A while back I made 12 months worth of posts about The Top Gear Lads. James May was my particular favorite to pick on for inspiration. A man called “Captain Slow” who breaks the world land speed record in a Veyron? A man who drives to the North Pole against his free will? A man who wears a studied nutty professor wardrobe and goes twitchy when the air vents in the car are not all lined up the same way? That is a lot to write about. Of course my biggest supposition was that Mr. May had more fun than I did. I would be willing to wager a fiver that he still does.
When news came down that the BBC had not renewed Jeremy Clarkson’s contract I was heartsick. It was the end of an era. Top Gear, in its own unique distracting ridiculous way, saw me through watching my last living relative pass away from Alzheimer’s disease. If there was ever a time when I needed mindless distraction for adults, it was then.
But this has nothing to do with Mr. Colin Firth. Or does it?
Last November I wrenched my knee. By February I had been through two orthopedists and still was not able to walk well. Hobbling with a cane and partially mollified with low grade pain medications, I was miserable indeed.
On a Top Gear free February Sunday I took my search for mindless distraction to the movie theater and bought a ticket for “Kingsman” How could a movie with a dog named Mr. Pickle disappoint? It was set in a high tech tailor shop on Savile Row and featured a fifty-ish bright eyed and bemused secret agent. Mr. Spy’s grey pinstripe, double breasted, double vented costume was sumptuous suit porn. Throw in the lethal brolly and bingo! It did not fail to please. (With the exception of one scene that gave me flashbacks to Southern Baptist church services I witnessed as a child. But Justice was served swiftly on that score and I fell back into mindless enjoyment.) The actor bringing Harry Heart, Kingsman secret agent to life was, of course, Colin Firth.
The following Monday I discussed “Kingsman” with my BFF and favorite movie authority, C.
Her response was, “Colin Firth how lovely. I saw him in “Valmont” After that I was ‘Oooo’. Just lovely. “
I blinked at her. “I thought Valmont was Alan Rickman.”
She tilted her head and replied, “No you’re thinking of John Malkovich.”
“So where does Colin Firth come in ?”
“He was the best Valmont. Everybody had a good ending in that one, well except Valmont, but that’s what happens. You’ve got to see that movie it will change you mind.”
‘Valmont’ isn’t available on Netflix and C says she doesn’t have a DVD of it. So I’ve googled “Valmont” and viewed stills of a very young Colin Firth dressed like a dandy. They were confusing. It’s hard for me to imagine this image of auburn haired English youth as a rake hell. On an intuitive level I have reached the age of understanding the lovelier they are the more wickedly they behave. But Firth’s Valmont didn’t ring any bells.
C broached the subject later in the week. “Did you find it?”
“Nope, not on Netflix. ” I replied. ” What else has he been in?”
C went on to name a list of movies.
“He was in “The English Patient”?” I was baffled. “Where?”
“He was the husband.” She looked at me like I was wandering in left field. “I know you saw that movie. We’ve talked about that movie.”
“Oh he was the nut job who killed everybody?”
I had to shamefully admit to her that I was apparently obsessed with the aquiline nose and fevered eyes of Ralph Fiennes for the entire flick. (Of course that was before Fiennes began playing characters who had no noses.)
Chastised for my cinematic negligence I went home and sorted through my DVD rack. To my amazement I have a well worn copy of “The English Patient” and several other movies from Mr. Firth’s oeuvre. I even discovered an unopened copy of “The Importance of Being Earnest”. I can not remember buying that or being gifted with it.
Why couldn’t I remember seeing Mr. Firth in any of these movies? Does he possess some type of magical invisibility talent where you see the character and never remember the face?
I asked my other movie maven W to name his favorite Colin Firth movie. His response was, “The name is familiar but I can’t place a face.”
I repeated movie titles and his answer was the same with the addition of “Maybe he’s invisible.”
“Last night I saw upon the stair, a little man who wasn’t there. He wasn’t there again today, oh how I wish he’d go away” I singsonged back.
W paused for a moment. “Colin Firth Syndrome that’s what it is. You can see him when the image is on the screen but as soon as the movie is over he fades from your memory.”
“He sure didn’t fade from C’s mind. She ranks him up there with peaches and cream.”
“She’s a special case, didn’t you say you suspect she’s a Bodhisattva?”
“Yes she is. Maybe that gives her special powers.”
“Exactly.” Count on W to suss out the mysteries of the universe in a twenty minute phone call.
” So he could be in ‘Here Come the Mummies’ or ‘Kiss’ or the ‘Insane Clown Posse’ and not wear makeup because nobody would remember he was there?”
“You saw the Mummies last weekend. Did you see him? “
“Nope. I even went through the receiving line and I don’t remember him.”
Little did I know I had just brought down the curse of the”Colin Firth Syndrome” down on my own head.
Mr. Firth has flown out of my peripheral vision to take center stage everywhere I turn. He’s peeking at me from the Red Box video rental machine at the grocery store. He’s in the movie previews for On Demand. He’s in almost every movie Netflix has recommended for me for three weeks. His name has appeared as the punchline in jokes on the inane nightly sitcoms. A Facebook friend posted a video that was her answer to “50 Shades of Grey” titled “Fifty Shades of Colin Firth”. Colin Firth is absolutely everywhere I turn.
I’ve got to make amends.
Either that or I’ve got to start writing about him.
But how could I ever ignore Mr. May?
Has the fabulous suit porn in “Kingsman” turned my head from Bugattis?
Can I please get a date for Saturday night so I can get out of the house and quit watching so much television?
The answers to these and more questions will not likely come anytime soon.