17/10/2015 by Siddiqui Fayesal
I have a feeling, a wanting and a strong desire, fueled by 1 litre of Real Orange juice, to write about this.
So I will.
This is, partly, a musing of Morgan Freeman’s character in the movie The Bucket List. A dying guy who wants to drive a Shelby as one of his dying wishes and who is helped by a complete stranger in doing it. We’ll get to this ‘help-a-stranger’ part towards the end. Anyway, he is helped by none other than Jack Nicholson. After all, Jack Nicholson, between the two of them, has the moolah.
The movie was on my list for a long time and I really have no idea who suggested it to me. There is a big possibility that I put it on my list after only seeing the star cast. I mean, come on, Jack ‘The Shining’ Nicholson and Morgan ‘insert-any-movie-here’ Freeman together? Who wouldn’t want to see something like this?
Frankly, I am not a movie buff. So if these two have other movies together then I am not aware of them. I don’t really go out of my way to find awesome movies. I’m good with a book. That said I cannot prevent myself from seeing something that comes from people whose choice I respect. Although, there has been cases when I have seen very strongly suggested movies after a few years. There is one movie that I haven’t seen even after 3 years of being suggested to me. There are many like these. Anyway…
Disclaimer done, I can now say what I wanted to.
I saw the movie and loved it. Acting prowess was never in question but the way the story has been narrated and how these two pull of a few scenes is great in its own way.
Another disclaimer in 3… 2… 1…
I cry easily. This might shock some people while some might smirk in a knowing way. Anything can make me teary eyed. I don’t bawl and beat my head. I am simply overwhelmed. Like when Edward (Jack Nicholson) finally makes his way to meet his daughter at Carter’s (Morgan Freeman) insistence. He walks in and the daughter has a watery smile; sees his grand-daughter and that split second scene when he looks at his daughter nodding towards the kid as if asking for permission, got me.
After 2 seconds, I got even more teary. He kisses his grand-daughter whom he’s seeing for the very first time. He’s almost crying. The daughter is almost crying. The grand-daughter is giving this killer smile that only a kid can pull off.
The next scene shows him cancelling an item on his list: ‘Kiss the most beautiful girl in the world’
These things and at times sometimes even some banal nonsense make me teary eyed. It can be anything. A great scene. A great dialogue. A great narrative in a book.
Yes, it happens. The Holiday? Another movie with a stellar cast has Jude Law explaining to Cameron Diaz that he is a W.I.D.O.W.E.R and why he kept it away from her. When he tells her he has cows and he sews? That made me snivel too.
By the way, Hans Zimmer’s Maestro is A.M.A.Z.I.N.G!
Anyway, The Bucket List has a more than a few of those moments which might not really appeal to a lot of people. The moment when Edward is told about his illness and that he won’t survive the year is another one which didn’t actually overwhelm me, but there was this feeling of utter sadness in the way he waves the doctor away without really listening to the rest of his case.
Then, the time when they’re driving back home and Carter asks Edward how did he know that he’d say no to the lady at the bar and Edward replies with an “I didn’t”!
There are too many like I said.
This has actually turned into a post telling people that I weep while watching movies and reading books. It’s fine. The true intent, however, my ramblings notwithstanding, was about the character of Freeman. Carter is that person that stabilises the eccentric Edward. Edward, who goes to board meetings with his personal coffee maker and not really seeing where his life is going. He wasn’t really in control of his day to day and neither was he worried about it.
After Carter comes in, accidentally, Edward is slowly pulled into the aspect of life that he wasn’t really aware of. Okay, aware is too strong a word. However, he is forced to start seeing things in a different way. Coming back to the scene where he ‘kisses the most beautiful girl in the world’, it was at a whim that he had jotted it down. He hadn’t really meant it. When Carter asks him how he would end up doing it Edward simply replies with ‘Volume’!
Carter laughs at that. Even he knows Edward wasn’t serious.
But would he have met his daughter if Carter hadn’t tried to make him do that earlier? I don’t really know. That is not the point anyway. Carter was the Rock that the freely flowing Edward needed to take stock of where he was going.
In Urdu there is a word ‘Thehrao’ which in a manner means to slow down and take control or to be more aware. The closest word, loosely no doubt, which resembles this in English, is Subsidence. At least that’s what my Urdu to English Dictionary tells me. Subsidence is the process of becoming less severe. It really fits in well with Thehrao, actually.
So, yes, that’s what Carter brings to Edward’s life; a sort of control in a very un-manic manner. In a slowing down to smell the roses way!
Edward addresses Carter’s funeral he slowly takes their Bucket List out and crosses out “Help a complete stranger for the good”. (Yes, this one too). It speaks volumes to their friendship, of the relation that they shared and the strength of it was based on only a 3 month period.
Carter writes a letter for Edward which he receives after he dies. The narration speaks in Carter’s voice. A dead man talking and it’s beautiful.
Wouldn’t it be awesome to have such a friend?
Wouldn’t it be even better to be such a friend?
Get a tattoo? Is that the sum of your ambition? Edward, I have taken baths deeper than you.
Then there is this!
Dear Edward, I’ve gone back and forth the last few days trying to decide whether or not I should even write this. In the end, I realized I would regret it if I didn’t, so here it goes. I know the last time we saw each other, we weren’t exactly hitting the sweetest notes-certain wasn’t the way I wanted the trip to end. I suppose I’m responsible and for that, I’m sorry. But in all honestly, if I had the chance, I’d do it again. Virginia said I left a stranger and came back a husband; I owe that to you. There’s no way I can repay you for all you’ve done for me, so rather than try, I’m just going to ask you to do something else for me-find the joy in your life. You once said you’re not everyone. Well, that’s true-you’re certainly not everyone, but everyone is everyone. My pastor always says our lives are streams flowing into the same river towards whatever heaven lies in the mist beyond the falls. Find the joy in your life, Edward. My dear friend, close your eyes and let the waters take you home.
The last months of his life were the best months of mine.
PS: To “whomsoever” it may concern: I will see Invictus soon.