One & Dalton Trumbo

I think I know why I want to write this blog. I ‘ve thought about it for a while back and to explain the reason. I’d like to give a small preface with an example.


If I had to divide my life in areas of interest ages 10-30, it’d be:

10-18: Music

18-23: Movies

23-30: Books

Of course these time frames melt into one another, so there is no specific event at age 18 and 23 that determined that shift but I think it is a fairly accurate split. However I can confirm that it has been a fairly organic process that I’ve gone through in my discovery of “art” (I cringe a bit at this word but at the moment I’m writing this paragraph I can think of no better word, or at least not one that would not sound even more pedantic).I’d like to illustrate this example with one of the earliest examples of melting I can recall: Metallica’s One.

Released in 1989 “…And Justice for All” was Metallica’s follow-up studio album after the successful “Master of Puppets” with new bass player, Jason Newsted, in the fold due to a sad traffic accident that killed Cliff Burton. The epitome of Metallica at its most transgressive before reaching world fame with the Black Album, this album blew my teenage mind in a big way thanks primarily to the song One.

One is one (pun intended) of Metallica’s better known tracks and rightfully so: the guitar work is fantastic, the  solo is iconic in heavy metal history, and the double bass drumming before that solo is the icing on the cake. James Hetfield’s voice is haunting and beautiful and thanks in no part to the lyrics of the song. Regardless, Metallica had previously released tracks with an equal degree of quality, so why One, what did this song had that others before didn’t. The answer is simple a video clip.

Scenes with the band in black and white intercut with clips from Dalton’s Trumbo Johnny Got His Gun to create a formidable and iconic  video clip (yes I’m aware that I’m using this word for the second time, and I don’t want to abuse it, but the track is simply that good). At the time, my teenage self did not know about the movie, or the book. He was merely blown away and watching the clip over and over and over again (and over).

Cut to the college years. 3:00 a.m, at a friend’s house after a party, and still without my own car, the only solution for a bunch of us was to crash at his place (fun fact: I had diarrhea after discovering that pizza and chocolate do not mix well). Whilst trying to go to slip we were channel surfing and with my eyes nearly shut I hear:

“I am the boss, this is champagne, Merry Christmas”

This line was repeated a couple of times leaving me and my friends a bit puzzled since none of us recognized the film, still, on after a while the connection: “Holy shit this is that movie in that Metallica clip, leave it on dude this has gotta be cool”. We then proceeded to watch one of the most desperate antiwar cries ever put on film, a brutal side of war seldom forgot by films, not focusing on the hero but on the aftermath of the war. Johnny got his gun, is a powerful film, one that sticks with you.

The iconic book cover

Now I had the video, and I had the film. Would the book be as powerful? What kind of book
is it? Mind you this is a time when I was not a reader at all. So I downloaded the book and printed it (Old school! Don’t worry I’d end up buying it). The book is divided in two sections “The Dead” and “The Living” and narrated as a stream of consciousness. Both book and film were written (and for the film directed) by Dalton Trumbo -except the scenes by Jesus in the film which were written by Luis Buñuel- a blacklisted screenwriter during the 50’s Hollywood communist scare. His now most well-known for Roman Holiday, Spartacus, and the recent movie “Trumbo” dealing with his struggle under the blacklist scenario.

So this was the example and the preface, what is the damn exercise you ask yourself?

Connect the dots.

I want to reflect on how I went through the process of discovering things that I’m passionate about.

P.S: 99% preface 1% point (nice job dude)


2 thoughts on “One & Dalton Trumbo

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