If I’m Flying Solo, At Least I’m Flying Free

I like making resolutions. I seldom keep them–who does?–but I certainly enjoy the concept of making them. With age, I’ve gotten better at making fewer, more realistic targets for myself and then hitting them, which I’m assuming with have a trickle down effect on other areas of my life. Anyway: a few years ago my friend Sarah made a resolution to see a movie by herself (which she kept when she saw The Notebook and bawled the entire way through), and I thought it was such a good idea I decided to steal it. Why? Because we’ve been conditioned to view the movie-going experience as something which has to be done in the company of others; people who see movies alone get labelled as social pariahs, even though it really doesn’t matter who you’re sitting with once the lights go down (well, unless you’re Alanis Morissette). We’ll watch movies alone when we’re at home; what’s so different about the theatre?

Today, after doing two presentations at an all-French high school (which went extremely well, but which were also incredibly nervewracking), I decided to see for myself and bought a $4.20 ticket to see Reign Over Me. I knew nothing about this movie except that a, Adam Sandler is in it; b, the title is a reference to a Who song; and c, Pearl Jam recorded a killer version of “Love, Reign O’er Me” for the movie’s soundtrack. Sandler’s presence should have been a red flag, but Pearl Jam’s tacit endorsement overweighed it, and so I went. The verdit: it’s an extraordinary movie…and Adam Sandler–yes, the same Adam Sandler who gets beat up by Bob Barker in Happy Gilmore–turns in an unforgettable, career-altering performance as a 9/11 widower whose life is completely destroyed by the death of his wife and three children. Two scenes (I won’t say which ones) are especially heart-wrending–and when you’re watching them, you’ll be pinching yourself and saying, “I can’t believe that’s Adam Sandler!” I’m actually in awe. Sandler’s performance is also notable for two other, unrelated reasons. One, his character bears a striking resemblance to Bob Dylan. Two, at one point he utters the greatest line in movie history: “Quadrophenia changed my life, Johnson.” I think that even eclipses the Tommy line at the beginning of Almost Famous.

So please, do yourself a favour and see Reign Over Me–either alone or in the company of others. Make sure you stick around for the end credits, when Eddie Vedder lets wail, but most of all marvel at Adam Sandler’s acting (and no, I can’t believe I wrote that either). In the meantime, I’ve got on more night in Sudbury before heading back to Parry Sound. I’m having a great time…and I can’t wait to get home.

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6 thoughts on “If I’m Flying Solo, At Least I’m Flying Free

  1. So, I’m a social pariah, am I? Crud. I’ve been going to movies by myself since Mr. Baseball in 1993 (I think). And I think technically Bob Barker kicked Happy Gilmore’s ass. 🙂

  2. Yeah, that’s what I was coming to say Jeff: Barker kicked Happy’s ace!However, I’ve always known Adam Sandler to be an incredible actor. I’m glad he’s had the good fortune to be given some serious roles. I think a lot of directors might be scared off by his comedy near-typecasting.And, come and live by yourself in Europe, and you’ll view going to the cinema by yourself in a whole different light. It’s one of my new hobbies since I moved here! I went and watched A Good Year in the cinema by myself last night…one of the most pleasant movies of the year.

  3. Steve your thumbs up will ensure that I do go with my gut and see the movie, I love Sandler, but seeing Don Cheadle is what convinced me that it might be the real deal of a movie.

  4. Jeff, your social pariah-ness has *nothing* on mine. I’ve seen The Phantom of the Opera, alone, four times…which is saying nothing of seeing Rent alone in New York when I was eighteen and getting a girl’s E-mail address after the show (long story). Jeff and Jeff, I’ve never actually seen all of Happy Gilmore, so you’ll have to forgive me for that one. Gavin, you’ll cream yourself over the soundtrack.

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