Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The most romantic song of all time . . .

I think it's Nat King Cole singing "I Love You for Sentimental Reasons." Everything about this track is pure romance, from the warmth of Nat's voice to the intimate elegance of the piano solos to the jazzy sweetness of the Spanish-tinged guitar. Love it. This is the perfect "first dance" song for a wedding . . .

Diner: if you don't know where you're going, you'll end up some place else . . .

. . . as the old saying goes . . . the characters in Diner exemplify this.

The first problem faced by the leading men in this film is that what "works" in adolescence doesn't work so well in adulthood. The best example of this is Shrevie's marriage. He half-heartedly jokes about how, before he was married, his relationship with his bride-to-be was all about the sex. The thrill of the taboo of it, the thrill of fitting it in behind the parents' backs, etc. Now that she's always available and sex gets a green light and there's no more wedding to plan . . . why, there's nothing to talk about and nothing exciting to do.

Shrevie's marriage is just one example of how the characters in this movie find themselves taking on new responsibilities and commitments before they are prepared to make wise choices. As the result, they find themselves "trapped" in commitments that leave them without room to grow.

The question is: are responsibilities the problem, or is it more that you have to choose your responsibilities wisely and be careful of what you take on? Pertaining to that question, the movie sent mixed messages . . . my own opinion is that responsibilities are not the problem, it's just that if you, as the saying goes: if you don't know where you're going, you'll end up somewhere else.

The characters in this movie feel trapped because they 1) do not have a vision for a career, or any "passion" they are pursuing 2) they have a base understanding of relationships. They don't know how to connect emotionally with women, everything is just sexual and on the surface so they are doomed to live with superficial marriages.

Is it any wonder that life is failing to "deliver" for this cast?

When you read the movie this way, it seems kinda depressing. But actually, it was a very enjoyable film to watch because it was easy to sympathize with the characters and, sadly, the problems they face are ones that a lot of people go through. This movie felt honest.

Last point would be that the action of the movie revolves around a diner where the boys like to meet up to chit chat about their growing pains. The diner symbolizes fun, relaxation, "good times." When the boys go there, they are trying to reconnect with a freedom they feel they've lost. In a sense, the diner is therapeutic and helps the characters in this film unwind and vent. But the diner is damaging, too, in the sense that it ties the characters back to their old selves. If these characters are going to move forward with their lives, they need to, well, do just that. They need to leave their teenage antics behind . . . it's time for them to grow up big time in terms of how they see women and they need to find their passion/purpose in life.

But the problem of course is that the characters can never ditch the diner because unless they revert to their old selves, they stop having fun. They don't know how to be adults and have fun because they don't know how to take on the right kind of challenges. Challenges and responsibilities make life rewarding: but you have to pick the right ones, otherwise you'll feel "saddled."

My solution? You've got to be really passionate and bursting with love if you're going to take on the right kinds of challenges and responsibilities that will enable you to grow. I'm a musician and even though I don't make a lot of money teaching lessons and recording my own music, I'm so crazy in love with what I do that I know I will always be happy. The responsibilities of my career will only make me happier because I love being challenged musically. While I have next to no experience with relationships, I already know how important it's gonna be that I find someone that I'm best friends with, that I have a lot in common with so that I can enjoy everyday life with that person. What got Shrevie into trouble was that he thought his wife was hot and nice, and that was about it. Remember how he started yelling at her because she didn't know who Charlie Parker was? He just couldn't stand being married to someone who didn't "get" his passion for music. I totally feel him. I have to marry a musician!!!

The closing shot of this movie was excellent. Elyse throws her bridal bouquet out into the crowd and it ultimately lands on a table around which all the leading men in the film are situated. Who will pick up the bouquet? Will they take on the "responsibilities" of life, or shirk away? The ambiguous ending allows the viewer to form their own opinion about what the characters "should do." Like I said earlier, this film is more about depicting a problem (ennui) then proscribing a solution.

Makes you wonder how many adult problems are rooted in people's inability to mature and grow up. I mean, if you're immature, you'll likely marry for the wrong reasons and have a divorce to look forward to. If you're immature, you won't have the vision and guts necessary to follow your passion and do what you love for a career. Life is gonna suck if you don't have a heart and depth.

Diner: fav lines

Boogie: You know I got plans.
Bagel: Always a dreamer, hey, Boog?
Boogie: If you don't have good dreams, Bagel, you got nightmares.


This kinda sums up the whole movie:
Shrevie: when you're dating, everything is talking about sex. Where can we do it? Why can't we do it? Are you parents gonna be out so we can do it? Everything is always talkin about getting sex, and then planning the wedding, all the details. But then, when you get married... it's crazy, i dunno. You can get it whenever you want it. You wake up in the morning and she's there. You come home from work and she's there. So all that sex planning talk is over with. And so is the wedding planning talk cause you're already married. So... ya know I can come down here and we can bullshit the entire night away but I cannot hold a 5 minute conversation with Beth. I mean it's not her fault, I'm not blaming her, she's great... It's just, we got nothing to talk about... But it's good, it's good


One of the boys (not sure who, this is a voice over during the credits):

"We used to think it'd be so cool to be older and hang out here and now . . . we're older and we're cooler and we're still hanging out here."

Cab Calloway: "The Reefer Man"

Random. Silly. Grows on you. Check out the bassist.