Life As We Know It. By @SergeantPluck
By Tom Flynn
Life As We Know It.
I’m not sure if you’re aware, as I’m not sure who really reads scabs, but Marc gave us a choice of tasks over the break, one of which was to call a friend you hadn’t spoken to in years.
That’s interesting, some creative wood to burn there (that, and it was far less emotionally taxing than volunteering at a fucking hospice at Christmas. Lewis you a sick fuck, wanting me to form affections for a soul in the process of shrugging off the mortal coil. Forcing me to confront my own mortality at a time when life is all jolly and shit. You’re a particularly odd brand of sadist.)
The friend in question you see is my best friend. I left for Scotland and he left for Australia not long after. Closest thing I have to a brother and I haven’t heard his voice in three years. So here was a lovely excuse to actually call instead of sending the odd diasporic text. We tried, but it didn’t work out, life got in the way. Now isn’t that a life lesson all to itself? Don’t worry Bob, we’ll talk real soon, I promise.
So now I’m fucked. It’s the second, and I’m running out of time to complete one of these tasks. My significant other and I decided we’d pick a film I’d never normally watch together. We settled on Life As We Know It, whose plot can be boiled down to;
- Friends have friends that hate each other.
- Friend have baby
- Parent friends die
- Baby left with friends who hate each other
- They learn to love each other and end up IN love with each other.
Those notes might seem a little odd, but the beat is a well-worn one in the wonderfully predictable genre that is romantic comedy.
Now the genre isn’t the reason why I wouldn’t normally watch this movie, I fucking love romantic comedies. They’re just what a man needs some days, they make you feel warm and fuzzy, and some of them are genuinely lovely piece of film. Améile for example is gorgeous. But I think people’s disdain of them isn’t all that unwarranted (YES you are cool, yes you are, yes you are. Tom speaks as if to a baby, or dog).
But I wouldn’t watch this film for exactly that reason. Parents fucking die in it. I don’t want to have to fucking process that when I want to feel warm and fuzzy. It’s not exactly a disruption of the genre, tragedy is present in almost any romance, but this one felt a touch too rough.
We liked it though, she and I both agreed we did get the warm and fuzzy’s after, but maybe for different reasons.
It made me wonder about the writer, there’s a scene where one character said he’d been musing on finding out where the Wiggles live, and killing them with an AK-47. Which to me sounds such a terribly dull murder fantasy, I know if I loathe someone enough to fantasise about causing their demise, it’d far more sinister than that. Like if I were to hate Marc enough to murder him, I’d build a time machine, and lure him into it using some delicious ethnic food, before sending him back to December 1849 in Moscow. In his confusion and fear, I, myself having also travelled back, would frame him as a member of the Petrashevsky Circle. Subsequently arrested, placed before a firing squad, terrified and unable to understand the Russian’s condemning him to death, he would feel a spark of hope as he sees the execution being stayed at the last moment by an envoy on horseback, only for it to be dashed when it is Dostoevsky that is pardoned by the Tsar and not he. His final emotion wouldn’t terror, but disappointment, moments before his blood seeped into the December snows.
^ That’s a murder fantasy, and granted it’s a particular absurdist one that not everyone might appreciate, but how could someone talented enough to write some genuinely beautiful and heart breaking moments as are in the film, be so boring with an equally universal, albeit darker aspect of the human psyche.
I mean the simple answer is the client wouldn’t go for it, which leads us down the avenue of thinking that all art in the modern era is constrained in some way by a need to make money, and that mayhap our own little brand of art isn’t the only one controlled by the commercial, but that’s a scab for another day lads.
Segways aside, while objectively bad, this was a genuinely beautiful movie. It explored love in ways I’ve rarely actually seen something in this genre do. Two people died in this film, who loved and were loved very much, and even when these people were gone, this love persisted long after they did. It made everyone involved grow, it made them better.
We love every day, we see a beautiful person on the tube and imagine our whole lives with them and then they get off at the next stop and we never think about them again. That not the kind of love that matters. I remember when I started making my own bed. I was seventeen (far too late I know) and I thought that if this girl I was mad about knew my mommy made my bed she’d never like me back, which is silly but it’s true. I don’t even remember what she looks like, but I still make my own bed. That was a love that made me better, it made me grow.
I’ve been fortunate this break, I’ve gotten to see most everyone I love. My parents, my friends, of course Kam. Seeing them did make me better and I think it’ll help with the growing to coming in the next few months. And while I didn’t get to talk to Bob, that’s alright, I love him too, so he’ll be right there if I need him.
Happy New Year Friends,