Just in case you’ve never heard the entire 18-minute version of Alice’s Resturant, here’s Arlo Gutherie’s story about “stupidity” set around real life events that happened Thanksgiving time in Massachusetts.
Today my wife and I celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary. We met in an elevator in Burbank, California and married in a covered bridge in Vail, Colorado, and have experienced many of the ups and downs of any relationship that has endured 30 years.
I put together 30 pictures that symbolized the sweeping overview of our marriage and shared it with friends. I’ll spare you 30 pictures but will share a favorite one of mine that was taken in 1999 when we backpacked across Europe in our most memorable adventure together.
This afternoon we went to a movie that is easily one of the best I’ve seen this year— Brooklyn. It also happens to be a movie about new adventures, the search for love, and the complexity of choices we face in life. (With a nice Ireland/Italian/American mix to the story.) John Crowley directed the script written by Nick Hornsby (High Fidelity) based on the New York Times best selling best selling novel Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín. I should add that is was beautifully shot by cinematographer Yves Bélanger. (But across the board, from cast to crew, this is a finely crafted movie.)
“The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.”
“We go out and we see a great hero’s journey movie it’s that impulse within us, that seed of potential, that wants to be actualized, that’s being talked to during those movies, and being whispered to, ‘It’s time for you to do that.’ That’s the story here. That’s what it’s all about.'”
From the documentary Finding Joe
(Not sure who said this because there was no lower third graphic)
“Storytelling is typically about people learning something. You go to a place that’s dark and mysterious. You are faced with yourself. There is a relationship between facing fear and this kind of soul game. You aquire a quality, a hidden strength, a value. [There are]moments where somebody is tested, somebody moves to a place where it feels like a crisis point, and then they are restored, redeemed, made better through that trial, and we call them heroes…There’s wonderful narrative iconography for how to live life. The idea that try hard, you get’ The Little Engine that Could— I think I can I think I can, I can. This idea that we really can do better, be better. That our greatest selves are hidden and the future is the prospect of coming to terms with that self.”
Oscar-winning screenwriter Akiva Goldsman (A Beautiful Mind)
From the above doc Finding Joe written and directed by Patrick Takaya Solomon
“I’m telling an old myth in a new way. That’s how you pass down the meat and potatoes of your society to the next generation.”
George Lucas on creating Star Wars
“Mythology teaches you what’s behind literature and arts, it teaches you about your own life…Myths are clues to the spiritual potentialities of the human life.”
George Lucas has been open over the years about Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces influencing him in creating the Star Wars movies. (And the above video unpacks that some.) The following quotes by Campbell are from his interview with Bill Moyers in The Power of Myth.
#1—“Myth basically serves four functions. The first is the mystical function—realizing what a wonder the universe is, and what a wonder you are, and experiencing awe before this mystery.”
#2—“The Second is a cosmological dimension, the dimension with which science is concerned—showing you what the shape of the universe is, but showing it in a way that mystery again comes through.”
#3—“The third function is the sociological one—supporting and validating a certain social order.”
#4 “There is a fourth function of myth, and this is the one that I think everyone must try to relate to—and this is the pedagogical function, of how to live a human lifetime under and circumstances.”
“The Call to Adventure sets the story rolling by disrupting the comfort of the Hero’s Ordinary World, presenting a challenge or quest that must be undertaken. The Call throws the Ordinary World off balance, and establishes the stakes involved if the challenge is rejected. Often delivered by Herald archetype, the Call to Adventure, can take a multitude of forms, including: a message or announcement (The African Queen), a sudden storm (Home Alone), the arrival of the villain (High Noon), a death (Jaws, Some Like It Hot), and abduction (Star Wars), a man’s dying words (Citizen Kane).
“The hero may need a Succession of Calls before finally realizing that a challenge must be met, or that his only means of escape is the Special World. Many times the Hero needs to choose between two Conflicting Calls.”
Myth and the Movies
That book came out in 1999—the same year that The Matrix hit theaters. So while that isn’t mentioned in that book, The Matrix has one of the most definitive and remembered “call to adventure” in modern cinema.
“Even in popular novels, the main character is a hero or heroine who has found or done something beyond the normal range of achievement and experience. A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself…The usual hero adventure begins with someone from whom something has been taken, or who feels there’s something lacking in the normal experiences available or permitted to the members of his society. This person then takes off on a series of adventures beyond the ordinary, either to recover what has been lost or to discover some life-giving elixir. It’s usually a cycle, a going and a returning.”
The Power of Myth with Bill Moyers
Chapter V, The Hero’s Adventure, page 123
Here’s nice video done by Iskander Krayenbosc, a motion designer from The Netherlands, as a graduation project for The University of Hong King (HKU). I’ve read Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces a few times and watched many interviews of him, and Krayenbosc does a great job of visually synthesizing Campbell’s views on the hero’s journey/adventure. (Complete with references to E.T. Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Back to the Future, Harry Potter, Batman, The Wizard of Oz, and others.)