Pilgrims

Spent this glorious anniversary avoiding the television and news. Seeing actual footage from the day, particularly the final collapse, makes the bottom fall out of my stomach. Watching the insane hatred spawned, and by people who would have at the time and still will to this day spew the most rancid opinions about a city I love like a family member, is not an option. So I grabbed the kid and headed to the theater to see Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.

It’s a sweet movie, though you must hold your nose around some initial icky Diablo Cody-esque cuteness. Way less smug than Juno, it features the wonderful Michael Cera, the only current actor I can think of who can plausibly say, “He’s my cool gay roommate” without smirking at how meta his character’s being. What I like best – SPOILER – is that when Scott dies for love, it proves to be futile and, well, kind of stupid. When he gets a second chance and fights for himself, he kicks serious ass. Edgar Wright, who directed and co-wrote with Michael Bacall, seems to have come out of nowhere, but it’s a real team effort, and DP Bill Pope and editors Jonathan Amos and Paul Machliss deserve monster props for some fine and furious storytelling. I think I liked it more than the kid, who was able to tell me every single video game reference. He did sit with his friend at the back of the theater, away from The Mother, so I can’t gauge how uncomfortable the love parts made him, though he did tell me he didn’t really think any of the girls were anything special. But as his mom, why would he tell me anything different?

To see a movie state pretty blatantly that love doesn’t conquer all is refreshing, particularly and naturally in light of what the spouse and I have publicly shared lately. Scott Pilgrim is about people actively striving to be happy, rather than striving to lose themselves in another person. Along the way, hearts get broken, and yet there is a sweet affirmation of the resilience of those stubborn little muscles: Love will happen again, as will life and happiness. Fires that burn long must be carefully tended, and the kids in this movie are all way too young to even think about anything like that. They want to be happy, and while love can make them that way, they know that’s it not the only path. There’s a whole big world out there and, however fucked up it is, it’s still got some pretty awesome parts.

I’ve noticed this healthy trend in the Eldest. She’s told me she’s simply not interested in some guys because they have way too many issues. She’s certainly not immune, and her heart will break again (it already has a few times), but because Getting Married, or even Finding the Love of Her Life is not her top priority, she’s creating, living out loud, and sounds, often, genuinely happy. And of course, there’s really nothing better to wish for.

Time here is short. There are so many things to celebrate, and there are things to mourn. There is no time to waste being angry, or petty, or willfully stupid. Not a bad thing to take away on what is, after all, just another September day.

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