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I guess I just like liking things

Today’s guest writer is Wes Molebash, who has done many, many things and is currently knocking it out of the park with [IMG] Insert Image.

My all-time favorite movie is Life As A House.

I can remember the first time I saw the preview for the film in the theater and how intrigued I was. Like a lot of movie previews that intrigue me, I quickly forgot about it until I saw the DVD on a rack at Wal-Mart sometime in the winter of 2002. I snapped it up, watched it that night, and fell in love.

Although the movie’s cast is an excellent ensemble, the film is not widely regarded as “good cinema”. In fact, it currently sits at a 47% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. My friends were equally unimpressed with the movie and I remember being very frustrated by their indifference. Nevertheless, in spite of the lukewarm reviews, my love for the movie didn’t, and hasn’t, waned.

For those unfamiliar, Life As A House is a classic tear-jerker melodrama. It stars Kevin Kline as George, an architect who finds out he has terminal cancer. He quits his job, cashes in his life insurance policy, and recruits his estranged son (played by Hayden Christensen) to help him build his dream house. Along the way, George mends fences with his neighbors (Mary Steenburgen and Jena Malone) and reignites a flame between he and his ex-wife (Kristen Scott Thomas). It’s a great story with awesome character development, and my hope is that you’ll try to find a copy on DVD and watch it for yourself. At this point you’re not expecting much, so you could be in for a very pleasant surprise.

My favorite scene is the one below which takes place near the end of the second act:

OK, now here’s what I love about this scene:

  • During the first act of the movie, George makes a comment about Robin being “beautiful” when she’s angry. He then tries to touch her cheek, but Robin snaps at his finger right before he can make contact. I love the playful interaction between George and Robin in this scene as Robin finally confronts George about the comment he made earlier. ROBIN: It sounded like a pickup line. GEORGE: I can’t pick you up. ROBIN: I’m married! GEORGE: You bit my finger.
  • I love how George relents and confesses his love for Robin who feels she needs to know his true feelings. My favorite line in this entire scene is the one George whispers to Robin in regards to his love for her: “…that I made you doubt it… That is the Great Mistake of a life full of mistakes.” This line resonates with me so powerfully! Life is messy and full of mistakes and self-serving choices. I’ll never be perfect, but if I can avoid the Great Mistake, as George describes it in this scene, I’ll feel like I’ve had a pretty successful life when my time comes.
  • Without Mark Isham’s soundtrack, this movie would lose 70% of its emotional appeal. Just listening to the soundtrack by itself makes me tear up from time-to-time. In this scene, we get a nice taste of the simple arrangements Isham uses to tug at our heartstrings and tear ducts.

So that’s my favorite scene from my favorite movie. What can I say? I’m a softie.


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