I had good intentions to write three blogs during recent weeks. I had the titles, I had the ideas, but I just didn’t have the damn time! Yes, I’ll happily point the finger at Christmas.
There have been parties to go to – i.e. multiple mornings of sore internal organs and burning pee. Christmas is surely the only time of year when it is deemed normal and entirely socially acceptable to binge-drink for a fortnight. Of course, there is also the inevitable gift shopping, putting up the tree – not only for oneself but also for elderly relatives – going to school plays, or simply falling asleep on the sofa feeling like shit because of sleep depravation.
I used to love Christmas – yes, I can’t deny that in most respects I still do – but the effortless enjoyment a child gets from the season is somewhat lost in adulthood. There are less elements to simply enjoy and far more elements to plan, re-plan, compromise on, argue about, and then open a bottle of wine to get sloshed to try and ease the pressure of trying to please everyone. I did something of a sob-worthy festive blog on this very subject last Christmas. I read it again today, almost exactly a year to the day that I first published it. I don’t wish to blow my own trumpet, but I’m still rather proud of the piece. I concluded with a resolve to have a wonderful Christmas and exude all the heartwarming wonder and magic that I experienced as a child. I jinxed it. Two days after Christmas I contracted Norovirus and spent an entire night hugging the toilet whilst repeatedly projectile vomiting. Thus, I consider last year to have simply been a trial-run. This year is Round Two, the real thing, a chance to have another shot at sorting it out. So far I’m off to a good start, yesterday I spent the afternoon getting smashed with my mother on Baileys and Matchmakers which for me, and I’m sure millions of others, are two products that are entirely symbolic of the season; it’s simply not Christmas without consuming Irish Cream and Matchmakers until you’re feeling sick.
But first – a festive movie review!
I must admit to have never watched Forrest Gump – but I believe it’s a story about Tom Hanks and a box of Milk Tray. Well, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty has been compared to Gump. I can’t comment on that comparison, but having seen Walter Mitty in a pre-release screening at CineWorld I can report that it’s definitely worth seeing. Sure, I love a thundering 3D action-adventure CGI blockbuster as much as the next guy but Mitty has the cosy feel of a small and thoughtful independent film (although it’s not) with a moral lesson at its core; get out of your rut and do something with your life! Walter (Ben Stiller) is a restrained and deep man who works in the photographic negative archive of the once-prestigious LIFE magazine. He daydreams about the infinite ways that he could have done so much more with his life; instead he joined a corporate machine and let the years roll by entirely adventure-free. The magazine faces a restructuring, a downsizing, a move to online delivery and the imminent release of its last printed issue. Walter is in charge of processing the cover photo for the final issue. Opening a film canister sent in to him from a much-admired globe-trotting photographer he discovers that the vital negative is missing.
I’ll not spoil the rest of the plot, but the movie centres around his journey to recover the missing image before the deadline. Predictably every challenge on his epic voyage makes Walter grow into the man he should have been, and he emerges more vital and complete than he could ever have imagined. It’s a heartwarming tale – I hate writing such shit – but it really is. From the outset you’ll know where it’s going, but you’ll like it nonetheless. I can almost guarantee that on the way back from the cinema you’ll be looking in the travel agent’s window and giving real consideration to skipping the January sales to bugger off abroad to ‘find yourself’. Don’t expect to be blown out of your seat, it’s gentle, it’s charming, it’s wholesome – go see it!
Now, off you go and have yourselves a merry little Christmas!