A Movie Actually Worth Watching

I finally did my taxes this weekend and was shocked to discover that I’d paid more than $13,000 in out-of-pocket medical expenses last year and even more shocked to discover how little difference that made in my taxes. The bad news was I owed another $1,000; the good news was that I figured I’d owe taxes, so I had the money in my checking account to pay for it.

To celebrate, finally getting them done, not the fact that I owed, we went out to a movie at Tacoma’s The Grand Cinema. Though it’s anything but GRAND now days, I feel lucky to have a theater run by volunteers that’s dedicated to showing “small,? artistic films, and even luckier that the movies are offered at a discount rate.

Though I’m not particularly fond of Anthony Hopkins and dragged my feet when Leslie suggested The World’s Fastest Indian, I ended up loving it even more than Roger Ebert did.

Hopkins portrays New Zealander Burt Munro, a life-long motorcycle enthusiast who has long dreamed of taking his Indian motorbike to Bonneville Flats to try to break the speed record. Considering the age of his bike, his lack of funds, and his anything-but-lovable personality, it seems like an impossible dream, the kind most of us harbor somewhere in our subconscious, afraid to admit to anyone but ourselves, and sometimes refuse to even admit to ourselves.

While it was nice to know that the story was based on actual events, I would have loved the movie just as much if it had been pure fiction because it embodied my favorite theme of man’s transcendence. It’s nice to know that even a not-so-lovable old coot can redeem himself by following his dream and accomplishing what he set out to do.

It doesn’t hurt that while fulfilling his dream he actually turns out to be more lovable than he seems at first glance. While it’s not clear whether the real Burt Monro befriended a transsexual clerk in Hollywood, or was befriended by an old Indian in Nevada, it was nice to think it could have happened, and should have happened even if it didn’t.

It’s nice to know that the American Dream of Success is still alive, even if it’s only in a New Zealander and Englishman.

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