I felt like doing a little something off the beaten path on this blog. I want to give some thoughts and comments on movies from time to time. I have always loved cinema, and think it is the representative art form of our generation. Like it or not, the cinema provides much of the cultural guidance to our society and even teaches its version of history to an otherwise uninformed population.
One of my favorite, all-time movies is "A Good Year" starring Russell Crowe. I am a fan of Crowe anyway, but liked this particular movie for reasons not even mentioned by the critics. It is the story of a man in his prime who has lost his way. He has given in to the trappings and corruptions of success, and cares for little else. As a result he is alone and villified, and has somehow convinced himself that that is exactly how he wants it. Then he gets word that a long-forgotten uncle has bequethed him his vineyard in the Provence area of
southern France (where I am about to visit)! A trip there stirs the memories of that uncle and, to quote Crowe's main character, the "grand" memories of the summers spent there as a boy. Flashbacks throughout the movie enlighten the viewer to the inputs of wisdom and love the uncle instilled into the boy, making a man out of a boy like he made wine out of his grapes. As the movie progresses, and with the help of five fascinating female leads, the main character remembers who he really was meant to be. The seeds planted by the uncle several decades prior have finally germinated into healthy fruit.
In addition to the often light-heartedness of the movie, and the romantic interest that must be requisite to such a film, the movie resonated with me because of the efforts of an uncle to love a child and the latent effect of that love. It is a beautiful reminder to all of us to make little deposits of love into the lives of others every chance we get, knowing that those deposits may or may not bear fruit, and if the fruit should grow, it could well occur long after we are gone. It is also a great picture of the prodigal son coming to his senses and rediscovering what is good and beautiful within, and all through the love of others and the resultant softening of his heart.
An interesting side note that also serves to instruct: Russell Crowe was heavily criticized by the "experts" for this film! Apparently they'd seen it all before or didn't think he should do a movie that wasn't all swords and sandals. Further, attached to the DVD are a couple of music videos featuring Crowe as lead singer, which I also enjoyed, but (of course) for which he has also received criticism. It just goes to show you that no matter what you strive to create, how hard you work to accomplish something, how much talent you bring to the table, or how beautiful the masterpiece, there will always be someone lining up to throw stones. Learn that lesson well. Who cares what the critics think? Do what you do. Create what God put inside of you to create. Let your music ring out. Critics are always trampled beneath the weight of genius anyway.