I subscribe to a few blogs out there in internet-land. I don't know these people, but I'll tell ya, they are REAL writers; people who are up and crackin every morning, probably at 5:00 am before they head out to their demanding day job where they ALSO write tappity tap tap. Come quittin' time, they hustle their laptop and good ideas back home where they efficiently prepare a well-balanced meal while running through their mental rolodex for the next wonderful piece they will start working on just as soon as they get their children into bed. These people are everywhere and sweet Jesus, do they try my patience.
Like virtual postmen, they fill my mailbox on a daily basis, cheerfully updating me with writing awards, side-splitting stories, and quirky family members who often have minor celebrity affiliations.
Meanwhile I have squinted at this blog like a coal miner on his first day at a recently cited hole in the ground, "It's real easy," say my fellow laborers, "Just start digging! Oops, not there. We've got a gas leak! Try a little to the left. Oh that's where the roof caved in! Hey, there's a good spot. Yeah, that two inch by two inch section right there!"
Needless to say, I'm not one of those folks who writes well through the pain and complications of life. And so, today my eye landed on its harmless 2x2 square. Happy birthday dear George.
I am a movie geek. I raised my children on classics, foreign films, Shakespeare, war movies, and the occasionally child-appropriate indy. I read movie reviews and energetically discuss what I've seen with equally passionate friends. But I'm also an egalitarian. I give two thumbs up to The Parent Trap and The Best Years of Their Lives; All About Eve and The Sandlot. What I do not like, is hype. And so, I saw Up in the Air somewhat reluctantly, on a recommendation from my movie geeky son, and because I truly did love Jason Reitman's delicious, Juno.
I adored Anna Kendrick. Every twitch of her eyelid rang true. And, unlike a lot of people, I liked the trip home for the wedding because when has Amy Morton not delivered? But George Clooney in a one-bedroom that looked like my first apartment on its worst day? Um, no. Ricky Gervais maybe. Richard Jenkins, maybe. But the reality of life is that people who look like George Clooney don't wind up in lives that look like that.
Which is why the ending (spoiler alert for the two people who haven't seen it) just totally pissed me off. Vera Farmiga as a warm and wonderful potential girlfriend dispensing advice to clueless young career women? You betcha. Vera Farmiga as an unrepentantly cheating wife and mother, angrily chastising George (what was his name in that movie?) because SHE'S the grown-up?
I'm going to stop now and take a deep breath before I blogswear.
Which brings me to the ending--a thwarted George in that situation does one of two things. He calmly burns her house down. Or he turns on his heel and never once looks back or tells himself he cared. But George just looked like he was searching for something, anything, in the recesses of his mind that felt like getting unceremoniously dumped. He didn't find it.
And yet the critics couldn't get enough. It was a confessional, they wrote breathlessly. It was revealing, they flushed, right after leaving their interview with the man himself. And all I could think was--the rest of us are not doing so well if we think that was George's true to life story and he really is heartbroken about being alone.
He didn't win the Oscar. Jeff Bridges, in a performance that, even in memory is so painful it makes my skin hurt, won in a landslide that included George Clooney's vote. You gotta appreciate a guy who knows when he's beat.
On a flight to England, bored and twitchy out of my mind, I watched a movie for which I would never have bought a ticket--The Men Who Stare at Goats. It is completely weird. The story line is herky-jerky and the sarcastic friend who lives in my head just couldn't stop saying, "Really? Are you kidding me?"
And then after all that weirdness, there's George. Betrayed and betrayer. And emanating from that man like radioactive waves is one of the greatest portrayals of heartbreak I have ever seen. Even my sarcastic friend was silenced.
Life is funny. We get on the highway looking for the next big thing and find ourselves in the desert for years. Dismissing the gas station in a one-horse town, we stop to use the bathroom and come face to face with a truth that defines our destiny. George and I will never meet, but it's nice to know we all have that in common.