A Small Medical Emergency…

A minor medical scare this past weekend has resulted in the hospitalization of the Conflicted Film Snob, a shocking turn of events considering the robustness of health he felt getting out of bed on Saturday morning. Worse still, the forced downtime has given him much too much time to dwell on mortality while staring at his non-slip socks.

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Not his own mortality, mind you–judging by my wait time in triage doubled over in pain, appendectomies are treated with about as much urgency as the common cold nowadays–but rather that of actor Campbell Scott, who, you might recall, is the son of General George C. Patton himself:


While his old man resides in the Kasserine Pass in the sky (d. 1999), Campbell fils is alive and well.

So why then all this talk about corporeal matters?

Well, no doubt you recall that, back in 1991, Campbell had a bit of a fictional health scare in the Joel Schumacher-directed clunker, Dying Young, which co-starred America’s favorite hooker-with-a-heart-of-gold, Julia Roberts. The plot went something like this: Roberts, fresh from a breakup with a cheating boyfriend and sporting enough hair to overwhelm a hay baler, answers an ad for a nursing position. The patient is Scott, who has leukemia. He’s rich and handsome and wears marfs:


They fall in love. His father is a jerk and tries to sabotage the relationship. Many tears are shed. Chemo is suffered through. Morphine is secretly administered to dull the pain. Our lovers face an uncertain future. The audience, too, has died a little knowing they’ll never recover those 114 minutes. [Conflicted Film Snob aside: although Dying Young marked something of a nadir for Mr. Scott, he soon recovered spectacularly, co-writing, co-directing and co-starring (with Stanley Tucci) in 1996’s Big Night, which is easily one of the best films of the last 30 years.]

Dying Young was released across the U.S. to mediocre reviews in June 1991 and soon disappeared from the local multiplexes. In September of that same year, the Conflicted Film Snob hopped an Aer Lingus flight for Shannon, Ireland, with good college friend, Ted (whose last name shall be withheld to discourage litigation), the two vibrant young men embarking on a post-college backpacking/EuroRail adventure across Europe that, I strongly believe, should be mandatory** for America’s youth before they pursue lucrative yet ultimately meaningless careers.

**as long as it’s self-financed

So…here we are with two disparate narrative threads: the movie-of-the-week-like Dying Young flopping at the box-office and two college graduates heading to Europe. How, you may be asking, will they unite into an interesting post? Well, stay with me here. It’s coming and the results are either going to make for the most brilliant Conflicted Film Snob post yet or by far the dumbest, which is really saying something. Just assume your position on the matter will depend on how much Norco you’ve recently ingested. (I just took my morning dosage…who-wee!)


So Ted and I arrive in Shannon and, after retrieving our 500-lb backpacks and re-pegging our jeans, make our way down to Killarney to tour the Ring of Kerry. And you know what’s the first thing we pretty much see at the train station other than the fact that Twix are called Raider bars?

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We see, papered on literally every flat surface, advertisements for Dying Young, which, based on staggered release dates on the other side of the pond, is scheduled to open soon in Ireland. And Julia Roberts being America’s Sweetheart, this is a pretty big deal. The poster looked something like this:


Please note the airbrushed fakery of Julia’s mug, which makes her look like one of those unfortunate people afflicted with whatever the terrible disease is that, like, calcifies your face. And note how they had to stitch the two bodies together into a fake hug, which doesn’t bode well for on-screen chemistry. Finally, note the tagline: “It’s not just a love story. It’s a life story.” Feel free to pop another Norco.

After some time in Ireland, Ted and I cross the Irish Sea for England, specifically London, the home of the Bard, the monarchy, Parliament, thousands of years of bloody history and, of course, the next landing place of Dying Young, which is “coming soon to a cinema near you” according to every double-decker bus, cab, tube station, lorry, and Piccadilly Circus neon sign. I’d show you the poster but it’s the same as Ireland.

Maybe France would be different–surely the Dying Young release schedule would take a breather before heading to the continent. Nope. Arriving in Paris, Ted and I found every Metro station, every bus stop, every piece of street advertising papered with posters for this blockbuster story of love and loss, only now in translation:

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On and on this went, our travel itinerary fatefully linked to Dying Young‘s roll-out, each new country offering a thousand glances at the translation of that same goddamn poster:

From France to Spain…


From Spain to Italy…


From Italy to Greece…


From Greece to Austria…


From Austria to Czechoslovakia…


From Czechoslovakia to Germany…


From Germany to Switzerland…

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From Switzerland to Luxembourg…


From Luxembourg to the Netherlands…


From the Netherlands to Belgium…

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OK, I think you got it. At least I hope you do. Actually, I’m not even sure what I’m writing about anymore. And my Norco’s beginning to wear off. So let’s leave it here. To summarize this post: Dying Young, the movie that wouldn’t die.

PS: If, for some reason, I do indeed die young at this hospital, please note it’s my wish that anyone currently signed up to receive this blog receive one of my 70+ laserdiscs that currently reside next to my furnace. Contact Mrs. Conflicted Film Snob for more details:

Here’s the trailer for that dumb movie that followed me and Ted across the Continent:

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