At the Movies: The Tree of Life

I’m sitting there watching “Man vs. Food Nation” (which isn’t nearly as good as the original. I don’t want to watch unknown losers do food challenges. I want Adam and large amounts of food. No extras.) when the phone rings.

“Roy.”

“Pitt.”

“Did you see my new movie?”

“Yes I did.”

“Aaand?”

“I don’t know what to tell you, Pitt. I saw it a few weeks ago and I still don’t know what to make of it. It’s so weird.”

“Weird Genius, right?”

“I dunno. Granted, some movies are weird and genius. Some movies are weird and pretentious. Some movies are just plain weird. I’m still processing.

“I mean, it starts out like your typical Terrence Malick film — odd, poetic voiceovers, lovely cinematography, long shots of light coming through tree branches, sparse dialogue, ploddingly slow pace — and it seems like it’s about you and your wife and your kids growing up in a small town in 1950s Texas, but then we’re in the present and it’s Sean Penn in the big city where everything is towers of glass and steel and then out of nowhere this long segment starts up that I guess is the origin of the universe or something ’cause it’s all lava flows and underwater scenes and then — was that a plesiosaur? Why is there a plesiosaur in my Brad Pitt movie? Wait. Is that a dinosaur? There’s another one! This is the best Brad Pitt movie ever! Now they’re gone! No, no! Why are we back in Texas? What the Hell is this?”

“Awesome, isn’t it?”

“I dunno, Pitt. I dunno. When it first went off into that Big Bang Theory tangent I was like, ‘this is odd,’ then I was like ‘is this going to be over soon?’ then I was like, ‘you know, this is pretty neat,’ then I was like, ‘I’m really getting into this’ and then it ended and we’re back in 1950s Texas for the next two hours. And then its back to Sean Penn walking around on some rocks, then a beach, then everyone’s on the beach — or is it heaven?”

“You don’t have to repeat the movie to me, Roy. I was in it.”

“You know I record these conversations and post them on my blog.”

“You have a blog?”

“I hate you so much. Anyway, back to the movie. I’m So Confused. What’s it all about, Pitt? Give me the Cliff’s Notes.”

“Why must you take everything so literally? It’s poetic. Man, remember back in college how you would run around the dorm bugging everybody — “What’s the meaning of life, Man? What’s the meaning of life?” You were always banging on about that.”

“Yeah, well, that was before I met Laura.”

“Speaking of which, can I talk to –”

“Don’t go there, Pitt. She’s not here now. Back to the movie. What’s your point?”

“This movie — it’s about the meaning of life. It’s about how fragile we are and how we’re all connected to the grand fabric of the universe.”

“Really? I liked Hoog’s definition better. Life is like bowling — sometimes you get a strike, sometimes you’re in the gutter, most of the time you knock some pins down but leave some standing.”

“Hoog was a wise man. So, ‘The Tree of Life’: Did it work for you?”

“You do read the blog!”

“Well, I like to know what Hawkeye’s up to.”

“Here’s my thoughts as of this moment: I admire the film for its audacity. The visuals were awesome. The “origin of the universe or whatever it was” segment was compelling. The acting was good — Hunter McCracken was especially impressive as the oldest son. The ’50s segment goes on a bit too long. I don’t know that I could recommend it to anyone but film snobs, but I’m glad I saw it.”

“Why can’t you just do letter grades like everybody else?”

“Have you thought about making a movie with more dinosaurs?”

“Goodnight Roy.”

“Goodnight Pitt.”

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