Whenever a movie is described as a southern gothic, I've learned to expect that it will be very close to what passes for my normal life. Such was the case with Chrystal, a dark, lonely look into a world that I know all too well: desolation, maiming, lost love, and gallows humor. Billy Bob Thornton stars as a man who has killed his child and crippled his wife in a drunk driving accident. The plot is graceful, the characters deeply compelling. Much of the movie centers around Chrystal's (Billy Bob's wife) broken neck. While she can still walk, she has tremendous pain from her fused spine. This is where she believes that she carries her lost child. And while there is a lot of wicked behavior in the movie, there's an undercurrent of kindness and faith that flows beneath everything. At one point, two men from the University of Chicago come to the small southern town to research a book of folk music and get their car stuck in the mood. When the driver asks his blind companion what they need to do, he says, "Wait for a Samaritan."
Which I suppose we're all doing much of the time. Stuck in the ruts of our own suffering, digging ourselves deeper with each effort to get out, we often have to wait for help. I think about my old hometown, a place I could not wait to get away from. And how I get lonesome for it now from time to time, wishing that I could go back to my old block and see my neighbors from the past, those who have been dead for a long time. And those summer nights flickering like fireflies. Much as we try to catch them, they leave so soon. Whenever I visit now, the past enters me like a spike, forcing me to catch my breath, easing up when I see someone I recognize who knew me a long time ago and hasn't quite realized I've been gone.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"I'm not trying to stump anybody. It's the beauty of the language that I'm interested in.” Buddy Holly
Drinking movie suggestion: Chrystal
Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Monday! Congratulations to Mark for getting his license back -- watch out world, the walking man is back on the scene!