Wednesday, November 7, 2007

R.U.O.K? A Sign From God


This entry is for the Film + Faith Blog-a-Thon going on at Strange Culture.

People who believe in the almighty are always looking for signs. Signs as guidance, or just signs that He/She truly exists. Signs can come in all shapes and sizes. A sign can be something as blatant as a bright beam of light bursting through the clouds shining on your face. Or it can be as simple as a kind word from a passing stranger. In the case of L.A. Story, it can literally be a sign along the freeway in Los Angeles. The story of L.A. is told by Harris K. Telemacher (Steve Martin), a man lost in the world that surrounds him. He is in a bad job, a bad relationship and he is looking for something more. And nothing helps illustrate his current state better than the line delivered by him early on:

Life is tale told by an idiot full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

On a trip back from lunch one day, Harris sees a businessman standing on the side of the road looking up at a freeway sign as if the man was communicating with the sign. Harris finds this a bit strange, but goes about his way. A little later in the film, Harris' car dies on the freeway and he ends up in front of the same freeway sign. It's at this point that Harris begins an open relationship with the freeway sign. It breaks the ice with the question to Harris:

R.U.O.K?

It goes on to say

I see people in trouble and I stop them. LA wants to help you.

The entire story of L.A. Story is told in hyper-reality. In a world where it's everyday for old ladies to open fire on the freeway and when shower knobs are designed to turn from off to on and from on to slo-mo, a talking sign does not seem so out of the ordinary. In other words, it isn't portrayed as some kind of modern day burning bush. But that doesn't mean that its message is not extraordinary. It's obvious that this electronic Deity is helping people one at a time. No it's not telling Harris to lead thousands to a new way of life and it isn't asking him to build a large boat. But it did help Harris find true love and happiness. And when you take away all the denominations and all the religious rules we set up to help us live our lives, true love and happiness is what it's all about.

2 comments:

RC said...

I forgot about that aspect of LA Story. What a great topic for the Blog-a-thon.

Man, I wish I could get some signs from God like that!

What would they say?? hum?

Piper said...

L.A. Story is a flawed film because it's all over the place. At one time egg-head, and others too wild and crazy. It's a great example of Steve Martin in his transition phase between his two personas.

The God I believe in is a loving one. I think the message I would see would be something simple and everyday. Something like "tell your wife how much you love her." Or "hug a stranger." Something like that.