Monthly Archives: April 2013
To escape the heat of the day, my aunt and I went to the mall. We hoped to catch a movie but found the selection wanting. We weren’t in the mood for Sarah and John Lloyd, so we turned to ‘The Croods’.
I didn’t see the trailer of this animated film; the poster suggested a reboot of ‘The Flintstones’ or a human version of ‘Ice Age’. My anticipation rose a few notches when I saw the director was one of the guys behind ‘How to Train Your Dragon’. So with little expectation (other than to enjoy some air conditioning), we entered the cinema. An hour and a half later, we emerged from the cinema with smiles on our faces. We were entertained.
Visually, there was really nothing to complain about. The scenery was lush–the jungle was an obvious nod to ‘Avatar’ while the hybrid fauna looked like plush toys in my mind already. The rendering of the many kinds of light (sun, moon, fire) against textures of hair and skin was fantastic.
However, in terms of story-telling, the film utilized quite a ‘primitive’ approach. The characters are stock and the narrative elements do not seem to meld together. Even the voices of the characters didn’t register as done by big film stars, except for Gran’s voice–I deduced it was Cloris Leachman after a few lines. (I mean I had to Google the voice talents of this film, and was quite surprised to learn that Nicholas Cage voiced the father. Wow, I thought, he hadn’t acted like that in a long time!) Fortunately, these shortcomings were easily upstaged by the brisk pacing, and the right combination of slapstick and pop culture-skewing humor. My favorite character: Belt.
Contrary to other’s opinions, I found the running gag of pesky mother-in-law very funny and entertaining. Maybe because I grew up watching ‘John & Marsha’, I’m not sure. Over-all, ‘The Croods’ is a funny and touching film that entertained me immensely, and for its young audience, it imparts a sweet message about the importance of family to one’s life, and the importance of embracing–not fearing change.
Didn’t some song say, “endings are just beginnings?”
In 2010, I went through what my aunt called a ‘midlife crisis’–precipitated perhaps by my bout with clinical depression. I’m not sure which came first; it’s like the proverbial question about the chicken and the egg, I suppose. Many bad things happened then: I quit my job, quit almost all of my professional and personal relationships, and I almost killed myself, among others.
But the past year has been kind to me. I was able to go back to school and almost complete my Master’s degree in Public Health (just one itty-bitty course to go). I made amends to the people who were important to me for the way I behaved towards them when I was un-well (some bridges I left broken–they weren’t worth saving). And I made new friends in school and at work (something that I thought I had un-learned to do).
Career-wise, though, I felt adrift. I wasn’t sure I could just go back to my former work, because I felt my survival was life’s signal that I needed to make changes in that aspect of my life. My writing was the next obvious choice. So I pursued it. Circumstances seemed to validate my theory. My stories and poems got published again. In no time I found myself training under the country’s top screenwriter, in preparation for a writing job in the country’s top broadcasting company.
So I allowed myself to drift towards that direction, like a leaf on a stream. It felt like (because on hindsight, it really was) a fresh start. But I wasn’t the wide-eyed young man that I was more than 15 years ago. Not anymore. Though everything seemed new, nothing felt fresh. I was fortunate to be in a happy workplace but I didn’t feel happy. I enjoyed instant gratification, but I couldn’t stand doing something that in the long term will prove meaningless.
I have deep respect for those who can thrive in this milieu; but it’s not for me. It took me a while to figure it out but good thing I managed to extricate myself from it.
With the new month, came a new opportunity. To go back to ‘where I felt I really belonged’. Doing what I do best for my community. I’m just fortunate for being able to do all of these, traipsing around, finding a beat I could dance to, going off-tangents, before settling down. And then, everything is new once again.