Eventually all things merge into one

I’m not much of a movie-watcher. I hate action movies, I despise horror movies, and there are only a few comedies that I like. So, right away, most of the typical “male movies” are out for me. When I do watch a movie, I find myself looking for one with certain actors — Mel Gibson, Robert Duvall, Denzil Washington, Gene Hackman. That’s the Hollywood A-list, as far as I’m concerned.

And I like a movie that tells a story. So, I guess that makes dramas my favorite genre. There are a few I can watch over and over. 8 Seconds (the story of championship bullrider Lane Frost) is one of those. Just about anything with Duvall in it would rank up there.

But if you ask me what my absolute favorite is, my go-to when I’m wanting to sit down and watch a movie and don’t have anything specific in mind, I don’t have to hesitate to think about it. There’s no question. I’ve watched it dozens of times, and still the answer is the same: A River Runs Through It.

I feel sorry for the people who’ve never taken the time to sit down and watch it — and I mean really watch it, without distractions, so that you can soak it all in. It is one of the most majestic movies that I have ever seen.

Sometimes, I just sit down and watch the final couple of scenes. I don’t know why; it’s a sad finish (not nearly as sad as 8 Seconds, but sad). I suppose the reason I like it is because of how powerful it is. Of course, if you’ve never seen the entire movie, the ending doesn’t mean as much. But if you have, the ending is all the more powerful. This is what you get when you combine what was one of the greatest movie scores (soundtracks) ever, a perfect narrator (Robert Redford), and a great story by a truly gifted writer (Norman Maclean). Yes, it is sad (wistful, perhaps, is a better word) … but isn’t that what great films and great books are supposed to do? Illicit emotion? Redford, who also directed A River Runs Through It, does a masterful job with it. There’s more meaning packed into the final 4:08 of this movie than some movies have in their entirety.

“Eventually, all things merge into one. And a river runs through it.”

Ben Garrett

Ben Garrett is a journalist from East Tennessee. He is publisher of the Independent Herald, a weekly newspaper serving the Big South Fork region of the Cumberland Plateau, with a sideline in website development and digital marketing. He is also an erstwhile blogger.

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