I was raised in a very small town in Southeastern Idaho. Quite conservative as you might imagine. I was raised Lutheran, but my mother’s background was baptist. She was very serious about our faith and we were the most faithful damn Lutheran’s in Blackfoot, ID goddammit!
There was heaven, where everyone wants to end up…and hell of course. I noticed that we always talked an awful lot more about hell. Probably because nobody knows shit about heaven, but we can all agree that having our souls burnt for eternity for turning our backs to God is quite a motivator…especially to four year olds. Just sayin’.
Believing that there were any other options for the afterlife was not…well, an option; under our roof any way.
When I got into college, I found that I tested my limits. Not only with my faith, but with my ability to stay awake at night, and to explore different kinds of movies. The one that I found very interesting, and understood why my mother never let me watch it, was “Defending Your Life.”
Late one weekend night when I couldn’t sleep, I turned on the TV in my apartment and flipped through the channels (there were 5 options). *Commercial, commercial, late night movie…Oh, Meryl, and the guy from “Broadcast News.”*
I loved the simplicity. Everyone was in white robes, unless they were an attorney. The dialogue was great and witty, and I can’t imagine two better actors than Albert Brooks and the Meryl Streep to take on this material. Rip Torn is also fantastic as the man that is tasked with advising Daniel Miller (Brooks) through the defense of his life.
Basically, Daniel winds up dead and before he can get into heaven, he has to go through a “trial” of sorts. If you can prove that you truly lived your life without fear, you are worthy of getting in. The court has every second of your life recorded, including your inner thoughts. When they show Daniel’s pep talk regarding his salary requirements and the “actual” salary that he sufficed with; lets agree it’s a good laugh. Being that you may not have lived your “given” life without fear, you would then be sent back to live another life. Each time you have to defend it.
This would be about where my mother would FREAK!
“What? No! There is heaven and hell.”
End a story.
Right. Well, this is a movie and I find it entertaining. I find it to be a creative love story that happens to have a lot of laughs. I also found the “world” creative and inspired. You can’t just die and go to heaven. There is a stop off at a way station where decisions will be made as to your worthiness.
Fair enough, I say, and definitely worthy of a watch.
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