Wednesday, July 31, 2013

"Go help people. You're good at it."

I'm not going to complain about my cold today because I made a remarkable discovery.  If I sleep in an extra half hour, I still miss my train.  What in the world was I thinking?  Clearly, I wasn't.  I may have to print a retraction to my post yesterday praising (sort of) Tylenol Cold & Sinus.  You may be able to function, but it is very much at reduced capacity.

Fortunately, I have a failsafe system built into my schedule so there is still another train to catch, but my goodness.  Seriously, what was I thinking?  Perhaps it was a secret, subconscious desire to sit peacefully in a nearly empty station sipping conciliatory coffee for a spell.  The coffee is actually pretty good this morning and the warmth is very soothing on my scratchy throat - whoops, forgot I wasn't going to complain about the cold.

Did I mention that I was parking when the train rolled in and blocked my path to get to it?  It's a terrible system.  My wife is probably reading this and thinking, "But isn't that what happened to you yesterday?"  She would be correct with one significant difference.  Okay, two.  1) I got to sleep an extra half hour to miss it today, and 2) I sprung for the coffee this morning.

Hey - today is Wednesday!  Let's see what I've got for Tale's From the Script.

I read a script this week for an original story that I thoroughly enjoyed.  I sincerely hope that it will be made into a film and, when it does, I will encourage everyone to watch it.  It wasn't perfect, but the story was compelling and the "issues" were nothing that disrupted things.  I expect that if the
person who wrote it continues to write that we will definitely see some of his work in the future - even if it isn't this particular story.

We also watched a movie called "The Impossible" with Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts.  Two things (here I go again) really struck me - 1) I liked the movie a lot even though it is not the sort of genre or style I usually go for, and 2) I thought Naomi Watts was someone completely different.

The film is based on the true story of a family that was on vacation when the Tsunami struck Thailand on December 26, 2004.  Yes, it was that long ago.  Just writing about it now - remembering then and the film, gave me chills.  It's a European film and the lack of Hollywood was evident throughout.  This was a pure telling of an amazing story.

The special effects were seamless - there was only once where they drew me out of the story and that was to wonder how in the world they created a Tsunami!  (There was a documentary on the DVD that explained it.)  The flood was brutally intense - especially for me after my near drowning experience a couple of weeks ago.  The devastation was oppressive, and there was quite a bit of gore but the tone was different than a film like "Die Hard".  Most of the picture is filled with people who are covered in a mix of mud and blood.  This is not a film for children, people with pacemakers, back problems, or if you are, or think you may be, pregnant.  You know, typical roller-coaster disclaimer.  But I’m serious about it not being for children.

I learned a funny thing about coincidence watching this film.  The standard rule is that you (as the writer) may use coincidence to get your protagonist INTO trouble, but not OUT of trouble.  This film used it for both - they were coincidentally vacationing where the Tsunami hit and then time after time, “The Impossible” happened - total coincidence.  But it worked.  Because it was a true story - every coincidence led me to say, "Wow, they were so lucky." and I was left amazed rather than feeling cheated.  I did remark to my wife at one point that if, "this turns out to be like 'The Perfect Storm' I'm going to be very upset."  - mostly becuase the coincidence would have been too much if nobody survived.

It was a troubling film to watch in places, and I was a bit upset at times, but it was nothing like "The Perfect Storm".  I think I recommend this film but with several caveats, not the least of which is that it will leave you feeling like you've been hit by a train.  It wasn't depressing like "Grace is Gone" but getting to the end was exhausting.  This is not a film of instant gratification - "Oh gee, I feel so happy now, let's go out for a romantic dinner" - but rather partaking in a horrible shared experience that causes genuine reflection on what in life matters most.  Many films shoot for that mark and fail.  This one delivers in spades.

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