See the picture – it is a man. It is the man. It is man. Yes, man, what a man, the only man that makes you wish you were a woman.
I worship at the altar of Steve McQueen. He was the second Jesus, but first to me.
A few times a year I get the McQueen-fever. It’s not a disease. It’s a gift, a heavenly high, the hero-heroin your brain asks for when the world around you fails to match the dream you had last night. And I watch Bullitt. Over and over again. In fact, the first DVD I ever bought was Bullitt. Now, I’ve gone and bought Bullitt again. On BluRay. Like I could resist… Bullitt on BluRay… if that does not raise your pulse, you’re probably in the morgue right now, watching your soul leave your body. Or something.
This time I didn’t just fast forward to the car chase. I watched the whole movie. It was so good I refuse to superlative-ize the meaning of good. All I can say is, finally, I can say, without lying, I can say that Bullitt is outstanding cinema. It may have taken me a time unit measured in decades to get it, but when you do, o, epiphany. E-pi-pha-ny!
Bullitt is reality, real, like you can touch it and watch Frank Bullitt raise an eyebrow in response. You don’t watch, you happen. You’re part of it. You’re Bullitt. And you don’t talk much, but you drive hard. And you don’t talk much, but you drive hard. See: it’s just like you; it’s you. You’re the movie, the movie is you. What movie? It’s only you.
Aspiring actors study the way McQueen steps out of the Mustang. But you, you know it by heart, you, it’s you who step out of the Mustang. You swivel, twitch your hips, slam the door, suspect everyone around you to be bad, and they usually are, which is why you walk briskly, never afraid, only ready, because when the world falls, you need to catch it, when the world calls, you need to put it on hold while you catch it.
It’s you again, that’s your head, appearing out of a turtleneck. You holster your gun, don the sports jacket with the leather patches, kiss the girl goodbye and never ever wonder why your clothes fit like you’re a star. No, you take it for granted. You know you look good, which is why you never show you know.
There, in the background, is that a black Charger idling in evil manner? Do you hesitate for a second? Do you what – you don’t know the meaning of hesitate.
You beat the establishment with integrity. And when the credits start to run, you have trouble letting go. Perhaps a part of you is stuck in there, in cop-drama reality? Or perhaps a part of you is stuck in here, in life-drama reality? You can’t make up your mind. It doesn’t matter. You’re Steve McQueen. You think you’re Steve McQueen. Either way’s fine, as both work when you only have to fool yourself.
They don’t make them like they used to, we say, no, they most certainly don’t, we shake our heads. Steve McQueen, you shit, why’d you have to go and set the bar so damn high for the rest of us?
And why do you never return my messages?