Monday, July 21, 2014

To A Muse

Most of the time, my wife and I agree about the movies that we see together. Sometimes we don't. I was reminded of this the other night when we passed by Albert Brooks' "The Muse." First of all, I understand that Albert Brooks is an acquired taste and I had already made up my mind years ago, when I was a single guy watching those early short films on Saturday Night Live and even before that with his very quirky standup appearances on variety shows. By the time he started showing up in George Clooney movies and voicing animated fish, my wife was won over, but not with The Muse.
Maybe it has to do with the comment she made early on during our repeat viewing: "I would like that job," she said in reference to Sharon Stone's role as Muse to Albert's struggling screenwriter. She went on from there to comment on how she would rework details from set design to key story elements in order to bring her vision of a real and true Muse to life. Nothing corny or roller disco about this one. I listened to her go on for a few more minutes, and after Jeff Bridges' scene was over, we decided more or less mutually, to turn it off.
That's when I started thinking about the nature of the Muse, and how this story was really quite accurate. The idea that you could simply invite a Muse into your life and expect that things would proceed in an orderly and predictable pace seems ridiculous from the start. This is where the comedy starts. Albert Brooks knew this, and mined that vein. If you expect to have a loving and supportive relationship at all times with your Muse, you should probably stick with Xanadu. Even Olivia Newton John had her moments of instability. Gene Kelly got it.
Meanwhile, back to that late night where my wife and I were disagreeing about this movie. We have both stayed up late or woken up early to wrestle with an idea that has come to us and we just couldn't shake it. We have both sat in front of blank pages, waiting for that spark and nothing comes. It is a stroke of genius on my wife's part to choose as her next career option to be that spark. And, of course, it was long after she had fallen asleep that it occurred to me that she had done just that for me. Here I was, wrestling with this notion that would eventually become this blog, and there she was, resting peacefully. Clever girl.

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