Day 541: American Beauty

American Beauty is a movie I like, very much.


It was written by Alan Ball, who later created one of my favorite TV shows, Six Feet Under (which I referenced in this post).

Have you ever had the experience of really liking something, but someone you love and respect feels very differently about it?

My boyfriend Michael dislikes American Beauty.

Somehow, that doesn’t matter.   But I do find our very different judgments imponderable, since I am so very fond of that film.

I thought of that movie yesterday morning, when I saw this, on my way to work.


Here’s the scene I remembered:

(clip at YouTube here)

 It was one of those days when it’s a minute away from snowing and there’s this electricity in the air, you can almost hear it. Right? And this bag was just dancing with me. Like a little kid begging me to play with it. For fifteen minutes. That’s the day I realized that there was this entire life behind things, and this incredibly benevolent force that wanted me to know that there was no reason to be afraid, ever. Video’s a poor excuse, I know. But it helps me remember. I need to remember. Sometimes, there’s so much beauty in the world, I feel like I can’t take it, and my heart is just going to cave in.

Here’s more American beauty I’ve encountered, very recently:

















I’m wondering, now, if I should have saved some of this beauty for tomorrow’s post, because  I’m staying at the hospital tonight, in the follow-up for my sleep study last March.

There’s no reason to be afraid, ever.  It helps me to remember. I need to remember. Sometimes, there’s so much beauty in the world…I feel like my heart is going to cave in.

Thanks to Alan Ball, Michael, Thomas Newman (for American Beauty and Six Feet Under music), beautiful things I’ve felt,   Saint John’s Seminary, the Summer Shack, incredibly benevolent forces, bags and bunnies, American beauties everywhere, and to you — of course! — for visiting here today.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 54 Comments

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54 thoughts on “Day 541: American Beauty

  1. I LOVED Six Feet Under!!!!!!

  2. The flying bag scene always makes me cry. Loved that film–thanks for writing about it.

  3. Nice post! Love all the gorgeous photos : )
    American Beauty was good but 6 feet under was awesome!! Loved that show

  4. American Beauty was brilliant.

  5. As I read your post I was thinking about how what we find beautiful is as complicated as our personalities, even if the appreciation of beauty sometimes seems simple. The quote from “American Beauty” speaks to an audience because it is an experience we have all had, but it is interpreted in a way that sees beauty where many of us would feel that it is ordinary. Some may find that it is in fact ugly, evidence of an society that consumes too much, that is careless about the environment and has not even bothered to put a piece of non-biodegradable plastic in a garbage bin let alone tried to recycle it. As I looked at your photos, I found some beautiful, some I failed to find beauty in and was indifferent, and one I found ugly. Is it the entire picture that I appreciate or don’t appreciate, or is it a detail that makes one picture beautiful and another not? If the last picture didn’t have a bunny in it, I probably would have been more indifferent to it, because I like bunnies. Michael’s lack of appreciation of the movie may simply be due to one aspect of the theme that ruins the entire movie. I know some for whom the theme alone of sex with a minor, or adultery would be enough to ruin the entire film and fail to appreciate the actual message. Sometimes things that are beautiful are ruined by bad associations as well. I might have been attacked by a vicious bunny (like Monty Python and the Holy Grail) and thus all pictures, no matter how beautiful with bunnies would not please me very much. 🙂

    I wonder if we should find beauty in everything or even whether it is important that two people in a relationship always find the same things beautiful. I guess it seems more important to me to understand why others might appreciate something even if you don’t. But having one’s own sense of what is beautiful seems to me to be a very important part of individuality and probably should not be compromised as long as you keep trying to seek out what you find beautiful in the world.

    • As usual, I reread your comment several times, to enjoy and learn from all your deep and interesting thoughts. You help me keep seeking.

      And I often think about that Monty Python bunny, too.

  6. American Beauty is an awesome movie and really showcases Ball’s true talent. Six Feet Under was a great series, too. Thank goodness for these examples of Ball’s work, because True Blood (which he’s not producing this season) started out great, but turned into a real mess.
    I love the bag scene, too and think of it every time I see one caught up in the wind. My husband really loves this movie, too, and rates it on his top ten fave list! Great pictures!! 🙂

  7. yeseventhistoowillpass

    I loved American Beauty! At the end where he says, “you don’t know what I’m talking about but you will someday.” Classic! Or the seen where she starts crying after not selling the house. Her inner child starts saying, “Stop crying” classic

  8. I know exactly what you mean. I am foolish enough to try too hard to persuade people to share my enthusiasms – it rarely works (and probably irritates). Years ago we lived in the Barbican in London when the centre was a giant pit of a building site. There were three or four cranes and in non-working hours they would be loose and swinging round in great gentle circles, almost, but not quite, touching each other. I found them mesmerising and beautiful.

  9. I don’t believe I’ve seen either one Ann. Good luck with the follow up to your sleep study. ❤
    Diana xo

  10. I watched American Beauty once… I remember being very underwhelmed, but, it was years ago, maybe it’s worth another shot to see if it makes more sense now that I’m older. On the other hand, what if it doesn’t and then I’ve lost 2 more hours of my life?

  11. Thank you, Ann, for this wonderful post reminding us that there really is beauty in this world. I really enjoyed reading your words and viewing your photos. Thank you for making my day a better one. Love, Amy

  12. Your photos are quite beautiful, Ann, all except for one. Until your session play photo of Hangman for “Intimacy Issues” it never really struck me about how inappropriate the use of that historical manner of taking somebody’s life appears to me. In a children’s learning game! Maybe my sensibility was jarred by this violent stick figure image showing up under the heading “American Beauty.”

    To continue my revelatory thinking today, I side with Michael in regards to my overall distaste for the film “American Beauty.” And yet I, like you, was a fan of the HBO series “Six Feet Under,” from the same mind and similar in eccentricity.

    Good luck with the sleep study tonight, Ann.

  13. Wow. American Beauty is perhaps my favorite movie ever. Typically I don’t even remember movies a month later and I never watch them twice, but this one was unforgettable and infinitely re-watch-able. And Six Feet Under is definitely on my Top 10 TV of all time, if not my Top 5. I too always think about this scene when I see something blowing gracefully in the wind. And sometimes I use one of the many comic relief lines from the movie, specifically, “f*ck me your majesty!” But I would never tell you that because it’s definitely TMI. So forget I ever said a word.

    • Sorry, your majesty. I will not forget that you said these words. Thanks for another infinitely re-read-able comment.

  14. I find beauty in your efforts to bring us beauty.

  15. I am really more of a couch potato than a beauty.

    • Couches, potatoes, couch potatoes … all can be beautiful.

      • I hope that your sleep study goes well tonight, Ann. And maybe that some of the friendly faces from last time will be there.

      • Thank you for this well-timed, friendly message. I have spent some quality time with Lori, from the precious sleep study adventures. Lori broke this bad news to me: Mr. Brown, the guinea pig, has passed on to The Big Sleep. Lori is thinking of getting a cat for her and the kids. Naturally, I encouraged this.

      • It’s too bad that Lori’s guinea pig has died. That looked like a very well cared-for pet. However, if Lori and her daughter are looking for cats, I know just the blog post where they can pick one out. And just the cat! (Hint: the person who wrote the post loves cats but in a very non-judgmental way.)

      • That’s a very good hint.

  16. Ann, I am a huge American Beauty fan, as well as Six Feet Under. I adore the complexity of human beings and understanding what goes on beneath the surface. Especially in challenging circumstances. I am enthralled by what is not known
    My guy Don hated it…
    Some people are enthralled by what is known – like history and scientific facts …
    Val x

  17. Gene Phillips

    It is wonderful to be open, as you are, to the myriad sources of beauty in the world.

  18. Lots of beauty around us indeed. Thanks for sharing the images you caught around you.
    The statue of Buddha made me smile. 🙂
    Hope all goes well with your overnight stay at the hospital for the sleep study.

  19. I love the movie too!

  20. He doesn’t like “American Beauty?” Does he like “Six Feet Under” (which, thanks to a fantastic going out of business sale, I own in its entirety.)? Disliking both might be a deal-breaker for me. 🙂 Hope all goes well with the sleep study.

  21. It’s hard to understand, isn’t it, why other people don’t like the things we love. I could never understand why my mother didn’t like any of my boyfriends. I suppose it proves that beauty is in the eye of the beholder! 😀
    I’ve never seen the film, but your post has tempted me to watch it. I’ve heard snippets of the music from the film on the radio and I love it – really haunting.

    • Speaking of beauty being in the eye of the beholder, I think this comment is quite beautiful (and it would be difficult for me to understand anybody thinking otherwise). Thanks, Annabelle!

  22. Great Post… I loved Six Feet Under…

  23. Reblogged this on James' World 2.

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