Magical Flying Machines and Colby Curtin


I didn’t blog yesterday. Why, you ask? I got busy. Time management has never been my strongest skill, so after making new hats for about 10 hours, I looked up and, BEHOLD! Most of the day had gone by.

I almost didn’t blog today. Why, you ask? I got lazy. I barely managed to put on something more than underwear, and that was only because I had to wash a bunch of laundry before I had no other options except to wear only undies. I never crocheted either. Or read. I played a rather addictive video game, exactly like I told myself I wouldn’t do, until dinner time, and then I decided to get my buns kicked into high gear and get a few things done.

The theatrical release poster for the film. Note the old fart, the boy scout, and the dog, the balloons and a bird named Kevin. I think that about covers it.

Eating is truly one of my few motivators. Maybe if someone dragged a pork chop on a string in front of my path, I’d be more apt to do housework. I truly don’t know.

So, anyway, here’s a blog.

I read an interesting tidbit on Wikipedia the other night, about the Pixar animated feature Up. I’ve often said it’s the only cartoon ever to make me cry in the first ten minutes, and laugh for the next 80. For those of you who have never seen the film, it’s about a crotchety old man who, after being told his house will be torn down to make way for progress, decided to tie about a gazillion balloons to it and carry it away. A little Boy Scout happened to be on his porch at the time, and the Walter Matthau clone was faced with loving someone again. There’s also a talking dog and a large silly bird named Kevin. I don’t think there’s ever been a show on TV or on film that I’ve disliked, if it features a character named Kevin.

But that’s not the tidbit. Here’s the information from Wikipedia:

Before the film’s worldwide release date, Pixar granted a wish from 10 year old Colby Curtin to see the film before she died. Colby had been diagnosed with cancer and was too sick to go to a theater. A Pixar employee flew to the Curtin’s house with a DVD of the finished film and screened it for her and her family. Curtin died seven hours later, after seeing the film.

This is simultaneously the most heartwarming, and saddest tale I’ve seen in a couple weeks, and that includes Pete Seeger’s death on Monday.

First, kids shouldn’t die of cancer. That’s just horrid.

Second, the film captures the essence of relationships in a way that many don’t manage to pull off. Without pandering to its audience, we have Carl and Ellie lose a baby in the first ten minutes, followed by a fast-forward of their life, when Ellie herself dies. I don’t know if I could have been the parents to sit through that, knowing my daughter was dying in a bed next to me.

Anyway, I haven’t got any deep thoughts about the issue. It just struck me. And it’s a story that won’t leave. Maybe its relevance will become clearer as I mull on it, but at this point, it’s just sweet and sad, kind of like the movie itself.  The director of Up, Pete Docter, maybe says it better than I did:

Basically, the message of the film is that the real adventure of life is the relationship we have with other people, and it’s so easy to lose sight of the things we have and the people that are around us until they are gone. More often than not, I don’t really realize how lucky I was to have known someone until they’re either moved or passed away. So, if you can kind of wake up a little bit and go, “Wow, I’ve got some really cool stuff around me every day”, then that’s what the movie’s about.

Every day, I run from thing to thing in my life. I obsess about money, and my kids, and about work, and where I left my keys. But in the simple act of watching a film, Colby Curtin managed to warm my heart and make me pause to look at what’s truly important. God bless her, and dare I say it, God bless Pixar.

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