I watched Mike Leigh’s Another Year tonight. It had woven within it something that I cannot name. Maybe it is the reason why I still read stories or listen to sad songs, or beautiful songs, or will look at pictures of faces. Maybe it’s just one reason of many equally undefinable reasons.
It made me think that maybe I can grow old, walk through long years over and over again and die good, proving a hundred angry songs wrong. Maybe I can become a man without selling my soul to cool, and give until it hurts and wake up the next day and find reasons to call joy into life. Maybe I can be good. Maybe I can die good. Maybe I can be relentless and good for many years no matter what they say, until death makes me stop.
Every summer, I come back home and at some point will believe the lie that I have no friends, I never have, and will never make any, and all the memories I have of love and laughter are hollow elegant tricks I feed my brain. Each summer I fly home, and days become quiet, and still, and the phone is quiet and still, and eventually I let myself hear stupid things. Sometimes I’ll think thoughts I’d never tell myself, like “You are lonely.” “You are the only one.” “You’re gonna die alone.”
But what is alone? In the truest sense of that word, I have never been alone. I think everyone has some brand of abundance, and if they deny it and don’t see this then they will become depressed, and will try to take from other people.
I think I’m starting to see the abundance. I have a license to give without reserve. I see that this can be difficult, but I think I can do it, and I think I can do it for this year, and the next year until my years are done.
This film is “unmarketable.” It consists of long scenes of everyday talk. The main characters are not hip anti heroes. They are just good people trying to make the most of things. There is no flashy camera action. There is no mega indie minimalist one-shot trendy camera style that is equally asking to be noticed. Scripture is read in the film once and it’s not supposed to be a subtle satirical message about organized religion. Good characters smile and laugh in the film, and it’s not supposed to be a subtle satirical message about people who seem to do the right thing but only act happy. There are long silences. There are lonely people, and sad people. The film sees these people, perhaps not knowing what to do with them, but it sees them and it really looks, and it causes others to look, like John Lennon did, even though he didn’t have answers and he only had a guitar. In this film, there are uncool people. There are good people.
Everybody is talking about Transformers 3 right now, because it’s dope or whatever, or several months ago it was something else that was super funny, or really cool and awesome and well made, and most people will never see this movie, because this movie is a “boring movie.”
But I was riveted, because I saw that there are still good guys walking around who see the lonely people and who still give a shit and do something about it, even if it’s just opening up the front door for the night. Even if nobody gives them credit. Even if people don’t know you saved the world. Even if a hot girl you know doesn’t know you saved the world. And there are still people who want to talk about these people or be like these people. I don’t want to be Sam Witwicky with his supermodel girl thing who replaced Megan Fox, who people talk about because he saved the world in New York or someplace slick and modern and full of potential fans and drinking buddies. I want to be the old man who opens the door for the night to the lonely people.