Last night, Peanut picked a movie for us to watch together. She was in a Rom-Com mood. But since she blindly picked the movie, we watched a movie that was Rom-Com adjacent at best, and an oddly interesting thriller at worst.
We watched Irrational Man starring Joaquin Phoenix and Emma Stone.
Phoenix plays a whiny, miserable, and wretched philosophy professor who’s given up on life. But after moving to a new college, he falls in love with one of his students (Emma Stone), and eventually discovers the will to live again.
The first half of the movie follows Phoenix as he mopes through life unfulfilled. He’s a brilliant philosopher who has published several books and papers. But he also realizes that none of his writing has created even an infinitesimal impact in anyone’s lives, besides other stuffy intellectuals that he despises.
(Mayhap he should’ve become a copywriter…)
In fact, Phoenix is so down in the dumps that he can’t even get it “up” when in bed with a coworker. His reputation precedes him, and other than his philosophy work, he’s known for bagging harlots left, right, and center. Yet, when he gets with his coworker early in the movie, he can’t get it “up” to save his life.
While he’s (unsuccessfully) seeing his coworker, his student (Emma Stone) develops feelings for him. They’re always hanging out and going on dates, as platonic as they are.
Well, when he’s out on one of those platonic dates with his student, he overhears a group of friends talking about how a judge is about to royally fvck a single mom with two kids. This judge knows her baby daddy, and so, he’s using his power and influence to help his friend instead of abiding by the vows he took.
This unhinges the most sinister side of Phoenix’s psyche.
You see, before his intellectual career, he used to “fight the man.” In many ways, he was a modern day lefty — wasting his free time protesting, without actually accomplishing anything.
But he got disillusioned, which led him to teaching philosophy and moping throughout the world.
But while him and Stone are eavesdropping on the mother about to lose her kids, Phoenix has a revelation:
He could kill this judge and save this family!
Even if he only makes a tiny impact, he will make an impact for the first time in his long, sorry excuse for an existence.
He quickly falls in love with this idea.
He has no motives.
He doesn’t know this mother’s name, nor does she even know he exists.
And he thinks that by eliminating this crooked judge, he will objectively make the world a better place.
After deciding he wants to murder the judge, his life does a complete 180:
He becomes a happy, upbeat, motivated, and driven guy overnight. He no longer mopes to and fro, hitting his flask of Scotch. He’s even able to get it “up,” which leads to him getting busy with both his coworker and his student several times over the second half of the movie.
So, how did a whiny, miserable, and wretched philosophy professor morph into a driven, upbeat, and joyous person in the flip of a switch?
Well, cully, he found his purpose!
Yes, it’s true that his purpose involved murdering someone.
But it gave him purpose nonetheless (as morally wrong as it may be).
And that’s today’s lesson:
As a man, when you don’t have a purpose, your subconscious cries out. You’ll drown in your own misery and suffering.
But when you discover your purpose?
You’ll have more energy, motivation, and determination than you can even dream possible today.
My only piece of advice?
Don’t make your purpose murdering someone else.
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