I’m a card-carrying Sports Writer (TM), even if just on a part-time basis these days. Somethings you just are. As a Sports Writer (TM), I’m of course required by law to worship two people outside of the Sports Writer world: Bruce Springsteen and the modern-day version, Jason Isbell. Some people consider the pledged devotion part of the membership dues, but, neigh, I consider it one of the membership perks.
We may all get in Twitter battles discussing Nebraska vs. Darkness vs. Born, etc., but at the end of the day, we all go home acknowledging our music God.
One thing I have managed to avoid discussing in Springworld is the 2019 movie Blinded By The Light. I hadn’t seen it yet, and I really do try to avoid others opinions on music and movies until I have formed mine, then discuss.
So, I write this not knowing how Springworld has received this love letter to the Boss, but it immediately found a place in my heart. At its core, it is a teen angst, coming-of-age tale that has been told a thousand times. It is Varsity Blues, built around Springsteen lyrics instead of football. But, I’m perfectly okay with that. Teen movies have been built around much dumber things and been just fine.
Blinded By The Light features a Pakistani boy, Javed Khan, in Britain. It is the semi-autobiographical tale of journalist Sarfraz Manzoor and based on his book, Greetings from Bury Park. Khan discovers Springsteen and finds himself in how he relates to this Poet Rurale from New Jeresey. The lyrics match how he perceives his life.
And this is what makes the movie work for me. As Javed is relating to Springsteen, I am relating to him. Life, art, full-circle…err something. His longing for something beyond what was expected of him, his longing to break the cycle of heritage, his need to escape the town he grew up in, doing so by disappearing into headphones, his later appreciation of what made him who he is.
So, yeah, Blinded By The Light is a little cheesy, but damn if I’m not the target audience for this one. And yes, I immediately fired up Spotify after and hit shuffle play. And yes, I could not resist the urge to buy a Stone Pony shirt while watching it. Sorry Sarah, but can one really have too many black T-shirts? Also, I may need to buy more plain white Ts and find my denim jacket.
Oh, by the way, the correct answer is Nebraska.