Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Five People Who Bore You In Heaven

Today's Movie Minute is terribly deep as it concerns the afterlife and ponders the intractable ineffable imponderables of why Jon Voight has an acting career.

The narrator tells us that endings are beginnings--we just don't know it at the time. Indeed. I mean, when it comes to questions of eternity and the afterlife, do we turn to Plato, Kant, Thomas Aquinas for spiritual guidance? No, instead we turn to some hacky middlebrow sportswriter.

"Hi, I'll be boring you in heaven. Also, my hair."

In this Hallmark card of a movie, we learn that we don't "go to black" when we die but wind up in heaven. Heaven turns out to be an awful place where valuable lessons are learned and melodramatic vignettes are strung together with all the profundity of a Thomas Kinkade painting. In fact, throw in some Lawrence Welk, some sepia-toned Funky Winkerbeans, some stool softener--and you've got yourself a stew. I mean, THE FIVE PEOPLE YOU MEET IN HEAVEN! HA-CHA!

Our hero is Eddy, a local asshole who dies in an amusement park accident and meets people from his past just like in a certain Chaz Dickens book--but Mitch baby has changed it from three to FIVE, see how clever our sportswriter is? These heaven denizens, in keeping with the theme, are also assholes.

Or gay weirdos.

In this particular  "heaven," Jeff Daniels tries to get Eddy to kiss him for a quarter. Eddy is having none of that shit. In the movie's funniest scene, Eddy learns that you shouldn't burn down people's houses because children might be burnt alive inside. Also, the hike in your insurance premium just isn't worth it.

Eddy learns that death is sad. See how sad it is? It's sad. So very, very sad.

However, the movie has a big central flaw. We are asked by the swelling soundtrack to egress tears from our eye jails because someone dies... But if we're all going to the eternal bliss of heaven--that is rather irritatingly populated with mystical teachers and pretty gardens--doesn't that undercut the sweet poignancy of it all? Answer: HELL YEAH

By the end, Eddy meets the Ghost of Life Present and learns that never giving one's famous daughter a telephone call can be very gratifying in a petty, spiteful way but maybe you should call her all the same because she might give you a loan, or a handy. And, oh, be true to yourself etc etc. Then he releases a huge fart that he'd been holding in the whole time. Whew! Don't go into heaven for a while, folks!

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