Tuesday, March 4, 2008

In Town

OK, I'm back from the warm sunny skies of Florida to the cold grey weather of Wisconsin. When the plane came out of the clouds in Wisconsin giving us all a landscape of total grey and white, all the passengers let out a collective groan. It was quite comical. It does feel good to be home despite the weather. Ocala, Florida is this bizarre mix of "Golden Girls" meets "Boyz in the Hood" with a Nascar chaser. I felt like a total fish out of water. At least I know how to handle the white-bread world of Wisconsin, as bland as it tends to be.

I was in Florida taking care of a loved one. Because of that, I was able to watch a lot of movies and bad TV. The highlight of my viewing was most definitely watching Woody Allen's 1989 masterpiece "Crimes and Misdemeanors". I have long been a big fan of Allen's work and I know I saw the film back when it was first released, but I don't remember it leaving much of an impression on me. The thing is, I was only 19 years old in 1989 and not mentally ready for the themes Woody explores during the movie. Those themes would be; fidelity, importance of family, religion, murder, consequences of actions, good over evil, nostalgia, and love. These are familiar themes to any fan of Allen's films, but as far as I'm concerned this film explores them better than any of his others. This is one of Allen's draumadies, so it is hilarious in parts but the drama is what really hooked me in.

The plot is sort of separated into two segments, with Woody at the center of one and the amazing Martin Landau at the center of the other. I will not give away any plot points, but I have to say that I was more emotional during the final 2 minutes of this film than any I can remember. Woody always tends to be a "glass half empty" kind of guy but this movie explores how people can get that way. More importantly, he touches on the potential light at the end of the tunnel that we all use to see each day through. Perhaps it was my circumstance last week with facing my Dad's mortality, but this movie pushed all the right buttons for me and really made me question how and why we live our lives the way we do. If you have never seen it, go to your local library now and check it out. It may actually change your life.

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