Saturday, March 08, 2008

My Afternoon with Debra Winger

I cried today. Not an uncontrollable sob. Not a sniffling whimper. Just silent tears running down my face.

Terms of Endearment was on TV. I saw the film a couple years ago and it almost failed to move me. Almost. And then the end hit me, and I was done. This time was slightly different. The end hit me. And continued to hit me. And then nudged me a little.

[Spoiler alert. If you haven't seen Terms of Endearment -- it came out 25 years ago, people -- and don't want to know anything about it, don't bother reading. Not that I give much away. I'm just being careful.]

It's the movie that tops almost every tearjerker list. But it's not really as sentimental as most of the films those lists tend to promote. This wasn't about unrequited love. This was about a messy life. About messy relationships. About imperfect people slugging through their short existence, trying too hard and not hard enough at the same time.

Jeff Daniels (as Flap) is brilliant. He's sincere. He's a jerk. He's vulnerable. He's an absolute lughead. Which makes him real. I'm sick of movies that make men either princes or monsters. Because I don't know many of either.

Flap: I'm thinking about my identity, and not having one anymore. I mean, who am I, if I'm not the man who's failing Emma?

I don't have a complicated relationship with my mother. I'm not in a damaged marriage. My kids don't hate me. I'm not ill. But I'm human. I'm wildly imperfect. And I can't imagine saying goodbye.

So call me a sap. I don't care. It's far better to tear up over a little boy sobbing as he shuts the hospital-room door behind him than to waste an afternoon watching a crappy movie about the gorgeous girl getting the gorgeous guy. Pretty people attract each other! How shocking!

is certainly not the greatest film ever made, but there's a truth in it that still resonates today. People still love. They still fight. The strong still crumble. People still die.

I've decided that I want to die at the exact second everyone I know dies. So no one is left behind.

P.S. Jack Nicholson usually creeps me out. Probably because I'm in his dating age range. But by the end, my "No Nicholson" wall crumbled ever so slightly.

P.P.S. I will never invite a guy into my bedroom to look at a painting. Watching old people seduce each other is hilarious, but not really my thing. Which is why my bedroom walls are bare.

No comments: