Saturday, September 5, 2015
I've always been a tremendous fan of the Danny Kaye version of THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY. It`s a thought-provoking/comedy classic, co-starring the incomparable Boris Karloff and Virginia Mayo, that I will always love. When I had seen that Ben Stiller was remaking the film, to be released Christmas 2013, all I could do was cringe in despair. But Ben did the dirty deed and it was forever done, regardless of my fears. And alas, finally, the Xmas angels sang and the day of horror arrived and I went to judge the movie. Within minutes all l I could think was: thank the gods for small but mighty miracles. So what, after that first theater viewing and countless succeeding home viewings, can I say about the Ben Stiller remake of THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY...
It's truly one of the most technically beautiful films I've ever seen. Every shot is perfect and all the extreme, direct-down overheads are all impeccable graphic works of art that are literally framable. The focus and perspective is flawless, and the color-correction is impeccable. Inspirational even. Which is what this film is about. Not just "feel good", but "inspiration". It's not about the practical, sustainable reasons most people slave for in life –– it's about the impractical, almost always intangible, poetic absurdity we wish was reality, that we live for.
I am Walter Mitty. I know that. Whether I'm simply putting away the pepper grinder or driving down the highway, I constantly wake up from daydreams where I`ve been deep in another world, another story, and I didn't even know I was gone. It can be a bit unsettling how I sometimes get from points A to B, but I always do. Which says a lot for human autopilot. Although autopilot is what all my dreams are trying to avoid.
At a pivotal moment in the film, the use of the classic David Bowie song, SPACE ODDITY -- which most think of as that Major Tom song -- is how I feel every time I launch into a new project, be it film or writing. I have to leave my capsule if I dare. And I always find myself stepping through the door and floating in the most peculiar way...and the stars always look very different on that day, high above the world. The planet earth is blue and there`s nothing I can do. So I float and I go on, wherever the dream might take me. And I've never "not" been terrified, that maybe this time, I just might not make it back to Earth again.
And did I fail to mention that many moments in THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTYare laugh-out-loud funny as hell. The helicopter pilot sequence in Greenland is classic.
From the film, Space Oddity with Kristien Wiig: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-oQO-kGU2lA