Thursday, May 07, 2009

'The Soloist' ...

Yesterday, as my mom and I walked out of the theater, both of us sniffling, I turned to her and said, good-naturedly, "Thanks for raising me to be such a sap."

"The Soloist" is an amazing film, both heartbreaking and uplifting, and Jamie Foxx is a lock for another Oscar nomination.

I marvel at his talent as an actor. For a man who got his start acting like a buffoon (or a buffoon in drag) most of the time, he's parlayed his early success into a career well on its way to being distinguished.

Set against the backdrop of the homeless population in Los Angeles, this film made me sharply aware of the need to do more with my life. There is simply no excuse for me to not use, to much better effect, all that I've been given.

A minor subplot of the film is the ongoing staff reduction at the L.A. Times. Writers like Steve Lopez, played brilliantly by Robert Downey Jr. (I am thrilled by his acting renaissance), are an endangered species, and this film made me wonder about a world without newspapers. Who will tell these stories when they're gone?

Some might say that these stories don't matter. I would vehemently disagree. These stories are not separate from us, they are us. The story of Nathaniel Ayers is unique, just as each of our life stories are ours alone, but his complex tale of passion and pain shines a light at once on the beauty in the world and a side we'd rather not see.

The homeless population in Los Angeles numbers 90,000, and as the movie points out, many of the inhabitants of Skid Row and beyond are not average folks who've had a run of bad financial luck. Rather, many are people who are coping with numerous mental and physical problems.

And yet, some, like Ayers, have extraordinary gifts, and all of them play a part in this world.

I came home and printed out a label that I stuck on my monitor that simply says, "DO MORE."

And I will.

I am.

Every day.

2 Comments:

Blogger Rick Hamrick said...

Nothing like a little perspective, huh?

I'm with you in knowing the importance of those of us who are more fortunate seeing how millions of us are living.

You are so right: it is not "them" but "us."

9:04 AM  
Anonymous Mikeachim said...

Doing more is powerful. Because, perhaps counter-intuitively, it *allows you to do even more*. It's not finite. It's a little engine, making energy and cool stuff. If you look after it, it looks after you.

I too am thrilled that Robert Downey Jnr has found a way to make the most of his amazing abilities without burning out in a blaze of talent and drugs, as was looking likely at one point. And looking forward to Iron Man 2.

7:09 PM  

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