#9 Lessons from watching a terrible movie

Don’t dwell on mistakes you’ve made, learn from them and move on

Dear R&M,
Several Saturdays ago, your mom and I went to a movie. Yay, we thought we’d get away from our current obsession with politics as well as avoid some chores that we could still wait a while (never do that!) Being thrifty, we decided we’d catch the mid-day show — which costs a whole lot less. The only question that remained was what movie to catch. We were most keen on “Hidden Figures” but it wasn’t showing anyplace near and around the time we wanted to see a movie (now!).

Then I had a bright idea — what about that new “Neeson movie?” We’d seen the trailer for about 15 secs the previous night — and ever since we’d watched Taken and Taken II (ok, I admit Taken III) we tried to catch Liam whenever we could. Also the movie had Japan and Portuguese — visions of the Last Samurai and Vasco da Gama I suspect ran through our minds. A quick glance at Google, told us the movie “Silence” had a high Rotten Tomatoes score and to boot it was made by Martin Scorsese! Alas I wish I’d read further down the page, where the very first review, by Peter Debruge of Variety read

Though undeniably gorgeous, it is punishingly long, frequently boring, and woefully unengaging at some of its most critical moments.

Any how, the good news was the theatre was fancier than any we’d been to, — they served food at your seat and the tickets were not too expensive. The movie started with a cinematography just as gorgeous as we’d seen in the trailer. But pretty much went downhill from there on. Anyway, as they say hope springs eternal, so we kept watching. If this had been a movie on the TV or much as I hate to admit it, been a Hindi or a Tamil movie, I’d have walked out by mid-point. Finally the darn thing ended and a quick glance at my phone, told me we’d spent three hours in there. There’s no other way to put it, I was pissed! Sure I’ve spent three hours reading news articles about the election or a trashy novel, but somehow this just made me MAD primarily at myself.

How could I have done this? What was wrong with me? Why didn’t I walk out? Luckily the sane voice of your mom cut in. “It’s done. Let’s not add to the time we already lost, by spending even more time bemoaning it. Let’s learn from this and move on.” So here are the lessons we learned — stuff we knew and had practiced sporadically but worth repeating here.

Prepare or do your homework — if we’d spent a few minutes before we took digging deeper, we’d have known that this movie was not for us. This is just as true for your project work at school or a white paper I set out a write. So pause, take a moment, do your homework and then hit go!

Cut your losses Once in the theatre and 90 minutes had gone by without Neeson reappearing and the mood going from sombre to morose, we should have just gotten up and left. Walking through the mall would have at least helped us add to our daily steps and saved us those 90 minutes.

Learn and move on Having wasted the three hours, I was just beginning to waste even more time, self-flagellating. Your mom’s timely intervention helped me stop do that and resulted in this letter too!

The serenity prayer, by Reinhold Niebuhr is always worth recalling.

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change; 
courage to change the things I can; 
and wisdom to know the difference.
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