The Trip to Bountiful / The Road to Helpful!


Along with Aftersun: Long ago and far away, she took The Trip to Bountiful.

We refer to Geraldine Fitzgerald, who won the Oscar for Best Actress in 1986 for her role in the film of that name. 

We've seen the film within maybe the past dozen years. We don't think we loved the film, but it makes for a very good synopsis, albeit one we've edited:

Set in the post-World War II 1940s, it tells the story of an elderly woman, Carrie Watts, who wants to return to her home, the small, rural, agriculture-based town of Bountiful near the Texas Gulf coast between Houston and Corpus Christi, where she grew up. Her son and daughter-in-law both know that the town has long since disappeared, due to the Depression. 

Mrs. Watts sets out to catch a train, only to find that trains do not go to Bountiful anymore. She eventually boards a bus to a town near her childhood home. On the journey, she befriends a woman traveling alone and reminisces about her younger years and grieves for her lost relatives. 

The local sheriff, moved by her yearning to visit her girlhood home, offers to drive her out to what remains of Bountiful. The town is deserted and the few remaining structures are derelict. Mrs. Watts learns that the last occupant of the town, and the woman with whom she had hoped to live, has recently died. She is moved to tears as she surveys her father's land and the remains of the family home. 

Having accepted the reality of the current condition of Bountiful, and knowing that she has reached her goal of returning there before dying, she is ready to return to Houston when her son and daughter-in-law arrive to drive her back. Having confronted their common history in Bountiful, the three commit to live more peacefully together. They begin their drive back to Houston.

For whatever reason, the title of that film had been in our heads of late. This very week, we've been trying to plot a journey for our floundering nation and tribe—a trip on The Road to Helpful. 

Can we possibly come to terms with the various ways our own blue tribe may tend to behave in ways which undermine our aspirations and goals? Fitzgerald accomplished the trip to Bountiful. Can our hapless, floundering tribe ever get on the road to helpful?

We'll also mention the journey portrayed in Aftersun, a film we watched last weekend. It's the first feature film for Charlotte Wells, who seems to be on the road to deeply, profoundly insightful.

Paul Mescal won a Best Actor nomination for his role in the film. In our view, 11-year-old Frankie Corio deserved a nomination too. Where in the name of all the spirits do they ever find these kids?

(In her case, right there in Scotland.)

"Best film of the year," said Sight & Sound. Best film from all over the world!


  1. Somerby pretends to not be a right winger, pretends to be a Dem/liberal, and then, as a sort of “secret” right winger, proceeds to lecture us non right wingers on how we should behave better, but it’s hilarious because it’s obvious Somerby’s true intention is to serve his tribe - right wingers.

    Ok, Somerby.


  2. "Can we possibly come to terms with the various ways our own blue tribe may tend to behave in ways which undermine our aspirations and goals?"

    What aspirations, dear Bob? What goals?

    Are you kidding? As we observe, all your tribe does is insane war-mongering leading to extermination of us humyns, alternating with brain-dead tales of wimmin trapped inside men's bodies.

    1. Russia bombs residential neighborhoods and threatens nuclear war.

  3. Too bad “Aftersun” has only made $3.2 million at the box office. Guess the public isn’t with Somerby on this one.

    And those siloed movie critics who crazily picked Tár as the best film of 2022, picked “Aftersun” as their second best.

    The nerve.

  4. "For whatever reason, the title of that film had been in our heads of late. This very week, we've been trying to plot a journey for our floundering nation and tribe—a trip on The Road to Helpful. "

    This is the kind of nostalgia that Trump appealed to in his first campaign in 2016. While this film represents an actual past remembered by the characters, the past promised by Trump with his slogan Make American Great Again, has never existed. It is an idealized version in which there are no problems, no complexity, no diversity, no covid, no global enemies, and everyone is nice all the time. It is not uncommon for elderly people to round-off their memories and only recall the good parts, to imagine that things were better in the times they only dimly remember. Somerby is at that age.

    I find that such musing are deeply and profoundly unhelpful, because they ignore what is important about dealing with today's challenges.

  5. How can Somerby conclude that we blue tribe members are not able to attract votes when we have won so many recent popular votes by many millions, hold the presidency and the senate, and nearly won the house (despite the rigging of redistricting). We threw Trump out decisively and most of his endorsed candidates were also rejected in our last election. Republicans are in worse disarray than ever, but Somerby thinks we must be lectured about how to convince people to vote Democratic.

    Somerby needs to watch fewer movies and put himself back in touch with reality of current politics.

  6. "who seems to be on the road to deeply, profoundly insightful."

    Look how Somerby has invented new language usage for communicating with his in-group here! I say despairingly. He has strung together two adverbs and an adjective without the verbs or nouns they should refer to, so we are left wondering deeply, profoundly, insightful what?

    That doesn't usually matter, due to linguistic charity. We will all try to make sense of what he meant to say, even if his sentence is imperfect. Except that Somerby is now seeing plots in such usage. So I must wonder who exactly Somerby sending his secret coded message to, and what it means for those of us not included in his language-clique.

    1. He was sending the coded message to me. Its meaning: David in Cal and Cecelia are great thinkers.

    2. Anonymouse 3:51pm— on the road to crazy.

    3. And you can welcome anon 3:51 if and when they meet you there, Cecelia.

    4. Secret code for “ya mama”.

    5. yo mama

      you are the most ignorent person on this planet

    6. Anonymouse 10:41pm, anonymices’ problem is that Bob will never allow them into his “language-clique.”

      No one liked anonymices in high school either.

    7. I was very popular in high school.

  7. Leave it to House Republicans to throw Ilhan Omar off the Foreign Affairs Committee, just because she isn't on Vladamir Putin's payroll.