Thursday, February 6, 2014

Sisyphus V : Of Ice and Men (really young men)

Just 2 days after Sisyphus IV comes...

Sisyphus V : Of Ice and Men (really young men)

In my opinion, this was way too little time between sequels. And that’s even a plot point in the movie.

Usual setting (NJ suburbs).
The opponent in this episode is “Nika.” The snow isn’t as deep this time, but it’s heavy. Ice, then 3-4 inches of snow, then more ice.

In this sequel, we learn that Sisyphus is a part-time guitar teacher. Every Wednesday (and today is a Wednesday), she commutes to a guitar shop 40 minutes away. School has been called off, and the roads are a mess, so she cancels lessons. Again.

Now, what about clearing that driveway?

Sisyphus was warned by her trainer to be mindful of her strained back muscles (from the fight with Maximus 2 days ago), and not to go back into the ring too soon. Maybe even consider retiring. Open up a restaurant and go table to table telling stories of the glory days. There was a long dialog between her and her husband about this- if not retiring, then at least letting someone else step in this one time. The husband’s back is injured, her back is still recovering from fighting Maximus 2 days ago...

Sisyphus looks wistfully out the bedroom window at her neighbors fighting the icy mess- and winning. Ah, the thrill of the kill! Of just being out there in the middle of it all! And just then her back spasms, reminding her of her trainers’ warnings.

She goes downstairs and looks out the front window. Having built up some good shoveling karma with the next-door neighbor for shoveling the shared walkway the last 2 storms, it appears the neighbor has reciprocated.

Job already half-complete. And so, she relents and allows the husband to call Joan, a neighbor who had offered her grandson’s shoveling services, to finish the job.

That’s when I realized that “Child Labor in the Jersey Suburbs” was actually a Prequel to the entire Sisyphus series! In that movie, released Jan. 3, 2014, the actress now named Sisyphus was just a bit part, one of numerous neighbors in a New Jersey suburban condo complex to hire a neighbor’s 10-year-old grandson to shovel their walks and driveways. Upon seeing the child’s age when he rang the bell to get paid, the woman later known to be Sisyphus felt so guilty about this poor scrawny young kid being pimped out by his grandmother to shovel practically the entire neighborhood, she vowed to take care of her drive and walkway herself from then on.

But having the job already half-complete, and knowing that this time, the kid (we still don’t have a name- he’s just called “Joan’s grandson”) is showing up with a friend to help, Sisyphus relents. She had already convinced herself the job wasn't as big this time.

I’m imagining the convo in the writers’ room,where they’re deciding whether to focus on Sisyphus or the 2 young boys shoveling snow. “Sisyphus V or Child Labor in the NJ Suburbs II? Sisyphus franchise has momentum, and we can’t have a lead role who’s named “Joan’s Grandson”- let’s go with Sisyphus V.”

The movie ends with Sisyphus sitting on the couch, having just completed physical therapy routine, with an ice pack on her ankle and a heating pad on her back, watching the Weather Channel. They are forecasting another storm for this weekend, and possibly one a few days after that. Maybe I read her face wrong, but I’m pretty sure she secretly hopes to be up for the fight. They are most definitely telegraphing yet another sequel here- or even two. At least for now, Sisyphus fans just can’t seem to get enough of this.

I guess this was a story about dealing with ones’ own mortality. Or knowing when to accept help. Admitting you’re not invincible? Like all movies, if the story is told well enough, everyone takes something a little different away from it.

{If you've read down to here and you're thinking "what the bleep is this about? Has she lost her mind?"- it's my fake movie review of my real life experience of dealing with the relentless snowstorms this winter in New Jersey. With some Rocky references. The previous "review" had Star Wars references. An exercise in maintaining Humor. Imagining my conundrums as if they were an indie film- or even a blockbuster series of films. It's how I keep my sanity. The time just flies when I'm shoveling! Or in this case, sitting at my desk answering emails. Try it- if you're doing something you hate, turn it into your favorite actor or movie being played out}.

Stay warm and walk like a penguin (that's how you keep from slipping on ice).
See you after the next sequel- coming soon!


Carla Ulbrich

The Singing Patient

Humor, song and hope for people  who need it most- patients and healthcare workers