America, America

America AmericaI read the book and it was very powerful but my real memory is of the oscar nominated film that Elia Kazan made in the early ’60s: America, America.

I was just starting to drive and went to the movies with a friend to pick up girls (and to watch the movie). Since these were the days before the internet and even before Siskel and Ebert, we often ended up in movies that were considerably different from what was promised in the title. Now my friend, despite looking like a cross between Richard Fariña and Andre the Giant, was the illegitimate offspring of a rodeo champion and one of my mother’s erstwhile friends. Actually, as I close my eyes and remember, he looked a lot like Abbey Hoffmann. So when the movie playing was America, America, being an overt red-neck hayseed, he jumped in my old Chevy one Friday and we landed in the Helix Theater for popcorn, a little necking with unaccompanied girls, and a rip-roaring jingoistic adventure (maybe even starring John Wayne).

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