Thursday, July 05, 2007

"The World We Create is the World We Live In"

The title of this post is a line taken from what I think is a truly remarkable film. Some of the best movies I've ever seen were brought to my attention either as a result of flipping through the channels on television, or simply turning the t.v. on and finding something already running. Today was one of those days, and I found a real gem: Gideon, a 1999 film starring Christopher Lambert (yes, the guy from the Highlander films) and a tremendous supporting cast which includes Charlton Heston, Mike Connors, Shirley Jones, Carroll O'Connor, and several others.

Trying to summarize the plot of a film is not my strong suit (particularly given my tendency to be as wordy and flowery about things as possible), but I did find this very good comment posted by an anonymous user at

Gideon Dobbs is a man with the mind of a child. Raised in rural South Carolina, his Aunt can no longer keep him when she re-marries. Gideon is placed in the closest institution that can look after him: A retirement home for the elderly. It is the story of a simple, innocent man who comes among a group of elderly people who have lost their lust for life and are merely waiting out the remaining years of their lives. Through the innocent eyes of Gideon, they learn to live again and see that each and every day is a precious gift.

Watching this film, I was struck by some of the strong plot similarities to the Cocoon movies -- senior citizens who have come to the point where they've pretty much given up on life and adopt the idea that theirs are almost over, and who, through the influence of a wonderful new presence, discover they've only just started to live. However, I enjoyed this one much more than those films, and I think it's due in large part to the fact that Lambert is playing way against type in this role, which I think is his best one yet. Heston is great, as always (I could watch a video of Heston reading the sports page to me and I would think it was equally great), O'Connor was really funny (my wife said, "Don't you think this is like watching Archie Bunker all over again?"), Jones was just as classy as ever -- in short, everyone was great. I think it's hard sometimes to watch a movie with a big ensemble cast, but this one was pulled off really well.

Sadly, I see that it was never released on DVD, and thus it isn't available through folks like Netflix. However, with some searching, you can find it on VHS, and perhaps your library or movie store has it in stock. I definitely think it's worth the search, and even more worth the viewing.

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