Funny what inspires us. You change one dreary piece of music for the High Holy Days and someone complains it was their favorite. In my previous congregation, I knew that one particular Shabbat English prayer was exceedingly inspirational to two congregants, so I added it when they looked like they needed a little lift. I don’t know why, but the Louis Lewandowski “S’u Sh’arim“ that is found towards the end of Yom Kippur services always moves me – and not because it is at the end either. It works when used at a Shabbat Torah service too.
So I turn to Rock of Ages, the recent Hollywood version of the Broadway jukebox musical. Truth up front: I am not a fan of jukebox musicals for the most part despite my love of musicals. Further, I am not a big fan of Hollywood movies made of Broadway musicals. They usually are mediocre and stiff. (Worse if it is a really good movie that became a really good show that became a really dull movie – exs. The Producers, Hairspray).
It is a standard of near death and pre-death cinematic experiences to have your “life flash before eyes” just as you die or think you are about it. Such a whirl of reflection is logical. It is a great way to review the arc of the film and see the character’s meaningful or disappointing journey. It is a helpful plot device as well if the character does not die to push them to a change of behavior.
Examples include films such as Armageddon, Vanilla Sky, American Beauty, and, amusingly to Max in the remake of The Producers: “”I see my mother in a nice, gingham gown calling, ‘Alvin! Don’t forget to do your chores! The wood needs a cuttin’ and the cows needs a milkin’! Alvin! Alllllvin!’ Wait. My name’s not Alvin… Someone else’s life is flashing before my eyes.” Continue reading →