The Incident

I’ve been watching The Apartment recently. It was co-written and directed by my birthday buddy Billy Wilder, and it is one of my favorite films. It addresses multiple issues with frankness and heart. It takes place during the holidays and there’s an attempted suicide. They should play this movie on TV on a loop during Christmas so that people can see suicide is not the answer.

My favorite scene (at this point in my life) is a pivotal one for the story. Baxter asks Fran what she thinks of his hat. She claims to like it, but her thoughts are elsewhere and he doesn’t believe her. Fran hands him her compact to prove that it looks nice. When he peers into it, he sees that the mirror inside is cracked. The cracked compact reveals to Baxter that Fran is in a secret relationship with their boss. She notices the dismay on his face and asks about it. He tells her it’s because the mirror is broken. Then she utters a line of dialogue that echoes my current situation:

Yes, I know. I like it that way. It makes me look the way I feel.

I feel broken. I feel ugly. I feel fat. I feel like a failure and a loser. I feel incompetent and untalented. I feel depressed. I feel these things in part because of the incident.

In case you didn’t know, I lost my second son on January 29th and I almost went with him. I don’t want to talk about it, because I don’t want to relive it. I will never completely get over this, but I know that over time, I will hurt less. Maybe I’ll be able to share it with you. Right now I’m dealing with survivor’s guilt and it is taking all that I have to even write this post. But I am going to force myself to move forward, to allow myself to grieve, and to check in with you guys more often. Here is a piece of cinematic genius until then:

30 Days, 30 Movies {Day 26} Billy Wilder or (The Apartment)

I happen to share my birthday with two cinematic legends:  Meryl Streep and Billy Wilder.  Maybe someday someone will say, “Hey, I share my birthday with Meryl Streep, Billy Wilder, and that screenwriter who has a blog… You know who I’m talking about?  No?  Me neither, but she’s listed here on Wikipedia.”

The last time I watched this movie it was a gray rainy day, and I cried.  This movie is super depressing on a rainy day.  It’s such a tragically beautiful story and film.  C.C. Baxter is a lonely bachelor working at a corporation.  He lets some of the higher ups use his apartment to entertain their mistresses.  Once the big boss finds out, he blackmails him in order to use his apartment to see Fran, the girl that Baxter likes.  Of course, Sheldrake is married with kids, and keeps Fran around by telling her that he’ll  leave his wife.  Baxter and Fran become friends.  The entire time you want them to get together.

There’s a scene in the movie revealing Fran’s suicide attempt.  Baxter thinks that Fran is still at his apartment because she passed out drunk, but he looks in his medicine cabinet, notices 1/2 a medicine bottle is empty, and looks at her in the reflection of the mirror.  You can see on his face that he realizes what she did.  It is a powerful scene because we find out about it along with Baxter.  It is all action.  It’s the kind of scene that all the people I have learned about screenwriting from would say, “That is an example of good screenwriting.”

Favorite Line: Shut up and deal

Favorite Character: C.C. Baxter

Favorite Scene:  When Sheldrake’s wife kicks him out!