October 16, 2009

WHEN IS SEIZE THE DAY NOT SEIZE THE DAY?

Here is the answer to the A-List Quiz of the Week which I posted on our Facebook page.

In case, you don't want to look at the clips, here is the lowdown.

In Dead Poets Society, Knox goes to a party where his love interest Chris will be.  He ends up kissing her which sort of sounds like Seize the Day, right? 

Wrong? 

If you want the long explanation and some more discussion about this sort of thematic beat in general, checkout my article on The F-d Up Permutation in the last issue of Craft & Career.

Or if you want to play along, watch the videos and try to see the dozen or so clues that the writer and filmmaker are giving us that this is not seize the day.

Otherwise, scroll down to the quick and dirty answer.

Watch from about 2:20ish to 4:00ish here...



And then watch the first bit here, the continuation of the party...



This movie is about having the courage to stand up and defy everyone else's expectactions and find your own passion.  Well, there are like a dozen hints that his need to kiss her is more akin to peer pressure and insecurity than passion

A couple making out is our first image of him in the party and we see that he enviously watches them and eventually Chris dancing with her boyfriend.  He gets drunk which takes him further away from his true self.  And there is even an ironic twist: he gets drunk faster because two guys mistake who he is.   That's funny.

Then he stumbles into the party and the framing is such that he is surrounded by two or three kissing couples in every shot.  In the CU he actually gets smushed by the kissing couple.  Hmm, what's on his mind?

Then he discovers he is sitting next to a sleeping (passed out?) Chris.  She is not interacting or being part of this choice.  She is just an object to him.  And then Knox still takes a swig of alcohol to get the (liquid) courage to kiss her. 

Okay, do you get it?

The lesson is that when you tell your story, you have to hit this thematically icky moment where the hero gets close to what looks like the victory/achievement but will actually turn out to be the exact opposite: the worst thing he or she could have done. 

I heard a rumor of a thing called a short blog post, so that's all for now.  If you want more, check out the newsletter.

I am off to see a really bad Hollywood movie.  Parameters: matinee, less than 95 minutes and can fit in before the next important thing I have to do.

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