Skip to main content

Intellectual Pursuits -- Writer's Poke #267

Like me, Roger Ebert is an Illinois boy. He has dedicated his life to one thing: watching movies. My initial reaction to that is: Gee, what a way to waste a life -- sitting in a dark room all day, living life vicariously by watching the fictional stories created in the minds of others. But that's just my initial reaction. When I stop to think about it for another two seconds, my thoughts shift to: Wow. He got paid to watch movies for a living.

Of course he did a lot more than watch movies. He thought about them; he analyzed them; he wrote about them.

I'm no Ebert fanboy; he and I don't always agree, but I generally respect his opinions and observations, and I love to read how he viewed a movie. I've never had the chance to watch a movie frame-by-frame with him, but I imagine that would be an illuminating experience.

At this point in my life, all I can do is work my way through his The Great Movies I & II. Thanks to the invention of Netflix and the instant availability of streaming movies, over the past several months I've been able to watch about one hundred of the movies that Ebert rates as among the greatest of all time.

Last night I started watching an Ebert-recommend black and white Japanese movie, and my wife said, "You really like this stuff, don't you?" And honestly, I do. I'm not watching Ebert's picks as an "intellectual pursuit," per se, but I do appreciate the fact that some people make movies with a goal other than box office receipts.

Now that doesn't mean that I don't enjoy watching The Transporter; it simply means that most movies come and go and are forgotten once they leave the theaters on their initial run. Others, however, have the potential to stand the test of time.

What is a worthwhile pursuit to spend one's life? To spend your life?

"Men tire themselves in pursuit of rest." -- Laurence Stern


Popular posts from this blog

Summer Day Trip #1: Caledonia, Minnesota

The Wired Rooster Coffee Shoppe -- Caledonia, Minnesota

I've lived in Minnesota for over ten years, sure, but that doesn't mean I've actually seen much of the state. Like most people, I know what I know, and I go where I go. And that's the extent of it. But once I resigned myself to the fact that I wasn't going to make it to Alaska this summer, it occurred to me that I had plenty of sites to explore in the immediate region.

First stop: Caledonia, Minnesota. Where's that? It's a small town in the southeast corner of the state. Before I opened my Rand McNally Road Atlas, I had never heard of it, and before I punched the town name into Trip Advisor, I didn't know if there was anything there worth visiting.

Distance from home: About 75 miles.

Challenge #1: Leaving by 6:30 a.m.

Challenge #2: Taking my dog, Atticus.

Actually, Atticus is a good dog on a road trip, but the forecast indicated that it was going to get into the 90s. I wanted to leave early in the …