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Drew Baylor - Part 1

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Thanks to nezisme who found this at 411mania.com.

Casting Call issue 14: Drew Baylor, Part One

Posted by Jason Chamberlain on 07.04.2007

In the first of a two part series, Jason Chamberlain takes a look at Drew Baylor`s journey home in Elizabethtown!

Welcome to the new issue of Casting Call everybody. I hope I left an impression on some of you with last week's column; my main message was (and is) that our own story is the one that truly matters, and we should spend every day and every moment we have improving that story in any way we want and need to.

This week I will dive back into the realm of those fictional characters that inspire our nonfiction lives. And in continuing the theme, I want to talk about a character who was lost in his life, only to find himself again. A character who brought himself to the brink of death, but was pulled back by the power of love (sappy I know). He's the central character of the movie Elizabethtown, which I recommended last week, and if you still haven't seen it, I hope today's column will convince you to give it a rent.

With my column, I sometimes fall into the trap of summarizing a character's journey too much. You can rent the movie for that information, and what I'd really like to try and do (and what my goal for every column is) is look past the surface and see the character's motivations, their struggles, and how we can relate to them. As is the case with most movies, you can watch Elizabethtown and simply be entertained by a good story. Or you can watch it a little more carefully, and find meanings and lessons that are applicable in your own life.

That's what I'll try to do today!

Presenting Drew Baylor (as played by Orlando Bloom) in Elizabethtown.

We all know people who are obsessed with their work. Workaholics. People who are always thinking about work, staying late, giving up holidays so they can continue to focus on it. Some people find their only meaning and purpose in life through their profession. While certainly, some professions are definitely rewarding, no matter how fulfilling our job is, it should not be all of our lives. We must always make room for recreation, for our hobbies, and most importantly for our friends and families. Life is too short to do otherwise!

Sadly, Drew Baylor learns this lesson in a tragic way. He is a young up and coming shoe designer at one of the biggest shoe companies in the world, and he has been working for eight years on the design of a revolutionary new sneaker. After years of hard work, his creation, the Spasmotica, has garnered incredible buzz and anticipation and it is soon to be unleashed upon the world. In his search for greatness, Drew has neglected his family, missing out on birthdays and holidays, and on what become his father's final years. His work is his life.

When the Spasmotica is released, it is beyond a failure. It's a fiasco. The shoe is wholly maligned and rejected by the public, forcing mass recalls of the product. Mercury Shoes is in ruins, having lost a billion dollars. And Drew is responsible. Naturally, he loses his job, and since his work is his life, he has nothing left to live for. He goes home, throws all of his belongings into the alley outside of his apartment and prepares to kill himself. He creates a rather ingenious device to perform the task; he rigs his exercise bike with a sharp kitchen knife that will repeatedly stab him in the chest when he turns it on.

He is fully prepared to do it as well; the only thing that stops him is the ringing of his phone. Unknowingly, a family tragedy is about to give Drew a new lease on life. His sister tearfully informs him of their father's death, and she pleads with Drew to take charge of the situation. "You're the responsible one," she tells him. He drops the phone and absorbs the news, and, slowly, gets off of the bike.

It's bad news, of course, but the call reminds Drew that he does have a family, and that he has responsibilities to them. Even so, at this point, his plan is to take care of the situation with his family, and THEN kill himself. He still wants out of life.

It's important to note that Drew's plan is one of calm, almost eerie certainty. He has decided to punch his ticket and he is calmly prepared to do it until the phone call derails him. It shows just how much Drew's job meant to him, and how convinced he is that his life is over without it.

The death of one's father would be a hard pill for anyone to swallow, and Drew must also live with the fact that he didn't know the man very well. He always made plans to spend time with his father, and always pushed them back as his life got busier. He gave up his holidays so that he could continue to work, and missed his chances to get to know his family better. Now it's too late, and he carries that guilt with him.

How often have you put walls up between you and your family? We all do it at times, for various reasons, most of them stupid and immature, but we do it nonetheless. We carry small grudges for things long done, or we just refuse to set aside time to spend with them. We may say we have no choice, that we're just too busy, but there's always a choice. Take a lesson from Drew's mistake and take the time to get to know the people in your life, and spend as much time with them as you can. We never know when it will be too late.

Drew's father was in his hometown of Elizabethtown in Kentucky when he died. As Drew heads to Kentucky to collect his body, he meets Claire, a relentlessly positive flight attendant. She chats with Drew on the plane (against his will at first), drawing him a map to his destination (literally, in the case of Elizabethtown) but as their relationship progresses throughout the rest of the film, she will be his guide on his journey back to discovering the things that are really important in life.

The next segment of Drew's journey is familiar to everybody; once he arrives in Elizabethtown, he meets scores of un-relatives. You know, the family you've never met before in your life? In this case, they live in a different part of the country from Drew and lead very different lives than he does, which adds to his culture shock. None of them are particularly fond of Drew's mother, and they derisively refer to his side of the family as ‘the California Baylors', even though the family hasn't lived there in three decades.

It's always strange to meet members of your family that you don't really know. Here are people that share your blood, but they really aren't part of your life. They hug you, kiss you, marvel at how much you've grown, ask about your life, tell you about theirs, but there's always awkwardness about it. In Drew's case, these people are also very small town minded. Slightly untrusting and suspicious of outsiders (e.g. Drew's mother) and unfamiliar customs (cremation, which Drew and his immediate family intend for Mitch).

There`s a lot more to dicuss about Drew, his journey, and the interesting characters that pop up along the way. In fact, there`s room enough for one more column, which is why I will continue my examination of him next week.

See you then!

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Wow, finally someone else who realizes what great film Elizabethtown is and what the real message behind it is. This article made me so happy, thanks for sharing it nezisme and Calimom. :hug: Can't wait to read the rest.



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Very nice article, thanks, nezisme and CaliMom!

I have always wondered, not sure if this is the right place to start this, but how can you tell a product will not sell at all before it's been some time since produsing it? Isn't this what advertizing is for? Just wondered.

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Thanks for finding this Nezisme. :hug: I watched Elizabethtown last week and it hit me all over again what a wonderful film it is. It made me want to go find Cameron Crowe and give him a big hug. It's wonderful to see that someone else out there gets it. I'm ready for the Director's Cut. Anybody else?


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I, too, just watched Elizabethtown again. I introduced it to a bunch of "old" college friends while we were visiting at the beach. They absolutely loved it and wondered "why" they hadn't seen it before. One friend even remarked about how much Drew's family was like my own family. I heard lots of oohs and awws and they all fell in love with Drew/Orlando. I was excited to find this article and can't wait to read Part II. Thanks for posting Calimom.

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Thanks nezisme and CaliMom for the article, can't wait for part 2. It's so nice to finally read an article by someone that understands what Elizabethtown is about.

Krissy, I'm ready for a director's cut too.


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