Ever since college, I’ve found the increasing importance of stories to be a theme of my life. For one particular colloquium session in the Honors Program, we read a book called The Call of Stories. (Of note, the session was lead by the particularly warm and hospitable wife of the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.) Although I don’t remember much about the book, what I do remember is that our writing assignment following the discussion group was to write about books that have impacted us. I wrote about A Tale of Two Cities. This was one of my first instances to begin to think of stories for more than their entertainment or historical-folk value. The nature of fiction unfolded as I began to encounter the power of myth, instruction, and reflection in stories.
That said, I also appreciate a movie about stories. I had the pleasure this drizzly post-call morning to finish watching Big Fish. What a great movie! I’d seen it a few years ago in the theater, and my only regret about renting it is that for just 5 or 6 more dollars I could have bought it.
Without spoiling it, the movie is about a son who is searching to better know his dying father–a father better known for his scintillating tall tales than frankness. The stories, in a sense, become who his father is, and vice versa.
A couple moments in the film I particularly enjoyed: Thanks to Tim Burton’s fantastic directing with a bent toward the fantastic, the potentially overly sentimental ending instead treated the viewer to a light-hearted and humorous moment between father and son.
Also I can’t help but mention the bathtub scene. Nothing racy here; just remarkably well done. And finally, I had to laugh when Will leaned over to push the nurse “call” button at the hospital. The button was positioned on the wall, such that an ailing patient would have to reach a few feet over his shoulder to summon aid!