Movies made me try a mojito cocktail drink once, in Manayunk. Unfortunately, it made me sick, but I still have Michael Bay’s cop action flick “Bad Boys II” starring Will Smith, Martin Lawrence and Gabrielle Union to thank for that.
At least now, I know that mojitos are not for me.
Movies also made me want to visit New Orleans, although, I still haven’t gone and was skeptical about it following Hurricane Katrina. The drama “Eve’s Bayou” starring Lynn Whitfield and crime thriller “Double Jeopardy” starring Ashley Judd and Tommy Lee Jones are the culprits for my interest in that city. I guess you could say that these experiences and desires are cases of life imitating art.
For some time, however, I’ve been wondering about the opposite effect of what happens when art imitates life. What does that look like? Does it manifest in a depressing dramatic piece that makes you want to slit your wrists? Is it an action-adventure flick where the hero wins in the end and everybody goes home happy? Or, does it embody that of a light slapstick comedy where characters don’t take life too seriously? Maybe it shows itself in the form of a horror or thriller film that keeps you on the edge of your seats and no matter how much you want to look away, something about it keeps you willing to be there for the ride. So, why aren’t some of us as excited about our lives as we are movies?
If art imitates life at times, be it either fantasy or reality, we’re the ones inspiring these very stories. Yet, we are less enthusiastic about going about our day-to-day activities than those of fictional characters in imaginary worlds. For those who find this observation hard to believe, I ask of you just one simple question – If YOU could step outside of yourself for a minute and then watched the movie trailer or preview of your life, would you want to go see the full feature? If the answer is yes, then kudos to you for living a fulfilled and exciting life – feel free to share your tips, tricks and/or secrets on how the rest of us can follow suit. If the answer is no, or even if it’s that you’d rather wait for it to come out on home video or cable, then it’s time to do some serious auditing of why that is and then what’s it going to take for you to change that.
Many people can’t wait until opening weekend to see the latest release that’s had the most buzz or is featuring their favorite actors. We camp out for hours on sidewalks, sometimes in unsavory weather conditions, to be first in line for the good seats at midnight showings of “Twilight: New Moon.” We order advance tickets for “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1” because we’d be damned if we show up to the theater and it’s all sold-out. We opt for IMAX 3D because standard definition no longer cuts it when “Iron Man,” “The Dark Knight” and their friends are saving the world with super powers and fancy gadgets.
We even plan ladies nights out for “Sex and the City 2” and dress to the nines, like it’s the friggin’ high school prom – despite the fact that no matter how big of a fan you are of Carrie and her gang, it wasn’t even that good. When those two hours have passed, the end-credits on these movies begin to scroll and the theater lights to up, we feel entertained, satisfied – maybe even a little complete. Then, we go on back to our own lives -- where the thrills are few and far in between, the laughter is nowhere to be found, the camaraderie among friends and strangers alike is long gone and the freedom we felt to take our days by the horns and explore all that awaits us to the fullest of our abilities, just dissipates into thin air.
Of course, I’ll be quick to make it clear that there is nothing wrong with watching movies. I want everyone to watch as many movies (including mine) as they can in whatever amount of time is given to them.
When we start to use film as our constant escape from a life that doesn’t measure up to our expectations or quest for happiness or hopes and dreams or whatever it is that we’re seeking, then there is something wrong with that picture. You don’t need Tyler Perry or Madea to find religion, if that’s what you want in your path. You don’t have to watch “Waiting for Superman” or “Won’t Back Down” before getting involved with a local education system that you’re not happy with. You don’t have to replay “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” or “The Hangover” in your head to live vicariously through their vacations and pastimes.
Consider how sad it is that many people wait until a release date to have fun – as if it’s the only time that they think they can or deserve to enjoy their time; when there is no guarantee that they will even be here tomorrow. The thrills of life do not reside solely in two-hour blocks of Movie Theater showtimes. If we want to be amused, inspired or mesmerized by an experience, we must go out and create it for ourselves at every opportunity that we receive to do so. It would be awesome if one day, many of us lived the kind of lives that someone would want to make a movie about. That would be some kind of life – one that film producers and/or directors reflect on during television interviews and then tell reporters that YOU made them do it!
On another note, the theme for this week’s Monday Movie Meme is loosely based on today’s topic: Going Places. Share on your blog or in the comments section, movies that made YOU want to do something that you never did before. I’ve already listed some of my selections in the above A to Z Challenge post. Now, it’s YOUR turn!
What movies made YOU want to do something you never did before?
If YOU saw a movie trailer or preview of your life, would you buy a ticket to see the full length feature?