Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Broken body's nothing to a broken heart.

We've talked about having another one. We have. And apart from the financial implications and the fact that we would never have our own lives, the main reason we hesitate is the What if... factor. What if there were complications? What if he/she was born with health problems? We've fortunately got two healthy, happy kids, already. What if something went wrong?

Obviously, everyone wants a healthy child, but why, in my mind anyway, is a disability akin to a death sentence? Why am I convinced that a good life can't be had? Oh, I know why - I'm a thoughtless, uncaring a-hole, too caught up in wanting everything just so. And as a Brown, I should know better...

In 1989's My Left Foot, Daniel Day Lewis plays Christy Brown, a real-life man born with cerebral palsy in the slums of 40's Dublin. The film chronicles the life of Brown from boyhood all the way to adulthood, when he published his autobiography in the mid 1950's. And while the life story of a man who could only control his left foot certainly had the potential of a feel good movie!, it would be hard to say that that's the direction this film went. It's dirty, it can be tough to watch, and it's not incredibly uplifting. But it's true, it's incredible, and it's rather inspirational, too.

The determination (or some would say, stubbornness) that would serve Christy so well as an adult, was clearly forged early on. Seeing young Christy (brilliantly brought to life by Hugh O'Conor) pursue acceptance and worth (mainly from his dad) was equal parts harrowing and fascinating. I'm not sure of the exact number, but the Brown's seemingly had, hold on...carry the two...17,000 kids. Fine, my math may be suspect, but trust me, they had a lot. And somewhere in that mix of dirty faces is Christy. Laying in his little pen behind the stairs (think Harry Potter's room at Uncle Vernon's...but worse). In a word, this whole situation is f--ked.

But like most families, they simply find a way. Whether it's porridge for dinner, again, or carting the disabled Christy around in a makeshift wheelchair for years (think box + wheels), the Brown's, as ragtag and disheveled as they are, end up being a loving and resilient bunch. Hell, even Dad, who's a perpetually soused a-hole, has his tender moments...just not a lot of them. In a weird way, though, that 'tough love' inadvertently helped Christy rise to the heights he did, I'm sure of it.

I'd be remiss not to mention Daniel Day-Lewis, who absolutely vanishes into the role of Christy. Likely a unanimous selection for the Best Actor statuette, Day-Lewis' performance feels as authentic as any I have ever seen. It could have gone too far, could have come off showy, but this is a master at work. After that childhood I described above, it's clear that Christy has lived in his own personal Hell for years, and Daniel Day-Lewis captures that mix of determination and desperation with such skill it's hard to forget. Sure, he shows us what cerebral palsy has done to Christy's body, which is a remarkable feat in itself. But even more impressive, is Day-Lewis shows us what cerebral palsy has done to Christy's soul, too.

Not remarkable, physically or spiritually, are the Yays and Boos. Even if they had left feet, it's likely they wouldn't paint, write, or do just about anything with them. They'd probably be just like my brother Bryan and bite their toenails all day. Which, not that I have to tell you, is f--king disgusting.

  • Dad, like I said, is a real prick. But when some guy at the bar questions him about his crippled boy? Well, he's Irish. At a bar. What do you think he does?
  • I loved how the neighborhood kids treated Christy (they even let him play goalie!). Though, all those boys may have been siblings, huh?
  • One kid, has this advice about sex: You put yer thing in her thing fer thirty minutes. You get a baby? Sixty minutes? You get twins. Solid logic, right?
  • They hide their little porno magazine under Christy. Sorry, but that's awesome.
  • When Christy finally writes M-O-T-H-E-R it's pretty much the best thing ever.
  • Much of this story is told in flashback, which works well. 
  • But the most intense scene? Oh, that's with adult Christy, and it takes place in a fancy restaurant. It's kind of a celebratory lunch of sorts, as Christy's work has been placed in a gallery. Hnnestly, it is about as painful to watch as the last ten minutes of There Will Be Blood, if not more so. I've never been so in love with something I couldn't bring myself to look at.
  • Brown and Sons Contractors are on the job!
  • Bar fights. I'm pretty sure a ninety year-old woman kills a man with a bottle, just because it feels good.
  • The accent. We're treated to some heavy use of Me Ma, which I'm always a fan of. As in, who made this porridge? Me ma did, you sonuva bitch.
  • And finally, no 80's movie could end without it. Oh yeah! FREEZE FRAME!
  • Christy's mom. Not that this lady deserves a Boo, in the least, it's just the shit that she deals with that I wasn't a fan of. The stairs!
  • Speaking of...that shopkeeper lady? What a bitch.
  • As was that lady that tried to teach Christy to read early on. C is for c--t.
  • Honestly, guys. Can we get a wheelchair ramp in this f--king shithole? Please?
  • Christy paints a nice picture for this young girl Rachel, and guess what? She likes it. Well, she did, till her slut friends made fun of her. Then she goes and breaks Christy's heart, that dirty tramp.
  • Remember when I said I loved the mom? Well...hold on. There's a point where she gets upset by Christy's progress with learning and communicating. I get this, sure, but what the f--k, lady? Maybe if you and your f--khead of a husband could stop banging, I'd listen to your misguided lamenting.
  • Dad. Way to go, man. Way. To. Go.
  • And finally, Christy's wife. She seems like a nice lady in the movie...but do a little research. Apparently, not so much.

You know, seeing a family have so many kids, has actually inspired me to think about having another one myself. I'd like another boy, but another girl would be great, too. Maybe I should come up with a good name that would work either way, something unisex and classy. Maybe even name the kid after a famous person from a movie. Someone real inspirational, known the world over.

Hmm. My last name's Brown...maybe...oh, I got it. Duh. It's so obvious, right?

We should go with Doc.


  1. You're not the only one who thinks about the What If. The wife and I have thought the same thing with all three pregnancies...and if we happen to have another...we will think the same thing. Just be glad you're not a Duggar. You'd have to worry about that every time God decided you needed a baby, which is apparently every 9 months.

    1. Every time I get into a car that isn't an eighteen passenger van full of kids with J-named kids, I think, I'm glad I'm not a Duggar.But I wouldn't mind a wife that was down to get it on presumably every day for two decades, that might be nice. Even if it turned me into a bumbling goofball, incapable of understanding teenage emotions.

    2. I'm really waiting for them to have their Watergate and for Jim-Bob's porn addiction to become public knowledge. I can't wait for that 20/20 interview.

    3. If that's the case, I'll set the DVR now.

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