Monday, December 29, 2008

Forrest or Benjamin?

Life is like a box of never know what you are going to get...and I really didn't expect to gather as much insight and pleasure from the new film "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" as I did...and whle I don't necessarily swoon over Brad Pitt (unlike someone else in the little household)...he was rather striking at points in this movie...perhaps his best yet....worth the $7 I paid (I know, I know, but it was a small town coastal theater with small town prices)...

...but anyway...while the plot of Mr. Button's Opus is generally well is about what happens when you are born old and die, not like James Dean!...but in a physical sense...rather curious indeed...

and I would assume that everyone except for the lost tribes of Israel has seen Gump multiple times...I don't want to spoil anything for anyone but here is your "SPOILER ALERT" (did you hear the "whoop-whoop" of the spoiler siren?)...but I was really struck by the similarities between Forrest Gump and The Curious Case...

(Yes it is Brad Pitt...and this is just one of the lesser transformations he makes in the film)

So here is my list of similarities between the two movies...

*Both feature actors at middle age at the top of their game with the names of their characters in the titles.

*Both feature an unfolding of events throughout the world where the lead actors find themselves in wholly unexpected circumstances of history.

*Both films are narrated by the actors who record and recall these world events.

*Both are raised by single mothers who struggle to "level the playing field" for their sons.

*Both have unique physical attributes that are slowly revealed that both serve and hamper them.

*Both are stories of wandering throughout life but never forgetting home.

*Both are set in the deep South of the U.S.

*Both use a large house as a returning point for the characters throughout their lives.

*Both involve tragic service in wartime with most of their fellow combantants killed or wounded.

*Both involve a boat of approximately similar size and use where each of the actors seems to mature and develop as men.

*Both have the lead actors serving under a gruff, abrasive and yet sympathetic military leader over them who did not fulfill their true destiny in life.

*Both have them finding, losing, finding and again losing a woman throughout their entire lives, whom they met as young boys.

*Both of them are encouraged and inspired by the women at a young age, and these early incidents shape their lives.

*Both of the women they love develop a career in the performing arts but fail to achieve the level of success that they aspired to.

*Both have promiment supporting roles provided by black actors and actresses, all of whom show exceptional insight to life even in difficult situations.

*Both involve having a child and the greatest fear is that the child will have the same physical and emotional problems as the father.

*Both have a reconciliation scene with the child that the child is unaware that they are in the presence of their father.

*Both involve a recurring image and metaphor of a bird and both films close with this image.

...there are more but I think you get the picture...feel free to suggest any that you see (or disagree with me, but be nice please!)...

Anyway there is certainly more to life than just seeing and thinking about a new movie but then again, maybe there isn't...

...I guess I could write about incoming President Obama...but it seems that everyone else kind of beats me to it...he has been named Man of the Year, Captain of the World, America's Gift to Europe, The Fittest President Ever, The African-American Marlboro Man, The Messiah, etc.,..and all I can really say is he hasn't served a day yet! WHAT AM I MISSING?

I want Pres. Obama to succeed, to truly be a great President and leader...but I just cannot figure out the swooning over his "accomplishments" yet...when there just aren't any yet!...

So I wish him (and us) well for 2009...a year I am looking forward to...and hope to recover some of my market losses...and want to close by thanking all of my great students who have inspired me to teach and to write...all of you are great and a huge blessing to me...thanks!