The week before my eighth birthday the only thing I wanted more than a new bicycle was to see Crimson Tide. It was early May and I distinctly remember the adrenaline that coursed through my veins as my father closed the car door and informed me that we were on our way to the AMC. I grabbed my bag of Skittles, my Cherry Coke, and my father’s hand and as the lights went down a name faded onto the screen that would change my life. That name was Tony Scott. After two hours of gripping action, nail-biting suspense, and a few moments where I was forced to bury my face in my father’s arm, I was hooked.
Not only did Crimson Tide become one of my favorite films but afterward I remember my Dad telling me that the name we saw at the beginning, Tony Scott, had MORE movies that we could watch together.
Years later I would be sitting in film school and someone would be explaining the Auteur Theory and the first name that would come to my mind would not be Godard, or Truffaut, or Coppola; it would be Scott.
Tony Scott makes movies that have his fingerprints all over them. From the editing, to the sound design, to the cinematography his films are kinetic masterworks. Like Jackson Pollock with a film camera, Scott created tapestries of violence, mayhem, and some of the best explosions ever captured. His films are the epitome of popcorn, the definition of fun and, even at their cheesiest, always satisfy.
From the skies of Top Gun to the roaring track in Days Of Thunder, Scott engaged his audience with ripped bodies, buxom babes, and electric characters. He was not concerned with classic Hollywood glory or being involved with theorists – his main mission was to entertain. Even Scott’s darkest films like Man On Fire and Spy Game have a certain Vaudevillian flare that incorporates humor, diffusing what would otherwise be depressing narratives.
But now he’s gone. On a warm day in sunny Los Angeles, Mr. Scott, for the first time in his career, did something that was not for the fans; something we were not meant to understand, something for him.
It sucks. It sucks because I loved seeing Tony Scott’s films and I loved even more watching them with my father. I always knew a day would come where we would no longer have Tony Scott films to see but I never thought it would be this soon. He held me on his chest and covered my ears when I was a baby during Top Gun, he took me to my first PG-13 film with Crimson Tide, and when my Mom went out of town he took my brother and I to see Man On Fire.
Roads diverge. Times change. And now I live in a world where I’ll never see that name fade in again. My father and I will see other movies, other directors will try to copy his style, but nobody ever will be able to do what Mr. Scott did for his audience. He revolutionized the big budget action film, created the 90’s blond bombshell, and used more Dutch angles than a winding road in the Netherlands.
Tony Scott’s name will never fade in again, but it certainly will never fade out.