I suppose the most a person could ask for is to step into retirement feeling as though they did something meaningful with their working life. That was the last thing on my mind when I was fresh out of college. I took a job in sales one month after graduation without ever considering whether I would like it or not path of least resistance, I guess. Work was something I did to pay the rent. I was more interested in my golf swing and what everybody was up to over the weekend. I struggled through a year and a half at that job. Initially I was motivated, wanting to make my mark on the world, however, over time I began to dread the day-to-day sales pitch. And then something funny happened: I realized one afternoon that my job was not a good fit for my personality. For the first time in my life I began to consider what kind of career path I was on. How would I feel about my life if I were still in this vocation in 10 or 20 years? I went through a long period of introspection where I questioned what it was I enjoyed doing. My life had always consisted of sports and art two things I was naturally good at. The sports boat had already left port (although I secretly hoped that I would become a scratch golfer and miraculously qualify for the US Open), so that left me with art. I loved all artistic mediums, having studied many in college, but my strengths lay in cartooning, something I did incessantly during lectures at school. And so I did what any educated young man in my situation would do: I quit my job to become a cartoonist. It took me two months to come up with ten solid ideas. I then approached a dozen newspapers, half of which agreed to run my single panel cartoon. I was in business until I did the math. In order to make any money cartooning you have to be in a few hundred papers. Cartooning was not going to pay the rent. Luckily one of the newspapers where I was published asked me if I wanted to do some freelance work. After a few months I was hired as a graphic artist. When the editor found out I could write, I was given a few story assignments. Not long after that I wrote my first movie review. The rest as they say is history. Im still 25 years away from retirement but I feel Im on track to look back on my career with pride. Ill feel blessed if that ends up being the case; not everyone enjoys that sense of gratification. In this weeks feature, No Country For Old Men, we meet a small town sheriff on the verge of retirement. He is contemplating his career, wondering if he really made a difference, and then, just as hes about to retire, a complicated murder takes place on the outskirts of his town. No Country For Old Men is the brainchild of Joel and Ethan Coen. The two brothers have written, directed, and produced several classic films including Raising Arizona, Fargo, Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? and The Big Lebowski. Their pictures are generally involved, violent, and full of dark humor. Their track record is so impressive that they have the final say on all their films something very rare in a control-obsessed Hollywood. In this picture, the Coen Brothers have once again put violence forefront. However, No Country For Old Men is much more than a bloody thriller. The characters, especially the antagonist, Javier Bardem, are worthy of great analysis. The viewer is constantly pressured to ask questions about individual players: What drives them?; What will they do next? Unlike a standard motion picture where characters are predictable, No Country For Old Men offers deep, highly engineered portrayals that leave you pleasantly off-balance. If youre in the mood for a very intense movie experience, I highly suggest a viewing of this film. It has everything you could want in a motion picture: great acting, an involved story, and complex characters. When the Oscar finalists are announced, its likely that this film will enjoy multiple nominations. A piercing A- for No Country For Old Men. Cant decide what to watch? Check out Doms Video Pick Of The Week
Heres a documentary that will leave most people feeling good about their childhood. Stevie follows the troubled life of Stephen Fielding, a young man who was severely abused as a child and subsequently becomes a violent sociopath. Director Steve James (Hoop Dreams) was actually an Advocate Big Brother to Stevie years before the documentary started. Realizing that Stevie might be an interesting case study, James returns to find out what happened during the past ten years. What follows is a four-year analysis of Stevies life, family, and continued troubles with society. Check this one out if you enjoy character studies of severely troubled yet highly intriguing individuals.