Denzel Washington and Robert Zemeckis give another great performance (as actor and director, respectively) in “Flight.”  Washington plays an airline pilot whose life is out of control because he is an alcoholic.  Before and during his last flight — which ends in a crash landing — Washington had been drinking and snorting cocaine.  It is clear the plane had a malfunction; and had it not been for the piloting skills of Washington (as well as his ability to stay calm and focused in the face of disaster), everyone on board would have died.  As it stands, he saved the lives of most of the passengers and crew.  But the fact remains that he had been drinking before and during the flight.  If he was completely sober, would it have made a difference?  Would everyone on board be alive?

These are some of the questions the movie asks of the audience, and there are no clear answers.  What is clear is that “Flight” is really about addiction.  All the people out there who are addicted to something, and how it can quickly destroy the lives of the addicts as well as those who are in proximity of the addicts.  The denials, the pressures that lead to the continued abuse of the substance of choice, and the long, hard road to sobriety and what it takes to arrive there.

One of my memorable, movie moments of “Flight” is the scene when the airplane is already upside down, and a stewardess, or flight personnel, or flight attendant, or food servers, or whatever the hell they call themselves now, unbuckles herself to crawl toward some dumbass kid who fell out of his seat and help secure him back to his seat.  I don’t know how to look at these people.  I’d like to say they’re heroic, but my first thought is “that was stupid.”  If I’m going to risk my life to save someone, that someone will be someone I care about; and not some snot nosed kid who isn’t intelligent enough to keep himself buckled in a plane that is in trouble.  Sorry, kid, my life is worth more than yours; plus I don’t like kids, so I’m just going to stay fastened to my seat and watch you get tossed around in the cabin and hope your crushed body doesn’t collide with mine.  It’s a tough lesson, but some people need to learn the hard way.

The most memorable, movie moment of “Flight” is the sequence when Washington maneuvered his plane in such a way that he was able to take it from a nose dive to a steady glide, leading to a somewhat controlled, crash landing.  It will make your heart race.

Some of you who watch “Flight” may have addictions of your own; and as you watch him struggle to find his way out, I hope it gives you inspiration to find your own way out of your self-destructive tendencies.   One thing that works for me: replace one addiction with another that is positive and constructive.  For example, I’m addicted to writing about movies that I watch, old or new.  It gives me an outlet for my need to write. It helps keep me focused.  And although I’m not making a penny doing this, it makes me very happy.

M

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