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, "...you 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 hell...it'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 me...you will.