Through the course of a life, we all have regrets. Unfortunately, a lot of these regrets come at the end of our lives, when it is sometimes too late to redeem ourselves. Either we’ve been haunted with a past mistake our entire lives, or we’ve just now realized that our attitude has been less than exemplary. Whatever the reason, if we get to the age where our lives are now nearing their end, we’ll want to put in a last-ditch effort to redeem ourselves with our loved ones and those around us. Consider the film The Bucket List (2007), wherein Jack Nicholson’s and Morgan Freeman’s characters have a list of things they want to do before they die. We all might have such a list, but as we get older, certain items on this list will be more difficult to attain, especially when it comes to forgiveness. This week’s two films feature main characters who want to go to the grave with a clear conscience.
Length: 103 minutes / 1.71 hours
We’ve all made mistakes, but sometimes these mistakes can affect our entire lives. Whether it’s a poor investment decision or a sudden, freak accident that places you at fault, these life-changing mistakes often make us a pariah from society. We will try to escape our past, but it always seems to have a way of finding its way back to us, causing us to run away yet again and start anew. However, we reach a point in our lives when it’s time to stop running. It’s time to face the facts and to let everyone know of the truth behind the rumors. After all, what will we be remembered by if a large blemish on our life’s story is left unremoved before we pass on to the afterlife? Until the truth finally is revealed, we are likely to die a disgrace, having never had a chance to go public with our side of the story.
Felix Bush (Robert Duvall) is a reclusive man who owns a large parcel of wooded land next to a small town. As such, the only information most townsfolk know about him is attributed to rumors and hearsay. When he appears in town with a large amount of cash and a request, some start to listen. The man who listens the most is Frank Quinn (Bill Murray), a financially struggling owner of a funeral parlor. He listens because Felix wants a “funeral party” where he will get to hear the rumors everyone knows, as well as to raffle off his land, as he has no heir. Frank sees this as an opportunity to use some of Felix’s money to help his business, but once the party begins, Felix reveals the truth about an incident from forty years ago, wherein he has since been accused of killing in cold blood. In reality, he was trying to save the woman he loved.
Length: 116 minutes / 1.93 hours
Tolerance is a quality of one’s personality which is often tied to the era in which they lived. While more modern generations have been taught to be more tolerant of other people, whether due to differences in gender, race, or age, there are still bastions of the old ways of thinking clinging on to their beliefs even today. Often, the older generations, after decades of being embittered toward those who are different than they are, have a difficult time adjusting to the globalized world where we now live. Faulty stereotypes often fuel the hatred that these people have towards others, often pushing away everyone from their life, including their family and loved ones. This is unfortunate, because the elderly often have a lot of good life advice to pass on to the younger generations. With a final chance to change, perhaps they can be accepting and find acceptance themselves.
Walt Kowalski (Clint Eastwood) has a lot to be unhappy about. Long since retired from his job, his wife of 50 years recently deceased, and his neighborhood now filled with poverty-stricken Asian immigrants, Walt is stubborn to remain in his house instead of moving to a retirement home. Things are not the way they once were for Walt, but he is willing to defend his way of life. The son of his next-door neighbor, Thao (Bee Vang), attempts to steal his Gran Torino, which now places Walt squarely in the middle of a gang conflict, as they were initiating Thao with the car theft. The neighborhood sees him as a hero, even if he does not want the recognition of this particular ethnic group. However, his heart soon softens and he takes on the role of a mentor for Thao, who has been forced to repay his crime with chores. Now a full part of the Asian community, Walt has one last chance to redeem himself and the neighborhood.
2 sum it up: 2 films, 2 final wishes