Over the past year we have had five amazing interns spicing things up at the Chapel through their fun and faithful service.
If you haven’t yet seen The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, first, slap yourself, then skip on over to your closest HMV (Best Buy for all you ‘mericans) and buy the film.
Now that you’ve seen the movie, I won’t bore you with a scene-by-scene review of the *insert fancy film-making vocabulary here*. In order to get my point across, we need to review the two main characters and their relationship with one another.
Yeah, it’s a nice poem that a lot of people will probably get tattooed across their shoulder blade. Now, I (probably like yourself) fell prey to the world’s “scriptural teaching” the first time I watched the film.
When we see look with our finite eyes through culturally-shaped lenses we see all of that as boring and mundane, like Walter did.
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Meek and mild Walter Mitty spends his time conjuring up heroic daydreams, but is too timid to ask out his pretty co-worker, Cheryl, or stand up for himself when his job is threatened. Entertaining, amusing, and optimistic this perfect slice of feel-good cinema is a rewarding blend of surreal fantasy, droll comedy and emotional poignancy. After setting up an E-Harmony account to attract the attention of new work colleague and love interest Cheryl (Kristen Wiig), Mitty soon realises that his account is not working properly as he has left the ‘been there, done that’ section blank.
On arrival in work, Mitty discovers that LIFE Magazine has been taken over and new boss Ted Hendricks (Adam Scott) announces that the next issue of LIFE will also be the last, with the magazine shutting down and moving to an online format. Having been sent the highly anticipated photograph for the cover of the final issue by globetrotting photographer Sean O’Connell, Mitty has the responsibility to develop the photograph. Mitty traces the previous photos for clues and Cheryl helps him piece together the mystery of the lost photograph.
Throughout the film there are sentiments of heroism, action and romance through both reality and Mitty’s dreams. The visuals are mesmerizing at times and the soundtrack featuring artists such as Of Monsters and Men and Arcade Fire is astutely chosen and compliments the scenes well, with David Bowies ‘Space Oddity’ making one of the most memorable scenes in the film. Although humorous throughout, Stiller shows his diversity and maturity as an actor as the film takes on a more poignant, underlying message to live your dreams.
Imagine for a second working at Life magazine, where the greatest events in history are recorded in the most vivid detail, and you are the guy that meticulously handles every image as they come in from the field.
When Walter can’t find film negative 25 from Sean O’Connell, the one that is to be the quintessence of all his photos and the final one for Life Magazine, he is encouraged to go on an adventure and find it by his love interest, Cheryl Melhoff (Kristen Wiig). Walter and Sean O’Connell have never met in person, yet they share a close friendship, working together for 16 years. On a side note, the scene with Walter in Greenland and the drunk helicopter pilot is so good! Probably one of the most memorable scenes in the movie is when Walter finally catches up with Sean O’Connell. When Walter asks O’Connell about negative 25 and finds out he had it but may have accidentally thrown it away, O’Connell doesn’t blow up at him like you would expect. I know some of the great quotes in the movie come directly from James Thurber’s original short story.
Feature Walter Mitty (Ben Stiller) is a daydreamer who escapes his anonymous life by disappearing into a world of fantasies filled with heroism, romance, and action. Equally ludicrous is the implausible trade off of the aforementioned toy for a long board, seemingly to justify a scene of Mitty skating down a mountain; his skater back story in itself highly unlikely given his current lifestyle. For the final study assignment of the internship, we asked them to write an engaging with culture film review blog post. I would like to assert that, contrary to popular belief, the most influential character in the film is adventure photographer extraordinaire, Sean O’Connell.

Sean, who has seen the entire world, met people from hundreds of cultures, eaten strange things, been to scary places and survived, probably been with many women, and made tons of money, sees all of that as nothing. It is not a replacement for community but a tool to help us to get into each other’s lives and spend quality time together.
But when Walter faces his ultimate real-world test, he springs into action on a global adventure exceeding anything even he could have dreamed of.
As the title suggests, the film follows the immutable life of introvert Walter Mitty (Ben Stiller), a daydreamer who works in the photography department at LIFE Magazine as ‘negative assets’ manager.
On the way to work, he contacts the comical E-Harmony customer service representative, Todd Maher (Pattion Oswalt) to help him improve his account. With his job on the line, he then embarks on a journey around the globe to find Sean O’Connell and retrieve the all-important final cover photo. This instills the audience with a strong sense of adventure and leaves them wanting to go out and explore the world.
He works in the basement of Life Magazine’s corporate office, processing film negatives in what appears to be a massive, windowless, and well-organized darkroom.
Like many men, he seems to be struggling with the inner desire to be something or do something significant with his life and fantasizes about himself as a hero or lover. When he comes back to the office he sees Sean’s picture and imagines Sean slowly summoning him to come into the adventurous world. I like to think that to Walter, O’Connell is something of a father figure rather than just a legend of a man living the life that Walter wished he lived. Olafur Darri Olafsson (yeah I don’t know how to pronounce his name either) plays the pilot and does such an excellent job. He’s parked out on a ridge in the Himalayas waiting for the sight of the elusive snow leopard, known locally as the “Ghost Cat”. When Walter asks what it was I think O’Connell has already decided to keep it as one of those “in the moment” pictures.
When his job along with that of his co-worker (Kristen Wiig) are threatened, Walter takes action in the real world by embarking on a global journey that turns into an adventure more extraordinary than anything he could have ever imagined. It’s one of those movies that reveals itself in a new way each time you sit down to watch (not that I’m comparing it with Scripture).
We don’t know much about the personal life of Sean, but we do know he goes to a lot of places, and does a lot of crazy adventure things. He’s reliable in the work place, and would be a most dependable friend if he had any, kind of like a dog. But what I find interesting is that Sean O’Connell himself, the man who everyone would hold as ‘the definition of life and living it’ would define life and its purpose very differently. But the purpose for me, right now, is to be faithful in the little things that God has entrusted to me.
We have a God who created us, and then died for us, so that we can have all kinds of crazy adventures WITH HIM, FOREVER where he will say, “well done, good and faithful servant”.
If we didn’t have the ability to experience his fantasy filled “zoning out” spells along with him, he would seem to be a pretty dull guy. However, he doesn’t just have those thoughts while mowing the grass or on a quiet weekend when he is alone, he has them all the time, mentally and physically checking out in the middle of conversation. However, for himself, he left behind the dreams of that skateboarding kid, and worse, felt a wound from his father’s death that he didn’t know how to deal with. I believe we can begin to see how Walter’s imagination could get away from him, but more importantly, I think it is something many men can relate to, though to a lesser degree. Walter Mitty is a guy that lost himself when he lost his dad and his adventures are a way for him to find himself and deal with the death of his father. I did very much take it as a parody in most ways but thought it had a lot of heart too, some of the elements (like Scott's beard) just felt like it had to be parody. Please make the message constructive, you are fully responsible for the legality of anything you contribute. He’s brave, creative, and is ridiculously good-looking, if you like that rugged outdoorsy type….yep.

To love others, to serve the church, to be a good steward, and to give him all the glory for it, that is my purpose in life. There is a part of him that is still trying to live out the life that his dad would have wanted. It’s the means whereby the major themes, convictions, and philosophies that any certain culture are most heavily and subconsciously communicated and therefore, must be examined by both the Christian and unchristian alike in order to understand the mind-set in which that particular culture is currently engaged. Anyways, Sean takes pictures for LIFE magazine and is held in very high esteem by both the characters in the film and also the film-makers.
He uses the word ‘quintessence’ which means ‘the most perfect or typical example of quality’.
While helping his mom move into a new place his sister finds an unused backpack of his with an equally unused travel journal. Instead of living that life like Sean O’Connell (the adventurous photographer played by Sean Penn), he lives it in his imagination.
Then another thing happens, which is just such good writing: O’Connell doesn’t take the picture. Stiller has created a shallow, self-serving impression of sentiment and beauty that is plagued with shallow imagery and offensively prideful product placement. He doesn’t necessarily possess a plethora of outstanding qualities and is often plagued by the “could-be” of his life.
Of course, the negative is missing and the entire film from then on is Walter fulfilling his dreams as he searches the world for the negative. Not only is the movie fun to watch, the story is chocked full of subtle but deep sub-stories that leave you thinking about its meaning, both for yourself and the characters, long after you’ve watched it. He says that when the moment is just right he wants to stay in it without the distraction of the camera. The ballsiest thing he has done thus far is send an eharmony “wink” to Cheryl (you know who this is because you’ve just watched the movie).
In an age where everything is shared in an instant, those personal moments can become fewer and fewer.
We get the impression that his dad was pretty awesome; taking him to skateboarding competitions and giving him a mohawk. When coupled with Stiller and cinematographer Stuart Dryburgh images, the listless plot, shallow characters, and trite dialogue become unbearable – verging on parody. Regularly, through-out the day, he zones out and imagines what he would say to the office bully, or what he would do to win the girl, or where he would be if he was as cool as Sean O’Connell.
Stiller has made a name for himself as a hair-triggered buffoon in some of the most obnoxious comedies of the last couple decades and his directorial debut, Reality Bites (1994), is a painful reminder of the middle ‘90s cinematic malaise, but his second film, Cable Guy (1996), is one of the most underhandedly subversive blockbuster comedies of the last three decades. Walter’s mundane, pre-adventure life is tinged and softened by fluorescent lights and cool hues. Even in the brightest daylight, the basic highlights are cool blue and teal with only pinkish skin tones and poppy red or yellow hot spots. Walter’s dream world is similar in terms of sharpness and clarity, but is definitely warmer, replacing the teals with yellows and lush greens.
The more eclectic palette, richer black levels, and more vigorous natural textures lead too busier background details and a generally more impressive experience. The film base causes some fine, steady grain, minor haloes, and high-frequency colour bleeding (mostly on the edges of those red pops), but there aren’t any notable compression effects (perhaps a little low level noise shimmer in some of the backgrounds). But, even separated from contrasting expectations, I find it hard to believe there wasn’t a large contingent of people that felt like they were watching a loosely interlocking series of commercials.

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