Art Imitating Life...or Life Imitating Art? Larry Crowne, Vespas, and College.
Does art imitate life or does life imitate art? Either way I find myself in parallels with movies all the time, because sometimes a quote, or a scene just gives me that deja vu.
Take the movie Larry Crowne for example.
Despite its powerhouse of a cast with Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, and Bryan Cranston, I had never really heard of it. Browsing Netflix one lazy evening I come across a thumbnail showing Tom Hanks on a scooter. Yes, Tom Hanks, on a scooter.
It has to be said that I love scooters. I rode a Honda 150 for an entire year before I had my daughter, and certainly way before she started playing hockey. There were so many reasons to love it, with its Great on gas, cheap insurance, that little whirrrrrrr it makes when you are riding it. I felt positively Parisian when I donned my helmet and took off. Well, except maybe the times I had jam bags of groceries between my feet, or had to ride miles in a downpour, praying that I wouldn’t hydroplane. But still, I loved it and aspired (and still do) to have a Vespa. It just screams Europe, freedom, and class with just a touch of hipster.
I decided to kick back and watch the movie, because if nothing else I get to giggle over Tom Hanks on a scooter. Not ten minutes into the movie I am completely flabbergasted. This character was living a semblance of my life! Fired from his retail job for not having a degree, poor Larry is left wondering what to do for the rest of his life. He's divorced, got bills to pay, a house that needs to be maintained, and a monster SUV that needs around $80 in gas to fill it up. In a moment of why-the-hell-not he decides to go to community college and get degree so "This will never happen again."
Ok, so I don't have a monster SUV but I had a car payment, rent to pay, and something Larry didn't have, a teenage girl who played the most expensive sport on the planet (hockey). And like Larry I headed to community college.
Along the way he acquires a scooter to get him back and forth cheaply. Forms an unlikely bond with a sassy Vespa gang (is that really a thing?) and starts imagining a different life for himself. I am feeling all sorts of validated from a fictional character.
Plus, his classmate had a kick ass Vespa AND riding gloves. Riding gloves! I can't wait to get a pair.
Now mind you this is not the best movie I have ever seen, and most people would probably write it off as escapist. But when you feel so connected to a main character, you just go with it.
So, community college? Check. Unlikely bonds with classmates? Check. Cool Vespa? Coming soon to the streets of Phoenix soon...