11169193_800In my formative years, Paul Newman and Robert Redford were “STARS”. Cool, funny, commercially successful but able to create projects with meaning while involved in service that makes a measurable difference in this world. They were the model of *STAR* at that time.

I want to recommend an addiction-recovery movie of real power, Flight, with Denzel Washington. First, motivated by the Ferguson, Missouri eruptions, and a lifetime of witnessing such shootings I would like to digress into the topic of racism and ways we are socially manipulated. For me, the awareness was triggered by Michael Jackson’s fairly odd action, back in the day, when he legally demanded MTV begin to brand him The King of Pop. He eventually commented, in a European interview, that if he was white he would be as big as Frank Sinatra but with his race will never be “allowed” to rise that high in the firmament. And that felt deeply unfair to him and that is why he began to approach his own promotion in such a way.

Odd as it might sound, I knew he was right. My experience in the music biz, in the press world and my studies of culture and public relations/media control all added up to my understanding that he had a legitimate gripe. My Father was in advertising his whole life, working his way up to vice-president of a global ad company, and was a major part of my instruction in this. Space and time limitations do not allow for a full dissection of this idea. A disturbing implication, is that we humans out here are so thoroughly affected by think tank/Media/Govt. manipulation that our thinking can be controlled enough that how we perceive someone is not solely up to us. That’s galling to think of, but hey, put that way, is patently evident. We are not in control (totally) of what/how we think in America! Hhhmmm…

So, you say, what the heck does that have to do with Denzel? If you add up his career, which is huge, he should be our current top STAR. You have: cool, funny, commercially successful but able to create projects with meaning while involved in much service to make a difference. He is our Paul Newman today, but I would say is not ultimately seen that way. He has made epic movies, including as a director (Antwone Fisher, The Great Debaters, Remember the Titans, Malcolm X), with great social significance. He has starred in very successful movies of both a commercial and critical nature. He is a *STAR* in the fullest sense of the world, and yet……

This is not to lament for him, as if stardom is important. He’s probably quite wealthy, happy, etc. and yet…..he is a “victim”, if you will, of the same racism. That’s important to keep in mind, for we need to liberate our thinking if we are to find the light. And that includes our societal thinking of addiction & recovery, which leads us back to our movie review for this week. Flight starts out a little rough with some drug usage, etc. and turned me off a bit. A related topic, is the irresponsible, effective glamorization of drug usage by Hollywood. But that is also for another day.

In Flight your patience will be rewarded. It is a powerful walk through the life of an addict and recovery in all its painful beauty. A masterful job created by a skilled artist at his finest. For those who enjoy a fuller movie experience, and care about the rampant addiction issues plaguing our great land, Flight is a blast of truthful wind.