— Originally published in FLL#36 • Written by Penn Ketchum
It’s a good time to be a kid. Star Wars: Episode VII opened on December 18, Alvin and the Chipmunks followed shortly thereafter, and even Kung Fu Panda came back in January. But it’s not all lightsabers and droids. There is joy to be found in the human struggle, too. There was a dramatic movie that opened on Christmas Day called Joy and it was pretty intense. I think Joy can bring us joy through the shared experience of our common struggles.
Joseph Campbell wrote at great length about the common myths across humanity. I think he called them mythological archetypes. One such type was the battle between Luke Skywalker and his dad, Darth Vader. (If that’s news to you, go watch Star Wars Episodes IV through VI. Episodes I-III are, of course, optional.) Anyway, when Star Wars first came out in 1977, it was seen by many as a masterpiece story of good vs. evil. I tend to agree.
But in 1977, I had never heard of Joe. What turned me on was the landspeeder, the lightsabers, and, most of all, the Millennium Falcon. I mean, how cool is that? And blowing up the Death Star? Priceless.
So now, when I saw the trailer for Episode VII, I didn’t think of Joseph Campbell, I thought of six-year-old me—the little kid inside me who gets so excited he can hardly sit still! That’s me. That’s you, too.
It might not be Star Wars, but there’s something else that six-year-old you just loves. You love it so much, you can’t stand it. You may have even forgotten about it in the course of being a grown-up. Don’t get me wrong—with Robert DeNiro, Bradley Cooper, and Jennifer Lawrence, Joy is a must-see and it will bring me great happiness on a different level. The same goes with In the Heart of the Sea and the Tina Fey and Amy Pohler comedy, Sisters. But none will make my inner child happy like Star Wars will.
So there, now you know more about me. What makes you happy? Go and get it.