Back to the silliness | Do Try This at Home: Back to the silliness

Friday, September 14, 2007

Back to the silliness

I've managed to accidentally see a couple forgettable movies this year which I could probably count on one hand if I could just remember what they were. But last weekend my brother David recommended that I watch a movie on purpose.

We were discussing the infinite gory details of my week which had been one of those in which enough little things go wrong to make any one of them seem like a big deal, otherwise known as "being pecked to death by chickens". Concerned for my emotional health, David asked, "What are you going to do this weekend?" I thought resting to get rid of my cold a reasonable goal.

"On Saturday I'm going to mope. Sunday I'll teach Sunday school and then eat dinner at Aunt Lynne's." My brother in his infinite wisdom decided that an entire day devoted to moping might be a bit much.

"I could watch TV..." I volunteered. "Watching TV indiscriminately can be really depressing." He recommended that I rent a movie. "It will lend direction to your moping."

I doubted Blockbuster would carry either of the movies I've been wanting to see:
You See Me Laughing or Be Here to Love Me. There was a third possibility too, a probably obscure documentary on Texas singer songwriters, the name of which I couldn't remember.

David emailed me to say that I had been correct on the unavailability of my preferred movies. In reality, a documentary probably offers less in the way of escape than fiction anyway, and perhaps especially a documentary about a manic depressive alcoholic musician.

Instead my brother recommended
Secretary, which he described as "a great and weirdly romantic movie about a woman recently released from a mental hospital after treatment for self-mutilating tendencies and her new job as secretary for a successful attorney with a tendency toward angry disapproval." He's pretty sure he took that description from Netflix, but not surprisingly I don't have Netflix, so the verdict is still sort of out on that point.

I headed to Blockbuster: "Where do I find Secretary?" "The drama section." "Drama?!?! I'm not sure I actually need any more drama..." Shortly after I arrived home my friend Laurie came over and we started the movie. I explained that I always took my brother's advice in as much as I am able, but that I was wary this time, because the movie sounded depressing. "Oh no!" Laurie explained, "I like depressing movies. They make my life seem more normal!"

Obviously this is not a kid friendly movie. Even if you HAVE been looking for just the opportunity to discuss self mutilation and/or submission to men with your kids, this is probably not the discussion starter you're looking for. Unless of course your plan is actually to promote self mutilation, because for the main character in this movie self mutilation seems to serve a purpose, albeit a sort of disturbing one.

I learned a lot from this movie, or more to the point from discussing this movie with Laurie. This is what happens when you spend just over half your adult life married: you find out from a friend that the characters in disturbing movies are almost sort of semi-normal. You also find out that all kinds of other things that sound totally off the wall are almost sort of semi-semi normal, but that's beside the point.

All in all, I think both David and Laurie were right. It ends up being a decent sort of escape, because although neither character in the movie really has any positive personality traits, they end up "happily ever after" despite or even because of their particular bundle of issues. It's the type of movie that ends with "See? The both of them are a couple of freaks and yet they're happy within their lunacy or perhaps even because of it. I look like incredibly sane and positively well adjusted compared to them. I had no idea I was solid as a rock!


Lara Neves said...

I feel that way about books. I don't watch many movies. :) But, I do like to escape my own reality with a book and then when I come back to it I usually realize I have it much better than I thought.

Christine said...

My husband LOVES crime shows. COPS, all those court TV things, Judge Judy, everything. I can only watch so much. Seeing all those drug-addicted people, killing each other, half-dead themselves, never achieving a thing in life, just depresses the hell out of me.

He says it makes him feel better. "Look at us! We're not on COPS! Life is good!"

Jill said...

Lara - I don't see movies either - I think 3 or 4 so far for 2007? I was reading The Secret Life of Bees at the time though & I had to stop. It was just too depressing. Maybe it was just this *particular* move that basically I didn't have to feel every last thing they felt (like I have to in the bees book) because the characters don't really seem to have any feelings.

Christine - I've never been able to stay interested in a cops show long enough to know if it would depress me or not!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Despite Secretary being a movie about people with real problems (OCD, cutting), I thought it was a rather moving look at (like you said) two very odd people that found their match in one another. A friend of mine likes to say that it isn't about finding a sane partner, it's about finding one whose crazy matches your own. :)

Jill said...

Jeff - Yeah! I knew sanity was overrated... :-)

Noelia said...

Sounds like an interesting movie. I'm sure it wasn't a complete waste of time because it will hopefuly "lend direction" to your mopping tomorrow ;)

Jill, there's an e-mail coming your way.

Anonymous said...

David sounds like a wise brother! Yeah, spending all day moping isn't exactly a ...plan. Although it's one that's easy enough to accomplish! You could end the day with, "Well, I planned to mope and ... I followed through!"

Laurie sounds like quite the friend to have around!

A friend lent my "An Inconvenient Truth" which will take me a while to view (he knows this) as I have stacks of reading to do and haven't done much fun/escapist reading in a while. Well, I do escape via reading blogs but well..

Anyway, hope you have non-mopey plans for this weekend.

Beth said...

OK, don't want to bring you down but you, normal? exactly what sort of cold medicine are you taking? :) Actually I find when I am feeling down, it helps to watch a good tearjerker, get it all out and see people who are in much worse shape than I am. I almost always feel better afterward.

DJ Kirkby said...

lol. Hope you are feeling better soon. i am not a movie person really and loved your claim about watching movies accidently.

Unknown said...

OK Secretary on my list...

And you teach Sunday school on Sunday? That's like totally wow!

And that death by chicken pecking is the same as being hen pecked or what?

RW said...

Have a awesome weekend Jill! :D

Unknown said...

I've seen that film. It's very underrated and looked over but it was interesting. I tend to like the more obscure flicks than the block busters. They odd ones pull you in more.

Jill said...

Noelia - Got it & moping accomplished! :-)

Ms.Q - Good idea on the check off list! I don't think I can watch the inconvenient truth. I think I just barely keep anxiety at bay as it is...

Beth - I'm not normal?!?!?!? Oh well...normal & sane, both overrated probably. :-) :-) :-)

DJ Kirkby - well by accidentally I mean that some friend or relative has basically demanded it of me!

SJ - Pretty sure that being hen pecked & being pecked to death by chickens are two totally and completely different activities. Although I imagine they could ***feel*** similar. :-)

Thanks Roger!

Ricardo - Yeah, I can see why it's more obscure. I can't see sitting around discussing Secretary in the teacher lunch room...poop, puke, and other bodily functions being more the norm.


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