Sunday, April 30, 2006

Broken Flowers

In 8th grade I stood up a girl for the Christmas Dance. Or the Spring Formal, or some such ritual where kids dress up, get together and awkwardly learn about the opposite sex while trying to maintain their own personal dignities.

I didn't stand this girl up on purpose; I asked her to the dance the day of the event (after weeks of working up the nerve), and when I arrived home from school that Friday and announced my intentions, my mom reminded me I had nothing formal to wear. This being central West Virginia circa 1979, there were no real options for finding a suit at 5pm on a Friday. And when I called my classmate to tell her the news...she didn't answer the phone. Ever. The phone just rang, all evening.

She went to the dance, I didn't. Short story is, Martha hated my guts throughout junior and senior high, and never forgave me for my stupidity. I apologized often, after which she always-- politely-- reminded me that I was the single most selfish, vain boy she had ever met.

Sigh...

I have lots of regrets, but this one is at the top of my list. For years, I've wanted to track Martha down and tell her just once more that I am sorry, and ask her forgiveness. I don't, because I presume she would find it childish and a little too 12-step-ish. But, I wish I had the nerve.

Broken Flowers reminded me of this life event. Bill Murray plays Don Johnston, an over-the-hill Don Juan type who discovers he may have a son from a fling that occurred 20 years ago. Problem is, the handwritten note informing him of this possibility is unsigned, so Don has to visit five long-lost loves to determine if the son he may have is real or not.

Broken Flowers is a nice, slow-paced film that reminds us that most of the decisions we make effect our lives at some point, even several years down the road. Reflecting on past actions and decisions is healthy. Being reminded of memories and regrets from the past serves us by keeping us connected with others, thus helping us stay more attuned to the present.

Bill Murray's acting in this movie was touted by critics, but I think it was too similar to his work in Lost In Translation. Still, the message of Broken Flowers is something that should be familiar to many. The film is a good rental for a rainy Saturday night. **

15 comments:

7tenths said...

Hey, first time here but I'm a big fan of movies so may not be my last! Broken Flowers was pretty damn cool; I mean yeah his character was kind of reminiscent of his portrayal in Lost In Translation, but only superficially (in my opinion). I mean yeah he's got that dumbstruck look on his face, but in Lost he looks like he's given up, while in Broken Flowers he's just devastated.. You know what I have no idea what I'm going on about, was a decent movie, cool tunes & great supporting cast :) Good luck getting on Martha's good side :P

The Film Geek said...

7tenths: I agree it was a cool movie, and I especially liked the songs used in the film. And you may be right that "devestated" and "given up" look the same...it's despair by any other name, eh?

Jackie Lantern said...

Jeez film geek, you are a jerk :)
I'd be careful if I were you. My money says that girl is going to come looking for some payback one of these days.
I've never even heard of this movie. Where have I been?!?

The Film Geek said...

Jackie :)

Kelly said...

I can see you doing that but I have my doubts if you really called her!

The Film Geek said...

I did, all evening until the time of the party! And this was 1979 or so, no cell phones. If she didn't answer the home phone, there was no other way to reach her.

Ian C. said...

Among my friends, the ending didn't sit too well, but I really liked it. Stories don't always need tidy resolutions.

What I'd really like to see, however, is a movie starring Don's next-door neighbor, Winston. I'd watch him try to solve a "mystery" for two hours.

The Film Geek said...

Ian, I really liked the ending more than any other part of the flick. But, I like the unexpected...funny about Winston; my wife loved that chacter too.

Cara said...

Have you ever watched "My Name Is Earl"?

The Film Geek said...

Yeah, I love My Name Is Earl...

oh...

Jana said...

Ha ha, that's funny. As I read this entry, I thought the same thing about My Name is Earl and that's what's on my TV right now.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I love your website. It has a lot of great pictures and is very informative.
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jedijawa said...

I want to see this. Great review. Sorry I haven't been commenting lately. I hope to rectify this.

Anonymous said...

hmmm I only recall three Marthas and I didn't think 2 were in our grade. Ironically I found one of the Marthas on Facebook recently.

Dianne