Saturday, August 18, 2001

Not half bad, but someone should tell Robert Zemeikis what 'editing' means

We didn't get to see "Divorcing Jack." We have house guests, and we were tired, and it was a friggin 2 day rental which we ended up returning after noon on the third day, so, we paid a fee. I owe mom $4.19 and my thanks because I had no cash on hand.

Last night we decided to get something new and popular, something both kids could watch. The kids opted to play on the computer at, but that didn't stop us from watching our chosen rental, CastAway, with Tom Hanks (who sometimes looks like he could be related to Dave Matthews) and Helen Hunt, and Wilson the volleyball.

The story is of Chuck Noland, played by Tom Hanks, a FedEx employee. There is tons of FedEx product placement in this film. They couldn't make a fake shipping company like United Federated Parcel or something... I guess this made it more real for some viewers but it seemed so incredibly forced to me.

Anyway, Chuck is obsessed with time. Time is of the absolute essence. It is criminal and even sinful to waste a moment of time. But in his personal relationship, he doesn't quite see that... and unfortunately ends up marooned on a desert island without a chance of rescue right after an offhanded proposal to his fiance, Helen Hunt. All elements of time aside from the sun rising and setting vanish. No pager, a watch that doesn't work... he's without his one master and guide ... Time. But has all the time in the world on his hands.

For a man whose whole like was based on the relentless whipping of the second hand and its relationship with personal success and money, he now finds himself struggling to find water, food, and shelter. He's screwed. With about six or seven FedEx boxes that have washed ashore, he has to figure out what to do, how to do it. Rather than be the boss of people who push boxes across lines from one truck to another, it's about survival. And he makes it, with a lot of bumps, scrapes, blood and hope... but he makes it.

Best part of the movie for me was the plane crash. It scared the living crap out of me and made me feel as if it was really happening. Great moment of him realizing he is for the first time ever completely out of the control business and has to stand by as spectator to his possible death over a few minutes time. The jet engine almost sucking him in when he's in the raft was unbelievable. The use of silence, and the cinematography of him on the island (see above picture of him with the sun shining on him as he investigates his surroundings) was also amazing. The use of angles, color, and Hanks' face were very brilliant. I liked Wilson, but didn't cry when he .... oh, I won't tell you what happens. In case you haven't seen it. I also liked how he completely adapted to the island life. Learned to eat fish raw, looked like the "It's" Man from Monty Python (another connection to my Palin fascination), and I like how he just figured everything out that he needed to in order to keep going. And, he actually did keep track of time, in days, not hours, 1500 of them total.

Worst parts of the movie centered around the interpersonal relationships with actual humans. His relationship with Kelly didn't light a fire in my heart that demanded they run off together and live happily ever after. His relationship with the other FedEx employee who loses his wife also felt so phony. "I should have been there for you ..." Hanks regrets to his friend. Dude, you were fucking MAROONED on an island. There's no possible "shoulda" there. It's not like you chose to go to a Red Sox game instead of sit there and hold his hand by her deathbed. You were trying to figure out how to open a coconut and you were doing dentistry with ice skates.

The ending of the film left me not wondering where his romantic life would go, but his spiritual, his whole human life... What fascinated me abput this movie and I wish it was more clearly defined in the end, was how a man can base his whole desire to escape the island on his girlfriend, one small portion of his overall existance, and have to deal with the situation he faces upon getting back. How can he possibly become born again to himself and to life as we know it after being abandoned and lost, and upon his return home realizing that all he came back for is lost as well? What exactly will happen to him, with or without Kelly? How does one return to a place that is so different and went on without you? The script doesn't really address that.

It shows him in the most hackneyed and easily recognizable places from any old blues tune, at the "crossroads" and I rolled my eyes. There seemed to be too much emphasis on the one-on-one kind of relationships between a man and a woman than his relationship with his inner self or with guardian angels. That's touched upon by the symbolism of the artist in Texas, and the fact he never opens her package which is on the island, but uses the logo on the box as a kind of talisman all over the place in his island life. But the focus on that is too blurry. And that's a shame.

Overall it was a good movie. I was happy for him that he survived, and if I knew him in person I'd wish him well. Time went on without him. Time let him down. I hope he never becomes its slave again.

Wow. That was too heavy for today. I recommend the movie. Overall. It was a good film.

Tonight we're going out for drinks with my friend Naomi from Australia. I don't get to see her much. She used to work here with me but in a different group. She's a funny person. So we try and make an effort to get together on a Saturday morning for coffee. Tonight is the first time Doug is coming with us. He's a little wary of hanging out with someone he doesn't know. But she's a doll and I don't think she gets to go out much... Her husband works for some big consulting company and he's often out on the road. And she's from Ausfreakinstralia, so I feel badly and try to be in touch with her. Being marooned in a different sense... she's not among her family here. So I feel badly.

I hooked up a bit with some old friends recently. Someone had emailed me through the alumni directory from my college, and through him hooked up with a guy I haven't seen in forever. We're thinking about getting some folks together for a bbq or something in September. It could turn into a big blow out... we shall see. Funny, we all have kids now. And only one of the guys is unmarried... not sure if he'll ever find someone. He's really sweet and smart, just hasn't met the right kinda gal.

I think about him whenever I hear "Bad" by U2. It was the summer of 1986, and he and I went somewhere in the car and came back to campus late. We were cranking "The Unforgettable Fire" and sat in the car with both of our seats reclined all the way back, singing at the top of our lungs. It was so hot, and late, and we were so relaxed singing "So let it go, and so to fade away... I'm wide awake! I'm not sleeping..." and I see him in my mind when I hear that.

I'm so old.

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