My Life: The Movie

I first really noticed that people think of their lives as movies when the Penn State/Jerry Sandusky scandal exploded.  Every talking head on sports television had to get out and scream about how if they had been Mike McQuery and they had seen Sandusky with the boy in the shower they would have gone all caveman and beaten Sandusky and rescued the boy and got him to the police.  Just like in a Bruce Willis movie. 

Whether they would have or not is irrelevant to this blog post (though it is interesting how a lot of guys on ESPN keep getting other people in fictional fights), what is relevant is that they all thought about it like an action movie.  We all think of our lives in that way at least a little.  We all day dream our lives like they were on the big screen.  We all have the same question, “Who would I cast as me in a movie of my life?”

Now, here is the interesting thing, I don’t have an answer to that question.  I do think of my life as a movie, complete with soundtrack.  Even if I am walking somewhere without my iPod, I hear some cool song playing in the background. However, I never cast the movie of my life that is in my head. 

I think there are two reasons that are slightly combined and another reason that stands on its own.  The first two reasons are 1) that I think of the people in this movie of my life in terms of characters and not as actors and therefore 2) I would need to see someone read for the character to cast it properly.  This probably comes from my attempts to write fiction and develop characters, who are inherently based on people I know, have known, and/or have talked to for 15 seconds.  I’m too close to the characters to see them as anything other than who they are as characters independent of any actor.  That is kind of weird, because often when I am reading a book, I cast the characters in the book as known actors in my mind.  I always have thoughts like, “If this becomes a movie, Sam Elliot would be perfect for that character.”

The other reason I do not think like that about the actors for My Life:  The Movie, is that until recently, I have not seen many true representations of me or the people I know in movies or television by actors.  I don’t just mean African-Americans, I mean Southerners both white, black, and Latino with whom I work and with whom I am friends. 

Rectify and to a lesser extent Justified are the first television shows, certainly in a long time and maybe ever, that have representations of any true Southern characters to me.  Rectify is the first television show I’ve seen in a very long time that doesn’t treat a Southern drawl as a sign of stupidity.  It does not treat small towns as some place that time forgot filled with all these quirky and interesting characters that show our protagonist, usually a white northerner, the true meaning of life.  Rectify treats its small Southern town as the living and possibly dying place that small Southern towns actually are and the people that inhabit that town as complicated actual humans and not caricatures. 

Speaking of caricatures, there is one other show on television filmed in the South and that is Reckless on CBS.  I will give them credit for filming in Charleston, which is the setting of the show.  However, my favorite thing about the main cast is that they only have one cast member from the traditional South, Anna Wood originally from Mt. Airy, North Carolina who plays a character originally from Chicago.   

The actor who I would cast as me in My Life:  The Movie?  I haven’t seen him.  At least not an African-American actor who I would cast, since only the same 10 guys audition for and get all the “black” parts on television.  This is another reason for me to go digging into African-American independent cinema.

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