over the likes of Joe Pesci, Dan Aykroyd, and Tim Curry. He was my idol. My earliest childhood memories involved daydreaming about being in movies, and I didn't think being an actor was a feasible thing till Home Alone happened. 

 

So on that fateful morning in 1992, when I was scanning The Preview Channel (remember THAT struggle?) looking for something to watch and saw "My Girl" set to play on HBO at 10:30am, I jumped for joy. I thought I was in for another Macaulay Culkin treat. 

 

I thought wrong. 

 

Watching this film, I learned that as a writer, you have the power to do anything you want, including cutting out your audience's collective heart and KILLING CHILDREN. Seriously, how fucking cruel was this?! Thomas J. shows up at her door wearing his little Bronx Zoo T-shirt, she shoves him to the ground, tells him not to come back for 5-7 days, THEN Thomas J, loyal and in puppy love, seeks redemption for DOING NOTHING WRONG by searching for her lost mood ring in the woods. 

 

AND THEN HE GETS STUNG BY A BUNCH OF BEES AND DIES. 

 

The fucking horror. I waited for the rest of the film for Thomas J. to wake up, for his little fist to come through the coffin or something to let us know that it was all just a joke. Or a misunderstanding. Maybe the bee stings put him in a coma that slowed his heart rate all the way down to almost zero. I was in full-blown denial -- all the way up until Vada rides off into the sunset on her bicycle, and he hear the first few cords of My Girl strum... and fade to black. 

 

I sat on my knees underneath the TV, tears hopelessly welling up in my eyes, thinking there's going to be some bizarre reveal at the end of the credits.

 

Alas, there was not. 

 

In an effort to not have my little brother see what was inevitably about to happen, I calmly stood up, walked to my bedroom, shut the door, moved to my bed, put a pillow in my face, and scream-cried for about an hour. 

 

Up until that point, I had no idea how film could have such a profound impact on one's emotions -- how you could manipulate the core of a human being for two hours and completely shock their system. 

 

My Girl was also my introduction to the reality of death. Aside from my great-grandmother, no one I had known had died up until that point. The fact that it could happen to anyone, including a kid, or one of my heroes, hit me that day. 

 

I really don't know how to end this on a positive note. Something comedic for tomorrow, yeah?

#ThirtyScenesInThirtyDays

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