Josh's Really Really Smart Movies

Primal Fear


4. 5 Brains

Not a review this time…but a story.

—Basic Synopsis of Movie—

“Defense attorney Martin Vail takes on jobs for money and prestige rather than any sense of the greater good. His latest case involves an altar boy, accused of brutally murdering the archbishop of Chicago. Vail finds himself up against his ex-pupil and ex-lover, but as the case progresses and the Church's dark secrets are revealed, Vail finds that what appeared a simple case takes on a darker, more dangerous aspect.”

I was 15 and was the invited friend on a family of 3’s road trip. It was me, my best friend (AT THAT TIME), his mom ( FOR FOREVER) and his stepdad (HALF OF HIS LIFE). We are all riding in comfort, because the stepdad drives a conversion van. Yungbloodz, like Cam, will picture some ride like Bumblebee, Wayne’s favorite Transformer movie, but you are far off.

A conversion van was basically a normal van but the “conversion factory” would blowup a huge velour/carpet balloon inside of it until it popped covering every surface in a material able to soak up liquids. They would then tuck a tv and vcr in it and sell it to old white men. (it's true, read a book).

After just days on the road we had burned through our stacks of old Trivial Pursuit cards and BrainQuest Quiz decks. Every vhs in the van had been watched, at least twice at this point, so at every gas stop we would hunt the shelves for anything at all. One late evening the lady of the van had initiated a pee stop. I blew past, through the lot, and hit the spinning vhs rack. BOOM BABY! PRIMAL FEAR! I knew it, I loved it..I wanted it…so, I bought it!

We are all now back in the van traveling 70mph down the interstate. I pop in the VHS and the very clear orator RIchard Gere drops 3 sentences which include the words. “whorehouse & f^@ked” all within 15 seconds. Somehow those two lines were blocked frequency-wise with a bag of sunchips being opened and did not get heard by the front driver and passenger.

Now, at this point I’m thinking how I really only remember the end of the movie and have no clue what happens in between

I glance at the box quickly..

blah Catholic church..blah..alter boy… blah.. ok not bad…Rated R…uh-oh..

And then…it happens;

a chef’s knife comes down on a Catholic priest’s hand severing his fingers in mid air.(beautiful shot - looked like a McDonald’s ad for chicken fingers and sweet red dipping sauce)

My best friend squirm/gasps and his stepdad reacts instantly and pulls the van over like we just tried to light a firework on the back of his head.

In one swift but fluid motion he put the van in park, took off his seatbelt and reached back hitting eject blindly on the vcr. (NOT feeling for it, like one finger came back and articulated downward hitting it square, stopping and ejecting the tape.) He exits the van, walks around the front,then to my passenger side and slides open the van door with his left hand. His right arm enters the van at the click of the handle, almost beating beams of light through the gap. His right hand grips the tape using a thumb/pointer grasp and I could have swore I heard the vhs apologize for its rated-R content like a Squeeze-IT fruit drink. In what had to be the most athletic maneuver performed that day on the side of the interstate- I witnessed this man underhanded swoop-throw my vhs copy of Primal Fear into the roadside forest. (and it never hit the ground…jk twister joke)

Years later I would realize what had actually happened that day. The Sunchips didn’t actually muffle the noise and only tuned (driver) stepdads ears more closely to my movie of choice. Stepdad had caught a glimpse of my purchase but did not immediately recognize the blockbuster until it started playing.

My road trip hosts were devout Catholic…this I knew but didn’t understand. Primal Fear had Ed Norton playing a Catholic altar boy…this I knew but didn’t understand.

I made the road trip so much longer and worse for everyone that day…this I know..and do understand.