So, the high school reunion is tonight. I've already expounded on the societal and personal implications that this night brings. I've always thought of the ten year reunion along the same lines as the Senior Prom. Not necessarily as huge as a wedding or a child birth, but still, it's a once in a lifetime kind of thing that is deeply infused into the fabric of our culture. If you doubt this then take a look at the movies that have used this overblown party as subject matter.
The previously linked blog above references a movie that is probably my favorite of these films. Grosse Pointe Blank is the story of a guy, Martin Blank played by John Cusak, who has to travel back to his home town of Grosse Pointe, Michigan on business. Unwittingly, he is there on the same weekend that his high school graduating class is having it's 10 year reunion. His caring and concerned secretary encourages him to go to the reunion, even though he really doesn't want to. It turns out that he took off the night of prom, leaving his high school sweetheart waiting to be picked up, never to be seen or heard from again. Martin is wary of going back to his reunion for the obvious awkwardness that could accompany his reunification with all his old friends, and most of all the girl.
As he is scoping out the old town and the changes that have taken place since he left, ("I'm standing where my, uh, living room was and it's not here because my house is gone and it's an Ultimart!") he happens by a shop window that houses a local radio station. The DJ at the mic is none other than his old girlfriend, played by Minnie Driver, in one of her cuter roles. He can't help himself and decides to listen into her show. As the curiosity gets the better of him he decides to make use of a commercial break and drop into the station. Driver's character then puts him on air to quiz him on his going AWOL in high school and sudden return, much to his humiliation.
Oh, and Martin's business is as a killer for hire. He's a hitman. The girl doesn't know that yet, but the audience knows this from the beginning. A very good and in demand one, at that.
What I love about this movie is that, despite his job as a professional killer, (he claims a military psychological profile quiz showed he had a certain "Moral flexibility") he is very concerned with the way people see him. Even when he's been hired to kill someone he seems genuinely hurt when the person he's about to kill thinks it's something personal. "It's not me!" he tells them, just before he puts a hole through the person's head.
Other than the killing thing, I see a lot of myself in Martin Blank. He is thoughtful, in the sense that he may over think a topic. He is very self-aware, knows how he feels and is able to verbalize his feelings, but also realizes and compares this to how he should be feeling. Like, on the one hand, he knows that going to his reunion, given the circumstances surrounding his departure, his return, and his career, would probably be a mistake. On the other hand, he knows that he's curious and a peek into his old life, when presented to him on a covered platter is more than he can handle. He must cave in.
Well, here I am with the covered platter only minutes from my home. Despite the $60 a pop price tag, it was just too difficult not to peek back into that world. Of course, it's not like I left in some weird way or that I'm expecting people to think it odd that I'm there, like Martin Blank, but, of the few people with whom I kept in contact after high school, I don't think that any of them are coming. I'm sure this would be enough to fend away most sensible people. But, once again, I over think things and can't resist an opportunity to put myself in an awkward situation. Then again, I might have a blast. Who knows.
By the way, what's with movies and TV shows always holding the reunions in the gym of the high school. You can't drink in a public high school, which is one of the greatest things about the high reunion to begin with. The last time I saw some of these people we were jumping the fence at a party where the cops showed up or sneaking around to pay off some homeless guy to buy us beer. How surreal and wonderful is that?