20 October 2009

Let The Wild Rumpus Start!

The older I get (I'll be twenty-four next month), and the more I get into this teaching racket, the more distant and detached I feel I'm becoming from my childhood. Last night I got to see Spike Jonze's adaptation of Maurice Sendak's beloved children's' book Where The Wild Things Are. Although this is not a film review, I will say that I did enjoy the film. The sets, art direction, and Max (the perfectly casted Max Records) were all amazing; but I must admit that it was the Wild Things and the actors that lent their voices to the creatures that threw me over the top. Anyways, seeing the movie reminded me a lot of my childhood. As a kid, I remember my parents reading me that book before bed and being both startled yet memorized by the Wild Things. And I also adored Max. He was bold, brave, daring, and wild. But he was also eight and I could identify with what it was like to be eight and scared of the imperfect world around me; to see every angle change and feeling helpless that I couldn't stop it was what Max and the eight year old me had in common.

And all nostalgia aside, seeing Jonze's film made me realize that part of me is still eight...something that, surprisingly enough, I greatly appreciate.

In the film, Max becomes isolated in his own world; a world that has all but collapsed (divorce, his sister growing up and making new friends, a mother's new boyfriend, his igloo...collapsing, THE SUN EXPLODING!!!) In a violent and defiant fit of rage, Max snarls and sinks his fangs into his mother, runs off, and sets sail for the land of the Wild Things to ineviatbly become their king. Of all the creatures, he identifies most with Carol (perfectly voiced by "The Sopranos" James Gandolfini), the leader of the Wild Things. The two connect because, like Max, Carol can't fathom change in a world he deems as perfect. It is at the end of their wild rumpus that both Carol and Max realize that change is a permanent part of life; that you have to take the good with the bad and not get all wild when life doesn't go your way.

This is the point in the film where I realized that Carol, Max and I have a lot more in common than rugged good looks.

Some things have recently happened that I havn't been able to control, and it's been driving me nuts. It's like my igloo is collapsing on me, and, like Carol and Max, my perfect world is falling apart. But.Life.Isn't.Perfect. It just works out right every once in a while so we keep ourselves living for those moments where a smile isn't an option...it's a necessity.

I find it both odd and redeeming that a children's' movie has re-opened my eyes to one of life's biggest problems: a problem that I tend to forget how to solve and need to hit the REFRESH button every once in a while in order to figure things out.

Although Carol and Max have helped me cope with things that have been troubling me lately, they HAVE ALSO helped me come to the conclusion that, like them, I struggle with a changing world that I can do nothing about; that like them I sometimes have a heart as big as a monster's and as pure as a child's and I don't understand the world as I should.

And this doesn't make me feel as old as I once did...


  1. Sean. I'm a sucker for your posts. I love it.

  2. When I saw the film I had nothing of the sort changing in my world the way things were in yours, so I can only imagine how much this hit home. I almost wish I could've felt that way the first time seeing this movie, would've been quite memorable. So what's your policy on guest bloggers for this blog of yours? Would a blog have to pass some insurmountable test of scrutiny to be deemed worthy?