“How much do you think this place paid out for all this Irish memorabilia?”
“Good question! I look around, and a lot of this stuff looks like you could get it out of an Irish Pub catalogue!”
Nate Gebhard and Mike Marriner are taking turns making loud jokes, shouting to be heard above the rowdy hubbub of a noisy Irish—or pseudo-Irish—pub. We’re right around the corner from the Sebastiani Theater in Sonoma, California, where Gebhard and Marriner just caught an advance screening of Claude Lelouche’s latest film “And Now. . . Ladies and Gentlemen,” screening as part of the Sonoma Valley Film Festival. “Gentlemen” is about an aging English jewel thief (Jeremy Irons) and a remarkably-depressed French nightclub singer (Patricia Kaas), each of whom is experiencing mysterious blackouts. They meet up, more-or-less by accident, in Morroco, and set out on an adventure during which where they talk about life, death, and the embarrassment of forgetting your song lyrics in the middle of a show.
Gebhard and Marriner have been on a few adventures of their own lately, traveling the country in a big green RV, interviewing successful and colorful people—Supreme Court Justices, symphony conductors, Coffee company CEO’s—about their dream careers and how they achieved them. The result is a PBS documentary, a popular website (www.roadtripnation.com), and a new book,
“She was so hot!” he says, as the pints of Guinness arrive.
“There are a lot of themes in this movie,” I shout out, “stuff about journeys and finding happiness, which are also the themes of your book—but instead of getting into all that, I want to pose the question that was asked in the movie. ‘If you had an envelope, and inside it was the date and time of your death, would you open the envelope?’ I think that’s a pretty interesting question, so let’s start with that. Would either of you open the envelope?”
They sit silently for a few seconds, pondering the question.
“I don’t know,” replies Gebhard. “On the one hand, by opening the letter, since you know the date you’re going to die, you can lead your life a little more by-the-day and by-the-minute, making the most of it, I guess. You can plan everything accordingly. But I want to say I would
“We were on some radio show today,” he continues, “and the guy asked us, ‘Now that you’ve done all this interesting stuff, what do you want to do with
Gebhard is still thinking about the letter.
“You know, I don’t think opining the letter would help you if you were going to die when you were 80,” he muses. “But if you opened it and discovered that you’re going to die in
“You should be doing that anyway!” Marriner says. “If you are doing that anyway, if you are living your life as if the next two weeks really mattered, if you were living with
The importance of passion, it seems, is the primary life lesson what Gebhard and Marriner learned from their travels. When I ask if they ever thought about interviewing someone who, like Jeremy Iron’s character in the “Gentlemen,” is a criminal, Marriner says, “I think it would be rad to interview a thief! I think we should, whether he’s in prison or not. If he’s passionate about what he does. In the movie, the guy was insane at what he did, he was an
“To answer the question in a very
“What we’re all about,” says Marriner, “and what the movie is about, a little bit, is finding your own path. Writing your own script. Being true to yourself.”
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Writer David Templeton takes interesting people to the movies in his ongoing quest for the ultimate post-film conversation. This is not a review; rather, it’s a freewheeling, tangential discussion of art, alternative ideas, and popular culture.