New Movie: 127 Hours

Saw the new James Franco movie 127 Hours and the new Signature Theater play, Walter Cronkite Is Dead this week. The movie is gripping with severe editing that makes it thrilling to watch. The play is humorous and poignant.

This will not be a discussion of my crush on James Franco. Although watching his tongue lap at the last drops of water closeup has given me new things to think about.

Each made points about people and the company they keep. Based on the book 127 Hours : Between A Rock and A Hard Place, the movie indicates that Ralston learns that he needs to appreciate and spend more time with his family and those who he loves.

127 Hours: Between a Rock and a Hard Place
The play Walter Cronkite Is Dead illuminates the view point of two women who could be the mother of a man of Ralston’s age. While not completely forgotten about, the two women are lonely. 

Despite their residence in a blue and a red part of the US, the women through conversation overcome their political differences to find common ground mostly in their motherhood. They also discover that they both bemoan the loss of a sense of commonality and cultural “standards”, seemingly embodied in the title characters’ newscast to a large audience and his times of greater cultural common points or touch points.

Was the 1960s really this time of great common touch points? There were many different ethnic communities with their own media, culture, and communities in the US. While less acknowledged as culturally acceptable then now do to cultural relativism and “political correctness” these distinct groups had their own distinctive ways of being that were not shared among the larger culture. Many within these groups resisted said mainstream cultural standards.

Ralston, like the children of the two mothers in the play, leads a life generally apart from his parents. He hardly seeks connection with even like-minded people, let alone someone from a different background, with drastic political differences.

The movie seems to indicate that he realizes his need for connection. His distance from his parents and his denial of a college girlfriend, a topic that would have been interesting for the movie to go into in greater depth, are for him the result of a macho attitude of doing it alone.

To him it is, but I thought about people who like being alone and how the movie could have represented those people. I thought about people who seek out environments, such as the Utah mountains, to commune with nature because that is their major connection.

The two women in the play saw the value of immersing into different cultures. Each sought to take a trio, either to see beauty or to wipe away their cultural attitudes and perceptions.

The play shows that a US citizen who lives on either coast or in the great middle does not have to travel outside the country to immerse somewhere different. All they need to do is travel elsewhere and engage with an open mind.

The movie and play raise the question of experiences alone in new and challenging environments. This is one of the reasons why people travel. They seek to immerse their self in a unique place to feel different things and perhaps come back feeling differently or thinking more broadly.

The two works also make one wonder about how we each spend our time. How much alone time do we need and do we get it? How much time is spent with like-minded and with differently-minded people. Do we have enough of each. Seems all of us could use amounts of each of these experiences.


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