Word of the Night: Volte-face


 a turnabout, especially a reversal of opinion or policy.

I’ve long had a fascination with the idea of brain transplants.  I think anyone who has ever been physically attracted to an evil person, while at the same time unable to muster any enthusiasm for the sweetest person in town, has done the mental gymnastics. “If only I could put so-and-so’s beautiful mind in that asshole’s gorgeous body.”

This was played out to wonderfully comedic effect in Carl Reiner’s The Man with Two Brains, starring Steve Martin and Kathleen Turner.  Of course body switching via various modes has become a genre onto itself.  Face Off, Freaky Friday, Switch, 18 Again, and The Change Up all explore what it would be like to find yourself trapped, or liberated, in another person’s body.   Recently on Fringe we got to see what it would be like if Leonard Nimoy inhabited the body of Anna Torv.  While Torv’s performance fell just short of believability, it was probably more entertaining and easy on the eyes than if the reversal had gone the other way.

Usually around this time of year, I’m becoming more than a little frustrated with the local football teams.  Living in the tri-state area affords me the opportunity to root for either the Jets or the Giants, and I choose to torture myself by following the fortunes of both.

I know it’s not a substitution of body parts, but I wish I could either put Eli Manning and Ahmed Bradshaw in the back field of the Jets, or, transplant the entire Jet defense over to the Giants.  I don’t think this is such a far fetched idea.  Didn’t some Yankees and Mets players once swap wives? And they don’t even have to move their stuff to another stadium.

If I was going to do an actual body part transplant on a football player, it would have to be putting Brett Favre’s arm on Chad Pennington’s body.  Now I could probably find a younger player to donate the cannon to replace what has so sadly been referred to as Pennington’s noodle arm.  But I’m looking for a candidate who’s shown they don’t necessarily deserve the gifts nature has bestowed upon them.  I think Favre is a good match. Since both players are retired (at least they were the last time I checked), to get the most out of my fantasy I also need a time machine to take me back about ten years to when both players were in their prime.  That way Pennington would never have torn his shoulder 4 times, and Packers’ fans could have started cheering for Aaron Rogers that much sooner.

In the world of entertainment, there are several casting transplants I would love to facilitate.  Again going back in time, I’ve never been able to get past Shelly Duvall’s performance in The Shining.  I don’t want to root for the heroine to be clubbed with a bat, or not feel elated when she rescues her son and escapes death.  And while it’s conventional thinking to regard Jack Nicholson’s performance as celluloid genius, it has always bugged me that at the most suspenseful moment of the film, he breaks the tension by generating a big laugh with the line “Hello Johnny.”

 I’ve always maintained that if you took the cast of Kramer Vs Kramer and swapped it with the cast of The Shining, you would have the two greatest movies of all time.  Can you imagine Dustin Hoffman chasing Meryl Streep with an ax? And in the new version of Kramer, we would feel completely free to hate Shelly Duvall as much as we want.

How about a casting swap fantasy for a more current movie?  I am really looking forward to seeing The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  After some early hatred of David Fincher over Alien 3 and Se7en, I’ve become a big fan of late.  And while I wasn’t crazy about the book Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, I very much enjoyed the Swedish Millennium trilogy.  I’m going to try and keep an open mind about Rooney Mara, but to me, Noomi Rapace is Lisbeth Salander. 

 I wonder if after I see the American remake I will be ruminating over what it would have been like to see Ms. Rapace playing opposite Daniel Craig.  Hopefully, Ms. Mara will be wonderful taking over the role and 5 seconds into the movie I will have forgotten all about the earlier incarnation of the punk-rock hacker feminist heroine from hell.  Or, maybe I can use that time machine again, go back and insert Daniel Craig into the Swedish version.  Apologizes to Michael Nyqvist, but is he really the best looking actor Sweden can come up with?


One thought on “Word of the Night: Volte-face

  1. I always thought the first Friday the Thirteenth, where the big reveal was Mrs. Voorhees was the murderer, in effect “swapping” identities with her son, should have been titled “Freaky Friday the Thirteenth.” Of course, I have more issues than Publishers Clearinghouse….

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