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I guess I just like liking things

I am fascinated by what appeals to people – more specifically, I am fascinated by what things get assigned to the “universally good” pile, things that the overwhelming majority would say they liked: The Princess Bride, The Cosby Show, The Beatles (whoa, hey, they all have “the” in common). Sure, you’ll find a contrarian here and there that won’t like those things, but there are things 90% or more of people would say are “good” or “enjoyable.”  From there, it gets even more interesting to see the “only good for a few, reviled by the rest” things, and all the other little subgroups that vary out from there.

Yes Man is a movie that doesn’t generally inspire deep feelings either way for most people. It’s sitting at a 6.9/10 over at IMDb, right in that meaty part of the curve. It doesn’t inspire great expressions of love, but people don’t generally hate it, either.  Most common response you’ll get from people on it is “It’s all right.”

But me, I love it. It might even be a Top 20 movie for me. Sure, I unironically love Jim Carrey movies, and it’s got Zooey Deschanel, and a bunch of other things in it, but the bigger part was the “say yes to more experiences” message it had. Yes, I know it’s all very After School Special and predictable and treacly and whatever else, but I saw the movie at exactly the right time for me, and it honestly (along with some other things at the same time) helped me make some positive changes.

I don’t want to spoil anything for you, but you can probably figure out that in the last fifth of the movie, all the stuff Jim’s been doing and learning in the first 4/5ths start paying off. This scene isn’t the biggest payoff or even the biggest focus, but it is one of my favorite scenes:

List time! Here’s what I like about this scene:

  • Is part of it that the jumper is played by Luis Guzmán? I think so. He comes across as just the right sort of desperate, and you really feel like he’s at the end of his rope. At the same time, he’s willing to listen to Jim Carrey, even berating him for taking too long and being horrible at what Luis thinks is his job.
  • I like how Carrey plays it – knowing he has to do something, he’s just not sure what.
  • He takes the time to tune the guitar! Ha!
  • I love the power of music as shown here. I understand that this song was pretty popular back in the day, but I had never knowingly heard it before I heard Jim Carrey’s version in this movie. I love that he can’t remember the second verse, prompting Luis to burst into it, with a sort-of “are you kidding me with this? how do you not know this?” vibe, and then the whole crowd kicks in.
  • Luis inches back toward the window, and Jim grabs him and throws him to the floor – is that standard procedure in these situations?  All I have to compare it to is Riggs handcuffing himself to the jumper in Lethal Weapon and jumping.
  • The stinger on the scene: Jim strums that last chord and shoots the horns at the floored (in more ways than one) Luis, as if to say, “Alt rock just saved your life”

It’s very full of hope, and I like that.

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