Monthly Archives: June 2012

Seeking A Friend At the End of the World, Looking at Life in a New Perspective

What would happen if the world was going to end? That is the basis for “Seeking A Friend at the End of the World.”  The film is based around main character, Dodge Peterson (Steve Carell) who, along with everyone else – discovers the world will end in three weeks time due to impending asteroid. All scientific theories and space travel missions to deter this outcome have failed. There is no solution except to accept this particularly grim fate.

Dodge and his wife, Linda hear the news in their car radio and she promptly exits, leaving him for good. Others react with angry mob scenes complete with death and destruction, while some continue their daily routines like going to work or mowing their lawns. This seemed a very real and arguably accurate depiction of what life would turn into if we all found out today the world was going to (legitimately) end in a few weeks time. It also brought about the issue of a person’s level of happiness in life – what they are willing to settle for and why they do so.  Why some people stay in unhappy marriages, why they cheat, why they marry (i.e. people who don’t want to die alone versus waiting for the right person).

After realizing his regular day-to-day routine is no longer necessary, Dodge stops going to work and has a chance encounter with a distraught woman from his building named Penny (Kiera Knightley). They become somewhat friends while Penny explains she is enduring a recent break up with an unemployed guitar player named Owen (spoiler alert, it’s loveable Adam Brody under that beard!)

The next day, when an angry mob starts to riot outside their building, Penny and Dodge take off together determined to make their destinations by world’s end. Hers: to London to be with her family. His: to track down his high school love aka the one that got away.  As is the case of most journey stories, the film is more about the journey and the people (a lot of great cameos) they encounter than the destination.

Together Dodge, Penny and little adopted dog Sorry, drive in search of their perspective destinies and find what they are looking for changes on the way. Performances by Carell and Knightly are both equally and exceedingly strong. I’ve always been a fan of Steve Carell, whether the role is hilarious (Anchorman) or more serious and heartfelt (Crazy, Stupid Love) so I maybe biased but he is just a guy I can’t help but warm up to.

Dodge and Penny are a charismatic albeit odd pairing, defying many onscreen duo/couples clichés and drawn out scenarios – there was literally no time for that. Knightley as evokes such instant, significant emotion that as a viewer I felt what she felt and teared up when she did.

I particularly loved both actors’ scenes with Martin Sheen, I won’t give away the context for sake of not spoiling for those who haven’t seen it – but he is another actor I love, I mean West Wing? Come on! And although his role is small, the relationship between him and Dodge is as rich in its complexity as it is in its emotion.

I wondered how this storyline would play out until the very end and I was not disappointed. I felt the ending was a satisfying one, true to the story and not the cop out I was almost certainly expecting. This film doesn’t try to be something more than it is. It underlines the key themes of love, fate and the unexpected, although the subject matter is particularly emotional and heavy – I really loved this film.

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From Interviews to New Jobs: That Nervous Feeling

When you were a teenager that feeling never seemed to go away: parties, dating, and friends – all of these could evoke that butterflies-in-your-stomach feeling. As an adult I find there are very few things that make me nervous. Aside from walking down the aisle last year, there have been few and far between circumstances where I am consumed by nerves, that is until recently.

 Over the last few weeks I have been actively job searching. My current role is contract and fixed with an end date when a co-worker on maternity leave is set to return. In attempt to be both realistic and practical, I updated my resume and set my sights on the job boards and combed them on a daily basis. That in itself is also not nerve wracking. It’s what follows.

The interviews. Out of practice for a few years is nerve wracking in itself but I also find the formality of the situation intimidating and my nerves get the best of me. My mind races, my stomach churns, all while I attempt to show none of this on the outside. I hope they won’t notice how dry my mouth is how I’m trying not to ramble, appear poised and professional while hoping this job is a good fit for me, and I’m a good fit for these potential employers. Now I admit, I’ve been on a few now and the more I get into it again, the more at east I feel – to a point. But that gnawing stomach, frazzled nerves feeling remains.

Then you wait for the phone call to find out if you’ve been accepted for the next round, given the job, or discarded all together. I always thought it was commonplace and more importantly, common courtesy for companies you’ve interviewed with to let you know either way if you got the job. But it seems that is no longer the case, most places don’t call and let you know – not a gentle e-mail, nothing. As a matter of fact, this happened to me only a few weeks ago and while I understand I might not have been a right fit for the job, where’s the respect for your applicants? Why not just let them know instead of leaving them wondering, curious as to how long they should hold out hope in hearing something?

But back to the nervous feeling, it comes back again unexpectedly, when you’ve been offered a position. I was offered one recently completely outside of the corporation I’ve worked for in the last five years and it will be a big change.  I’ve made some close, wonderful friends at my current job, and when I think about not seeing them every day, it makes me sad. I know it’s for the best and that this job holds so much potential for my future, but it’s a lot of change and quite frankly, it’s freaking me out.

I keep thinking my first day of work is going to feel exactly like the first day at a new school. I won’t know a single person, nor have a single friend. I won’t know who is mean, who is nice or who to trust. I won’t get to go out to lunch with the same group I’ve been dining with the past while and they’ll go on without me, maybe even forget me.

When I think about arriving at this new place for my first day, the nervous feeling in my stomach returns and I feel like a kid again.

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