My favorite Albert Brooks film, by far, is "Defending Your Life"
Revisited it this weekend, on Universal HD (which has the most peculiar programming), and was completely won over by it again.
The central idea is that the purpose of life on earth is to overcome your fears. Once you've proven that you've done that, you're allowed to "move forward in the Universe". If you can't
prove that you've overcome your fears, you need to go back and start over.
Albert Brooks's character arrives in Judgment City
to defend his life. Key scenes from his life are screened and we see, time and time again, how he's routinely succumbed to his fears.
But while in Judgment City, he falls in love with a woman (Meryl Streep) who HAS overcome her fears, who's ready to move forward in the Universe. And so, he's forced to overcome his fears if he wants to be with her. (That's the dramatic conflict, get it?)
There's a lovely simplicity to the script. It's a fantasy film which means that rules need to be established, but it doesn't feel forced. And I just really respond to the idea that life is about overcoming your fears.My life is dominated by fear.
If you've read this silly fucking blog long enough, you probably have a sense of this.
Fear and desire and loathing. Fear at the top.
Even with all the exciting career prospects before me right now, it's hard to enjoy this time.
I tell my little inspirational story to people OVER AND OVER AGAIN. I don't do it to brag. People want to hear it. Sometimes they just feel obligated to ask. And so I perform it, like a pop song that used to be fresh but has gotten overplayed. People want to hear "Hey Ya!" even if they're sick of it; at least it gives them a reference for who you are.
But in the two years since this ride began, I don't think I've really been able to celebrate. It has been a tense two years. My closest friends wouldn't know what I go through on a daily basis. This is a long, dark ride. I don't know where the tracks are leading. It's hard to anticipate the turns.
Two very dear friends of mine had their first child this weekend. Sure, I have other friends who've gone out, gotten married and churned out their own muppets. But this is the first scenario where I consider both parents to be good friends of mine.
It's far more terrifying this way.
I haven't even met this baby yet, but I'm automatically invested in her long-term well-being. I want her to have a good life. I want her parents to have a good life. Because I will never fucking visit them in New Hampshire
I kid!!! I kid. Everybody, just settle down. What was I talking about, now...? Oh yeah...
I guess in closing:
a) I live in constant fear.
b) I'll probably die alone.
c) Albert Brooks has directed one movie that I like.