Lights, Camera, Life

Sometimes I honest to god don't know the difference between what is real and what is currently playing on all the movie screens in the multiplex cinema of my brain.

The trouble is all the movies are playing at the same time, at 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 and a midnight show. Some are louder than others. Some are laden with special effects, some are a slapstick comedies some are once upon a time, full of longing period pieces and some are down right tragic.

The thing is I FEEL and HEAR them all the time and that can really mess with my ability to interpret what is actually happening in my everyday life and what is just yet another filmic emotional event.

In the toddler years of our lives, the "movie" going experience is far more simpler.

There was just one screen, one projector and in-between concession candy and ice cream snacks, all we got was coming attractions, a cartoon or two and the main presentation which was an epic version of all our happy dreams.

Yeah, occasionally we'd get a few nightmares on your street movies. But mommy and daddy were always inches away, ready to swoop in from Planet Bedroom, often in their astonishing grown up underwear, to rescue us.

It seems that the older we get, the bigger the complexes gets. Even worse the price of admission gets higher and higher, year after year. Plus people keep texting or reading email and that just plain drives me nuts.

Life outside the movie house of Cranium Town is often out of focus, badly shot, poorly directed, badly acted or just too confusing or overwhelming to follow, which is why we all tend, I think, to sneak into our own persona theaters in order to escape to a world where we can be cinematically soothed.

We are auteurs, each and every one of us. We are the producers, directors, screenwriter, casting agents and the composers of the soundtracks our own ongoing production.

Some movie fantasies play for weeks while others close on the same day. There are sequels, prequels and god awful remakes.

And then there are the critics which unfortunately are us too. And man we can be harsh and downright mean. That is the part of us that just think we know more than anyone else -- including ourselves.

So is it any wonder that shrinks have to deal with complexes? Shrinks tend to be the moviegoing audience of choice -- unless you find one terrific ticket buying life partner who falls in love with your movies no matter how many time he or she sees them.

It's easier than ever to see movies these days. We can stream them or watch them on demand. We can pretty much program whatever we need or want whenever we want.

In some ways, I think, that takes the adventure and mystery out of the whole movie going experience. Making life easier does not necessarily make things easy. In fact it often reduces everything to one giant distraction that has little weight or importance.

In the good old days movie palaces thematically simulated the world of lush, exotic locales. This made the audience feel like that an afternoon at the movies was like taking a rich person's vacation in Egypt or India.

Today movie palaces are gone as are Drive-Ins, where you got to cozy up with the entire family or with your window steaming hot date. Now movies can be watched in your car and the theaters feel more like storage facilities that house fantasies.

But the thing is we will always have the movie palaces of our own Cecil B. Demille minds where the budgets are infinite, the locations wondrous and the stories are inviting, frightening hilarious or deeply sad.

The actors get to be anyone. Your long lost mom or dad, brother or sister. A beloved grandma. Every single friend or foe, either real or imagined, that you have ever had emotional contact with.

You will be able to survive anything that comes your way. An earthquake. A nuclear explosion. A broken heart.

The life that actually happens outside the windows of who you are is nothing more or less than your interpretation of it which is why no one experiences the same things in the same way. This is why there are twelve jurors for a trial and not one.

So in some ways real life is never actually real. It's an instant playback that you get to define or distort.

But that world is not one that you can control or wish away no matter how hard you try.

It will always be a runaway production with shocking events that you could never imagine. It is, in fact, a collision of a million movies often gone very, very wrong.

So, my heartfelt suggestion is to fill your screens with stories of light and love and forgiveness and gratitude.

Because those movies are not only the most powerful.

They will play forever.