I was just thinking about LBJ-Day and how to describe its strange mix of emotions. I’ve tried two times now to no avail. Then it occurred to me that the concoction was what Cameron Crowe calls, “happy/sad.” That made sense to me. And not many are better at conveying that kind of bittersweet happiness than Cameron Crowe.
If I were producing Star Wars I would not have selected a science fiction director like J.J. Abrams to helm it. The Star Wars tradition is to hire talent from outside of its genre.
You’re not getting Empire Strikes Back out of Ridley Scott.
George Lucas does not get enough credit for how great Empire Strikes Back is vis-a-vis the Irvin Kershner hire. He also doesn’t get enough credit for having the stones to hire someone like Richard Marquand for Return of the Jedi. Compared to Empire, Jedi was less successful critically, more successful financially – but the idea to tab guys like Kershner and Marquand for a Star Wars picture was genius. Artistic. Daring. Jedi ultimately failed artistically, but the decision to select Marquand was, in itself, an artistic achievement.
So, along those lines, the first director I would’ve approached for the next Star Wars film would’ve been Cameron Crowe. The directors I would’ve considered after Crowe are Nic Refn and Steve McQueen. High risk, very high reward. People talk a lot of shit about Refn’s Only God Forgives, but if he made the same film and set it 500 years in the future, it would’ve been heralded as the next classically difficult sci-fi masterpiece. Move over, Tarkovsky.
Speaking of Only God Forgives – you could cut out sections of that movie and edit it into the Empire carbonite scene and you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.
So… Cameron Crowe. The thinking is, “what’s the quickest way back to the emotions that started with the Han Solo carbonite scene?”
The answer is to watch the end of Crowe’s Vanilla Sky.
Which brings us back to LeBron and LBJ-Day, because the emotions in the final scene of Vanilla Sky had to have been similar to what LeBron (and to a lesser extent, his fans) must’ve been feeling. I certainly felt some version of them. Loss and gain at the same time. You regret something and nothing. You’re leaving behind something close to your heart to jump off a ledge into an exciting unknown. Happy/sad.
The feelings you get from the end of Empire Strikes Back and Vanilla Sky are in the same emotional zip code. So is the feeling you get from LeBron’s essay.
Remember what LeBron said?
The more time passed, the more it felt right. This is what makes me happy.
Remember what Sofia said to David?
Each passing minute is another chance to turn it all around.
David Aames is LeBron James. They both made a poor choice that led to a horrible accident and disfigurement. They survived afterwards in an altered state, and not unsuccessfully – but in the end they still didn’t feel whole. They were both done pretending and were ready for a rebirth.
It’s been a brilliant journey of self-awakening, and now you’ve simply got to ask yourself this — what is happiness to you, LeBron?
CLOSE PUSH IN ON LEBRON JAMES
His moment of realization.
I want to live a real life. I don’t want to dream any longer.
Any last wishes?
Let them out there read my mind.
I wish you well, LeBron.
Music rises as he turns to see Cleveland. He moves to her. She touches his cheek. His face is restored. They embrace.