Saturday, February 18, 2012

Life Lessons from a Movie: Under the Tuscan Sun

So Under the Tuscan Sun isn't really my typical kind of movie, if I have such a thing. I pretty much watch anything, so the list of movies I've consumed in my lifetime is obscenely long. Maybe someday I'll try and make an actual list. Probably not, but miracles happen sometimes, don't they?

Anyway, it's an adaptation of a book by the same title, which I haven't read, but I feel no guilt in that since supposedly the film is much better (according to my older sister). While rare, it is, in fact, possible for a movie to be better than the books it's based on. Very, very rare, but I've seen it happen.

If you haven't seen it, as no doubt most of you haven't even heard of it, it's the story of a writer (Francis Mays, played by Diane Lane, and there my unreasearched knowledge of the cast ends) who, after discovering her husband is cheating and getting a divorce, ends up on a tour of Tuscany, (A "gay tour of romantic Tuscany," the scene when her lesbian friends try to convince her to go is rather entertaining,) and then on a whim buys this run down villa and doesn't go back to America.

Why in the world would that appeal to me? Silly audience, I haven't spent most of my life fantasizing about going to Europe and just not coming back. Why would you think that?

I'm not sure if I want start in the UK and work my way east, start in western Russia and work my way south, or start in southern Italy and work my way north. Regardless. I shall go, and maybe a couple years later, I'll come back to the US to visit everyone.

The movie is all about how life just kind of happens, and you can't really predict it, but sometimes it takes you somewhere unexpectedly awesome. Which is kind of in line with my general philosophy on life, but mine has yet to get me a house in Italy.

And so on to the lessons I've gleaned from it! I watched it again specifically to pull out the things it was telling me for this blog, so feel special or something.

I'm pretty much ignoring the first fifteen minutes or so of the story, because all that really happens is that she gets divorced, spends some time being depressed, and then Patty gives her the ticket. Nothing really to be learned there except not marry someone who'll end up cheating on you. And to take what good you can get out of pregnant friends, because normally pregnant women are something of a scourge. And I mean that both as in "plague" and as in "multi-tailed whip with pointy things to tear your flesh apart."

1) Don't write letters for strangers.
I base this off Francis writing this awesome postcard for a guy complaining about how he'll never get through them all or describe how amazing Italy is. She writes this fun little description and makes some observations and hands it back, and he gets mad and tells her to keep it, because his mom will never believe he wrote that.

I'm not really sure who was stupid to be surprised in that scenario, but I would argue it's a good general rule to write your own letters.

2) Follow every intriguing stranger you see.
I say this because this is the point when my favorite character in the entire movie is introduced. I aspire to be her if I ever end up as an insane middle aged woman (which only happens if I fail to stop aging in the next five to ten years). It's really because of her that this whole movie even takes place, and she's absolutely fabulous.

Also, have you ever tried just stalking someone around a public place? It's entertaining to see how long before they notice they've seen you more than is normal that day. The security guards are the most fun.

3) A Katherine quote: "Terrible idea...Don't you just love those?"
Ok, so not really a life lesson. Just true sometimes. I can think of a lot of times something awesome has happened because I or someone else have just kind of run with something. Not buy-a-house-in-a-foreign-country awesome, but awesome nonetheless.

4) Look before you strip.
Seems fairly obvious, doesn't it? Somehow it isn't always. But you never know who might be unexpectedly about when a crushed scorpion tumbles down your shirt.

5) Be careful what you tell your friends.
"You're the one who made the 'empty-shell-person at a crossroads' speech!"
"Oh, yeah. That was me."
You never know when it might end up causing them to go to Italy and buy a villa without you.

6) "It is unhealthy to eat alone."
A truly Italian sentiment, and I have to agree. Plus it's barely worth eating, let alone cooking real food if you're the only one eating. A meal doesn't really count unless it's three or more people.

I think it's probably about time for Becca and I to have a dinner party again. It's been months since we just cooked for everyone.

7) "You have to live spherically, in many directions. Never lose your childish enthusiasm, and things will come your way."
Katherine again. I love the things she says about life. They're often things I've thought before with less eloquence.

8) "Regrets are a waste of time. They're the past crippling you in the present."
Yay. More Katherine. Alduous Huxley said something similar in his introduction to a newer edition of Brave New World. He was speaking in the context of one's art, but the same principle applies.

9) "When I was a little girl, I used to spend hours looking for ladybugs. Finally I'd just give up and fall asleep in the grass. When I woke up, they were crawling all over me."
Not really a lesson exactly, but it bears repeating. Becca and I periodically yell at each other for looking for ladybugs. This is also Katherine. Telling Francis to get over herself.

10) "If you smash into something good, you should hold on until it's time to let go."
This is the inevitable "hot, Italian guy." I agree with him, though.

Even if he's not quite to my taste.

11) Pick up both the kitten and the hot guy.
Because what else could you possibly want? I loved that she keeps the kitty even after they guy leaves the picture. Kitties are better than men. Guys, remember your place, and don't make her choose.

12) "Life is strange."
I keep thinking this recently. Fortunately it's not because my girlfriend took off and I'm now hanging out in Italy with my best friend about to go into labor. But life is strange. The sooner you get used to that, the sooner you can start enjoying it.

13) Watch the falling object rather than your girlfriend.
This dude is throwing a flag (attached to a large, heavy pole), and just when he throws it way above his head, his woman shouts down that she loves him, and he ends up getting smacked in the head. Important stuff, guys. The potential to get injured takes immediate priority over your significant other.

14) Irritable sarcasm can sometimes be lost on your friends.
After Francis goes tumbling down a hill (trying to catch up to Hot Italian Guy before he leaves for a few weeks), she's sitting in the kitchen and Patty's helping her clean up.
"....You have a snail in your ear."
"No! Get it out!"

15) "There's nothing like a fountain and a magnum of French champagne to put you right again."
By now, I trust Katherine completely. All her advice must be true. So if I ever end up horribly depressed some summer, I know exactly what to do.

And I'm gonna call that the end now! Kind of anticlimactic, I know. But, that's what you have to live with if you read my blog. It happens, my dears. You'll survive. And if you don't, I can't help but feel like there was more going on there than my poor concluding skills.

Steven King is bad at endings too, so there!

And now that it's one in the afternoon, I shall go eat some breakfast! Assuming I can find anything edible.

1 comment:

  1. lol....This is my fav film. And I enjoyed your funny post on it! ^_^