Sunday, March 02, 2014

Laugh or Cry!

You can either laugh or cry about Alzheimer's.

I laughed all the way through Nebraska, the 2013 comedy about an older man trying to collect his prize after he receives a letter telling him in large, bold print that he has won a million dollars.

Of course, he is told that there's an "if" in small print, but he still believes he is a winner.

I went through this with my mother when she got repeated mailings from Reader's Digest Sweepstakes telling her that she was a winner.

Just like the son in Nebraska, I tried to convince Mom that she was still a few stages away from winning a big jackpot, but she persisted in thinking her doorbell was going to ring and she was going to fly to Plainsville, New York, to claim her prize.

She had her suitcase packed and would call me to discuss which outfit she should wear when the big day came.  

Bruce Dern does an excellent job of playing the confused but lovable old man, Woody.

Will Forte from Saturday Night Live portrayed Woody's younger son David, a salesman of audio/video electronics, who finally decides to drive his father to Lincoln, Nebraska, to let him walk into the magazine office and discover he has not won.

The roadtrip with his father is hilarious, from the losing-false-teeth episode to peeing on the side of the road to visiting Mt. Rushmore.  I've done so many of those trips with my mother that it was fun to see the humor captured on the big screen.

Reacting to his father's antics, David's emotions range from frustration to grim persistence to moments of sheer love.  I was with him 100%: been there, done that.

Director Alexander Payne also did a great job presenting the dysfunctional family around these two: David's mother, brother, aunts, uncles, and cousins.  If you liked the crazy but true-to-life family in The Descendants, also directed by Payne, you'll love these folks.  

Some people don't like this film.  Its subject is too scary.  After all, if your parent has Alzheimer's, you have a good chance of getting it too.

But hey, the situations that arise are genuinely funny.  It's your choice, to laugh or cry.

I choose to embrace our common destiny and laugh.  

As Rashi said, "Accept with simplicity whatever comes to you."

(This quotation appears at the beginning of another funny/sad film, A Serious Man, directed by the Coen brothers in 2009.),0,240582.story#axzz2usnDdKTc

No comments: