Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Stop All the Clocks or Two for Tuesday-MEN'S VERSION

Okay, so I figured out why I was only getting female commenters on today's post. Men were not excited by the photo of John Hannah. So here's a pretty girl photo to entice them to comment. We'll see if it works....

It's time to talk about alternate realities.

And look at a very beautiful girl. Here she is!
(Blogging tip: frontload eyecandy to incentivize readers to keep slogging through one's very deep and oh-so-important thoughts.)

I've been trying to come up with ideas for five week Mature Learning courses I can pitch to the local community college. For some reason I thought of sad movies about death. I'd bill it as "Mourning at the Movies!" or "Cinematic Kleenex!"

Don't worry; no one I know has died recently. I just like stories that move me, and believe my students do too.

Naturally, I thought of Truly, Madly, Deeply and Always. Excellent flicks. But there's also a great scene in Four Weddings and a Funeral, when Matthew gives the eulogy for his lover, Gareth, by reciting an Auden poem. It's called Funeral Blues. Watch and listen:

It's a great sorrowful moment. The editing is brilliant. The grief-filled expressions on the dead man's parents' faces go straight to my heart. The actor, John Hannah, is brilliant. I think Auden would have loved his recitation.

John Hannah is also very cute. He reminded me of someone. I checked for other clips of him on youtube. He did a film called Sliding Doors with Gwyneth Paltrow, the beautiful actress. Watch this. Does he remind you of anyone?

I'm thinking John Cusack. Only with a really cool accent. But you wouldn't care about that because you are a guy. Presumably. Assuming my clever tactic has worked. Of course, if you are the star of the Jason Show, you might want to check out the alternate reality post with John Hannah. Just sayin'. ;-)

You're thinking, "Wait! What about the alternate realities?" That's where Sliding Doors comes in. When Helen (Paltrow) attempts to board a London Underground train, the plot splits into tandem parallel universes. In one, she catches it before the doors slide shut, and she arrives home to catch her boyfriend cheating; in the other, she misses it and her life plays out quite differently.

Who among us hasn't thought "if only this one tiny thing had happened differently, my whole life could have been different?" You, there, in the back, shaking your head "no." You are such a liar. Of course you've had that thought skitter around your mind at some point. Don't lie to me.

I'm not just talking about the conscious decision moments, small or large. The choice of which college to attend, who to marry, this salad dressing or that one, what shall we name the baby, where should we go on holiday, should I have one more drink before driving home, boxers or briefs, the high road or the low road (note clever injection of Scottish lyric)...they all make a difference, to be sure. And some of us agonize endlessly about whether we've made the right decision or if things would be ever so much better if only we'd made a different choice.

This is more about externalities that influence our lives. The things over which we have virtually no control, but which affect our path. We do control how we respond to those things. So we're not totally helpless, merely buffeted by outside forces. But there is still an alteration. That is the fascinating part of alternate reality stories. You ARE fascinated, aren't you? These sorts of speculations can keep me entertained for hours. Surely you feel the same way.

Sliding Doors' logline is "What if one split second sent your life in two completely different directions?"
It's ironic, given that there's a certain convergence of plot events at the end. Which leads me to my next question: Do you think that some things are inevitable, meant to be, and that regardless of what happens, eventually they're going to occur? Do you believe in destiny?

Whoa, this is one heavy post for a Tuesday. Lucky you, Wordless Wednesday is tomorrow. But it's only a brief respite. Thoughtful Thursday is just around the corner.


Nancy Goodman, LPC, NCC said...

Hello, thanks for your email! First of all, I love John Hannah. Also John Cusack. I really liked Sliding Doors, from a "cinema therapy" perspective, as a great example of the low-grade emotional abuse/crazymaking/codependency that can occur in an unhealthy romantic relationship. "I can't write without you"--manipulation heaven.

Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition.

Gifted Typist said...

I like J. Hannah too. Not long after I saw Sliding Doors, I ran into him in Liberty's in London (as ya do!).

We were on the stair case. I thought it so good of him not to stop me and make a big fuss in public.

dianne said...

I really enjoyed 'Sliding Doors' and yes I have often thought what my life would be like if I had chosen a different path or made different choices.
I did a post on that very same thing on my blog on March 13...I have often wondered 'what if'?
Remember that beautiful poem that the Colonel posted on Nature Diary 'Love at First Sight' by Wislawa Szymborska about parallel lives and how we might have just missed an encounter with someone we could love by a second in time, that we may have touched a door handle or rang a bell that the person had also done before us but we would never know...I have often wondered if that pesron exists for me. ♡

stephanie (bad mom) said...


I am right now teaching alternate history as a sci-fi subgenre and will be showing Sliding Doors in class.

I'm sure you have me beat, but I did indeed wither at the first viewing of Four Weddings and immediately bought a cassette of John Hannah reading Auden. Which I still have, even though I cannot listen to it anymore.