Time-Sensitive Culture Alert: “Next Year Jerusalem”

May 20, 2014 § 1 Comment


We (the Royal “we”) interrupt the scheduled postings for this blog to tell you about the FABULOUS movie I saw this past Saturday night.

Still from Next Year Jerusalem

The film is Next Year Jerusalem.  As it happens, I know about the movie because I know the filmmaker personally.  But, before you start thinking that I’m just pushing my friend’s project because he’s my friend: stop thinking that!  If you’ve ever known anyone who’s made something truly excellent, you’ll know the feeling where on the one hand is the regular guy you know and make jokes with and then there’s this other really talented artist who created this amazing thing and you’re honored and surprised to realize that you know him too.  It was like that.

Anyway, here’s what you need to know:

1. Next Year Jerusalem is currently screening in NYC through May 22 at Quad Cinema, 34 West 13th Street, New York, NY – (212) 255-8800.  Tickets are available for purchase at movietickets.com – search zip code 10011 for the Quad and select appropriate dates and showtimes.

2. The film will screen in Los Angeles May 30 – June 5 at Laemmle Cinemas, Locations and Showtimes TBD – (212) 255-8800.  (If you live in or near LA, please consider going to see the film in honor of my June 4 birthday. Seriously!)

3. You can see a trailer for the film here!

The movie is about eight residents of an old folks’ home in CT who take an unlikely but inspiring trip to Israel.  Honestly: I’m not a fan of old people.  I do not swoon for Young @ Heart, Dr. Ruth never made me anything but uncomfortable, and while I just tolerate Santa, I see Scrooge as a fairly accurate portrayal of the majority of people in his age group.  So, I expected to appreciate this movie but not to really like and enjoy it.  But I did!  That is how good Next Year Jerusalem is.  Because it’s really about how we choose to live our lives – the classic Viktor Frankl: “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

I do hope you’ll see the film – or, if you can’t, that you’ll sign up for news about future screenings and the DVD release – and then leave a comment with your thoughts.


Rick Moranis is my patron saint

May 12, 2014 § Leave a comment

Dapper Rick Moranis

Gretchen Rubin‘s blog first introduced me to the idea that I could choose/identify my own patron saints.  These people don’t have to be actual saints (they probably aren’t), but they do somehow speak to or inspire you in a personal and meaningful way.  It’s kind of like “who are your influences?” but much better.  Gretchen’s blog about it is here and mine is here.

A couple of weeks ago, I turned on the radio to listen while I washed some dishes and I caught the middle of Jessie Thorn’s interview with Rick Moranis.  As someone who spent what must amount to days – if not weeks – of my youth watching Spaceballs and Ghostbusters (and Ghostbusters 2) over and over and over (and over and over . . .), I’ve long been a big fan. Still, I hadn’t realized that he’d actively taken himself out of “the business” in order to raise his kids after his wife died.  In the interview, (this part’s around 20 minutes in) he says “Stuff happens to people every day and they make adjustments in their lives for all kinds of reasons.  There was nothing unusual about what happened or what I did . . .”  Later, when Jessie Thorn asks about his giving up being a creative person when he gave up his show biz career, his response is perfect: “I was the same person. I didn’t change. I just shifted my focus.”

Listening to him talk about the choices he made and living his life, writ large, as a Creative Person felt like talking to a mentor.  I worried so much when I got pregnant about what it would mean for my career – that any let-up in the pressure I was applying to my career in a constant attempt to move it forward spelled doom.  And as major life events have continued to unfold even after (and independent of) the birth of my son, I’ve continued to worry in a similar way about what my inability to give 100% effort to my career 100% of the time will mean.  Of course I don’t know what it will mean and of course no one can know.  But it sounds like Rick Moranis wasn’t afraid to do what he had to do – and what he wanted to do – and didn’t apologize for making choices in line with his values.  I think he’s a fine example and an excellent reminder for the rest of us not to let that death-grip-of-fear – “what will happen if I change or deviate?!” – dictate our behavior.

How about you? Have you ever been spontaneously mentored? What was your experience and how did it help you?

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