Every year, for many years, I've embarked on an annual quest. It may seem to some a simple thing - to view all films nominated for an Academy Award - but scheduling this effort around small children and living in the cultural Mojave that is the South Shore - has been a challenge. Some films never even make it to a theater down here. And then, by the time a film is nominated, it's often not playing anywhere at all.
And so, in the past, I've juggled priorities, traveled on trains, defied the weather, and occasionally my own safety, to catch a certain movie. I've watched films in ancient refurbished playhouses with tattered velvet curtains and no heat, and in sweltering subterranean catacombs deep beneath Harvard Square. I've crammed double and even triple features into one outing in order to economize my time. And I've packed on countless hot-buttered popcorn pounds for my efforts.
But last year, in the midst of the casino wars, I had to put aside my quest, grudgingly accepting the fact that I simply did not have enough time to do the things I enjoy and fight casinos.
But this year, Regal Cinema at the Independence Mall very magnanimously re-ran many of the Oscar nominated films. And so, between that, Netflix and a personal DVD player, I managed once again to see most of the year's best movies.
And what a great crop - though I'm going to admit right up front that I purposely chose not to see The Dark Knight. Frankly, I've had enough of dangerously unstable human train wrecks who fancy themselves jokers, for a lifetime.
But, since the fight is never far from my mind, I tried to find a message that we could take from this years best movies. (Spoiler alert...)
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Doing things backwards and expecting them to turn out well in the end is only a fantasy.
Eventually, the big guy's gonna talk.
Trust your heart and no amount of corruption, intimidation, manipulation or deceit will crush you. A strong team can fix a broken system. And never give up hope.
Vicky Christina Barcelona
A little drama may be intriguing, but just a little too much can be downright dangerous.
Complacency can be catastrophic.
Sometimes even the big leagues have to recognize the power of satire.
True fighters can take just about anything - except the blows from the people they care about.
There are more issues with Sovereign tribal nations than most people realize. Gambling addiction may marginally help fund tribal nations... but often destroys hard working families, many of whom never enter a bingo hall or casino. People can find always seek common ground - but living under separate laws drives us apart.
Sometimes people we hold in high esteem, turn out to be real jerks.
Never allow anyone to plant doubt in the midst of your convictions.
Real leaders lead by example. Activism requires action. There are no compromises and no concessions when you are fighting for your quality of life. With enough effort, holding a sign on a sidewalk can become a National Movement. And... you gotta give them hope.
The underdog really can win. The important things in life aren't about the money. Draw on your own experiences for the right answers to the tough questions. Never trust the slimy windbag with his own show. And seriously, try not to miss the victory dance when it's all over.