Wednesday, August 29, 2012

"Mr. Destiny" -- A Different Take

Mr. Destiny Poster
A Different Take
The first time I formed a real set of views about movie, I was surprised to learn that many people had arrived at a different conclusion, or interpretation, of the film entirely.

I felt kind of proud about having a different point of view about something compared to the older people who commented on the movie in commercials,  endorsing the film for others to see it.

The film that comes to mind when I think about this unique discrepancy is "Mr. Destiny", starring James Belushi and co-starring Michael Caine.

The film starts out with Belushi, playing a middle-aged man named Larry Joseph Burrows, who in  many ways is burrowed in problems. He has a bad 35th Birthday, to start out. No breakfast to start off. The contractor working on the front of his home refuses to get anything done. Yet he still ends up writing the guy a check.

Then he gets to work, where he discovers that his boss is engaged in some compromising, illicit activities. Instead of getting any kudos for finding out what happened, he gets fired. Last of all, his car breaks down, a piece of junk which barely starts then gets nowhere fast.

He ends up at a corner bar, where he meets Mike, or Mr. Destiny, played by Michael Caine.

Burrows settles down to complain about the nasty turns which his life has taken. If only he had made that home run when he as a kid playing in a local little league game, his life would have turned out much differently, or so he thinks.

Little does Burrows realize, but the bartender puts together a "magical drink", one which lets him go back in time, hit the homerun, get ushered off the field in praise, then move on in the world to becoming the head of the very company he was working for as a middling manager.

So, Burrows experiences a totally new life, one which based on having hit that one homerun in little league that changes his life into wealth, health, and all kinds of success.

The bartender, Mike, now tags along from time to time, like a guardian angel of sorts, outlining for him the major transformations which have taken place in his life. He finds that he is  married to the elderly CEO's  daughter, too, not the wife whom he had left at home the day before, when he was just a middling manager.

So, he is rich, he has everything that he could want -- yet he is not happy. Even though he is married to the boss' daughter and looks to inherit the company, he falls in love all over again with the woman he had first marrried.

He reaches out to her again, has fun with her at the same old haunts. His liaisons with a different woman, however, sets off the ire of rich wife whom he has married in this alternative. Then another employee, the same man who as the boss in Burrow's previous life. This man ends up killing the CEO of the company, yet implicates Burrows in the death. The police go to arrest him, but the main character runs for help.

Frantic to get away from this life, Burrows drives back to the same bar. He scurries around to find Mike the bartender, yet when he cannot find the guy, he starts mixing a drink for himself, trying to find the same  concoction which blasted him into this alternative universe.

Instead of police, a tow-truck man appears at the door. Burrows is back in his old life as a middling manager, and he is grateful. Later than evening, he returns home, giving up his junkie car to the tow-truck man. Just as he walks in, "Suprise!" all of his co-workers, plus his lovely wife, throw him a big birthday party. The son of the elderly CEO arrives in time to give him a big present -- Burrows is offered the job which belonged to his boss, the same man who had fired him because he was engaging in illicit activities on the job.

The day ends pretty well for Mr. Burrows.

After I saw that movie, I was really surprised by how many people took the film as an aggrandizing invitation for people to pursue their dreams, that whatever people wanted in life, that the could go out and get it for themselves.

I did not get that message from this movie. James Belushi's character did have all of his dreams come true, he did get what he wanted, he got to go back in time and fix the "mistake" which he thought had ruined his life. Yet for all of those changes, it did not make his life any better. He missed his wife, even though in his "better life" he was married to the CEO's daughter. He faced immense pressures as a major leader in a company that he did not want to be in.

The message which I gathered from this film, which I hope that more people would have taken, is that no matter how bad your life circumstances may seem, it is not going to stay that way. Wishing that certain things had not happened in the past will do nothing to create a peace for the present or prosperity in the future.

Instead of a change in his life, Burrows received a change in his attitude, choosing not to feel bad that he had stood up to his boss, even if he ended up losing his job. Just because he had a bad day did not mean that he was destined to have a bad life. Just because he missed out on an important play in the past, just because he made a set of bad choices earlier in his life, that did not mean that he was doomed to having absolutely nothing to look forward to.

It's not so much that our dreams have to come true as that we see better than our dreams taking place in our lives. When we refuse to get down on ourselves because of our circumstances, when we resist the nasty challenges of the present and ignore the blunders of the past, then and only then do we receive the grace to win and reign in life, and we witness the worst-cases scenarios turn into blessed certainties in our lives.

Our dreams do not depend on our past, our failures do not dictate our future. This is the message that more people need to receive in their lives.

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