Movie: Meet Joe Black
Release Date: November 13, 1998
Director: Martin Brest
Starring: Brad Pitt, Anthony Hopkins, Claire Forlani, Jake Weber, Marcia Gay Harden, Jeffrey Tambor.
Tag Lines: “He’s Expecting You.”
“Meet Joe Black: Sooner or Later Everyone Does.”
Relevance: Despite its star power, ‘Meet Joe Black’ was met with mixed to poor reviews and only had moderate success at the box office, with most of its financial success overseas. I was partly to blame as I did not see the film in theaters even though I was a huge Brad Pitt and Anthony Hopkins fan. I instead rented the film when it became available at my local Blockbuster. I often disagree with critics, but always respect their views. I see them as creatures who admire the art of cinema and deep down really want to love each and every single movie they see on the big screen. Of course, people are different and opinions will vary. However, after watching ‘Meet Joe Black,’ I vehemently rejected their negative comments about this film.
‘Meet Joe Black’ was an epic, sweeping romantic fantasy that not only touched my heart but became a guiding light for all of my future love affairs in life. I had only come out of the closet as a gay man a year before I saw the film and was really only getting my feet wet in my new adventure. Prior to 1998, I only had one long term relationship (nine years) and that was with a woman. When I started my new “gay” life, I thought I was just going to have fun and move from one man to the next and make up for lost time, as they say. But I found out that wasn’t who I really was. I am more of a relationship kind of guy.
I owned ‘Meet Joe Black’ on VHS (now on DVD) and every time I would watch it, I would end a relationship within the following two or three months. The movie always seemed to make me realize that I was not in love with the person I was with and it wasn’t that “lightning strikes” kind of passion I needed and deserved. After ending a relationship, I would always promise myself to remember this notion before starting the next relationship. But I always seemed to get caught up in the “newness” and excitement of a fresh start and that notion would fall on the back burner. That is until I watched ‘Meet Joe Black’ again. This became a trend throughout my entire “gay man” existence.
I met my husband on a dating app. We ironically lived four blocks away from each other, so our first date, on a hot July 4th, was to go on a walk. We each left our apartments and met half way. We walked for about an hour around our neighborhood. After a great conversation, we shook hands, promised to reach out to each other soon and walked apart, each heading our separate ways. As I walked away, I kept looking back at him until he disappeared behind a building. I immediately thought, “Lightening just struck.” I went back to my apartment and watched ‘Meet Joe Black.’ He might not have known, but I did. He was the man I was going to spend the rest of my life with.
‘Meet Joe Black’ was breathtakingly gorgeous, beautifully directed and acted and one that I love to watch over and over again, despite its three hour running time. I used to watch it and think, oh boy, here goes another relationship out the window. Now I watch it and think, lightening does strike and they really do save the best for last.
Today’s Thoughts: “Love is passion, obsession, someone you can’t live without. I say, fall head over heels. Find someone you can love like crazy and who will love you the same way back. How do you find him? Well, you forget your head, and you listen to your heart. And I’m not hearing any heart. Cause the truth is, honey, there’s no sense living your life without this. To make the journey and not fall deeply in love, well, you haven’t lived a life at all. But you have to try, cause if you haven’t tried, you haven’t lived.”
I watched ‘Meet Joe Black’ today without any sense of a soon to be ending relationship. The lightening is still striking in this relationship. We have even watched the movie together and cried at the same moments. True love. It took awhile, but it finally stuck around.
This movie is as gorgeous as it was the first hundred times I watched it. I still completely disagree with critics who said it was too long, too slow, poorly acted and not worth one’s time. On the contrary, it is beautifully written, with gorgeous speeches, mostly made my Anthony Hopkins’ character and a clever premise that pays homage to not only the 1934 film ‘Death Takes a Holiday’ from which it is based, but many drama and comedies from that same era. It is luscious and sexy and charming and makes me smile and cry (this is a big Kleenex movie for me) numerous times.
The cast is phenomenal. Anthony Hopkins is wonderful, Brad Pitt is sexy as hell and Claire Forlani is flawless (the dress she is in during the final scene is beyond stunning). Her and Mr. Pitt have real chemistry throughout the film, but the first meeting at the coffee shop has to be my favorite scene. I could have watched a whole movie with them just chatting and drinking coffee. I fall in love with both of them every time I watch that scene. The rest of the cast including Jake Weber, Marcia Gay Harden and Jeffrey Tambor are just as equally effective.
‘Meet Joe Black’ may be classified as a fantasy, but for me it is all about the romance. I can’t recommend the it enough. It will make you want to fall in love again and again.
Ways to Watch: Hulu, Starz, Sling TV, Amazon Prime, YouTube, iTunes, Google Play, Vudu, DVD Availability.