Our second date was a movie. When I asked him what we were going to see, he said, “There Will Be Blood.” I told him that was okay with me, but what was the name of the movie? I think he thought I was trying to be clever. I wish that were true.
Bubba is the entertainment manager in our house. He knows the director, the actors, and which ones are up for awards. He remembers story-lines and quotes for years.
I can’t tell you what I watched last night. Which is why I use the Netflix rating system. When asked, I can bring up the app, search for the movie and tell you what I thought of it.
Netflix has a 5-star rating system. At first, the five stars seemed limiting. However, once I attached meaning to the ratings, it was easy.
- 1 Star: I’m scarred for life.
- 2 Stars: Ninety minutes I will never get back.
- 3 Stars: I came. I watched. I was entertained.
- 4 Stars: I’d recommend it.
- 5 Stars: Changed my life.
I’m pretty sure Bubba’s looks like this:
- 1 Star: No chase. No nudity. No blood.
- 2 Stars: Not even the car chase can redeem it.
- 3 Stars: Eh. The actress was hot. Ending was predictable.
- 4 Stars: Explosions AND boobs within the first two minutes.
- 5 Stars: Great effects, heart-stopping stunts, 3D-worthy, awesome soundtrack. Ending practically gave him whiplash.
And what if we weren’t rating movies, but life? Is this what it means to “reach for the stars?” My rating system certainly looks different from Bubba’s, or yours, or Marilyn Monroe’s. Greatness is relative. We can no sooner rate someone else’s movie for them than they can ours. And by movie, I mean life. My three-star day is forgettable. A day in Katharine Hepburn’s 3-star shoes would definitely be 5-star worthy on my scale.
A 3-star film is the norm. It’s the average against which greater and lesser movies rate. So, too, is the 3-star day.
For instance, you know a 5-star day or film before it even begins. Unless you win the lottery, you’ve planned for it. It means something. People are talking about it. It will probably be the best thing that’s happened to you, but it has a huge disappointment potential. And for that reason, it is emotional. You get married. Your child is born. You begin the best job ever. Five stars. And I bet you can tell me the date.
I wouldn’t want every day to rate five stars. Think about it. They’re tiring! Most 5-star days take a week of recovery. And if every day were life-changing, my life would be in constant flux.
A 4-star day is probably where you aim most mornings. It’s attainable. In most cases, you probably have some control over achieving it, but it takes some planning and preparation.
Three-star days are where you are going to land most of the time. It’s the median, after all. You might have a 5-star breakfast and four minutes after leaving the house you’re caught in a 2-star traffic jam. At the end of the day, you came, you watched, you were entertained. Average.
No one plans a two-star day. I don’t think any director really plans on producing a two-star film, either. You just run out of resources — time, money, energy — to make it great. Sometimes it’s a lack of planning, or sometimes there are circumstances beyond your control that bring your rating down. Hopefully you learn from it, and your next movie will be better.
In a way, 1-star films are as memorable as 5-star. Again, it is easy to compare a 1-star movie to a 1-star day. They are usually worse than you imagined they were going to be. You will never be the same, and thankfully they are rare. The difference is that a 1-star film becomes a cult classic. A 1-star day hurts deep in your chest.
Sometimes it’s a matter of realizing your day is falling in the ratings, and to take action. For me, it’s a simple list. A walk. Drinks with a friend. Giving. A heart-to-heart with a loved one. Sometimes just a home repair or accomplishment. For you maybe it’s more complex, or intense. Bubba might like a heated debate over gun control or the who is the best Marvel Superhero.
While the list is simple, the action is harder. On bad days I hide behind my phone, both mentally and physically. Two-stars are not uncommon these days. As both director and protagonist, I play key roles.
The trick is to remember where my stars are . . . and then reach.
Peace . . .