Saturday, September 30, 2006

The Lake House

A lifetime ago, in a college Science Fiction Literature class, I read the greatest short story. Sadly, I don't recall the name of the author, nor the title of the story. But it made a significant impression on me at the time, and since--often--I've thought about the story and it's premise.

In a very brief nutshell: In the fairly distant future (at least it was fairly distant in the mid-80s; now, maybe not so much), the world has grown so overpopulated that humans are placed in a state of suspended animation for six of seven days each week. During one assigned day each week, folks awaken and go to work, carry on relationships and do all the things people do. But for only 24 hours. Then, at midnight, back to the deep sleep.

The male lead in the story, whose assigned day is a Tuesday, gets caught up in something--I forget what--and can't reach his chamber by midnight, and arrives a little late. As he is arriving, though, he sees a beautiful woman, who is a Wednesday, coming out of her suspension chamber. And he falls immediately in love. The story is about his quest to be with her, against all the odds.

(If you know the title of this story, please tell me what it is! I recall only that it was written by a Mexican author.)

I've often thought this story would make a terrific movie, and during the past 20 years I've expected some Tom Cruise or Tom Hanks rep to find it and pitch it to the big production companies.

But, I'll keep waiting. There are lots more Mission Impossible stories to tell...

I think my fascination with this short story is one of two reasons I really liked
The Lake House. In the movie, Kate (Sandra Bullock) and Alex (Keanue Reeves) strike up a romantic pen-pal relationship that transcended time. Separated by nearly two calendar years (Reeves is in 2004, Bullock in 2006) the pair struggle with loneliness and sadness, and find a soul mate in the other. Communicating only through letters (which, well, magically travel through time) they develop an affection that turns--quickly--from friendly to respect to romantic.

(It reminded me a bit too much of this sort of dating, but I digress...)

During the course of their relationship information is passed between them that cement their spiritual and emotional bond, and some of the actions they take change the life-course of the pair permanently, and for the better.

Sure, it is a strange premise that is a bit hard to swallow. But if you can get past that for a few moments, you might easily get swept up in the romance and emotion of the plot. (At least that's what I'm told my Mrs. Film Geek; I just thought the time travel idea was way cool!)

The second reason I really liked this movie:

For the first time in years, Keanue Reeves acted!

And, I wasn't distracted by his stilted line delivery, or his frozen-stiff body language. I enjoyed him in the role, and was happily surprised by that.

So, check it out I suppose. Mrs. Film Geek cried a lot during the movie, while I smiled sweetly more than a couple of times. So, it must be an emotional heart-tugger.

UPDATE: My friend Jackie Lantern has solved my 20-plus year mystery. The short story is by Phillip Jose Farmer (an American, not Mexican. I must have been thrown by the middle name), and the title is The Sliced-Crossways Only-On-Tuesdays World. It's a terrific read, if you get a chance.

Jackie, thanks so much! It really has been nagging thing for me for years.


Jackie Lantern said...

Hey! That's a Philip Jose Farmer story! He's one of my all-time favorites.
I remember that story, something like the Upside Backward World or something like that. Let me go to the Lantern Library and try to find it..... :)

Jackie Lantern said...

"The Sliced Crosswise Only On Tuesday World"
Man, I am a nerd.....

The Film Geek said...

Jackie, you have lifted a 20-plus year nagging obsession. Thanks so much!!
Just updated the post with your info.

Yep, I recall loving his work a lot. Must have, cause it stuck with me this long. And I do think it would make a great movie.

You weren't in a Sci-Fi Lit class at Marshall around 1985, were ya?

jedi jawa said...

I was in a Sci-Fi/Fantasy Lit class at WVU in 1996 though! How funny that we both would find such a class to be interesting. I still apply things that I learned from that class when looking at the elements of a basic Sci-Fi or Fantasy story!

I've read some of Farmer's stuff ("To Your Scattered Bodies Go" ... not exactly my thing) but that story sounds very interesting. I'll have to look for it.

As for "The Lake House", we loved it (but we're both sci-fi nerds). BTW, anybody who goes "I didn't get it" should visit the wiki site linked here as it will 'splain it and talk about the source work (the Korean film "Il Mare") and the differences.

I think that Keanu is given a bad rap because he is cast in movies where he is expected to act in that stilted fashion. His method of acting in "The Matrix" is perfect for a Sci-Fi Cyberpunk genre story and if you notice, they all act that way in those movies. I'm sure you have as it sounds like you're also a closet Keanu fan. And I don't know how you can't enjoy a movie with Sandra Bullock in it. Well, maybe not "Speed 2". She's just so fun to watch, and easy on the eyes! :-)

Kelly said...

I watched this movie yesterday. I really liked it but I'm not as critical as others. Keanu and Sandra are 2 of my favorite actors.

The Film Geek said...

Others? Kelly, I said I LIKED this movie!!

Jana said...

I went to see that movie and I left the theater feeling as if I had wasted an hour and a half of my life. Not a big fan!

Kelly said...

You are usually critical of the movies I like. : )

Jana, who asked you? haha

jedi jawa said...

Film Geek! I need you to take note of this event. Kelly and I agreed on something! Yay! :-)

Well, I suppose we also agreed on the cuteness of her kid too ... something else that didn't involve WVU. ;-)

I'm glad that we both liked the film. It was a good one no matter what Jana said. Hey Jana, that wasn't when you had gone cold turkey on alcohol was it? Maybe it clouded your judgment. I'm kidding! I think it was awesome that you were able to do that.