Thursday, May 30, 2013

When Movies Are Too Real

I'm not going to lie to you people because that's not how I roll. The last week or so has been rough around here. It seems like there are few lulls in the drama around these parts, and those lulls never seem to last very long when they do show up.

Also in the past week or so, we've watched a lot of movies. Some were escapist, transporting me to a different world entirely. The older I get, the more I like those movies, because they're so far out there that there is no way to tie them to reality. Maybe that is why I find myself watching more and more science fiction type stuff. Even if it's entirely ridiculous, at least it doesn't stab me in the heart.

Then there are the other movies. The stab me in the heart movies.

Last week sometime, we watched Silver Linings Playbook. I've heard the book is better, but can't speak to that personally since I haven't read it yet. If you haven't seen it yet and want to, you might want to stop reading. I'm usually far enough behind with watching movies that it's safe for me to write about them, but there's always going to be someone who tells me I'm a spoiler. So, if you're going to read this then tell me I am a spoiler, just stop now.

Anyway, it's a good movie. We had to watch it in pieces though because it was so emotionally overwhelming. I don't know how I would have done if I had watched it in a theater.  Bradley Cooper's character has bi-polar disorder, diagnosed after he completely loses control when he catches his wife cheating on him and almost beats her lover to death. He ends up in a psychiatric hospital until his mom goes out on a limb,signing him out to care for him at home.

He won't take his meds. He thinks he's fine. He is obsessed with exercise. He is socially awkward. He is totally preoccupied with trying to win his wife back, restraining order and all. There are scenes in the movie that were so painful for me that I had to avert my eyes, the worst being the one where he is tearing his room apart looking for their wedding video.

Then you get to know his parents more. Mom is a fixer. She is the glue in the family, and her main currency is information. She tells people what she thinks they need to know, she hides the rest, because she wants to fix things. Dad has OCD and a pathological gambler. He wants a relationship with his completely messed up son, but wants the relationship that he wants, not the one that his son is capable of having or wants with him. Mom is a fixer, he is a forcer.

Goddamn apple trees. It's one thing to have to deal with them on a daily basis, but seeing it play out before your eyes is overwhelming at times. We all get our crazy from somewhere, and we don't usually have to look too far to find it.

Jennifer Lawrence's character lost her husband and her life spiraled out of control. She's heavily medicated too, but seems to manage her emotions a little better. Even if they are ugly at times, at least she's aware of them. She has anxiety, she's depressed, she's acting out, she's lost. Then she finds a guy who's even more messed up than she is. It's a match made in dysfunctional heaven.

Good lord.

One of her lines in the movie is me, completelyI do this! Time after time after time! I do all this shit for other people! And then I wake up and I'm empty! I have nothing!

I cried buckets after that movie ended, the kind of crying where your head hurts for a few days afterwards and you end up dehydrated. Seeing so much mental illness crammed into two hours, so much of it the illnesses that exist in my own tree, was too much. I want better for my children. I'd give anything to help them avoid some of the things that have happened to me.

Doing that means taking long, ugly, hard looks in the mirror. Confronting it all. Dealing with it. Having awareness of it. It means you can't pretend it's not there, you can't wish it away. You have to suck it up and deal. You have to.

No other option but to face it all, or you are doomed to take the repeating cycle for another generational spin.

Then last night we watched This Is 40. It's a comedy. It's by Judd Apatow. There will be fart jokes, right? He likes fart jokes. It will be funny, right???

Parts of it were hilarious. Like holy shit there are people following me around with cameras and they know what happens in my house and they put it in a movie hilarious.

Parts of it weren't funny at all, and I found myself crying too many times to count. I asked my fans on Facebook what to expect yesterday, and some of them warned me. Some of them said it was just stupid or that it wasn't very funny. I think I envy them a little, because they just aren't there yet. I shouldn't be there yet. I'm not 40, but according to this movie I'm at least that old.

Financial crises, people who run away from their problems, mouthy kids, insecurity about getting older, the threat of the younger woman, addiction, unplanned pregnancies, an accident prone husband, trying to find connections with parents who aren't very parental....all of it.

Pete: Did you ever think marriage would get easier?
Barry: No, it gets harder. Much harder.


Check, check, check.

Is this really what happens when we hit mid-life?

Does everyone go through the same shit eventually? Is it that universal?

Why am I so lucky that I get to do it all years or decades before everyone else?

I'm a little bitter this morning, forgive me.

I'd like a refund on my youth, it ran out long before the warranty was up.

Thanks, Judd.

I think the next movie I watch will need to have robots or aliens or talking animals in it. This is getting ridiculous.


  1. I've seen both movies and let me just tell you.....
    I LOVED Silver Linings Playbook. It was a little slow at first, but once I got into it, I was hooked.

    And I'm right there with you on This Is 40. I asked Matthew if there were hidden camera's in our house. That movie could have been called This is 30 and 35. Hit WWAAYY too close to home....

  2. I tried to watch Silver Linings Playbook but only got partway through it. The acting was superb, but I think it was just too intense for me. I loved This is 40-it definitely was true!

  3. I've not seen either movie. Thanks to you, I won't be. I don't need to see my fucked up life on the big screen.

    I'm off to watch Weeds. Cause I'd never be her... Though things are getting desperate around here.

    -The Insomniacs Dream

  4. I haven't seen either movie either. I can only watch TV shows now. It takes me weeks to get through a movie. I find some movies fill you up with other people's emotions and some let you express your own in an appropriate manner. Sometimes we just need a reason to cry so we can get it all out and we need the excuse of other people's emotions because, usually, we are too busy being the strong ones the rest of the time.

  5. I think the midlife crisis is universal. You think you'll escape it, that you're somehow above it, but you're not. And the people who look like they've escaped it and risen above are just good at faking.

    I'm pretty selective about what I watch because I "keep" everything. So I know what you mean about getting too close. Sorry you had such a bad week.


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