Dodging a Bullet

Stress - not having enough time

By Judy Berman

A huge red balloon floats ahead of you, just out of reach. It entices you to follow, and you do, until it loses oxygen and fades away.

In a moment of clarity, that might be months or years in the making, you look back and realize how lucky you were that relationship fizzled or made a noisy exit.

Suddenly, you’re on a new path. A crook in the road, unexpected twists and turns, result in a less stressful and happier life.

Let’s face it: You dodged a bullet. Now, move on.

It takes Gil Pender (Owen Wilson) awhile to realize this when he’s visiting Paris with his fiancée, Inez (Rachel McAdams), and her parents. True, she doesn’t support his dreams of leaving his job as a screenwriter to write a novel.

Soon there are other cracks in the blissful relationship.

One night, Inez goes out dancing with her friends, Paul and Carol Bates. Gil is not in the mood to join them, in part, because he dislikes Paul, a professor, who acts like he’s an expert on everything from wine to art.

As Gil meanders thru the streets of Paris at midnight, an old car stops and offers him a ride. He accepts and finds himself back in the 1920s, where he meets some of the literary and artistic greats of that time.

With each midnight ride, Gil realizes he can achieve his dream of writing. He wants to stay in Paris. Inez wants no part of that.

Another roadblock to happiness is when Gil discovers that Inez has been cheating on him – with Paul. Gil breaks off their engagement.

Gil decides to stay in Paris. On another midnight excursion, a new love appears, and they walk off into the glow of the City of Lights.

Whew! That was a close call. But some never see that train wreck coming.

In the movie, “Sideways,” Miles (Paul Giamatti) goes on a weeklong road trip to wine country with his buddy, Jack (Thomas Hadden Church).

Miles, a wine connoisseur and unsuccessful writer, hasn’t gotten over his divorce.  Miles meets Maya (Virginia Madsen), a waitress, at his favorite restaurant, and they arrange a double-date with Jack and Stephanie (Sandra Oh), a friend of Maya’s.

Jack, Miles’ former college roommate, conveniently omits the fact that he is days away from getting hitched.

On one outing, Miles accidentally tells Maya that Jack is about to get married.

What’s that phrase? Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.

Maya breaks up with Miles, and Stephanie breaks Jack’s nose with her helmet.

That scamp, Jack, has already moved on to still another waitress – with disastrous results.

Meanwhile, Miles flips out in a wine-tasting room and downs a container of wine when he learns that still another manuscript has been turned down.

His buddy, Jack, pulls Miles further into his drama.

Jack begs Miles to retrieve his wedding rings that he left after a hasty exit from the second waitress’s home when her husband returned “unexpectedly.”

Before the two middle-aged men return home, Jack wrecks Miles’ car in an effort to explain away his broken nose to his future wife and her family.

At the wedding, Miles runs into his ex-wife and her husband. He learns they are expecting a baby.

Later, alone at home, he has a phone message from Maya. She liked his manuscript and invites him to visit.

Love, at last, no longer eludes Miles. But it took a round-about route to get him there.

Have you ever had a close call, one you were glad you sidestepped?

Main Photo: Stress – Depicting never having enough time and the stress this can cause.  Taken: 1-3-13. Source;

Movie Video: In “Midnight in Paris,” Gil Pender (Owen Wilson), a screenwriter and aspiring novelist, is vacationing in Paris with his fiancée (Rachel McAdams) and her parents. On a solo midnight excursion thru the City of Lights, he finds himself back in the 1920s. His return to present day only fuels his desire to write a book and remain in Paris. His fiancée doesn’t support either goal.

Movie Video: “Sideways” – Miles (Paul Giamatti) takes his buddy, Jack (Thomas Haden Church), on a road trip to wine country, their last single-guy bonding experience. Jack decides to have a fling with Stephanie (Sandra Oh) before his wedding, while Miles begins to fall for Maya (Virginia Madsen). The deception soon unravels and throws the trip into chaos.

  1. Nope, no close calls for me. I had no intention of ever getting married but glad I was quickly dissuaded from that foolishness. Going on forty years now.

  2. I never had that type of close call–37 years for us. I think one of my daughters almost had one, but fortunately did not. 🙂
    I remember liking the movie Midnight in Paris, but I didn’t remember it that well until you described it.

    1. “Midnight in Paris” is one of the few Woody Allen movies I’ve loved. If you haven’t seen “Sideways,” check it out. The wine tour, the description of a pinot, and the hilarious antics of the two main characters will have you rolling. I promise. 😉

  3. I did see “Sideways.” I remember watching it on video, and maybe I was tired or something, but I don’t remember it very well, and I didn’t love it. Maybe I’ll watch it again sometime. My husband and I saw Midnight in Paris in a theater, and I think that really makes a difference sometimes.

  4. Yes I have Judy – several. I’ve learned not to get so totally bent out of shape when things don’t go my way because of it. Sometimes I even wait for proof while things fold out! ❤
    Diana xo

  5. Judy, I have a close relative who says of her dating – marriage history: “I dodged a bullet and backed into a cannon.” (It’s okay to laugh here.) Fortunately, she is free of both relationships at the moment.

    Once again we have synchronicity this week. I write about a close call I had romantically when I was a sophomore in college. Fortunately I had wise counsel from dear Aunt Ruthie who may have dissuaded me from taking the relationship any farther:

    I may have seen “Sideways,” but like Merril I often don’t remember movie plots, maybe because I tend to get sleepy and fade out viewing movies or watching TV.

    By the way, had I gone with my first “heart-break,” I’d be a widow now and maybe feel relieved. Enough rambling – great post!

  6. One of my teaching colleagues could have written SIDEWAYS, but without any humor.
    My biggest “dodged bullet” was really a final misfire after getting married in college too young, and not realizing that things family friends had warned me about were actually true until I came home much earlier than expected one day and actually caught my husband in bed with my friend. It gave me a lot of doubts about myself, friends and husbands, but years later after trusting myself (and loving my new independence) and enjoying friends again, I found the man I should have been drawn to and married the first time. 🙂

  7. I’m a bit late with my post Judy because I had to really think about this . I do make mistakes just like anyone I reckon but I usually get a gut feeling ( call it female intuition ) I don’t know if there is such a thing . I actually think it more a human experience .
    I did meet a boy once who looked good but before I got too close I realised he got into fights and drunk a lot …that is not the sort of fellow I wish to spend my life with …lucky excape

  8. I’ve never seen this movie or even heard of before, sounds like it might be good, I like the concept of him going back in time. Just had a look at a few clips of this on You Tube too, I love the conversation he has with Hemingway in the back of an old car – very Doctor Who!!

    So this is a Woody Allen film without Woody himself (I was sure that man appeared in all this films!!!) Thanks for the introduction Judy!

    1. Suzy … The only other Woody Allen film I can recall liking was “Radio Days.” It brought back so many memories. I grew up loving the old time radio shows. Also I worked in radio. It’s a fun movie. Just like “Midnight in Paris.” I hope you enjoy it. I certainly did. 😉

  9. Judy I guess there are no accidents really, we are meant to learn from the good and the bad in relationships. I did not settle down until my thirties and by then I could spot an fake a mile away. I met a real keeper but if I had not been out with all the noncommittal ones I would not have realised how wonderful my husband is.

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