What movie changed your life?
It’s a question I see thrown out on social media from time to time, and lots of people have a qualified answer to it. More often that not, it’s a film that opened their eyes to a particular cause or historical event that inspired them to pursue some kind of advocacy role.
For better or worse, I’m not one of those people. While there are movies, scenes, and lines that have stuck with me over the years (which I enjoy referring to in my columns and books on occasion), and have educated me in certain areas, I can’t say as though any film has “changed my life” in any meaningful way.
The closest would probably be in the arena of fashion… when I was a child. After Star Wars, I started wearing a thin vest similar to Han Solo’s. I’m not joking. I don’t remember where the thing came from, but I wore it with pride. After Back to the Future, I upgraded to a down vest that resembled Marty McFly’s. Yes, I’m talking about the one that kept being mistaken in the film for a life preserver.
Anyway, the broader topic came up in a podcast I was listening to a few weeks ago. Megyn Kelly (who’s a Sean Coleman fan, by the way) was interviewing comedian Andrew Schulz, when Schultz revealed that the movie that changed his life was “Swingers.” Naturally, I thought he was joking. After all, he’s a comedian, and Swingers is a comedy about the trials of young, unemployed actors trying to hook up with women.
But then Schulz explained himself, and what he said was actually pretty interesting; possibly even profound. He spoke of Vince Vaughn’s character, Trent, and how supportive he was of his friends:
“He would go up to these girls and say wild stuff, and have these crazy stories, and pick up his friends, and [be] like, ‘Ah, look how cool my friend is…’ The way that he would talk about how cool his friends were, so that the girls would see value in his friends, but it also made him look cool to be so vulnerable to pick up his friend instead of himself…”
Sure enough, that supportiveness was a big element of the film, perhaps best represented through Vaughn’s iconic line that he delivered while trying to cheer up his best buddy (played by the film’s writer, Jon Favreau): “You're so money and you don't even know it.”
Schulz said that since seeing the film (he would have been in his early 20s when it came out), he’s worked to adopt that character trait in his own life.
Kelly agreed with its value, saying, “I think that’s attractive in either sex — not to be threatened by your friends, but to be showing them off, to be supporting them, to be building them up.”
I wholeheartedly agree, and I wish a younger John Daly had espoused more of that quality back in the day. Don’t get me wrong. I think I was a pretty good friend for the most part, and being that I’m still friends with a number of people from my teens and early 20s, I’m betting that those individuals would probably agree. But I think there’s an inherent selfishness and internal competitiveness that’s probably at its strongest during those years. While we care about our friends, enjoy their company, and give them a hand when they’re in a bind, we’re not as inclined to put them up on a pedestal and drive up their spirits. In fact, my group of friends back then was more likely to exchange sarcastic pot-shots, and set one another up for comical (but mostly harmless) failure.
But perhaps the value of friendship (the meaningful kind) heightens with age, or as in my case, from too many hours of listening to Joe Cocker’s rendition of “With a Little Help from My Friends” (the Woodstock version, since it’s the best).
I’m sort of joking there, but you can’t really beat that recording’s soulful, live-crowd energy.
Anyway, these days, I do find myself propping up friends (or at least trying to)… and not just with social-media likes, emojis, and “Way to go!” affirmations (though there’s nothing wrong with any of those things). It genuinely means a lot to me when friends offer me moral support. It also means a lot when they support my ventures, whether it be by buying my books (I know not all of them get around to actually reading them) or showing up at some event I’m part of. So, I try to do the same for them.
While the past 15 months or so have kept lots of people’s friendships distant, my experience during that time was that there were unexpected opportunities (some of them under very unfortunate circumstances) to be there for friends, and I’m glad I was able to lend that support. I’d offer details, but I also believe that being a good friend means being a good confidant when the situation calls for it.
What’s odd is that being reminded of Trent from “Swingers,” and how he was an unlikely role model on this front, I’m finding myself feeling motivated to improve at supporting and propping up my friends. Perhaps I’ll make it one of my post-pandemic resolutions.
And if I hold true to it, maybe I’ll be able to finally say that a movie (or at least two people talking about a movie) did indeed change my life.
We’ll see how it goes.
Is there a movie that changed your life? If yes, tell me what and how in an email or in the comment section below.
Happy Mother’s Day!
I hope all of you mothers out there had a happy Sunday, and received some love and appreciation from your children.
Special shout to my mom, Barbara Daly.
My wife and I are two weeks removed from our second COVID-19 shots, and enjoyed a date night last Saturday at a newly reopened favorite hangout (that I wrote about last week).
To answer an obvious question, we weren’t the only ones at the theater. We just got there a little early. By the way, “Wrath of Man” is kind of entertaining, but nothing special. The special part was just getting back to the theater.
Obligatory Dog Shot
The golden child.
New arrival this week!
The Georgia rock band Drivin N Cryin (who’s made the “featured vinyl” section before) puts out a lot of cool stuff for purchase on their website… including vinyl record releases. I was particularly excited to see this one pop up for pre-order a few months ago. It’s a limited edition (only 300 numbered copies pressed) 2-record recording of a concert from back in 1992 (when the band was at the height of their commercial success).
“Live in Hollywood, CA” was recorded at the Troubadour night club in March of that year, and I believe this is the first time it has been released in any form.
Though I’ve never seen Drivin N Cryin perform live (I’m hoping to fix that sometime this year), I’ve heard a number of their live recordings, and they’re always very good. In fact, I’d say that several of the live versions of their songs are better than the studio versions.
This album is a testament to that. It might even be the best live set I’ve ever heard from the band. “Scarred but Smarter”, “Let’s Go Dancing”, “Fly Me Courageous”, “Build a Fire”, and many other great tunes are on this one. It’s an enjoyable listen.
That’s all for now. Thanks for reading today’s Daly Grind.
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Take care. And I’ll talk to you soon!