Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Movie Time!

You know, there are days when you think you're doing real well with these disorders.  This morning I was up early, shared breakfast with my wife, sent her on her way, and then did some reading.  Following a chapter of a Buffy the Vampire Slayer story (yes, I enjoy the classics), I did my stretches, exercises, and then hit the road for a mile walk, headphones and all.  Back home, I grabbed the newspaper, plopped on the couch, opened the paper and immediately fell asleep for one hour.  This set back all other planned activities.  Yesterday MS/BP let me ride my bike to run errands, then work in the yard, and get a lot of reading done, including Chris Matthews' book on JFK.  Thought I could get two days in a row.  Silly MS boy.  Now since I'm all messed up and foggy as a London night, I'll try this.

Let's go to the movies!

It's Tuesday as I write this and I usually take in a flick today at one of the local movie houses.  It's also two dollar popcorn day, and if the person taking the money and giving you your ticket is "of a certain age", I can squeeze in as a senior.  Once you hit 55, and have a pension to live on, the words "early bird special" start coming out of your mouth.  So over this summer I've seen everything from Prometheus to Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Slayer.  I'll leave reviews of those epics to others, but just a note to the Abe Lincoln producers - please remember to keep that mole on his face all the way through the film, and by the way, during his Presidency, he had two other kids aside from Willie.  I know, I know it's all made up.  Alas, that's where some kids get their history from.

Anyway, below is a list of movies (and TV show) that featured a character who was either diagnosed bipolar or with MS.  No one would ever figure on someone who had both, right?

Bipolar disorder


  • Hillary and Jackie (1998)
  • Duet for One (1986)
  • The West Wing (TV) (1999)

Bipolar is winning the race for most characters, probably because if you need someone manic, you can get it, if you need someone depressed, eventually you'll get that.  Now these lists are not complete certainly and are from various sources around the web.  You can find most if not all at Netflix or Amazon.  I have seen some of these films and I intend to see more, but here's the one I'd like to talk about:

Duet for One.  This is a small film, and is really based on the life of Jacqueline du Pre', so I guess you can watch either of the MS films noted here and get the same idea (See, it's not that Hillary and not that Jackie - it's the du Pre' sisters, Hillary and Jackie).  Anyway, Julie Andrews was nominated for a Golden Globe for her performance as a concert violinist who contracts MS, and the movie is about how the decisions of her life after diagnosis affect those around her.  You also get to see Julie undress, have sex with Liam Neeson, and say the F word a lot, which to a mind that still sees Mary Poppins and Maria from Sound of Music is a little disconcerting, but Ms. Andrews is a fine actress, and is supported by such greats as Max Von Sydow and Alan Bates who I think was in every British movie during the 70s and 80s.

But here's what bothered me.  The character Ms. Andrews plays, Stephanie, constantly refers to herself as "a cripple."  Now this movie was made in 1986, and since we're looking at 25 years ago, there were limited treatments, if any, and so she deteriorated at a faster pace, but a cripple?  Perhaps I'm looking at the film (and before that a successful stage play) from too far away, or perhaps its a British thing.

But take a look at it yourself....

The whole thing is on You Tube. 10 parts but easy to follow.

Do you think we could ask Martin Sheen if he'd like to be President again?  I'd rather have the guy with the MS than what we've got now on either side.  Heck, we did pretty well with the guy in wheelchair.  Oooops, no politics.  Sorry.  I'll be viewing Hillary and Jackie this week and will add some comments later.

Of course, these diseases are always good ones to flare up just when the story needs a push.

I'd like to close with a bit of dialogue from the film, this being said by Stephanie to her doctor.

"Sitting there year after year listening to miserable people like me tell you how the world does destroy them. Have you ever once felt anything like the pain they feel? All the despair, all the fear? You make your living from their suffering and you don't understand a shred of it. Anyone of us is more qualified to speak than you because we have been there. We're still there."

AKA-If you ain't got it, you don't get it.  Other films? or TV shows?

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