Just freakin’ great – The Happy Life

I watched a great movie tonight. I figured it would be good, because the cover just looked awesome. It was clearly a bunch of mostly middle-aged guys who were in a rock band in college, but they are forced out of the band championships time and time again and all but one gives up on being a musician to pursue a “normal” life.

That friend dies though, and it brings them together at his funeral, and jaded with their lives and unhappy with their relationships, they all decide to form a band again. They lack a singer, until eventually, the deceased member’s son steps forward and proves that he is an amazing singer, and they quickly get a regular position playing at a rock club.

Things don’t go well for any of the members. The singer’s son has his own issues, being without parents and having been shunned by his father, but the rest of them all have major relationship issues and all members’ marriages are either broken or on the verge of being so. At various times they all want to call it quits and just try and concentrate on being “normal”, but that has never really worked out that well so far anyway, so ultimately, they take comfort in their music, which makes them happy.

It’s a pretty slow movie and not a whole lot happens other than drama and marriage breakdown for most of the movie as they rehearse and even perform a few gigs, mistakenly thinking they are still in their 20’s. But ultimately, when it comes down to the crunch, and each one has to choose between his family and his music, he chooses the music.

But of course this is a happy movie, as evidenced by the title, so they all manage to convince their wives to come along to their own show, hosted in the drummer’s now-empty car shed. He is the only member who does not reunite with is wife, but he accepts that ultimately, he loves his drums more than his wife, and is satisfied just talking to his kids and teaching them what rock is about.

It’s a stupid movie. It’s pointless, and predictable, but it’s also heartwarming. It’s pretty slow and I think many people might get bored and turn it off in the middle, but if you can hold out to the finale, when everything comes together and everyone is happy.. well.. it’s worth it, let me assure you.

These guys really do rock out. They really do love the music, and they really do want their families… they just have something inside of them they need to get out, and their music helps them do that.

Great art is always produced by fuck-ups. From Van Gogh to Kurt Kobain, from Dickens, Tolstoy, Copolla and Seiger to Loud Reed, Mozart, Tchaikovsky, and Freddy Mercury. I don’t know. Take your pick. Most of the most famous artists in the world have been either completely fucking bonkers, or else complete social outcasts, unable to deal with the shackles of normal society, or just odd in some sort of way.

Everyone is a tiny bit odd inside. That’s why we all read Catcher in the Rye and go “Hmmm. I think I see a bit of myself in Holden Caulfield”. It’s not because it’s a literary masterpiece, it’s just because it’s a fucking TRUE. That’s how people are sometimes, even if they repress it.

The people who produce this art, invariably have messed up mental conditions, social circumstances or relationships. I guarantee you, there are very few of them who are totally normal and can say “No, my life is just like anyone else’s. I have no idea why I paint/write/compose like I do”. To be honest, of any who DO say that, I have grave doubts about what they are hiding in their closets, if you know what I mean.

Life may be a game, as Salinger says, but it’s a game with many different ways to play it. And some people choose to play it totally different to everyone else. Those people are mostly the ones who we hold up and give accolades to as being important. It’s not to say the scientists and scholars aren’t important. It’s just that, ultimately, they aren’t as interesting. We like the fascinating people the most. The non-conformists and the outcasts. They are the ones who truly say the things that we hold deepest in our hearts.

They are the true heroes.

If you ever get a chance to see the movie “The Happy Life” or as it is known in Korea, “즐거운 인생”. I urge you to do so. Buy it, download it, or steal it. I don’t care. It’s just a silly little example of a bunch of people who aren’t really crazy at all… just a little different and who just don’t seem to fit into society, and they turn it into a positive and model the universe around them instead of fitting themselves into a hole they don’t fit in.

But respect the crazies. They are the ones who bring us the greatest art. You know what I’m saying ?

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