WELCOME TO EARTH-4
A Column by J. Torrey McClain
When I first walked out of the new Coen Brothers release Hail, Caesar! my initial thoughts were that I wanted more. I wanted more scenes of the characters that just had brief moments. I wanted more of Alden Ehrenreich as Hobie Doyle. I wanted more of Tilda Swinton as the Thacker sisters. I wanted more of Channing Tatum as Burt Gurney. I wanted more of just about everything (and instead of listing each and every wonderful actor, I choose to stop and get to my point.) A few seconds later, I realized that the movie isn’t about any of those supporting people. It is barely about the star, Josh Brolin playing Eddie Mannix*, a fictionalized version of a real life MGM fixer and studio head. It is about a day in the life of Eddie Mannix. Think about that for a second and then join me in the next paragraph.
*(For more Mannix, march over to MGM Stories from “You Must Remember This.”)
What’s a day in the life for anyone? Do you see all of your loved ones? Do you talk to all of your family? Do you get to pet your pets? Do you work? Do you make love?
A day in the life doesn’t have to be miraculous, stupendous, monumental or anything. A day in the life is. If you asked me yesterday what my life was like, I’d tell you I walked along the Pacific Ocean, ate fresh seafood at a seafood “shack,” saw clear vistas devoid of pollution due to low humidity and high winds, played a trivia video game against my girlfriend and went 1-1, and I drove people around as a Lyft driver. Today I duplicated my driving, walked for forty minutes, gave my kittens their morning treats, got a positive phone call from my doctor, got a book recommendation from one of my Lyft passengers and started to write this essay and the day is not even seven hours old. Maybe I’ll apply for jobs later or read a book or watch a documentary or fix myself a bagel with cream cheese and smoked salmon. My future is in a state of flux as one of my kitten’s tails wags back and forth in front of my laptop’s screen, obscuring words just like the sands of time obscure the future of today.
I like to think about the day in the life of various people and how I’m a guest in their days or how they’re the guest stars in my days. This morning I gave a ride to six different people. They guested in my life as travelers, workers and students that ranged from talkative to silent, with headphones stubbornly plugged in their ears. I guested in their lives as the loquacious and garrulous guy listening to NPR between podcasts, the owner of a phone worn around the edges that spit out directions in a mechanical female voice from the Waze app, the driver that got them safely to their destinations, and the dude that zipped away to his next fare or back home once they stepped out of his car.
My Saturday had some nice events including viewing Hail, Caesar! All in all, it was just another day in the life of Jason Torrey McClain as he watched a day in the life of Eddie Mannix and guested in the life of the employee of Ben & Jerry’s next to the movie theater who served him a lovely banana split as his dinner. He’s an adult. He can eat banana splits for dinner.
Now, you know about that Saturday as my words guest in your current day. A day in the life is. It doesn’t tie up into a neat, nice bow, it rarely resolves anything, it just is. The Coen Brothers picked an interesting day in a fictional life. I picked three days in the last four to tell you about my life. I know a movie won’t be made, but you can still visualize the fun, can’t you?
Now, go out there and get some ice cream for yourself in your day. I think I’ll do the same.