To See Or Not To See: Peaceful Warrior
by Jan Stetter
Peaceful Warrior is the name of a film that plays more like a made for TV movie with all of the bells and whistles of pop-culture-self-help-forums now available on any late night infomercial programming and on the motivational speaker circuit.
Peaceful Warrior is a movie made from the book of the same name written by Dan Millmen, a motivational speaker whose story tells his life’s journey to truth and fulfillment. In fact, a declaration at the opening of the movie states "Inspired by true events."
Come on, everyone knows the current cliches for the search for the meaning of life. The one who is hardest to love—needs love the most. You will never be better than you are now. You will never be less than you are now. The journey is what brings us happiness not the destination. But did we have to be subjected to 120 minutes of pabulum?
Scott Mechlowicz plays the lead, gymnast, Dan Millman, in his youth. He certainly is credible as a first rate gymnast. He has the puppy dog eyes of a sad sack hit by life’s inevitable suffering and triumph only after discovering that one must always live in the moment. For the record, the moments he was on the big screen he brought great eye-candy appeal.
Nick Nolte as the gas station guru who dispenses prophetic ad nauseam decrying self adulation must be commended for his restrained performance. Nolte’s performance is what made it bearable to sit through his character’s job of dispensing a pop culture bromide of current thinking that could pass for Zen, Buddhism or a number of any other self help or religious agendas. In short, Nolte enlightens us by preaching platitudes that all sound universal.
I’m not knocking the validity of these ideas. I am just suggesting there have been better film vehicles such as Seven Years in Tibet or Gandhi to espouse the benefits of discipline and the search for enlightenment.
If the lesson learned from this movie is simply the adage... "In life, concentrate on the journey; not on the goal.” May I recommend you skip this movie and go see Little Miss Sunshine?