Playing Hooky and Movie Babble

I think I’m going to play hooky from my life today.  I have the day off, but I also have work around the house (primarily cutting the grass and trimming the hedges) that needs to get done and some writing that needs to be tended to.  However, I just…I can describe it.  It isn’t that I don’t want to, but it’s that I don’t want to.  It is more like, today I don’t want the responsibility of anything.

I’m tired of being the one in charge, the one responsible for making sure things get done.  Today I just want to fire up Netflix, Amazon, or DirecTV Movies and find a bunch of independent movies to watch.  You know the kind of with a lot of talking, slow moving cameras, and almost no action movie action.  These are the movies that I cut my teeth on as a movie lover.

Sex, Lies, and Videotape changed my life.  It was the first movie like that I had seen.  I, like most people, grew up with the Star Wars franchise and all the action movies of the 1980s.  Then I saw this little movie with nothing more than a bunch of white people talking and I was riveted.  That set the template for me for what I thought movies and fiction should really be, at least the ones I wanted to make.

Normal people going through their everyday lives have some small change that completely disrupts the world they constructed for themselves.  More concisely, how any little change can cause the collapse of the lies and half-truths you have used to build this thing you call a life.  That, to me is what I like in movies and fiction.

American independent movies are filled with their own stereotypes and archetypes that they have almost become a parody of themselves.  The three most common tropes are The Manic Pixie Dreamgirl, the sexual awakening of a teenager and the prodigal son/daughter.  You can go right now to Netflix click on the independent movie section and be astounded with how many movie descriptions include a variation on one if not all of these themes combined.  Some of them seem horrible just from the description, but that’s fine.  If you watch a hundred movies, 20 will be horrid messes that you never want to see again, 20 will be awesome and you will want to watch them a few more times, and the other 60 will be mediocre ranging from guilty pleasure if you are bored and once was enough.  That’s fine.

That’s life in general.  Most of the time life is pretty much day-to-day sameness.  The details shift here and there, but not much of interest happens.  Then the times when interesting stuff does happen, sometimes it’s great and sometimes it sucks.  The same with art.  Most of the television shows and movies you watch, the music you listen to, the paintings are sculptures you see are solid and professional.  They aren’t anything to really cause you to pause in any way.  Then there are the times when you see something truly astonishing.  Terrific in either the best or worst possible way.

That is why the transcendentally beautiful is so important.  Eighty percent of your time in this life is filled with experiences that are mediocre on the best of days.  Finding those few fleeting moments of something that changes your life can help change you.  That is why it is important to keep experiencing new things.  It is the moments of amazing that you can only discover through new experiences that make life worthwhile.


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