Thanksgiving, Cash, and April
I’m back from four great days off. Thanksgiving weekend was seasoned with rest, reflection, romance, and old friends. Kristin, Jaimes and I spent all of Thursday at the Kavans. The downside was watching tv all day. I don’t own one, so if I’m around one I’m pretty much glued to it – no matter what’s on. I watched a James Bondathon, a Tom Hanksathon, and half of a dog show. Friday night, Kristin and I celebrated the 4th anniversary of our first date. Jaimes spent the night at Grandma and Grandpa’s. We walked around the Northpark Mall. Had dinner at La Madeline (which, in this case, was really a glorified food court). After the mall we went to see Walk The Line. As excited as I was to see this film, and as eager as I was to learn alittle more about Johnny Cash, I was afraid of two things happening. In light of his recent death and books like The Man Comes Around (which I haven’t read), I feared an over-spirtiualization of his legacy. My second (and deeper) fear was that, in an attepmt to combat the recent focus on the “spiritual” Cash, his relationship with God would be ignored altogether. The film put my fears to rest. I may review it in coming weeks, but for now I’d like to let it soak in some more. At any rate – I definitely recommend it.
Saturday, we drove 3 hours east to Linden, TX. I was shooting my friend Trey’s wedding. It was great to see some old friends like Kevin and Jonathan. JD rode with us there and back and we had some great conversation. Sunday we went to church in the morning. It was good to be there since we missed last week. We spent the rest of the day resting (e.g. shamelessly perusing the sample stands at Sams Club).
While I don’t enjoy watching hours of television (it wipes me out for some reason), I can watch movies back to back for days on end. Kristin and I watched Pieces of April after Thanksgiving dinner for the second year in a row. This is Peter Hedges directorial debut. As a screenwriter, he’s responsible for About A Boy and What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. Now, I generally can’t stand Katie Holmes and she doesn’t pull off the black sheep runaway child role very well. But the film’s gritty, hand held camera approach and EXCELLENT supporting cast (Oliver Platt, Patricia Clarkson, Derek Luke) more than compensate for her “performancey” performance.
More importantly – the story is rich with themes of brokeness, forgiveness, mortality, and the urgency of life. I was priveldged to see this film prescreened two years ago in Minneapolis. Hedges conducted a Q&A after the screening (he’s endearingly down-to-earth … and no, Katie Holmes wasn’t there). He said we wanted to make a movie about a bunch of unlikely acquaintances eating a holiday meal together. It was difficult imagining an interesting scenario that would bring them all together. The death of Hedges mother helped him gain some ground here. I won’t say more on that. I WILL say this movie wraps up with one of the best endings I’ve ever encountered. It’s truly breathtaking.