Sunday, June 2, 2013

Close your eyes and think of something nice.

As a married man, sometimes I feel my life consists of me helplessly shuffling from one mistake to another. Some are careless, some have been well-meaning, and some I'm still not quite sure they were even mistakes in the first place.

The last time I rented a movie for my wife and I to watch? Turns out, it was a combination of all three. And I didn't even think that was able to occur.

I rented The Impossible knowing it was going to make me (well, us) cry. I'm a huge softy, I'll admit it. But while I genuinely like a two-hour emotional journey, it turns out my wife doesn't. At all. She watches movies to smile, laugh, relax and have a good time.

My bad.

While it completely devastated me like few films ever have, I am still going to recommend that everyone see this movie. The story is remarkably grueling, but so utterly incredible I was repeatedly left speechless. Unless you count the sobs of a grown man, of course, then I was quite the Chatty Cathy.

What amazed me, almost more than the actual story of this family somehow surviving the devastation of a tsunami, is how jarringly authentic everything feels. Sure, the performances are uniformly excellent (my God those kids were brilliant), but the scope and realism of the tsunami's devastation is what has continued to haunt me a week later. Truly incredible.

My wife, seven months pregnant, still hasn't completely forgiven me for this one. I found the story to be incredibly uplifting and miraculous (though I'll avoid labeling it feel-good). While she, on the other hand, found it to be suffocating and lacking anything remotely resembling joy. In fact, she's telling people not to watch it. I'm saying don't watch it...twice.

I'm going to give the Yays and Boos the night off on this one. Ultimately, deciding what to cheer and what to jeer proved to be, um, rather difficult. Instead, I'm going to break it down into what left me in tears and what didn't. First, the good news...

Good news (not sobbing, yet)
  • One time, just once, can I release a sky lantern, please? Seriously, is there anything cooler/more peaceful?
  • There are two boobs in this movie, each in separate single boob instances. One of them is good news. 
  • Lucas. This kid kicks all kinds of ass. I loved when he goes to work in the hospital. Made me (well, us) actually forget our harrowing grief for a minute. Maybe even two.
  • Cell phone Guy #2. You sir, have my complete respect. That was no way to leave it.
  • And that's it. 
Awful or Great news 
(weeping or about to)
  • As impressive as it truly is, the tsunami sequence is one of the most terrifying things I have ever seen in a movie.
  • Even worse than when it actually hits, are the parts where we see Naomi Watts thrown around like a rag doll.
  • And even worse than that? The aftermath. I still can't unsee her leg.
  • The road, littered with bodies.
  • Good God. What the Hell was that at the hospital? She tries to reach out to the woman next to her and all of a sudden I thought I was watching a bad Japanese horror movie. Seriously, it's like The Ring.
  • So, Lucas reunites a family, and I'm destroyed emotionally. Let's go tell Mom the good news! Mom! Mom? Aw, jeez...
  • I put myself in the shoes of the dad, played by Ewan McGregor, and for the most part, it depressed me. But when he left his boys? It enraged me. I get it. But still. Oh, wait. What about when he sees the lady? I think I literally almost died on my couch from sheer helplessness.
  • Boob #2 and Cell phone Guy #1. Both equally terrible, when it was the last thing you'd actually expect.
  • You want to see me cry tears of joy like a six-year old girl who just got a pony for Christmas? Just show me the Am I dead? scene. Or the scene with the boys outside of the hospital. That'll do it, too.
  • Okay, when someone tells you to think of something nice and you do the exact opposite times 900? Well, that's going to bum me out. Um, tremendously.
While I foolishly tried to keep this post light-hearted, this movie is the direct opposite. Previous personal record holders for saddest cinematic experience had gone like this: Gold: Marley & Me with my wife (we had just got our dog, Dodger) Silver: One True Thing with two girls in college(I saw that in the theater, had to call my mom when I got home) Bronze: The Green Mile on a weird double-date that I wasn't privy to beforehand (I remember most of the theater sobbing in unison).

Looking back, I actually enjoyed all those movies. But the people I saw them with didn't.

My mistake.


  1. I actually knew a guy that was there during the tsunami, and obviously his story was crazy. He just ran into the jungle and climbed some trees. Which seems easier than it probably was. I could never bring myself to watching this. I probably will one day, when I feel like crying into my big pillow.

  2. That's crazy. I was in Hawai'i at the time and remember it feeling surreal just being in another tropical location. But damn, dude. Climbing a tree? I can't imagine doing that under intense pressure.

    Was that a Mike Myers reference? Even if it isn't...brilliant.

  3. What a beautiful review! I still need to see this one. I won't be able to get my husband to see it with me, though. He shares your wife's belief that movies should be fun and entertaining, not devastating. :-)

    1. Thanks.

      Let me know what you thought, when you do see it. Clearly, it wrecked me. But maybe I'm just a, wimp.

  4. Oh I was a mess after seeing this one. I found the film to be a little manipulative, especially that big reunion scene where they annoyingly kept missing each other, but the acting was amazing and the tsunami sequence was horrifying indeed.

    Cell phone Guy #2 FTW!!!

    1. I agree the ending kind of poured it on a bit thick, but I was so far gone it didn't matter to me. Still, a solid point.

      Right? That guy. He was the best.

  5. Gosh, the tsunami sequence really was terrifying wasn't it?
    I liked this film well enough, maybe not as much as other people.
    Tom Holland gave an impressive performance.

  6. All kinds of terrifying! I still shudder about it.

    I definitely liked much as you can like something about real-life devastation, anyway.

    Tom Holland? That young man is a force.