Monday, November 7, 2011

"In the Westworld"

Yul Brynner has always been one of my favorite actors ever, even before I knew he had starred in "The King and I." My introduction to him was through "The Ten Commandments," and despite my young age, I remember thinking, "Wait, obviously-white-but-supposed-to-be-Egyptian lady, you'd rather be with Charlton Heston than the raw awesomeness of Yul Brynner? Bitch, you be CRAZY." Or, er, something like that. With his shaved head and amazing accent, he was my sex symbol, my own version of my mother's Clark Gable or Elvis Presley, even before I knew what that was. To this day, nearly twenty years after I first saw Brynner, only one person rivals him, and his name rhymes with "Wayne Ronson."





Nom.

Anyway, ahem. I had always wanted to watch "Westworld" as a kid, but I couldn't bring myself to see Yul portray a Bad Guy. I mean, technically, he played one in "Commandments," but for some reason, I don't see him as such. But then, Netflix came into my life and a few months ago, I noticed that "Westworld" was available on DVD for my own pleasure. It was closer to the end of my queue, but remember, I was still trying to avoid seeing my beloved Yul play a murderous android. And then Netflix went insane and wanted to split up into two companies, so I assumed that I would just not receive the DVD. Well, you can imagine my surprise when the movie showed up in my mailbox. I laughed and figured I would just send it back, with no real desire to tarnish Yul's perfect image in my head (I loved "The Buccaneer," regardless of how historically inaccurate it is, and "The King and I" remains one of my most quoted movies.); but I held onto it. And then for some inexplicable reason, I popped it in my DVD player today. I actually said, "Meh, what the hell?"

What followed can be summed up with this: Michael Crichton was obsessed with fucked up theme parks. And Yul played a soulless robot with a wonderfully vacant expression that convinced me that he would have acted circles around Arnie trying to play a Terminator. It was hard for me to believe that he was in his 50s when this movie was shot since he didn't look much over 40 years old, and then it was even sadder when I realized that it was only nine years prior to his untimely death from lung cancer. Of course, this got me thinking about my own mortality. I only smoked for nine years (Brynner was, from his own admission, a life-long smoker) but I wondered if I had quit early enough. I wasn't a pack-a-day girl or anything, but I did quit cold turkey and was kind of a bitch for a few weeks when I quit back in June.

Hmm, Yul causes deep thoughts. And all from watching "Westworld."But the movie didn't change my love of the guy who died when I was two years old. I still adore his voice, his style, his bald head. I still get tingles when I think about his performances. And honestly, as a perfect ending for this entry, this song perfectly represents the way I feel when I think of Yul, even after seeing him shoot James Brolin and walk around with acid burns on his face (guys, this is a movie that's over 30 years old, so deal with the spoilers): calm, cool, and just all around happy.


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