The Tree Of Life – Movie (Pop Cop)

"Tree of Life"

Image by Will-travel via Flickr

What does Jurassic Park, LSD and The Discovery Channel have in common?  They’re pretty much all in the movie called The Tree Of Life. I know, some people are oohing and ahhing over this film like it’s the second coming of The Sound of Music but frankly, it is not. It’s one weird ass long film and even though the effete intellectual snobs are calling it magnificent, I must disagree. A little. I have to say that part of it is magnificent in a visceral way.

Yes, the images and photography are fabulous but there are so many of them one after another, you get lost. And after about an hour I was looking at my watch which is NEVER a good sign. The movie opens with chanting in the background or angels singing or music you might hear in church. Don’t get me wrong, it’s melodic and beautiful and with it come quick images of molecules and lava, sperm and egg, church windows and creation of life images. They are amazing to look at and even though the movie is really long, part of me wanted to watch it in slow motion to savor each image but that would have taken the entire day and night.

Images of brothers, butterflies, baseball and bubble baths abound. The story takes place in the 1950’s in the Midwest where Brad Pitt stars as the stern, mean father. Jessica Chastain  is the nurturing mother and of all characters, I would have liked to see her character developed. I never did see Jessica Chastain before this movie but I’m impressed. Where has she been all our lives? With her beautiful red hair and her ivory skin she is amazing. I think now that this movie is out she has catapulted into stardom. One might say that there is no more character development for a mom in the 50’s but you want to know more about her other than that she is the fun parent, dancing, whirling and nurturing her children. She will go far, if she hasn’t gone far already.

Was I supposed to know that the big dinosaur beating down on the little dinosaur was supposed to portray the father beating down emotionally (physically too?) on his son(s). Was I to infer that the people on the beach (or wherever they were) in the end was meaningful and significant in a clear-cut kind of way? Heck no.Where exactly were they? The beach, heaven, Honolulu? It’s one (pretty) question mark after the other with very little dialogue and not much character development.

Yes, it’s pretty. It’s beautiful to watch ( for the most part.) Not always easy to understand. Pretty does not a magnificent film make. I’ve heard stories of people leaving the movie theaters during the movie and demanding their money back and I’ve heard of people who think this is the best movie ever made, that it was brilliant in every way. I would put it right in the middle.

In my audience, an artsy theater with plush red seats, no one said anything. When the lights were back on people looked at each other with question marks on their faces. The last person out of the theater was a middle-aged couple;  the woman turned to her husband and asked “what did you think?” He said “good!” She turned back to him, laughed, and said “You really didn’t understand a thing, did you?” He guffawed and admitted he did not; luckily she did not either.

That sums up the film in so many ways. It’s beautiful, confusing, long, magnificent, boring and asks but does not answer questions about the creation of life or death. It creates questions that are never answered. Too many things about the family are left out. A line from the movie was: “the way of nature, the way of grace, you have to choose.”If you understand that, great. If you don’t, join the club.

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thank you Ghandi

Apple Store San Francisco - Genius Bar

so i went to the snooty mall today, all anxious and not knowing where to go. my sense of direction is what legends are made of. as in i have no sense of direction, never did, never will. and jill was not working. yes, jill our gps helper person.  of course, when I have to go to the complicated mall jill just shows me an hour-glass going up, going down. i had no idea where i was going. had to stop a car in the next lane  and scream to ask for directions. it was all so seventies.  there was bumper to bumper traffic, what should have been a 35 minute drive took me over an hour and ten minutes. I was all jittery and hot and flushed since I didn’t want to be late for my appointment and nordstrom’s doors were locked tight and it was like totally dark in there so we were all milling around in the parking lot waiting to see if someone would unlock the doors because eventually they had to. right? i mean it is nordstroms….

i had a 10:15 appointment with the genius ( i kid you not, that’s what they are called) at apple and I was all running over shlepping my computer because the dvd player which I tried at home at least 12 times, was all of a sudden working. surreal, i know, totally  really surreal, like going to the doctor with a complaint and then as soon as she walks in the room, it’s gone. cured. just like my computer when he, the genius, put the Ghandi dvd in it that had scratches and i swear that Ghandi himself healed the computer’s dvd. no seriously, Ghandi himself fixed my computer and saved me about 200 dollars.

while my computer  was given a free, yes free, new keyboard, i walked around the pretentious mall and wanted to get an iced tea. there was a specially tea store and I swear on my life, they wanted me to pay $4.95 for a small herbal iced tea and i was so “i’m so out of here” because starbucks is even cheaper than this and i have a gift card. i walked around the mall slowly until two people (two different people) accosted me, shoving samples in my hand. and I was all fine and happy that i got free samples until I looked at them and saw they were samples for people with deep, severe, repeat deep, severe wrinkles. now i had two wrinkle cream serums and I thought to myself, omg, I must look so old and horrible and I didn’t even have an iced tea to drink to keep myself hydrated.

i’m in all sorts of pain and my back is all sore especially the lower middle back and i am tempted to cry but am trying to hold myself together because yesterday was a horrible day and everyone was in a miserable mood. today was a little bit better because it must be that Ghandi sent some more healing powers although it seems the genius who worked on my computer did something wrong and now my computer sounds like an airplane on a runway about to take off. but supposedly the dvd player is still fixed, just not sure if i can hear it now.

i met a really interesting friend of my mother’s who is an artist and somehow she inspired me in some sort of creative, optimistic way.  i am now thinking about taking an art class even though i know i have zero talent but i’m talking myself into trying again. i failed clay once and i’ve never forgotten it but i was in my twenties then and at 54 i really don’t care all that much. so i need a new hobby and now i have inspiration and a sunnier disposition to think about it. so i will plug away and maybe get involved in something new or maybe i won’t and will be the lazy slob i always have been and dive under piles of comforters and dream of spring.