In the words of John Hughes, master movie maker, “Life moves pretty fast. You don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
A wise man recently reminded me that my life is like a movie, and it’s up to me to decide what kind of movie I’m making. In my twenties I wanted to live my life like a Quentin Tarantino script directed by Tony Scott. True Romance, starring Christian Slater and Patricia Arquette, was a wild ride with an extraordinary cast of characters and (of course) an epic soundtrack.
There is a theory that in all the stories ever told, there are really only two storylines: The Hero’s Journey and A Stranger Comes to Town. Quentin and Tony made a masterful combo of the two by bringing our hero all the way from Detroit to Los Angeles with a stolen case of drugs and a pink Cadillac. The lesson: life goes on and the party never ends.
Then, in my thirties, I switched gears and related heavily with Joe Vs. the Volcano; “if the right one don’t getcha, the left one will.” Even though it’s campy in a way that only Tom Hanks could pull off, this film handles real life issues: the endless 40-hour work week, suicide, the fact that no matter how many friends we are fortunate to meet along the way, we all came into this world alone, and we will die alone. And who could’ve predicted that I would end up greeting people at the airport like Meg Ryan’s second character?! Flibbertigibbet; a job I am well suited for, even though (maybe because?) it is sporadic and unpredictable.
Lately though, it feels more like I’m living in an Orwellian B movie. As I head up Highway 82, singing along to Golden Oldies from the 1980s, eating Starbucks egg bites, (I’m pretty sure eggs are at least one of the ingredients) I often look over at the next car to see a rage-filled old man yelling and shaking his fist. Strange days indeed, to see elders acting like children: stomping their feet, red in the face, screaming “mine!”
For as long as humans have been telling each other stories, you’d think by now we would have a more developed plot, more exciting dialogue, more strong female lead characters… But each new interpretation merely emphasizes the already well-documented human condition. Me First.
Humans are so full of ourselves. I think part of the reason we shoot and stuff other animals, and hang them on our walls, is because we envy them. I mean, how can we truly appreciate the other award-winning performances in the big show when we are blinded by the spotlight?
And with such arrogance comes great loneliness. No other animal feels so forlorn. They all know what they are here to do: eat, sleep, and produce offspring. That’s it. And that’s enough. But humans try to control the situation, to alter nature’s course to match our own. What we really need is a predator, something to thin the herd. At seven and a half billion and counting, let’s face it, we are the invasive species.
Unlike (wait for it…) wolves. Wolf movies usually portray the animals as rabid killers who can only see prey through their bloodshot eyes. More Michael Douglas in Wall Street than Sally Field in Steel Magnolias. But just like us, wolves have complex family situations: excommunicated children, sibling rivalry, festive holiday dinners around a carcass.
And now their reintroduction to Colorado will be on the 2020 ballot. This is the first time a public vote will decide their fate, instead of the usual bureaucrats-for-sale process. And what a blockbuster it will be! Just think of the merchandise profit potential. (Like there aren’t enough of us middle-aged women in oversized wolf t-shirts wandering around already.)
I want the message of my independent film to be change your perspective, change your life. We are free and able to change our minds and change our movies; let nature take its course and appreciate the whole eccentric cast, realizing everyone has an important role to play. In fact, that may just be the point of this whacky film fest we call Earth.