In early 2019, I was browsing Amazon Prime when I ran across a movie called Life Itself. It looked like a decent love story, but it was the cast that really sold me on the film: Olivia Wilde, Oscar Issac, Mandy Patinkin, Jean Smart, Antonio Banderas, Samuel L. Jackson, and Annette Benning. How could a movie with a cast like that not be amazing?
I started the movie and I was a little confused. It was obvious the story was a little disjointed, but I was so fascinated by Oscar Issac and Olivia Wilde’s love story that I kept watching. Then their story ended and the next segment of the movie began. I stopped the film there, unsure if I was going to continue. I won’t spoil anything, but it’s just a strange way to begin a movie and this definitely wasn’t the light and fluffy story I sat out to watch.
A few days later, I continued the movie and finished it up. The remaining segments weren’t nearly as strange, but I struggled to connect with the story. The movie felt like it needed a good editor and despite the decent (and improbable) ending, I had no idea how I felt after the film. Even a year later, I still don’t know for sure. I think there might have been a good movie in there, and I think there were some touching moments, but overall the movie just didn’t work in my eyes. At least that’s what I think I feel about it.
Despite all this, the movie made an impact. Enough so, I decided to see what the director had worked on and that’s when I discovered he created the hit NBC show, This is Us. Intrigued to see if the TV show was better than the movie, I started watching This is Us and loved it. I could see how it inspired Life Itself, but I could also see how much better This is Us was to Life Itself.
Throughout January 2019, I started making my way through This is Us. I remember watching the Super Bowl episode on Super Bowl Sunday last year, which was entirely coincidental. I found myself really enjoying the soundtrack, specifically of the first season, and This is Us really helped me focused on what it was that I was looking for in life. It was only a few weeks after beginning This is Us that I went on my first date with Brandy, and in fact, I mentioned the show during our first conversation via text. It was quite charming to see my relationship with Brandy grow and feel a lot like Rebecca and Jack’s.
The night Brandy I first kissed, I was talking about This is Us. Actually, that is what prompted her to kiss me. I was working up the nerve to kiss her and I was comparing myself to the character Randall in the show, and I mentioned how I’ve always been the type of person who doesn’t do something unless I know for certain that I will succeed. I then told her something about our time together that led to our first kiss, but This is Us will always remind me of that fateful night.
I slowed my watching of This is Us once Brandy and I started dating, and a few months into our relationship we began watching it together. We caught up completely back in November and now we’re watching it each week after it airs on Hulu. It’s one of those TV shows we both really enjoy and it gives us a lot to talk about almost every episode.
I sometimes wonder about Life Itself though. This little Amazon owned movie that was critically panned and quite frankly, I think wasn’t very good. But it led me to seeking out This is Us, which led me to modifying my expectations for a relationship, which led me to being a little more daring, which led me to going out, which led me to getting engaged, and so on. I guess, you never really know where inspiration may come from.