There is a scene in Rawson Michael Thurber’s Central Intelligence that I haven’t been able to shake.
In the film the Rock plays a former fat awkward nerd who has grown over the years into a CIA badass mountain of a man, but he has retained his high-school excitability and sense of wonder. Among what he's carried as well is his affinity for Calvin “The Golden Jet” Johnson, played by Kevin Hart- the wunderkind who was supposed to go places.
The two are in two engine plane and after a tonally awkward scene, the camera cuts to The Rock and that darkest-night-lighting smile fixes on him so softly, and he asks
“You doing okay, champ? You've been struggling a bit, I can tell.”
In that moment it's Bob Stone asking his friend but in a way he’s asking me, sitting in a theatre dusted with popcorn and salt and the rationalized comfort of loneliness. In recent months I've been feeling the weight of all things figuratively and literally amount. The days have seemed longer and the nights sober fewer.
Just the other day my dad asked me for money as he will be out of work a few weeks after a surgery to remove a malignancy. Not a lot, just “a little help, you know, since I'm not making as much that month as usual.” It took everything in me not to bawl all over my work clothes. He asked and I had to let him because I couldn't just tell him he didn't have to ask for a thing because what he needs he gets. It was a moment where for one second I got to shove off the world and powerbomb it and all my confusion and sadness and worry through every table I'd ever put up.
Central Intelligence was a fun enough movie with a subtle heart to it- a warmth much needed and appreciated in the cynical and dire days we’re in. The conceit got me too- even though it was through the help of CGI, Robbie Weirdyck becomes Bob Stone but remains his true self. If he could do it, I should do it. I still don't know why that stuck with me so much- usually only the sad Russians or the second season of You’re the Worst hit as hard as one scene in a 100 minute movie did that day.
But it meant a lot. Thanks for asking, Bob.