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Lateral Thoughts on Life.

The Emperor’s Club.

My wife finally got the movie she’d been talking about all week and was gleefully bragging about it. I was less than excited though because invariably her taste seemed diametrically opposed to mine.

Where I liked mythical and unrealistic, fantasy type shows, ( like Matrix or Star Wars ), she loved realistic people in realistic settings. Where I loved action and perhaps a dry comedy, she would go more for drama and the occasional slapstick.

The only consistent common ground was perhaps movies with Denzel Washington, but while I watched those for the interesting plots and great stories, I couldn’t help thinking, she was watching them because of Denzel’s smile.

We were beginning to at least understand each other’s tastes though and respectfully agreed to disagree while respecting each other’s choices.

“What’s the name of that movie you got again ?” I asked just to make conversation, not with any real interest in the answer.

“It’s called The Emperor’s Club. Have you heard of it ?” she asked, all smiles and bubbly.

Emperor’s Club. I immediately began to be more interested, Emperor’s Club, wasn’t that the name of some high class international prostitution ring that had caused a recent political scandal ? I wondered to myself.

women

“Nope never heard of it what’s it about ?”, I asked while trying to look bored. Maybe this was a test to see if I was interested in Prostitutes, or something, I didn’t want to seem too keen.

“It’s about a teacher at a boys school. I researched it on the net, just like you do. Based on the shows I like, the IMDB website recommended this one.”, she beamed, trying to show me she could beat me at my own game.

You see, I always use sites like Flixster, the same way avid book buyers use Amazon, to tell me movies I’d probably enjoy, based on the movies I already like. It generally works out very, very well and obviously my wife thought it was a great idea too.

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There are hardly any women in this story, a marked departure from the usual Hollywood fare. It’s about a male teacher at an all boys school, there’s not a prostitute in sight. Yet I must confess I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. It has something that is rare yet always welcome. It has a thought provoking premise and a well scripted story that is excellently acted even by minor characters.

The basic theme of the story seems to be that to truly be considered great you must not just achieve for your own selfish aims but should contribute something to the greater good.

The movie conveys it’s theme by focusing on a troubled youth who doesn’t seem to care about fitting in although he is also obviously very brilliant. This youth, new to the strict school, causes immediate conflicts with his classmates and also the teacher (excellently portrayed by Kevin Kline)  Mr. Hunterd.

I think one of the strengths of this type of movie is that we can all relate to the school environment and through such stories we get to reflect more on our own learning experiences and favourite teachers and subjects of our past. We easily compare those we know to those of the movie even when they pale in comparison or excel those in the story.

Basically the teacher begins to realize that the troubled youth is similar to himself, in many ways, and Hunterd goes the extra mile trying to make the boy get motivated and improve in his school work.

The teacher even visits the boy’s father who lives many miles away in the city. The father is a powerful man, a politician, who tries to negotiate and bargain with everyone but absolutely resists the thought of anyone else molding his son’s ideas.

The boy eventually, like many of his classmates, achieves much in life. He flies Hunterd in to his mansion by helicopter to remember the past and in fact relive it somewhat. A school reunion including a contest.

It seems the men have not been able to shake off the past and their boyhood foibles remain.

Without dwelling on the dramatic points of the film (don’t want to spoil your viewing experience) I’ll simply say that the events at the close of the film leave an older wiser Hunterd, and the viewer, asking whether the students really learned the most important lesson of all.

As for me I was quick to realise that this film, based on a short story (entitled “The Palace Thief”, by Ethan Canin, was a true classic, worthy of deeper study.

I praised my wife for her excellent choice and she smiled proudly and offered to make me a little sandwhich and a drink.

As I sat watching the closing credits and sipping on the cold drink which  her loving hands had made for me I smiled, feeling like a King, in my Palace.

I was now a member of “The Real Emperor’s Club”. It feels so much better than “The Dead Poets Society”.

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September 13, 2009 - Posted by | Beautiful Women, blog, Book Reviews, fiction, humor, marraige, movies, non fiction, philosophy, success, writing

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