I watch a lot of movies. I like drama, suspense, political thrillers, and comedy the best. Just recently I saw Contagion, and I had to ask myself, “What is it about watching a bunch of people die from a deadly virus that I enjoy?” It even took place in my home town of
, which made the whole scenario seem that much more realistic. Minneapolis
In any movie there’s going to be conflict; without it, there’s no story. But while some movies we watch for escape – pretty people doing fairytale like actions, other movies, like Contagion, we watch so we can be horrified without being at risk ourselves. It’s the equivalent to riding a scary rollercoaster: all the thrills, minus the danger.
So I ask myself, if my life was a movie, what sort of movie would it be? It could be a gritty urban high school drama, like Dangerous Minds or Freedom Writers, because the high school where I teach has a high poverty rate, and also a lot of minority students. But I’m not nearly as inspirational as Michelle Pheiffer or Hillary Swank, and when I watch those movies I laugh cynically at how unrealistic they are.
Besides, while I have my fair share of trials and tribulations, I’m pretty lucky when it comes right down to it. I have a wonderful husband, two beautiful, healthy children, my parents are still kicking around and doing great, and there are no nasty people stalking us or threatening our livelihood. That rules out both drama and suspense. In addition, there are no ghosts, spirits, or demons inhabiting our house (that I know of), and we’ve never been visited by aliens, although my seven-year-old son still claims that he is one. Still, I think I also need to rule out horror and science-fiction.
I’m not nearly important enough to be the center of a political thriller.
And while I’m happily married, I’ve been married for ten years, and I’m no Julia Roberts, Meg Ryan, or Jennifer Anniston. So I’m pretty sure my life wouldn’t qualify as a romance.
Unless I’m forgetting a genre, I believe that leaves comedy. My kids can say and do some pretty funny stuff. The same is true for my high school students. My husband has a wicked sense of humor, and I like to believe the same about me. So yeah, my life would have to be a comedy, but it wouldn’t be a slap-stick, Bridesmaids sort of a comedy. It would be more like an independent film, quietly funny, where the actors aren’t as good looking as normal, big screen stars. Think Away We Go with pregnant Maya Rudolf and John Krasinski with a beard. It’s a comedy, but it’s all about where they’re going and what they’re doing next. It makes you laugh, but there are serious moments too. Not everything is wrapped up at the end, but that’s a good thing. The soundtrack is full of artists you’ve never heard of, but maybe you’ll download it from itunes later.
In the end, that’s a lot better than having my life be like Contagion. It may not be watched as much, and there may not be all the big-name stars. But Gwyneth Paltrow doesn’t die in the beginning either. And that’s saying something.