Claire Colburn

“There’s a difference between a failure and a fiasco. A failure is merely the absence of success. Any fool can achieve failure. But a fiasco. A fiasco is a disaster of epic proportions. A fiasco is a folk tale told to others to make other people feel more alive because it didn’t happen to them.”

Kirsten Dunst is Claire Colburn
Kirsten Dunst is Claire Colburn

I wish I could take credit for that quote for Women Who Wow Wednesday, but it belongs to the main protagonist in the movie Elizabethtown, Drew Baylor played by Orlando Bloom, who recently bungled a design for a major shoe manufacturer. His fiasco obliterated the corporation’s bottom line to the tune of $970 Million. We might as well round it up to $1 Billion. Them there’s a lot of shoes. Even the company’s CEO couldn’t keep a straight face when he uttered the $1 Billion figure.

We next find Drew in his apartment on a stabbing contraption he built out of a stationary bicycle and a knife. Just as he was about to press the button to end his miserable life, the duct tape holding the weapon loses its stick. Drew is a failure even attempting to kill himself. That’s when his sister calls. His father died. He’s needed home in Kentucky.

On the plane, he meets flight attendant, the ever-serendipitous Claire Colburn played by Kirsten Dunst. Whatever depression Drew may have felt prior to meeting Claire disappears. Well, not so much because of her infectious positive outlook. On the contrary, his dark mood fades only replaced by his annoyance at her cheery disposition. Not one to fuss, she learns of Drew’s father’s name, “Ah, so you’re a son of a Mitch. Never met a Mitch I didn’t like. Fun, full of life. Like, everyone wants to be a part of Mitch’s club.”

After they leave the plane, she reminds Drew not to miss the 60B turnoff. Of course, he misses it. But once in Kentucky, he settles into his new digs at a hotel featuring a wedding party for the weekend. Alone in his room, he calls his sister and a handful of other people, including Claire. No one returns his calls. His anxiety returns, and some time later his cell phone rings. It’s Claire.

Kirsten Dunst as Claire Colburn
Kirsten Dunst as Claire Colburn

They make small talk for a while. As night approaches, Drew realizes there’s more to Claire than what he had first thought of her on the plane. Seems she says all the things he’s had on his mind his entire life. Their cell phone chat continues throughout the night into the next morning when they meet by the side of the road. She immediately has an idea, and leads him to sit on a stone wall overlooking a beautiful countryside to watch the sunrise.

What is it about Claire that Drew sees? Huh, it’s not that hard to figure out. Claire doesn’t allow life to beat her. Hope is in her soul and in her mind. A joy surrounds her few people possess. Whatever life throws her way, she keeps moving forward. This is what she says to Drew when he lingers on thoughts of his failure:

“So you failed. All right, you really failed. You failed. You failed. You failed. You failed. You failed. You failed. You failed. You failed. You failed. You failed. You failed. You failed. You think I care about that? I do understand. You wanna be really great? Then have the courage to fail big and stick around. Make them wonder why you’re still smiling.

Her brand of optimism spills into every fiber of her being.

This is what she says about problems:

“I’ve spent so much time thinking about all the answers to the problem that I forget what the problem actually was.”

This is her take on sadness:

“Sadness is easier because it’s surrender. I say make time to dance alone with one hand waving free.”

Finally, about her mindset:

“And so we all became helpers, which I so can’t help. I can’t help helping.”

Beautiful Claire. Pure of heart. Filled with life. She doesn’t sport a gun. She doesn’t kill zombies. But who wouldn’t want a friend like Claire? Always anticipating. Always wishing. Her heart’s in the right place, and that’s all that matters.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, on sale October 22.

Have you seen Elizabethtown? What did you think of Claire?

Advertisements

21 thoughts on “Claire Colburn

  1. Oh man! I haven’t seen the movie, but I can teally relate to ruminating over the answers to a problem until I forget what the problem was. At some point, you just have to say “it’s a problem, I don’t have the answers. If I had the answers, it wouldn’t be a problem.” It’s like loosing something and having another person ask you where was the last place you left it. Really?

  2. Wow, a truly quotable movie I haven’t seen yet – nicely quoted. Though I wonder if Drew meant to say “lie” instead of “folk tale” – Seth Godin might take issue with that, not that I want to speak for him – and I’m not with it enough to quote him. But having not seen the movie, maybe this is just Drew’s pessimism? Anyway, Dunst can make most movies cheerful even when they’re not supposed to be – so the shoe probably fits pretty nice here. Thanks, Jack, for an optimistic day starter, as we go face zombies.

  3. I’ve seen Elizabeth Town many times. I don’t know why i watch it so many times, maybe because it makes me smile. It’s not a comedy, but it leaves a nice feeling afterwards. Maybe optimism? I don’t know, it’s just good writing I suppose.

    • I think it’s that feeling of optimism that attracts me to this movie. I’m sure I’ve seen it 20+ times myself. I love the character Claire. And how I love the Alec Baldwin scenes!

  4. Huh. That is one movie by Kristin Dunst I have yet to see. I am going to go have to find a copy for it sounds really good. Thanks for the recommendation, Jack!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s