If twentysomethings end up taking this movie to heart, odds are that won’t be because it’s the smartest dramatization of a real-life ordeal since Werner Herzog’s Rescue Dawn. They’ll flock to it because it’s their story, too — one they can identify with, even if the only canyon they’ve ever seen is Wall Street. Or so this member of the gamy generation that screwed up their lives suspects, anyway. Sorry about the boulder, kids, and good luck getting out.
I have two rules for writing up a movie review. First, if I know I’m going to see something and have any intention of reviewing it, I stay clear of anyone’s work until after I’ve seen the film. It’s far too easy to have your opinion swayed by reading somebody’s well written argument before going in. And even worse, I don’t want to have a word or phrase subconsciously copied because of doing so. This happens a lot with sports pundits. You may hear or read a particular point that you either like or makes sense. Now when discussing that given sports topics with friends, you quote this pundit, without giving credit to his or her point. It’s your point now. I try and avoid this at all costs. My second rule is that in order for something to warrant a review, I must see it either the weekend it comes out, shortly after. Naturally, these rules lend themselves to one another (I can’t read all that much on something that just came out, or, if a movie has been out for a while, I most likely have conceded any chance at a review, and dug into it’s Rotten Tomatoes page).
I broke both of these rules for “127 Hours.” I purchased the November issue of GQ at an airport, as I’ve been known to do. I referenced it’s Glee cover story a couple of posts ago, and after seeing “127 Hours,” I searched and searched for the above quotation. I eventually realized it was in the same issue.
“127 Hours” first popped up on my pop culture radar with the release of the trailer, and excitement that went along with seeing Danny Boyle’s name attached. Then it was a topic of conversation on the NPR Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast (which comes with my co-sign) in which all participants praised the film. It sprung up again when listening to another podcast favorite, Extra Hot Great, and needless to say, I was all in. Except that it wasn’t playing in Orlando, anywhere. So that second rule I have about catching a flick on the opening weekend, was hard to gauge. When “127 Hours” did open near me, would the timetable of relevancy have passed?(Actually, yes, Black Swan has taken it’s place.)
But here’s the thing. This movie is gripping, intense, exhilarating, uncomfortable, so spectacularly shot, presented, and acted, that I needed to go back and read the GQ piece once again. It reaffirmed both Boyle’s and Franco’s brilliance, and that last final passage, the one I included at the top of this post struck me with extra meaning. Maybe I was influenced by it in the very same fashion I typically try to avoid, but something did “resonate” with me. As Franco is stuck there, hours, maybe minutes away from death, he considers his life; the errors he made more immediately (ie: neglecting to tell anyone where he was going because he was ‘fine by himself”), and what he would fail to accomplish having met his demise (ie: a son).
Carson draws the metaphor that the boulder which pins Franco’s arm, trapping him with no escape insight, is akin to the economic climate left for a college graduate like say, I don’t know, myself. I struggled to find a fully satisfying writing job right out of college, and this struggle is what in large part gave way to this blog. And my experience is not uncommon. Unemployment “for Americans with at least a bachelors degree rose to 5.1%, the highest since 1970.” There is no denying the cumbersome task of realizing your dream these days. Hell, even just surviving.
So what are the options? I’m not so certain there is a metaphorical arm to cut off here, but the resiliency Franco portrayed can be a powerful motivating force. With that, I urge everyone to go see “127 Hours.” The ‘scene’ is not all that bad, and unless you have a weak stomach, it shouldn’t bother you that much. Meanwhile, I’ll be trying my best to overcome my boulder, starting with a new and improved blog and web page on the way. I don’t want to divulge too many secrets (mostly because I don’t even know them yet), but expect something special.