MCN Columnists
Kim Voynar

By Kim Voynar

Life, the Movies and Everything

Movies are entertainment, not life. But sometimes when life delivers a solid sucker punch, you need a little something to see you through, and for me, the movies are great medicine for, well, the melancholy.

I’ve been in Oklahoma City for almost two weeks now, since I got a call from my uncle letting me know my dad was in the hospital. Six hours later I was on a plane out of Seattle not knowing what I’d have to face when I got here, and since I arrived I seem to have been sucked into some sort of weird vortex in which time stands still and memories swirl around thick in the air, like an early-morning fog.

I’ve been spending my days for the past week or so helping my dad pack up my childhood home, the house that’s been “home” to me for the past 33 years of my life. It seems Dad had a couple of strokes, and he can’t drive or live alone 2,000 miles away from his family anymore; my brother and I have called Seattle home for almost a decade, and our lives are entrenched there, and so my dad has no choice but to leave his home and come to where we are. And it’s completely unfair that he has to move because we moved away, but it is what it is, and we’re all trying to make the best of it.

For their part, my kids are delighted their Papa is going to be living close to them, and that he’ll be able to take them fishing and be there for birthday parties and plays and holiday meals. And for his part, I know my dad will be glad to be close to his family and to have us a regular part of his daily life, even though he’ll be sad to lose the life he has here. There’s a certain safety in the familiarity of knowing which Mexican restaurant has the best chips and salsa, and which OU games you plan to buy tickets for this year, and what days your friends are off work and which day the drag races are held; my dad is losing that for the vast, terrifying unknowns of finding an apartment and signing a lease from 2,000 miles away, sight unseen in a new neighborhood, in a town he’s only visited a couple times.

There’s a scariness in trading the security of a home bought and paid for with a lifetime of hard work and responsibility for a small apartment whose rent is nearly three times the mortgage payment with which you bought your home. And I’m helping ease him through this transition the best I can, though it breaks my own heart a little to see the sadness in his eyes as we sort through the pieces of his life, our lives, to decide what will come with him and what will not.

To lighten the mood, my dad and I have been talking some about movie memories while we sort and pack. Waiting in line forever to see E.T., which my little brother had to see over and over again. Seeing Gremlins and Ghostbusters in Flagstaff, Arizona, on a break from driving from Oklahoma City to California for a family trip to Disneyland. Which horror film would we rank highest? The ThingAlienThe Shining? And so on. He likes big popcorn flicks, I like small artsy films, but we meet in the middle on classics like Indiana Jones or Dr. Strangelove.

My dad was my first “movie date,” and when I was growing up he took me to movies regularly. Over the past several years, whenever I was back home for visits we’d make a habit of revisiting those memories by choosing a current movie or two to take in together. I doubt he ever thought that all those movies throughout my childhood would have an impact on my chosen career in the future, but nonetheless those movies played a part in who I am today.

Even more than that, though, my dad, his strength, and the values with which he raised my brother and me helped form who I am as an adult. His belief that I was smart enough to do and be anything I wanted pushed me to learn and strive and write. The daily lessons taught in responsibility and what it means to be a grown up informed my own values around parenthood. Even things like my annoyingly obsessive perfectionist issues, I see reflected back at me when I look at him. I am who I am today because of all that’s come in my life up to now, and a large part of that life has been my dad.

Now he needs me, and so I’m here, helping him now as he once held and comforted me through tonsilitis and ear infections, wiped my tears and cleaned my scraped knees, supported me through me through fights with friends and boyfriend issues, rejoiced with me in happy times and held me up me through scary bad times. I’m here for him, as he’s always been for me, and that’s as it should be. When I get done taking care of him, the movies will still be there waiting for me.

– by Kim Voynar

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon