The Apartment of Desire

We as humans are defined by many things. For some its our ability to reason, (some seem to be lacking in this though). For others they define it by the state of evolutionary cycle we are in (I’ll talk about that one after I finish Origin of a Species) and even some define it by having a soul (I honestly don’t know if All Dogs Go To Heaven). According to some philosophers and episode thirty eight of Avengers; Earths Mightiest Heroes, we as humans are defined by our capacity to strive for something more than basic needs. Most animals strive for survival and multiplying. Sounds like a nice simple life sometimes.

Today I am speaking on my favourite movie; The Apartment. It’s an old 1960 romantic comedy starring Jack Lemmon. In the movie Lemmon plays insurance accountant C.C. Baxter. A humble, hard worker who works alone, goes home alone and lives utterly alone in New York seemingly without a friend. He is respectful, kind to everyone, and giving to the point of harming of himself (I’m sure some can relate to this).

With his pursuit to make something of his life, and not being able to say no to anybody he is in the unusual predicament with his apartment of loaning it out to higher-up men in the company to have affairs in. He really doesn’t like doing it, but they are pushy and make promises of helping his career. Indeed his career is helped, but at what cost? In all this he strives for a higher position for some self-esteem. And maybe even to make a friend amoung those who use him and call him “buddy boy”.

The other main character of this movie is Fran Kubelik (Shirley MacLaine), an elevator girl (yup. It’s that old of a movie) who has made all the wrong mistakes in her life and is stuck living with her married sister and working a dead-end job. The only recent thing she enjoyed in her life was the affair with the company’s boss; Jeff D. Sheldrake (Played by Fred MacMurray). She loves him and tried to call it all off when his wife came back to the city after being away for the summer, but she could not get away. She wanted out, but he sucked her back in for his own pleasure. Now she is a torn-up soul feeling broken and ashamed of her life. The only hope she has is that Jeff will leave his wife for her, which he continues to promise without any intention of doing so.

The other characters of this film, including Jeff D. Sheldrake are the ones classified as “takers”. It seems that this entire building is overflowing with sexual escapades and affairs of people seeking pleasure and self-profit. The men take advantage of Baxter (Jack Lemmon) time and time again, preying on his timid-giving nature. Not to mention all of the women they keep taking emotional advantage of for their own physical pleasure. “Some people are takers, and others get taken”. “That’s just the way it crumbles… cookie wise that is”.

In the end after much drama and a suicide attempt; C.C. Baxter gets his big office and the status to match on the high up floor. Sheldrake gets divorced by his wife who discovered the affair. So Sheldrake and Fran can be together. So the two are together and Baxter can get his office. Win-win right? Wrong. Each one of these characters are seeking the wrong thing in the wrong place.

We are defined by what we seek. Whatever our primary drive is, whatever we work the hardest on, think the most on, spend the most time on; is master of our life. Luke 16:13 says “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despite the other. You cannot serve both God and money”. This verse is specific to money, but it applies in many other cases. Another is Romans 8:5 “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit”. Almost everyone in this movie is most focused on their own fleshly pleasure. So what could they succeed in other than pleasure? This is a pursuit many pursue in life and they find themselves empty after the high, and hopefully; ashamed. Baxter was only focused on business and financial success. This is the basis of which our entire economic structure is based on! So what can we accomplish other than that materialistic and statured success if that is what our life goal is? In the end, we will find that riches and success do not make us happy. They leave us longing for something more, and we can’t take it with us after this short life ends anyway. And Fran was looking for love. What else would she be able to find but love? She almost didn’t even find that. Yes, she did end up with Baxter and it’s a touching happy ending without being too sappy (PERFECT!). But love is fleeting. People toss around the world love like it’s nothing and then lose the love and get divorced. And it’s devastating.

But is that all we are meant to achieve in life? Hollywood makes it seem like all we can ever hope to obtain in life is love and self-achievement. These aren’t bad things. These are GREAT things. But there is some things even GREATER that nobody in this movie achieves. This is the pursuit of salvation and relationship with God. They are by-far the most joyful, long-lasting pleasurable, and most successful thing we can hope to have because they are things beyond the restraints of this crappy world. And even better is the promise in Mathew 6:33 said by Jesus himself; “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well”. “These things” refer to our needs. Our need to belong, to have love and purpose. God will provide when we focus on him. So what is best to strive for then?

A trip to the Bathroom… and Time?

The hot tub time Machine series as stretched longer than I, and probably others thought it would. And personally, longer than it should. I enjoyed the first one as much as the next guy… and the handful of girls probably (note: no sexist intent here, just a simple observation that it was meant to be a guys-night movie by the movie corporation.)

I’m not even going to touch the second and third hot tub time machine movies. If you need to wonder why, you may watch them and then wish for that amount of your life back. (Sidenote: you can never get back the time you spend on anything, so make sure you choose wisely. That goes for everyone. Not just Christians)

In the first Hot tub Time Machine we meet the four main characters. Adam (John Cusack)who seems to be an average guy in his 30s in the midst of a depressing divorce. Jacob (Clark Duke), a 20-something year old who’s life is also depressing, but that is more because of his lack of living, and lack of proper child-raising. Nick (Craig Robinson), who is married, but has recently discovered his wife who definitely wears the pants in the relationship has been cheating on him. Not to mention he is filled with regret of wasted potential. And Lastly, AND LEAST; Lou (Rob Corddry), a real jerk-faced loser who has drank away his life, driven away his friends and tried to commit suicide (spoilers).

The theme of this movie is the mutual regret each character feels for their past. And through the help of a hot tub time machine they go on an adventure that betters their lives by fixing their past.

(This entire paragraph is spoilers)
Adam marries a different girl, Jacob grows up with a father and and lot of money (which shouldn’t really confirm happiness), Nick gets his music career going and scares his young wife into fearing adultery. And Lou becomes successful, gets and family and helps out his friends lives so to make up for his alternate pass. Everything ends happily.

But the truth is. None of these guys had to travel through time. Yes if we did things different in the past it may cause different results but the things that have happened to us, or we have done made us. God detailed and planned out our life and we either try to live by that plan or don’t. No middle ground.

TI reference a much better movie; Hakuta matata (copywright-lion king) no worries put your past behind you and to add: FOCUS ON THE NOW!

Each one of those guys could have changed their lives without changing their past. By the grace of God people do it everyday. Adam can find a different girl, maybe even the same one in the alternate universe. Jacob is still young and can live his life, and Adam could have been his father figure or somebody else. Nick could have solved these issues with his wife AND done his music career (Alice Cooper was a geography teacher for several years before a rock star and Johnny Cash didn’t produce a single album until his mid twenties). Lastly Lou’s lonely, empty drunken life can be turned around just like hundreds have. I personally know people who were in similar or worse shape before they found Christ and turned their lives around for the better.

So let your past be your past whatever it is, no matter how horrible or regreatful. Everyone has skeletons in their closet and a trunk-full of regrets… but we don’t have to.

God can heal more than imaginable and I assure you, despite the past, the best is to come; if you want it to.