Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Two things, no three things. Maybe four things.

1. My mother admonished me over Christmas because I had said some disparaging things about “Polar Express” to my brother while we were on the cruise. My brother, who has never seen Polar Express, said he was putting the DVD on for the girls to watch. The girls are my daughter and his two daughters.

I said, “I think that movie is one big advertisement for having blind faith and I really hate it.” Or something like that. In any case, the girls still watched the movie (or whatever it is that kids do when they are jumping up and down on a bed, talking to each other, and a movie is on in the background.)

Anyway, this conversation morphed itself into my mother saying over Christmas that I said, “I hate that movie because it has too much fantasy.” I would, of course, never say that. She told me that my brother felt “shut down” by me after that comment and that I am too judgmental. Or worse: I have too many “opinions.” Yes – what a horrible fate for me, to have turned into a woman who has opinions!

In any case, my mother and I got along splendidly over the holidays. And this little blip was not even a bump in the road. I actually had such a great time that I am openly considering moving back to Spokane before Mulan starts second grade. My real dilemma, if I move, is whether to put Mulan into a Catholic school. But that’s another blog for another time.

So, was thinking about Polar Express, and the whole “just believe” thing. Why couldn’t the boy in the movie been told to “just imagine”? Why did it have to be believe? I was reminded of this again when my adorable niece Katie showed me a Christmas present she received: some words to put on your wall – those cursive, wood-cut words. One of them was: believe. Believe!

I guess if you mean, “believe” in the sense of “have confidence in” – then I’m all for it. But I don’t think that is what most people think of when they see that word. I think it’s meant to be taken in the same way the boy learns it in Polar Express. Just…have faith.

2. The second thing I wanted to say is: being an at-home writer rocks. I love it. I am in my newly painted office in the backyard. And actually writing. Oh, my goodness, I hope I can actually finish this book and the screenplay and the cd.

3. The third thing is that I probably won’t have the cd done until after February. I feel really bad – that I probably won’t have this cd out until no one wants it anymore. But I am waiting to get the music rights and it’s taking longer than I thought. The rights for the background music is what I’m referring to. Oh dear, oh dear.

4. The fourth thing is that I booked more dates at the Groundlings to do my show, "Letting Go Of God." I have been selling out the Sunday morning shows, which is really great. This Sunday’s show is totally sold out. So, I just booked myself into the theater for nine more shows on sporadic Sunday mornings, Monday nights and Tuesday nights. If you are interested, please check the website (juliasweeney.com) to see the exact dates.

Back to work. Happy New Year!

p.s. Munich is so good. So is Brokeback Mountain. So is Wallace & Gromit. I want to go to the movies!

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Julia.
Are you doing any performances at TAM4 in a few weeks? Would love to see it but almost never get to LA. (how about booking some shows in Portland, OR? :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Julia.
Are you doing any performances at TAM4 in a few weeks? Would love to see it but almost never get to LA. (how about booking some shows in Portland, OR? :)

Bookboy said...

Julia, A great movie on DVD now is "Dear Frankie" it is one to make you think and cry. I give it three out of four bookmarks. And what about "A Million Little Pieces" you know the guy who tries to quit drugs without giving himself over to a higher power. He being called a fraud. People coming in the bookstore wanting to exchange their book. Waiting for your cd and book, we will be doing a display of "Letting Go" type books and Movies where yours will be the featured one. Would love to do it in Spring (Easter) time. Keep up the good work.

Jeff said...

Yeah, that James Fray story "A Million Little Pieces", The Smoking Gun website, as far as I could tell by reading it, pretty much shot all kinds of holes in his story. (I researched it after I saw Bookboy mention it.) I can understand people being bent and taking their books back. But, gullibility is sometimes one of many Americans strong point.

Jeff said...

Oh yeah, the reason I came here in the first place:

Hi Julia!

You're ripping my heart out with your most recent posts.
(more on that when I have more time to write)

Smile!
Eat Cheese!

Anonymous said...

Julia!
Thank you so much for your posts -- they are so funny and sad and interesting and poignant. Your voice is so well-suited for the medium of the blog. And thank god you seem to have gotten over your interest in embracing Ayn Rand. I, too, was intrigued by her when I first started college. One and a half books later, i saw her for what she was: a hypocritical, self-absorbed, narcissist, class-ist, racist, many-other-ists, libertarian... ist. If you want something new to read, check out Chris Elliot's new book. It's stupid, but on purpose. Anywhich, thanks again for your posts! I can't wait until your book/movie/cd comes out!

lily said...

Julia, it's so delightful to find new postings from you here today. I can so clearly "feel" the emotions and reactions you describe, and that speaks to how well you convey the nuances of your experiences, and, most importantly, the essence of YOU. Can't wait for the new CD!

Chris said...

As for the Polar Express thing - I agree, but if you take a step back it may not be such a bad thing. Santa Claus is usually a kid's first real experience with the idea that believing "doesn't make it so," and can be pretty instructional I think. Almost all "Santa Claus" movies operate under the same basic principle (Miracle on 34th Street anyone?), but in the end maybe can do more for exposing the fallacies of blind faith, with some guidance.

Anonymous said...

Julia,
I am so delighted to hear what you said about "The Polar Express"! On Christmas I had to sit through a church service with my parents and the title was "Believing the Unbelievable". The pastor went on to use clips from that movie and compared the character's belief in Santa Claus with a Christian's belief in Jesus. I sat there thinking, "Is he seriously comparing belief in something imaginary with something that is *supposedly* real?" It was a hoot! I'm slightly curious how many people walked away that morning thinking their belief in God was exactly like believing in mythical beings...

Anonymous said...

Hey Julia,

Just found your blog.

I think this post is insightful. I've had much the same thoughts about movies with that "just believe" sentiment. It almost seems vaguely sinister, to be frank.

Anyway, thanks for the many years of laughter. I was a young'n while you were on SNL and you always stood out to me. Later I caught you on Mr Show, which was a nice surprise. Hope to see your face around again.

Take care,
Josh from Ontario, Canada

Hellbound Alleee said...

Yes, I saw the trailer, heard "Just Believe," and gagged. Why do we do this to kids?

It's like in Narnia, when the kids admonish Susan because she "thinks too much." "You're no fun. You think too much."

Why do we think that we need to hammer this stuff into kids? It's every damned movie that we beg, implore, demand that kids stop thinking and "just believe."

I feel that way, not about the original "Miracle" but about the 90's version. In the 40's version, Susan Walker is a little atheist kid who seems very happy being who she is. In the 90's version, Susan is looking at Frank, hangs her head, and in a pained whisper, "I don't believe in Santa Claus." Later on, she admits, almost in a child-abuse interview style, that her mother makes her not believe in things. She is so sad.

Then uncle Frank makes everyone say grace at the Thanksgiving table. Susan wants the traditional family. In the 40's version, Santa teaches her to use her imagination. The 90's version is a big wag in the finger to atheists. In the 40's version, Santa wins on a clever technicality. In the 90's, Santa wins because there is the phrase "In God We Trust" on the dollar bill. Sounds like they could have also proved Intelligent Design in that version. And they could throw the book at Scopes to boot. What a putdown. Really awful.

SpeakeasyDC said...

Hi Julia! How do I book you in DC? I run a non-profit that's much like The Moth and we'd love to produce Letting Go of God. Check us out at www.speakeasydc.org. If you are at all interested, my email is speakeasyinfo@gmail.com We have great audiences!!!!! -- Amy Saidman

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