Best movie ever? Go.
Nope, not Citizen Kane, not Gone With the Wind, When Harry Met Sally, or Princess Bride… not Titanic (dear lord, no) or even any of the 43 gazillion Star Wars franchise movies (yeah, I know, them are fightin words to some of you freaks, I mean, fans out there).
I can’t even believe I’m going to say it’s not It’s a Wonderful Life, either… because I could (and probably will) write whole epic blogposts just about the brilliance of that movie and its 1001 life lessons. No, as mad at myself as I am about this, I’ve given it a lot of thought, and the clear winner of the all time best movie EVER is…
Hands down. No contest. Thanks for playing.
No, not “Castle”, the TV show. That stinks (actually, I’ve never seen it… but I say that for dramatic effect). I’m talking about THE Castle.
You’ve never heard of it. I know. This is what gives me the license to say this with such self aggrandized authority. You can’t possibly disagree with me. And to do so will require you to take the necessary steps to see it for yourself, which only means you’ll be playing right into my little scheme. See how this works?
Here’s the trailer, cause I KNOW you want to watch it now… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rpqT_l7QcBM
Ok so quick synopsis: It’s this obscure, low budget Aussie film, made circa 1997, about an unremarkable little family who literally live right off the runway of a major airport, in a cracker box palace of a house. And they LOVE their little cracker box off the runway. Thus, the stately title. And of course, the conflict comes when they find themselves fighting to defend their Castle when the airport wants to expand.
What’s so great about it, aside from its general offbeat quirkiness, quotability, and awesome soundtrack, is how it’s a celebration of the stark, raving mad beauty found in the commonplace. I mean, these people don’t just LOVE their awful little home, they LOVE their mundane little lives. And most of all, they LOVE each other. They celebrate each other’s “wins” (like their underachieving son digging a hole in the yard), and daily praise of mom’s cooking (Dad: “What do you call that, love?” Mom: “Chicken, doll!”
Dad: “Yeah, but it’s what you DO to it…” Mom: “Seasoning!”). And all with that delightful Aussie accent.
It’s sheer magic.
And it makes me think about my own mundane, unremarkable life. The life that will largely go unnoticed, where my main claim to fame is my 2nd degree connection to Kevin Bacon (you’ll have to read a previous post to get up to speed on that one). I’m not really all that different from my fictitious Aussie friends (I know, that’s the 3rd time I’ve used the word Aussie… wait, now it’s four… someone stop me…), except in one respect. I don’t always recognize how remarkable my life really is.
Now, I will be the first to tell you that I am blessed to live in a lovely home. By comparison to that little movie shack (not to mention about 90+% of dwellings in the rest of the world), it really IS a castle. And I actually have an amazing husband and daughter. I’ll tell you all about them some time. I’m sure you’ll look forward to that obnoxiousness.
I have a good life.
But the truth is, there is way too much in the day to day about which I am… hmmm… how shall I say this? Shall I be religious and call it “holy discontentedness”? Or can I just be brutally honest, and say I am pretty much an ungrateful WHINER? Cause that’s what I am. Even knowing how good my life is, I still have this strange sonar device within me that sends out *BEEP*BEEP*BEEP signals, deep into the ocean of my existence, scanning for some fault to fret over, some flaw to worry about, some foible to interfere with the fantasy I’ve concocted of whatever a “perfect” life is supposed to look like.
No, I’m not proud. And admitting it, albeit a step in the right direction, doesn’t in and of itself magically transform me into a Unicorn of Happiness. Oh, that it could…
Why do I do this? For the same reason I guess you might, too (you didn’t think this is all just about me, now did you? ;^) ) We know what the right answers are. But knowing what’s right can be especially annoying when our hearts haven’t caught up. Besides, it’s EASY to find fault. It’s FUN to complain. It’s EFFORTLESS to overlook the sublime right in front of our faces. Gratitude is WORK, man! To actually be INTENTIONAL about OPENING YOUR EYES to what’s lovely in the midst of the ordinary, or worse, the straight up difficult… Who’s got time for THAT?
I think we both know… we need to MAKE time for it. Seriously. And not just because it’s the right thing to do (because, well, it is… but somehow that word right puts us off, in a “Shut the preach up, Pollyana!” way), but because we desperately NEED it. We are shortsighted people, so caught up in what’s missing in our uneventful lives, and all the while missing what’s truly extraordinary: the stunning scenery we are immersed in and the wonderfully quirky characters we get to interact with. Every single day.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble,
whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—
if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
I get it. I got problems. You got problems. We ALL got problems. They’re not going away. But let’s face it. We’re blessed. Yeah, I said it. Yeah, it’s a church word. But it’s appropriate, so I’m sticking with it.
I’m writing all this down, by the way, not because we don’t know it. We do, all of us, deep down. But we need frequent reminding. So here’s our reminder. No need to thank me. Just watch the movie, I’m telling you. Cause when you and I both forget about this blogpost… we can just watch The Castle again. That’s always re-calibrating.
Ok, so how about this? Tell me something GOOD about your unremarkable life… or send a picture… or write a haiku… your call… and I’ll enter you for December’s Random Drawing of Random Awesomeness!