Posted by: suek2001 | March 2, 2011

“You’re gonna kick off before you even get halfway through”

This is a big week of news in pop culture and world events… I know I should ponder the situation in the Middle East as it has dire consequences if not played out correctly, but my mind keeps veering to two specific Hollywood events, the death of a film director…and the spectacular spectacle that is Charlie Sheen. One item , I’m sure you know all about, the other has been buried beneath all the other lurid headlines.

 As most of my friends know, I love movies that have elements of time travel in they speak to a yearning of setting things right and getting relationships back on track. The move “13 Going on 30” fits right into that category. It’s been described as “Big with boobs”. I thought that description cheapened the meaning of the film. Big was all about a boy wanting to be a man and then realizing childhood is better. “30” had a deeper message.

 The choices we make when we are young set the course for who we are when we are older. Gary Winick directed this movie. He passed away this week…he was 49 years old..and suffered from brain cancer. In all the articles I read, I never found reference to a family or children but I can bet he was loved and respected just the same.

As I am watching the coverage of Charlie Sheen, I have that dark cynical question. Why do some people live while others die. It seems that “good people” are taken from us while the “bad ones” are left behind. I realize that is a God-like theory of life…and there’s no way I want that kind of authority over life and death and neither should anyone else. So, I repent.

I think the deeper question is what do we do with our lives while we are here? Jennifer Garner had the chance to see her life in full bloom where she got everything she wanted because of the choices she made. She got the dream job, dream apartment, dream friends and a dream shoe collection but what she really wanted was to be with her childhood friend Matt. That was now out of reach for her as the choice she made to be with the popular girls when she was younger, made her cold, aloof and distant from those that needed to matter most. Her choices set her on a different path. Once she realized who she really was at heart, she knew she had to change. She had to reconnect with her friends and with her parents and take a stand against the “cool people” to be who she really was.

 As I ponder the meaning of the movie, I think about the wasted life of Charlie Sheen. His ramblings and mania and drug fueled rage, have wasted a talent that could be put to better use. The decisions he made years ago, affect who he is now. That also goes for the networks, agents and all those who seek a ride on the Charlie Sheen money train.

Hedonism in theory sounds like a great way to live. Pleasure, joy and love of self seems to be wondrous. Imagine a life where one is not bound by laws, moral or legal, where consequences are invisible and the crazier the life, the more onlookers cheer and throw money. Sheen has been living this life on the drug he calls “Charlie Sheen”.

…and what does he have? To normal people, he has three failed marriages, lost custody of his kids, lost his job, lost friends and associates. All of this by the choices, he alone made. All to the God of self.

Now, some may be reading this and wondering what the movie “13 Going on 30” has to do with Charlie Sheen. Charlie needs that chance. He needs a chance to start over. He’s had dozens of chances in the past but there needs to be a chance for him to step back and see the choices he made have sorely impacted others. Jennifer got that chance and in the end, she really got the life she wanted.

 Charlie needs more than rehab. He needs mental help..and prayer. No one is a waste of space in God’s eyes. No one should waste their lives…..on just themselves….we are here for each other. .. I can’t speak for him but I’m sure if Gary Winick were given a moment to talk to Charlie Sheen, he would say, “Hey, I only got 49 years on this earth and I made some people happy with my movies and my life. I fought to live and still only got 49 years”…

Every day people like Sheen waste their lives on drugs, alcohol and wretched behavior towards others when so many people die too soon doing good work for their neighbors and their friends. It is time we stop glorifying people like Charlie Sheen and instead look around to those that need help and offer it…and pray for it when we can’t deliver it ourselves.

I will close with the lyrics from a Billy Joel song featured in “13 Going on 30”..and one of my favorite moments in the film.

            “Slow down you crazy child, you’re so ambitious for a juvenile  but then if you’re so smart, tell me why are you still so afraid? //dream on but don’t imagine, they’ll all come true, when will you realize Vienna waits for you” —–Billy Joel from “Vienna”

..and here’s another more profound quote from one of my favorites, John Donne:

No man is an Island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main//any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankind; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee. “

I dedicate this blog to the memory of Gary Winick for his work moved me in life and will remain with me long after he is gone.



  1. I was sad, too, when I read about the death of Gary Winick. “13 Going on 30” is one of my all-time favorite movies for all the reasons you mentioned. I always thought calling it “Big with Boobs” was cheesy, too. It was way more than that, and I’m sad that the movie’s director left the earth way too soon.

    • Thank you for your comments. I am hoping that as the years unfold “13 Going on 30” will be regarded as a modern classic.

  2. Of course, as I read this post, the other BJ song went through my mind. “Only the good die young.” (FDR, Robert and Teddy have always kind of illustrated the point of this song for me.)

    But, maybe there’s a mercy in this. If it truely *is* the good who die young, perhaps God allows those who aren’t so good more time to repent.

    Thanks for your thoughtful post.

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