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Drew Baylor - Part 2 (of 2)

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Thanks again to nezisme for bringing this to us from 411mania.com.

Casting Call Issue 15: Drew Baylor, Part Two

Posted by Jason Chamberlain on 07.11.2007

In the new issue of Casting Call, Jason Chamberlain completes his two part look at Drew Baylor's journey home, from the film Elizabethtown!

Hey all, and welcome to a new issue of Casting Call. Let's not waste time; last week I started looking at Drew Baylor's journey throughout the film Elizabethtown. There's plenty more to talk about, so let's get to it!

When Drew arrives in Elizabethtown, he is bombarded with relatives that loved his father dearly. Here are a group of people that knew his father better than he ever did. He bonds with his cousin Jesse, who is also a bit of an outcast from the rest of the family thanks to his free spirited nature, love of music and poorly behaved son. The pair can relate to each other because neither of them have or had a close relationship with their fathers, something they both regret.

Drew's troubles with fitting in with his extended family are nothing new; he's always had trouble relating to the people in his life who are not part of his career. Remember, this is a workaholic we're dealing with here. It's probably not a stretch to say that outside of his working life, Drew doesn't know himself very well, so it's easy to understand why he has trouble relating to others.

That is what makes Drew's developing friendship with his cousin Jesse important; he came to Elizabethtown to collect his father and to bring him home. Past that, his intentions were still to end his life. Nowhere in his plan does he intend to get involved in anybody else's life, and to start caring about more people. But he begins to care about Jesse, and that is a big step on his road back.

However, the relationship that really sets him back on course (or rather, puts him on a new one) is his growing friendship/romance with Claire. Claire is exactly the kind of person Drew needs to meet, and in a way, she saves his life. It is Claire's friendship, hope and optimism that inspire Drew to give life another chance.

On his first night at his hotel in Louisville, he spends the entire night on the phone with Claire, talking about each other, their jobs, and their lives. They even share a beer over the phone, and eventually decide to meet to watch the sun rise together. This was never part of Drew's plan, mind you; but slowly and surely, he is being drawn back into life. It would be hard not to be drawn to Claire; aside from being beautiful, she is genuinely caring and she never stops looking at the bright side of life, herself, and others.

During his time in Elizabethtown, Drew rebuilds himself; he stands up to his relatives and their burial plans for Mitch, he helps Jesse get his son under control, and he falls for Claire, and she for him. There's a memorial for his dad where the two sides of the family finally reconcile, and he keeps a promise he made to Claire by road tripping home instead of flying. At the beginning of the film he swore to himself that nothing would stop his plan of checking out of life; but all it really took was a trip home and a chance meeting.

I'm not going to fill in the rest of the plot for you. I want you to go watch it! Instead I'm going to try and get into Drew's head a little bit more and relate his journey to you and me. Suffice to say, he doesn't kill himself in the end.

Thankfully, not many of us can relate to Drew when he is considering ending his life, or rather, has decided to. Suicide may dart through the mind of everybody once or twice, but few people ever give it real consideration and even attempt it; Drew does. It's hard for us to truly understand his mindset at that point; but like I mentioned in my first column, the crux of it is Drew's love for his job.

Drew's job is his life; his job is over; his life is over.

The irony is that the tragedy of his father's death actually becomes his catapult back into his own life. Had he not gotten the phone call that his dad had died, he would have killed himself on that bike. Instead, the pain he feels over the death, and the chain reaction of events and meetings it sets off in his life are exactly what he needs to remember why life is worth living.

No matter how important a job is to you, it can't stand up in importance to the loss of a loved one. Jobs come and go, but human life is irreplaceable. Drew will have more chances to have success in his field... but he's lost his chance to get to know his father. At least, directly. By meeting so many of his father's friends and family, he almost gets to know him by osmosis. Mitch Baylor was the kind of man who inspired unfailing love and loyalty in others, and the evidence of that, combined with Drew's memories of him, is enough.

Oh, and he also has a few conversations with his father's urn. Yeah.

But Claire is the one who really pulls him back; she is not just a naive, doe eyed optimist. She encourages Drew to deal with the pain he's feeling, to embrace it and not push it away. It's all part of life, and that is what she is really trying to teach him. Life isn't just about happiness and light, but it isn't just about darkness either. It's a combination of the two, and she encourages Drew to recognize that. Not even his billion dollar failure with the Spasmotica shakes her faith in him. To her it's just a failure, nothing more and nothing less, and for Claire, a failure is certainly not a reason to give up.

Drew almost gave up. Have you ever thought about giving up? I'm not just talking about suicide; you don't have to end your life to stop living it. Have you ever given up on a dream, on a hope, on a passion of yours? Have you ever sold yourself short, accepted less than you wanted because it was easier to obtain than what you really wanted? I know I have... we do it for a lot of reasons... to avoid the pain of rejection, to not have to feel like we failed... it's better not to try than fail, right? WRONG. If there's something you want to do, do it. If there's someone you want to be with, tell them. Take your shot. If you get rejected, if you fail, if you lose a major shoe company a billion dollars, good! Allow yourself to feel that pain, to deal with it, and set it aside and try again. And keep trying. Don't become one of the people who live their lives so afraid to fail, they never try. Teddy Roosevelt once said,

"It is not the critic who counts, the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or how the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly... who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who have never known victory or defeat."

Or, as Drew's narration pontificates at the end of the film as he holds Claire in his arms,

"No true fiasco ever began as a quest for mere adequacy. The Pacific Northwestern Salmon beats itself bloody on its quest to travel hundreds of miles upstream, against the current, with a single purpose. Sex, of course. But also....

... Life."

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I just watched Elizabethtown again. I love it more every time I see it! I cannot watch this movie without being profoundly moved. It is family, loss, love, hope, survival and I think Orlando gives a very honest and moving performance. My hope is that one day in perhaps a kinder and gentler world more people will see this movie and come to love it as much as I do. Just had to comment again. Go watch Elizabethtown!

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Quite an interesting pair of articles.

When I first saw E-Town my own father was in a hospice waiting to die. He did so three weeks later. I know I sat in the theater like a stone thinking deep, dark thoughts. Not about Drew, but about his mother's irritating character. That nonsense at the "wake", well, whoa. Part of me wondered if it was a hallucination.

Now that I have watched the film in a clearer headspace, I appreciate the film and yes, even cry at certain scenes where Orlando really hits the correct notes. But every time I skip part of the "wake" scene because I cannot waste precious time watching it.

Elizabethtown definitely deserved far better that the long knives that gutted it, and it's cheering to see someone cares enough to explain why it should be seen.

Thanks for bringing these two bits across! :hug:


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I watc Elizabethtown everytime I feel sad/tired, genreally in bed mood. I think that despite the fact that Elizabethtown is a lovely romantic comedy it is also a very wise movie about relations and doubts, ending with a great hope. I really liked both Orlando and Kirsten in that movie, they seemed so honest.

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I really like this article on Elizabethtown!! It says so many of the things I have thought about the movie. This guy is in tune and on the mark! It's a great movie and was wonderfully done by Orlando and Kirsten! I watch it at least once a month, when I'm slightly down or moody. It always makes me laugh and I get the "warm fuzzies" about the whole movie.

Thanks for bringing this over, nezisme I really enjoyed it!


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Thanks for bringing the second half of the article over.

I really enjoyed both of them. The writer really understood what the movie was about and why we love it so much. I hope that more people will discover this movie, especially when it makes it to television.

Elizabethtown is one of mine and my daughter's favorites. She brings it along on every road trip we take.


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I've always had a special place in my heart for Elizabethtown, I think I could watch it every night and never tire of it. In fact I did watch it everynight for a long time after I got the dvd. Reading this article is like having someone tell you how wonderful your child is. He really does get what the movie is about. Someone mentioned that they watched the movie with some friends who had never seen it. They ended up enjoying it and wondering how they missed it when it was out. I could get on a soapbox and blame critics who didn't and wouldn't try to understand, but it too late for that. I do hope this might cause an upswing in sales and rentals of the dvd. :2thumbs:

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nezisme, I'm reading with tears in my eyes. Great article. There's a certain level of comfort achieved by not trying, even by giving up. It's easier than leaping into life with both feet. But one's loss is the greater for not feeling, for not trying, for not daring to dream. Whether you achieve or fail, you've given it your best shot. I'm so glad Drew learned that life matters.


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nezisme, thanks for bringing these articles over. They are wonderful.

I love Elizabethtown. It's one of those movies that you put on and within moments are completely engrossed in the story. What get's me about this movie every single time are the scenes in Kentucky with the "non"relatives, everyone that knows you but you don't know them. Coming from a very large extended family, I have been in that exact moment Drew is in when 100 people are talking to you as if they've just seen you yesterday and you have no idea who's in front of you.

serendipity, I do the same thing. Just last week, I had an aunt over for a week's visit and day 2 of her visit I had her in my room watching Etown, and she loved it! She could not believe she hadn't seen it in the theater because it's just the kind of movie she enjoys. Go figure huh?

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