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American Beauty - The Desian Universe
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deskitty
deskitty
Des
Sat, Mar. 17th, 2007 01:43 am
American Beauty

I'm a bit sick, and very sleepy. But I have a few thoughts floating around that are worth recording.

I watched American Beauty tonight at Andy's. It is one of the most honest movies I've ever watched.

I saw it once before, in ... high school, I think. It was a time in my life when I still thought I was straight.

There were only two small scenes that I remember from the movie. I think rewatching it tonight helped me understand why they were so meaningful.

The first scene is perhaps the most well-known in the movie -- the plastic bag scene. We see the beauty that is elegance; the beauty that is inherent in things being what they are, no more, no less.

The times in my life when I have been the most compassionate, the most human ... these are the times when I can observe things for what they are. These are the times when I can drop the labels and stop telling stories.

Sit. Just ... sit. Find the quiet space within you.

>>>

The other scene is less well-known, but equally powerful.

For most of the movie, we see Ricky's father, Frank Fitts, as a hard, uncompromising Marine Colonel. But when he enters Lester's garage, he suddenly becomes human. We watch as, in a brief moment, the facade of discipline falls away, leaving a withered, tortured boy who wants to be loved as Nature intended him to be. We see, in an instant, the lie of his straight marriage, his sexuality, his entire material life ... fall away.

What of the lies--the stories--we tell ourselves?

>>>

I feel almost hypocritical even writing this entry. Here I am suggesting we stop telling stories to ourselves and those around us -- and what do I do? I use a story to explain my point. I try to explain in words what words cannot possibly express. Words are merely abstractions. There are no abstractions, not really.

Here I sit.

-- Des

Current Mood: sleepy sleepy
Current Music: American Beauty - Plastic Bag Theme

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amethest
Amethest
Sun, Mar. 18th, 2007 06:07 am (UTC)

Stories used as examples to explain concepts that only you can see in your head, is a different usage than using a story as a facade to lie about who you are or what you want.

The one is and attempt at more meanful connection; the other keeps us apart.

Lester died because after Frank finally put down the story, and then was rejected, he couldn't have Lester living. Not so much in the sense of "you know to much" but that he was lashing out against his own shame in slipping on his facade.

People are dangerious when they rely to much on the fictions they have created.

I wrote an essay on AB when I was in university, didn't do very well on it. I thought Lester was the perfect everyman because he managed to be completely ordinary and still allay five seperate forces against him.

It's a wonderful film.

Kevin Spacy and Chris Cooper rock.


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deskitty
deskitty
Des
Sun, Mar. 18th, 2007 06:33 pm (UTC)

Stories used as examples to explain concepts that only you can see in your head, is a different usage than using a story as a facade to lie about who you are or what you want.

That is true, and I was referring exclusively to the latter in my post.

That said, the two types are related. At best, you can only communicate down to a certain level of detail. At worst, you are misunderstood. The story becomes misleading, even if not intentionally so.

Plus, there are those concepts which just don't lend themselves well to words. There are concepts which can only be well-understood through direct experience. (How do you explain "red" to someone who's never seen it?)

Lester died because after Frank finally put down the story, and then was rejected, he couldn't have Lester living. Not so much in the sense of "you know to much" but that he was lashing out against his own shame in slipping on his facade.

I don't know. Frank's mode of thinking is completely foreign to me. Intellectually, both ideas make sense and I understand what you're saying. But I cannot emotionally fathom why Frank made the response he did, and I think that is something I will never be able to understand.

People are dangerious when they rely to much on the fictions they have created.

Yes indeed. History is filled with such examples.

It's a wonderful film.

Yeah. It's on my to-buy list. ;)


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