random thoughts while flying to the far side of the planet
Well, sitting in a middle seat on a Boeing 747 with big-screen monitors, I was basically at the mercy of this movie during the last stretch of the flight. I didn't put in the headphone tabs, which probably helped...
It was a very religious movie--if your religion happens to be Spiritual-ish Hedonism.
Having not read the book or listened to the dialogue, I gather it was about Julia Roberts Career Woman going off in search of Herself and, indeed, finding Herself in several modes: Julia Robert Repeatedly Enjoying Italian Cuisine. Julia Roberts Getting All Conflicted in a series of more or less casual romantic involvements. Julia Roberts Experiencing a Stream of Moments of Enlightenment involving indigenous people in various foreign countries. All interspersed with a smattering of Julia Roberts Doing Meditation.
But, you know? I'm always just happy when Robert Downy Jr. can find work.
4. There are two elements in novels or movies that I find so deeply uncomfortable emotionally that I will often stop reading or watching works that contain them: marital infidelity, and a fall back into addiction.
One of the other movies on the flight, The Dilemma, incorporated both of those themes! To be fair, some close calls notwithstanding, the main character was able to stay clear of his gambling addiction.
But the whole cheating on your spouse thing? It drives me nuts. It's equally excruciating to watch whether the guilty party is the husband or the wife. But I guess I tend to expect female characters to act with a little more selfless maturity, so am more disappointed when they choose What's Good for Me Now over faithfulness.
I enjoyed the male friends' relationship at the heart of this film. Who knew it was possible for two men to be vulnerable and committed to one another without having sex? It's so Nineties! 1890s, that is.
The "dilemma" of title was the main character wrestling with whether to to tell his best friend about his wife's affair. It raised interesting questions about painful honesty and loyalty and the demands of love between friends.
I was saddened but not surprised with the film's conclusion. After all beans get spilled at the climax, we find out that the cuckolded friend's marriage has ended, offscreen. No anguishing, not the slightest sense that reconciliation was even a possibility.
But Hollywood has pretty much just assumed the easy disposability of marriages that "don't work" at least since Kramer vs. Kramer.
On the other hand, the cheating wife's attempt to go with the "you're partly to blame for the fact that I couldn't keep my pants on with another man" was rejected for the lame infantile ploy that it is. Even she didn't buy it, finally.
All in all a good film.
5. America is definitively a nation of a Generously Sized People. The two male leads in The Dilemma were both...big and fat. There, I said it. There was some TV show, too (Molly & Mike? Mike & Molly?) where the two main characters were QUITE girthful. And their obesity didn't seem to be a recurring source of humor (I think--I had the sound off).
And then, sitting in the hotel sports bar last night, I realized how shrewd it is for popular entertainment to reflect the thunderous reality on the ground.
I guess I just wonder why it took so long.