Thursday, November 27, 2008

What I am thankful for

I have a lot of things to be thankful for this years.

I am thankful that I have a job.
I am thankful that I am relatively healthy.
I am thankful that I have lots of family and friends.
I am thankful that I have the opportunity to serve on my church council.
I am thankful that Barack Obama was elected President of the United States of America.
I am thankful that I like my job and my coworkers.
I am thankful that there are some good movies coming out soon.
I am thankful that the Democrats have large majorities in the House and Senate.
I am thankful that Hillary Clinton's and Sarah Palin's candidacies not only broke barriers for women, but created opportunities for more women comedians, also.
I am thankful that Twilight, a movie directed by a woman, based on a book by a woman, and aimed primarily at teenage girls, did as well at the box office as the latest James Bond movie, because I think this will mean more opportunities for women in the film industry.
I am thankful for whoever at Google decided to buy Blogger, because it has given me this great tool for self-expression.
I am thankful for, and the opportunity to create a great Obama t-shirt.

Very specifically, I am thankful for this clip on YouTube.

This is a scene from Stranger Than Fiction. It's one of my favorite scenes from one of my favorite movies. Will Ferrell, playing an uptight IRS agent, is falling deeply in love with someone that he is auditing (Maggie Gyllenhaal), who is also his polar opposite. She's a free spirit who isn't paying part of her taxes as a protest against the imperialist system. She's a little skeptical that anything could work out between the two of them.

He's playing the guitar because it's the one thing that he has always wanted to do - he's always wanted to make his life more musical. And since he might be dying soon, this is probably a good time to learn - make the most of the rest of his life, that kind of thing.

The one song that he knows is, of course, the one song that completely turns her on. He has no idea that this is the case, and he's not even aware of it when he's playing. There's a moment when he sees her sitting next to him, and for a moment he's scared - does she really like it? - and then she makes it clear that yes, she really likes the song, and she really likes him.

I am thankful for the level of craftsmanship in intelligent comedies like this. The cinematography is brilliant - the lighting is wonderfully layered throughout the whole room, and then she walks from the shadows into the light. Her costume is great - she looks incredibly sexy without showing any cleavage.

I am thankful that smart romantic comedies like this can be made in Hollywood, and that there are smart, funny people who can write and direct them, and that there are smart, funny people who can produce them and convince people like Will Ferrell, Emma Thompson, Dustin Hoffman, Queen Latifah, and Maggie Gyllenhaal to be in them.

I am thankful that people like Will Ferrell, Emma Thompson, Dustin Hoffman, Queen Latifah, and Maggie Gyllenhaal want to be in movies like this.

I am thankful that all of them gave great performances.

I am thankful that I went to USC film school, where I learned a huge amount about appreciating the finer points of craftsmanship that goes into movies like this.

I am thankful for this line, from Dustin Hoffman in this movie:

"Let's start with ridiculous and move backwards."

I am thankful that I can go to YouTube and pick up a little bit of inspiration from a couple of minutes that somebody I'll never meet ripped off a DVD.

I am thankful that, many years ago, I decided that art is more important than politics, even though sometimes it isn't.

I am thankful that I have many things to be thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving.

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