Life is better than a movie

Friday, January 2, 2004

Most of you have probably recovered by now from any revelry regarding the new year.

Fortunately or unfortunately, I don't have a problem with late-night partying. That's because "late night" for me is anything past 9 p.m.

Occasionally my wife and I go a little crazy and stay up to watch "Judging Amy" until 10 p.m. On rare occasions, both of us remember how it ended.

That's the bad news.

The good news is that we can watch almost any "Judging Amy" rerun and not remember what happens.

I can say that about a lot of movies, too.

We went to see the third installment of "Lord of the Rings." I can't remember that many people dying on the big screen since "Braveheart."

I'm not ashamed to admit that I took a little snooze during some of the battle scenes as Frodo got closer and closer to the volcano. It was a volcano, wasn't it?

In the movie, Frodo is famished and weak. So was I by the end of the third hour.

And we still had to sit through all the teary goodbyes.

By now you probably realize I think the makers of the trilogy could have wrapped things up in a lot less time and with far fewer battles.

And you also realize why I am neither a movie maker nor respected critic.

I tend to judge good movies like I rate good books: the shorter the better.

There have been some good movies recently. One of the funniest we've seen in a long time is the Jack Nicholson-Diane Keaton farce for those of us who are age-advantaged. My wife and I laughed all the way through "Something's Gotta Give."

Afterward, we wondered if any movie that kept us laughing for nearly two hours would do well financially.

For one thing, we worried that you would have to be a certain age to appreciate some of the humor -- particularly the bedroom scene with the mix-up over his and her glasses.

We're looking forward to "Calendar Girls," too. This looks like another bit of verge-of-bawdy humor that only folks with hair my color can really appreciate.

After a couple of years of terrorism, war and financial distress, I'm looking forward to 2004 with a good deal of hope.

Yes, there will be a lot of slogging through heavy-duty politics as we decide who the leader of the greatest nation on earth will be for the next four years.

But let's look on the bright side:

We don't ever have to live through the past again. The future might be worse or it might be better, but it will never be the same. I don't accept that if we ignore history we are doomed to repeat it. If we ignore the lessons of the past, we are certainly more likely to have future problems. But they won't be the same problems.

Modern science and technology continue to make our lives better. Just consider the advances humankind is making to ease the hardships of living so long that previous advances made possible. I guess that's good. Right?

Every new year brings a new generation of bouncing babies. Some of you call them grandkids. My wife and I call them wishful thinking. But that's what the new year is all about: hope. We never give up.

May your new year fulfill every expectation for which you are willing to exert a little effort.

Happy new year.

R. Joe Sullivan is the editor of the Southeast Missourian.

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