The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Remember, We’re All Living In A Hollywood Set To Some Degree …

I’ve been watching a lot of movies that made a big impression on me in the late 80’s/early 90’s.

What a massive mistake.

Apart from Die Hard, Terminator and Point Break … everything else has been pretty horrific.

Seriously, either we had really, really, really low standards back then, or someone was putting something in the water.

Face/Off, Bad Boys and The Rock are particularly bad.

I LOVED those movies when I was younger. I thought they were amazing … but zoom forward 30 years and you want to scrub your eyes and brain with a wire brush.

It’s not the bad effects – I can understand them being rubbish – it’s everything else.

The lack of subtlety. The horrific dialogue. The insane levels of over-acting.

It is obvious that directors back then thought audiences were as thick as shit because the way they signpost every moment in the movie with overt ‘clues’ is insane.

From clunky dialogue that attempts to explain the implausible, to off-centre camera angles to highlight the ‘bad guy’, to music that blatantly tries to communicate how you’re supposed to feel or what you should be ready to experience.

One of the worst of all the moves I’ve seen recently is the 1991 Julia Roberts movie ‘Sleeping With The Enemy’.

I remembered this movie as one that tackled domestic violence at a time where it was hardly ever discussed.

That might be the only bit of it I remembered correctly.

Quite simply, it’s pants.

Filled with more holes than Edam cheese and more over-acting than an episode of ‘Crossroads’ from the 70/80′ … the only positive elements are the name of the film, Julia Roberts amazing smile and the house that features heavily in it.

What makes it all worse is the trailer doesn’t give any of that away.

I know trailers are designed to do exactly that, but the difference between what they set up and what you get is dramatic.

Here’s the trailer.

OK, so you either have to trust me this is setting you a false experience or you have to watch the movie for yourself and know it with all certainty … but none of this is actually the point of this post.

You see when I watch movies, I have this annoying habit of having to investigate their history while watching it.

The thing that caught my eye when I was watching Sleeping with the Enemy was that house.

Look at it.

So grand. So imposing. So much a symbol of wealth.

And while I saw places like that when I lived in the US, I was surprised to learn it was made just for the movie.

Of course I know this happens, but they tend to be on a set, not on a real beach … but here we were, with that exact situation.

And while it looks the home of the wealthy from the front, when seen from behind – it left a different impression.

That’s right, it looks like the sort of rubbish they used to make on Blue Peter with some cardboard and sticky black plastic.

And while this shouldn’t surprise me, it does highlight how much of life is an illusion.

From the social media we read to the pitches we embark on to the relationships we forge to the jobs we covet.

Of course, not everything or everyone is like this.

Some are like the famous Steve Jobs quote, “paint behind the fence”. … where their standards, values and attitude means they will do things others may not ever know or see, but is important to them as it not only gives them confidence of a job well done but let’s them feel they’re working for a company they can believe in.

However they are sadly the exception, even if they should be everyone’s ambition.

So as we enter 2021 with our hopes and dreams, it may be worth remembering so much of life is like the Sleeping With The Enemy house. Where what we are asked to see is not a true indication of what it going on.

And while that doesn’t mean it’s all bad, it does mean you can go into things with open eyes, you can avoid disappointment, you can set some boundaries, you can identify the real opportunity that will excite you, you can stop feeling bad if you have questions or doubts and you can be OK if you’re not living up to what others claim they’re living up to.

Because when we talk about a healthy work/life balance, it’s worth remembering it’s not just about time, it’s about attitude.

21 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Based on this post, should we expect this weeks posts to be very different from last weeks excellent posts?

Comment by Bazza

Though to go from 90s movies to Steve Jobs to how to deal with 2021 is quite an impressive journey in a single post.

Comment by Bazza

One of his great talents.

Comment by Pete

It was always likely. Sorry Robert.

Comment by Pete

Never in doubt.

Comment by Rob

“Face/Off, Bad Boys and The Rock are particularly bad.“

Fuck you. USA. USA. USA. USA. USA. USA. USA.

Comment by Billy Whizz

I watched The Rock recently. I’m sorry Billy, it hasn’t aged well. Similar to the way the country is governed.

Comment by Pete

That will only make Billy love it more.

Comment by Rob

That house set is not that different to real life. Even the grandest of houses have a room full of junk.

Comment by Pete

Hahahaha. So true. The room people throw things in but never look inside for fear of seeing what they really are.

Comment by Rob

It seems this instagram post from yesterday seems tailor made for this post today.

Comment by Rob

Amusing because it is true.

Comment by Lee Hill

Tailor-made if you live in shorts and T shirts.

Comment by John

like a year 1 shit film student.

Comment by andy@cynic

Thank god you wrote that last sentence in the post or I’d have said you were trying to be an old man version of Ricky.

Comment by Bazza

How did you stop them from muting the music?

Comment by Bazza

I’m not sure I can stomach movie criticism from someone who thought Face/Off, Bad Boys and The Rock were ever good.

Comment by John

campbell only watches this shit for fashion tips.

Comment by andy@cynic


Comment by DH

as fucking always.

Comment by andy@cynic

Forever humble.

Comment by George

Leave a Reply