This past Spring, a good friend and I started what we hope will be a new tradition for us--a monthly Movie Day. Actually, we could call it our Movie Day Book Club. We choose a book that we both want to read. Then, once a month, we go to Little Rock, discussing the book we read on the drive there and during a nice lunch. Then, we see a movie at Market Street and discuss it on the way home. (Sometime during the day, we usually manage to drop by a bookstore or two and visit Whole Foods.) You're jealous now, aren't you?
This month's novel was Wally Lamb's The Hour I First Believed. We both had a love/hate relationship with the book. We thought it was well-written, loved the literary allusions, and liked the questions it raised. However, we found the novel somewhat depressing, the mixture of relatively current real-life events and fiction troubling at times, the PhD thesis interpolation interesting but distracting, and sometimes we just didn't like the main character very much. But overall we were pleased with our choice--lots to think about and to discuss. This next month, we're going to read Marilynne Robinson's Home.
Independently, we check out the movie schedule before we go, and, so far, it's been kind of funny--we've each settled on the same movie before we even discuss it. Is this a great friendship, or what? This week we saw City Island. I won't spoil it for you, but I will say that it's a really good movie. It made me sad, but at the same time, I couldn't stop laughing. Out loud. The movie explores how hard it is to be real with the people we know and love best and how our actions are like stones thrown into a pond--they plunk down into our own lives, changing them forever, and they ripple out and touch the lives of our family and friends. Yet the film also affirms the power of love. It's not a depressing movie; it's a life-affirming one. Two thumbs up. Or maybe I should say four.