The last few days I've watched oh-so-many movies. Some great films. Some "smut," as my mom might say. The strange thing about movies is that they are all uncannily human. An obvious statement, I know, but films--being created by the human mind, brought to life by human means, and communicated to a human audience--all touch some form of our being. Whether it is drama, comedy, "chick flick," or action--every movie is connected not just to other films, but to us as human beings.
This must be why movies appeal to me and why I am able to watch two days full of movies. Granted, I had seen almost all of them (with the exception of The Princess Bride), but I still found new things in each of them.
Thus, a period of reflection must ensue.
The common tie that every movie had, whether this is coincidence or not, can be summed up with the tagline of one of these films: "Is the juice worth the squeeze?" (The Girl Next Door) In other words, taking what you have in your life, choose the most important things and ask yourself: "Is this truly important? Can I live without this? If so, why? If not, why?" The purpose is not to rank things or to "prioritize," although prioritization often results. The purpose is to find some truth; a common bond that many people share--what Max Durocher (Collateral) would call, "the standard parts that are in all people." Our challenge, then, (and I apologize for the constant movie references) is to avoid becoming Vincent (Collateral once again) and realizing the "reason." The "why." As we all learned from The Matrix (besides the fact that machines + A.I. = no good), what we must figure out is not what decision to make, but why we made the decision we will eventually make. Much like actually learning material in school rather than just remembering it for a short time to pass a test (a strategy so many of us employ), we follow decisions in our lives on a whim, only to realize later that we must pick up the pieces of the grand mural we have ripped down.
How to solve this problem then?
If you will, the problem is time. How many periods in a day do you look at a clock? I look at a clock maybe fifty times in a day. Probably more. That's sometimes more words than I say to my sister in a day. More times than I take to appreciate the people in my life. More times than I take to think about how I feel. Worrying about time eats up so much time itself. Why do we indulge it? It is a human convention after all. I look at the clock on my computer right now. It reads: 10:34. Automatically, my mind tells me, "Go to bed, soon." Why? Because I should get a certain amount of sleep each night. But have you ever stopped to think what you would like to do? Sitting here, at this moment, listening to what I feel, ignoring the time...: "Take a shower. Sit with a cup of tea. Read." Does not sound like bed to me. Constantly, our mind--our "training" to watch the clock, to rush from errand to errand--keeps us from sitting down and feeling. How many times has the clock kept you from living your life? From taking that risk? From putting your best into something? Instead of admiring the beauty, the complexity, and joy in our world, we are kept as a slave to a convention of our minds.
"We're definitely outside the box now, huh?" (Kelly, The Girl Next Door)
Now, to actually tie this together: Film has no concept of time. Ooo. A bold statement. When you sit in a theatre, totally engrossed by a romance, or a dodgeball game, or a mass genocide by renegade angels, the last thing that comes to mind is time. In fact, whenever time is brought up in a film, it seems people are running out of it. What do they do? Do they give up? Do they stop living to the fullest? NO. That is when the most action happens! That is when the romance heats up! That is when you "grab life by the ball" (Dodgeball)! Look at the film that is your life and realize that you do not know when the end will be. There is no timer on a bomb. There is no number on a shot clock. There is no Fandango.com to tell you how long the movie will be so you can predict the end. You do not know when the end will be. So "get with the lovin'" (Jay in Dogma). And for God sakes: Get with the living too.