“You’re very pretty but you’re shallow beyond belief.” – Dell, Comet (2014)

Comet (2014)

Rated R Sci-fi/drama

Writer and Director:  Sam Esmail
Cast: Justin Long, Emmy Rossum
Cinematographer: Eric Koretz
Music: Daniel Hart

We only get to watch a movie for the first time once. Comet is, for me, now one of those movies that, while I’m grateful for the experience of this “time-based art”, it’s an experience I wish I could recreate as a new experience every time I watch it.

Although characters not uniquely driven by their fears and desires, sometimes catching fleeting glimpses of happiness possibilities, Kimberly and Dell are honestly and refreshingly flawed – even equally so. So often we see the story and growth of just one primary character while Comet affords us the satisfaction of experiencing the growth of both primary characters.

We experience this growth against a, usually, subtly surreal backdrop that allows us to remove the constraints that we would normally impose on these two, and on our own perspective, as they move throughout their world. Their world is familiar but different enough to allow for freedom from assumptions. The landscape is breathtaking and even brought tears to my eyes in moments when it was suddenly thrust into the foreground as an integral part of our characters’ stories.

Many of the dialogue scenes were shot in such a way that made me feel like I was watching a stage play – as if I were sitting right on stage with the actors, intimately observing both their joy and their turmoil and even feeling as if, like the landscape, I were participating in it. It reminded me of a monologue; even though you are aware that there are many beside you, you feel as if that character were speaking directly to you, beckoning you to see yourself in them.

And that’s really the point, right? Art beckons to us the same way that love does; to see ourselves in the other and to love and accept the other the way that we love and accept ourselves or, for many, to love and accept ourselves the way we love and accept the other.

We see ourselves in the highs and lows of Dell and Kimberly’s struggle to find the balance within so that balance can also be felt without, with the other. We seek out and hold on to tiny moments of true connection with another and, hopefully, like in the case of Dell and Kimberly, observe  growth spurts within ourselves through that connection. Complacency and criticism come so easily and expectation, negative or positive, distorts the beauty of reality, displacing the peace that exists in the here and now. Choose now, not five minutes from now.

For my Netflix friends, Comet is streaming as of today.

 

 

I was almost eaten by a mountain lion tonight . . .

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Okay not really but I convinced myself I was going to be. I was able to sneak in a quick hike after work but didn’t really take into consideration the fact that the days are getting shorter now and ended up walking in the dark with my iPhone as my flashlight. I learned, about 6 weeks ago, that there are mountain lions on the  mountain that I love to hike most (Bogg’s Mountain in Middletown, CA) and that they are especially active between dusk and dawn – HUNTING between dusk and dawn. So, now, anytime I’m hiking and it’s starting to get dark, I start imagining that a mountain lion is stalking me from between the trees just passed where my eyes can still focus.

I am well aware that my fear is irrational, although not completely unfounded because it does happen, it’s just really uncommon. These mountain lions are definitely not looking to eat me and, as I was explaining to them out loud on my hike tonight, eating me would just be disappointing; I’m just blubber and clothing; not tasty at all.

The information about safe hiking posted at the CDF station warns, in regard to mountain lions (who are a vital and cherished part of the mountain’s eco system), not to hike at night (strike 1), not to hike alone (strike 2) and to make lots of noise while hiking so that you don’t accidentally sneak up on a mountain lion and it accidentally bites your jugular in response. Since I was skating on very thin ice, as my scared little brain was so enthusiastically explaining to me, I decided to at least make some noise.

I started humming. That didn’t seem loud enough. I started singing and making random noises. Then I started talking to the mountain lions, as I mentioned earlier, that I was convinced were lurking just feet away; “Mr. Mountain Lion, you should probably know that I am not delicious . . . Mrs. Mountain Lion, I am totally not worth your time. I bet you’re used to eating tasty deer . . .” and so on. I’m not COMPLETELY crazy; I know the big cats don’t hang out together unless it’s baby making time, I was just addressing both genders so as not to disrespect either one – okay so maybe I’m a little crazy.

I decided to go back to singing and ended up “writing” a song . . . aaaaand decided to record it. I’m sure it’s a brilliant masterpiece as I don’t have a clue how to write songs but the part I’m certainly most proud of is when I had a moment of panic, completely forgetting that I was still recording, and sung, ” . . . la la la – this is NOT loooooking goooood -” I immediately started imagining what was left of my remains being found and the sense the ranger would try to make of my singsongy ramblings.

I did get a really amazing picture out of the whole situation. It was early in the hike when I should have realized I’d be walking in the dark in about 10 minutes but, stubbornly, pressed on anyway. Here’s to commitment – and a little bit of crazy.

Sunset from Bogg's Mountain

Sunset from Bogg’s Mountain