13. Dinner and a Movie

(I’ll get back to continuing that post on gaming after this one)

I had the opportunity today to spend some time with some of my favorite people on earth. Over 4 hours or so between 8P.M. and midnight, we talked, laughed, ate, and learned how to roll sushi together. And just like what we do with anything we’ve just learned, we took it to the logical extreme, just to test the boundaries of weirdness. This is what we ended up with:

Chicken sausage and a banana fritter wrapped with Japanese rice in a sheet of seaweed, covered in mayonnaise.

Needless to say, it was the strangest thing I have tasted all week; but far from the strangest thing I have ever tasted in my life. But that is one memory to be shared another day, in another post.

We all gathered around the TV area, tummies full of oddities, and watched Hugo – the one directed by Martin Scorsese – from start to finish, and it was beautiful.

I could talk about the amazing performances delivered by Asa Butterfield, Chloë Moretz, and Sir Ben Kingsley; or the intricately-designed sets that planted us right in the middle of a train station in 1930s Paris; or even about how every frame of the movie was so beautifully shot, every detail so perfectly saturated and textured.

More than all the above, however, was the sense of wonder it inspired. The storytelling, if you may. It was a simple, clean movie – no line of dialogue was wasted, no single shot that seemed unnecessary. It wasn’t a movie that tried too hard; neither was it one that was unambitious. But by the pure virtue of it being so honest to what it was, the film’s message resonated in me in a way that few other things could have.

Brilliantly executed, with performances as natural as breathing in the air around you – it’s not too far a stretch to call Hugo a masterpiece, delivered by master craftsmen and craftswomen.

(I sound like I’m fanboying here; but really, go and watch the film if you haven’t It’s wondrous)

I’m not the kind of person you’d want to watch a movie with. Not alone, at least.

Especially after watching movies as insightful and as well made as Hugo, I tend to lapse into a super-INTP state where I begin picking the movie apart and examining it in my head, to appreciate the whole for each of its individual parts. Watch a crappy movie with me, and I’ll laugh with you about how ridiculous it was after it has ended. Watch one that is beautifully made with me, and I’ll retreat so far from the real world that you may begin to think that I was offended by the movie or something.

After contemplating upon Hugo, I guess there will always be an innate part of us that appreciates beauty – not just visually, but also on deeper, emotional levels, whether we admit to it or not. As much as some of us may embrace the darkness in life and the harsh edges of reality, I believe these things only serve to highlight the things that make life beautiful.

We appreciate the light because we have seen the dark. We have come to love the thing that is good because we have seen the face of evil. The shadows we see are what helps us perceive depth – and really, what beautiful thing has ever existed that was without depth?

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