How Do I Know the Weekend is Coming?

Denzel-Flight[1]

When you don’t have a regular 9:00 to 5:00 – Monday to Friday type job, it can sometimes be a challenge to keep track of time. But I always know when the weekend is upon me. All I have to do is check out my blog stats page. The weekends bring the inevitable rush of views to my blog inspired by the following string of search words – is Flight a good movie. When I see the number of times this happens, I am stunned.

If I only think about the state of my stats, I end up wishing I was someone who reviewed movies and blogged about them. I apologize in advance to all the people who will come to my site wanting a definitive movie review – though it did turn out that my earlier post: “Flight” – A Good Movie for a Writer to See.   was well received.

Is it just because Flight is such a good movie? Would this have happened with any movie? I don’t see many new movies so I have no way of finding out one way or the other. I just know that all weekend people will end up at my blog while trying to find out if Flight was a good movie.

The other search word that brings people to my blog every single day is – Georges Seurat. If you haven’t heard of him, he is a famous painter and the founder of the school of painting known as pointillism. Hard to say what state my stats might be in if it weren’t for Seurat and the movie, Flight. Take no offence my loyal followers – I speak only in jest In love

When you look at your stats page, do you see a string of search words that don’t have much to do with why you are writing a blog, but keep bringing people around? It would be great fun to hear what they are.

“Flight” – A Good Movie for a Writer to See.

Last night my husband and I went to see the movie, Flight, starring Denzel Washington. I had no idea what the movie was about – I had seen an advertisement on a billboard coming out of LA – Denzel looking pretty handsome in a pilot’s uniform and the title. That’s it. 

 

As we approached the theatre in San Luis Obispo our conversation went something like this:

When’s the last time we went to see a movie in an actual theatre?

I can’t even remember.

I think it was Slumdog Millionaire.

But wasn’t that the Christmas Emma was born? Four years ago – wow!

When on holidays one should do many interesting things. That’s our motto. And seeing a movie is good for a writer. If you watch a movie carefully you can learn a lot about the way to move a plot along from scene to scene, characterization, dialogue, and story arc. As an added bonus, you can do all of these things in less than two hours. Of course, reading novels is a great way to accomplish the same thing, but it takes longer.

Flight, is an amazingly ironic and subtle movie – like an onion, one can peel back layer after layer of meaning – it all depends on how deep a person wants to go. And that depends on what the person came into the theatre with in the first place – much as it will be when (hopefully) a reader picks up my novel.

The scenes of the plane crash had me on the edge of my seat with my hand over my mouth so I wouldn’t gasp out loud too often. Denzel Washington was utterly believable in the role of an alcoholic and drug using airline pilot whose life is falling completely apart. The movie is dark and gripping from beginning to end and for anyone who has even a smattering of experience with what addiction can be like – eerily familiar. The type of movie that makes you feel a bit queasy as just what you expect to happen does in fact happen.

But for the writer, there are so many other levels. Here is a story where the hero and the villain are all wrapped up in the same character. There is no doubt that Captain Whittaker is a hero – he managed to pull off a miracle – crash land the plane and only lose six out of one-hundred and twenty people. In simulator tests after the crash, ten pilots tried to pull off what he accomplished and all ten crashed the plane and killed everyone on board. At the same time, Captain Whittaker is a man who blatantly stepped into the cockpit of a plane under the influence of alcohol. He was responsible for the lives of every person on board that plane and he was drunk and high on cocaine taken in order to counteract his use of alcohol. He saved the lives of one-hundred and fourteen people and yet he betrayed the public trust. Interesting juxtaposition – isn’t it?

For the movie viewer who likes to see a form of justice done – Captain Whittaker does end up in jail. In yet another ironic plot twist, hitting rock bottom and going to jail frees him from his addiction and reunites him with his son. A touching moment occurs at the end of the movie when his son comes to the prison for a visit. He asks to interview his dad for his college entrance exam on the topic of the most fascinating person I never met.

The movie raised an interesting question for me. Could Captain Whittaker have done what he did in the cockpit that day if he hadn’t been in the condition he was? Maybe if he had been sober as he was supposed to be, he would have crashed the plane and killed everyone on board as all the other pilots in the simulator did. Now that is irony, for sure. He saved the lives of so many people and yet he went to jail for breaking the public trust – another irony – justice or a miscarriage of justice? Who can say? No easy answers. A movie that makes a person think – good work Hollywood! That’s exactly what I want my writing to do.