Monday, July 13, 2009

in the house alone one night...

I watched a movie the other night.

The house was quiet. No one home. The movie came via mail over a week ago and it was sitting there just waiting for me to watch it or send it back.

I had heard the reviews when I put the title into my queue. Ebert had given it a 4 star rating, although the New York Times only gave it 2 stars.
"One of the Best Films of the year!", "Hands-down, watch-it-three-times-in-a row masterpiece.", "The chemistry onscreen is..." blahblahblah.
Usually when movies get that much hype or positive critical reviews it makes me NOT want to see it. I'm not a follower, never have been. If it's been advertised to the gills, I usually wait for it to hit cable. I don't feel the need to run to the theater to see a film because of the hoop-la or buzz. I like Independent Films, the ones that only have one copy at the movie store, usually stuck somewhere on a lower shelf. I'm not a big blockbuster movie type, although that's where I get my rental movies from, Blockbuster Online.

So I thought, "Well, it's here. I rented it, I might as well give it a look-see."
Partway into the movie I got out my pad of paper. I had to. I started writing down lines from the movie that were poignant. There was some good acting and some pretty mediocre acting, but the writing was intense. After the movie was over I sat there in the silent, dark house and just....cried.

I'm not quite sure why. For me? For them? For others?

And here I am, two days later, still slightly haunted by some of the lines and themes in the movie. Clearing the table, I'm looking at the quotes that I wrote down on several sheets of paper. Reading these quotes coupled with reading a good friends post about lamenting 'inconsequential crap' really got me thinking about how much in our lives we really take for granted. And how many of us just float through life without noticing how good it really is.

The movie that I watched was Revolutionary Road with Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. In my opinion, the actor that stole the show was the son of a friend, John Givings (Michael Shannon), who had been given shock treatment (1950's) for attacking his overbearing mother (Kathy Bates). It was his character that delved out some insightful doozies...

"Nice house. Must mean you have a job you can't like..."
"If you don't try, you can't fail..."
"Plenty of people are onto the emptiness of life, but it takes guts to see the hopelessness..." Hopeless Emptiness they called it.

The main characters of the film were a couple that bought into and followed the standards and expectations of what they felt they should do... and that wasn't them. They had thought themselves to be special. But found out that they really...aren't. They had a life they had dreamed of that was unrealized and started to hate each other for where they now are in life.

She wanted to be an actress...she's now a suburban housewife. He wanted adventure, he now has a job to support his family that he hates. They decide to chuck it all and move, but fate deals a few blows that keeps them from living it out. And I won't tell the rest as to not spoil the ending...

But I sat there and cried. For quite awhile after the movie had ended.

I was sitting in the dark, there wasn't anyone else there, so I just let it all come out. Sometimes it feels good to cry. Even if you aren't sure why.

My eyes were swollen in the morning from the tears shed the night before. And I revisited my notes that I wrote in the dark. I have responsibilities in my life that keep me a bit anchored, but I'm grateful for the bubble in which I live. One of the quotes I wrote down was, " don't have the backbone to lead the life you want."

But I feel that I do. That I have. At least recently.

Yes. There are some things from my past in which I wish I would've handled a bit differently. Fought for some of the battles and left some of the battles alone. I think that my life may have been slightly different had I done these things...but it's alright. I like, for the most part, where it has led me.

I AM grateful for where I am. And for who I am...

If it weren't for the road I've traveled and the choices made, this...(gesturing around myself) wouldn't be. Too many people don't appreciate even the simplest of things. They are always lamenting about something that they don't have rather than being grateful for what they do. Too consumed with wishing for stuff they don't have that they forget about the stuff they do. It's easy to make comparisons...but why? Why would you want to? What possible good could it do?

While out driving I can always find someone in a nicer car than mine. That Mercedes-Benz CL class car I saw yesterday sure did look good, but the car that I drive is nicer than some others. There may be people looking at mine on the road thinking the same way about my car that I do about the Mercedes. But when it comes down to it, I wouldn't want to own a car that costs $108,000. I wouldn't want that kind of responsibility...or car payment. However maybe someone that drives a $100K car doesn't have to finance it. And yes, I lied. I would like to drive it for maybe a day...or an hour. But I don't want it. My appreciation for that car doesn't drive my choices.

My dad has always given out some pretty sound advice. One of the ones that always is in the back of my mind is; "As long as you learn from your mistakes, it's not really a mistake. It's when you repeat the mistake that it becomes one."

Great thought. And one I try to implement.

I have some friends who when they get together talk about how they would have changed this or done that. They wish they were in their twenties again and all the while balancing my plate, holding my glass of wine, I maintain a pleasant smile and nod. I don't argue. If that's what they want, that's fine for them. But I wouldn't want to do it over. I like the knowledge I've gained over the years. It would be nice to have it without the few extra pounds that those years of experience has put on me, but's worth the price.

So it's Monday and the new week has begun.

My eyes are no longer puffy from tears and I am updating my Blockbuster Online queue. As my daughter is on vacation with her dad this week, the house will be 'quiet' until Thursday. I'll have more down time to watch movies and putz around than I normally would. I'm going to make sure that Blockbuster sends some 'chick flicks' or stupid humor movies this week. No more emotional depressing films. At least for this week.

Another crying jag like that and my eyes may not recover...

Take heed my advice, if you rent Revolutionary Road be ready for a not so uplifting movie. A love story it is not. And make sure you have tissues around.

AND probably a pad of paper, just in case you need to make some mental notes for yourself while you cry in the dark...
'Cause you will.
Trust will.


  1. Yeah, depressing but oh, so poignant movie. I then read the book and that was beautiful. My 18 year old daughter loved the book as well.
    I was moved reading how moved you were by your experience. It's not often we get affected by stuff that way. And being alone often makes it that much more powerful.
    Thanks, nice post.

  2. Great post! I love the quote "you don't have the backbone to lead the life you want". I sometimes feel that is me, but then I take a deep breath and realize that 90% of the time, my life is good (even if I do complain from time to time). I refuse to second guess past decisions - life's too short to sweat the small stuff.

  3. @ Maureen - it was a depressing movie...and then I wiped my eyes, looked around and it made me feel great. I don't think I would've wept like that had anyone else been home! :-)

    @ Dive Girl - Thanks for the compliment! I agree with you about second guessing. We could "what if?' ourselves into the grave. (and I know of a few who have...)
    That ain't me, my friend, that just ain't gonna be me.


  4. Sould I really read this book and watch the movie? I have heard that is a real tear jerker....I am emotional at the moment; perhaps I should wait until my backbone has returned?

    Great Post!

  5. I really liked Revolutionary Road, I thought it was touching and I identified with some of the scenes. What you said about the friends who always say they would like to relive their twenties or whatever, so true. Ever notice that they say they would relive it with the knowledge they have now? What's the point? Will you have learned anything or will you just repeat the same mistakes? Can't have it both ways, I'd rather not know that I would be the same idiot twice.

  6. I love when movies really make us think and look at our lives. And you're right. You wouldn't have been able to "experience" it the way you did if someone else had been there. Beautiful post.

    Heads up, The Wrestler is depressing as hell. Although, I spent most of the time thinking "What the hell happened to Mickey Rourke's face??"

  7. Sorry I haven't been around for a while. Lots going on. :(

    Wow... nothing like a depressing movie to make you cry all night sometimes, is there? LOL. Those are some pretty biting quotes, though. Definitely makes you think about your perspective on life!

  8. Oh, I really need to go back and watch that film. I bought it whilst on holiday in Thailand and when I went to watch it, it stopped half way through. I have never gotten round to getting another copy - I will now.

  9. Great post, Nancy. I like the director for Revolutionary Road but rejected it on hoop-la principles. I'll have to have a look.

  10. @Funny Girl - well, it's not going to make you laugh, that's for sure! But it does have some poignant scenes...even though I cried, I took away from the film a positive outlook. So I think you'll be okay. Just have 911 dialed in on the phone in case you need more tissues...

    @Senorita - Amen sister!

    @Chrissy - What DID he do to his face!? I saw him in another movie the other day and it looks like they took chunks of flesh colored putty and smeared in on his bones. Yuck. And he was so hot in 9 1/2 weeks. Can't they FIX it?

    @Mike - welcome back, my friend! I've missed reading your antics!

    @ Eternally - just have the tissues at hand. I'll be interested to heasr what you think of it...

    @ Carlos - Thanks Carlos! A compliment coming from you makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. I did the same thing about the flick. That's why it sat there for so long...

    Thanks everyone for your comments! I love the feedback.

  11. Thanks for dropping by and visiting my blog. I will watch this movie because I'm a huge fan of Kate.
    In return I have a movie for you please watch it and I would love to know what you think. It's called Elegy with Ben Kingsley and Penelope Cruz not only is the movie amazing but the music is so stunning. The music is the other character in this film. You will need a box of tissues for sure. A love story that ends with great sadness. It just goes to show what we have but are to blind to see.


  12. Thought it was a great movie

  13. Awesome! I have been wanting to watch this one! Think I will hole myself up in my bedroom tonight and do just that!

  14. I'll have to put that on my Netflix. Hell, I just now got around to watching Benjamin Button (another really good movie).

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  16. I haven't seen that movie yet. Thanks for letting me know that I need to be in the right mood to watch it. I am also glad I have experienced all of the things I have in my life and feel they have shaped the person I have become. I have a brother-in-law who is always bi*ching about the things he doesn't have, or complaining about all the mistakes he's made in his life. I believe life is what you make it and if you're not happy with it, then change it! He hasn't learned that yet and he's 50. Thanks for the great post and for visiting my post and leaving the nice comment!

    Till next time, Kris

  17. I love your widgets. Adoration just emanating from my pores... :D


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