Review from the Vault: PEACEFUL WARRIOR, from 2006

PEACEFUL WARRIOR (2006) 10/10 (A MUST SEE)

 

Peaceful Warrior starring Scott Mechlowicz and Nick Nolte
Peaceful Warrior starring Scott Mechlowicz and Nick Nolte

This is a MUST SEE FILM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I cannot believe there is another brilliant amazing film that missed a mass release. This would have made my top 10 one month ago. The first minute into the film and I was spellbound and knew it was going to be good. I am completely at a loss as to how this superb film did not get a mass release – this should have been box office glory and covered in awards. How do they make money and how can they let the public suffer by not mainstreaming them? In the US Universal gave away $15- MILLION worth of free tickets to it on the opening weekend. Now that’s marketing. The film was made on a measly budget of $14MIL and the most screens it played on were just over 600 in the US (which is near nothing) and it easily made it’s money back – even with more money worth of tickets given away than the actual film cost!!

Synopsis:
Arrogant, talented Dan Millman seems to have the perfect college life: a stunning gymnast’s body of incredible strength, handsome looks, good grades, plenty of money and a shot at the Olympic qualifiers in men’s gymnastics. Still, Dan wakes up almost nightly from terrifying nightmares and odd visions he can’t explain or dismiss. One night, awakened by yet another nightmare, Dan goes for a run through his foggy neighborhood and comes upon a well-lit service station. Behind the counter, an old man seemingly moves without regard for space or time. One moment, Dan is paying for his snacks, the next the old man is on the roof of the station. Stunned by this impossibility, Dan begs the old man, whom he instinctually names Socrates, to share the secret of his abilities in order to achieve his goal of Olympic Gold. The old man puts him through a regimen that changes his diet, training, and lifestyle. Before long, his life is ruined, and he loses his friends, his girls, and is almost thrown off his Gymnastics squad. Thus begins a journey of discovery for Dan that will shatter every preconceived notion he has about academics, athletics, and achievement. Guided by Socrates, Dan will consider a whole new ideology-one that values consciousness over intelligence, strength in spirit over strength in body. But in order to succeed, Dan must somehow let go of all of his expectations – and simply live in the now… Based on The Way of Peaceful Warrior, Dan Millman’s best-selling spiritual memoir, PEACEFUL WARRIOR explores the highly competitive world of men’s gymnastics, while introducing an astonishing philosophy that awakens the human spirit. A celebration of the achievements made possible by an open mind, PEACEFUL WARRIOR is a sports movie not about imagined perfection or victory – but about heart. Synopsis Care of Rotten Tomatoes

 

Peaceful Warrior starring Scott Mechlowicz and Nick Nolte

 

This surreal, loosely based on a real story (very loosely) philosophical Jedi training film is truly inspirational. I could not fault it in anyway. To me it was a coming together of cosmic forces to make a superb film. Scott Mechlowicz has come out of nowhere to beautifully star in this film. Scott has been in Eurotrip? and Mean Creek (awesome film) and a 2003 gay styled reworking of Peter Pan (yes another one) – my Gaydar was going off a little bit. He is very easy on the eye and extremely athletic. Nick Nolte is perfect as Yoda (or truly named Socrates in the film) and works best as the support actor who steals a lot of the scenes and casting him as the Shaolin monk/ Zen master Jedi was perfect for his gravelly tones. The sound in the film is another remarkable character and supports the acting and story extremely well. Cinematography – stunning, Editing – brilliant. Direction – amazing. The film is directed by Victor Salva – who has a very disturbing life himself;

Mini Biography
Victor Salva’s career has been one of moderate commercial success flooded with controversy. Salva is a B-filmmaker making movies with basic plots and characters. Salva grew up outside of San Francisco watching schlock horror films on television. A self-confessed “Jaws baby”, he began channeling his filmmaking ambitions while in high school. In 1986 he made the short film Something in the Basement (1986), a low-budget chiller he made in his own backyard. The short caught the attention of filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola, who in turn helped Salva finance his feature-length debut, Clownhouse (1989). The film, shot for $200,000, centered on three young boys who are terrorized by mental patients-turned-clowns. During filming of this low-budget schlock, Salva molested the underage star – a 12-year-old boy, Nathan Forest Winters. It would be five years before Salva made another film. He began with the The Nature of the Beast (1995). Filmed in 1994, the film followed a salesman who comes into contact with a mysterious, drugged-out drifter, while traveling along the isolated desert landscape. Then came the Disney financed Powder (1995), about a young albino with special powers. While it had moderate box office profits, the film was ultimately deterred by revelations of Salva’s past as convicted sex offender. The media coverage surrounding Salva’s conviction sent the filmmaker back into seclusion, and it was 4 years before the director was heard from again with Rites of Passage (1999). It centered on a family threatened by both repression and two escaped convicts which took the Grand Prize at the Santa Monica Film Festival. Salva followed that with rubber monster movie Jeepers Creepers (2001). And the sequel. Jeepers Creepers II (2003). Biography courtesy of Wikipedia

Peaceful Warrior starring Scott Mechlowicz and Nick Nolte
Peaceful Warrior starring Scott Mechlowicz and Nick Nolte

 

When I was watching the film I actually thought it had the surrealist qualities I found when watching Powder and then when I started researching I discovered it was the same director – spooky. I have read many reviews and comments on this film and have read things as diverse as “This film will impact the course of your life forever” to “A movie about spiritual awakening that plays like a spliced-together string of New Age fortune cookie messages.” This film therefor may not be for everyone and I will be interested to hear from anyone else that has watched it or will watch it because as I love to say – It blew my mind!!! It is a film for the soul, a true uplifting film the whole family can enjoy that gave me chills & tears throughout and made me cheer at the end. Think of the first time you saw Rocky make it to the top of that damned staircase. Similar battler against the odds tale but with better acting and hotter cast. LOL

Peaceful Warrior starring Scott Mechlowicz and Nick Nolte
Peaceful Warrior starring Scott Mechlowicz and Nick Nolte

 

And just so you can get a taste for the “string of New Age fortune cookie messages” here is a list of Socrates’ more memorable quotes:

1. Life has three aspects: Paradox, Humour, and Change.

2. Paradox: Life is a mystery; don’t bother figuring it out.

3. Humor: No matter what circumstances, do not lose your sense of humor.

4. Change: Do not be so sure in life; anything can change.

5. There is never nothing going on. There are no ordinary moments.

6. This moment: The past and the future do not matter; all that matters is now, this moment.

7. It’s not the destination that brings happiness, but the journey.

8. Take out the trash from what’s inside your head.

9. Empty your mind.

10. Everything has a purpose, even this, and it’s up to you to find it.

11. A warrior does not give up what he loves, he finds the love in what he does.

12. I call myself a Peaceful Warrior… because the battles we fight are on the inside.

13. A warrior is not about perfection or victory or invulnerability. He’s about absolute vulnerability.

14. There is no starting or stopping – only doing.

15. There’s no greater purpose than service to others.

16. Everyone wants to tell you what to do and what’s good for you. They don’t want you to find your own answers, they want you to believe theirs.

17. I want you to stop gathering information from the outside and start gathering it from the inside.

18. People are not their thoughts, they think they are, and it brings them all kinds of sadness.

19. Death isn’t sad. The sad thing is: most people don’t live at all.

20. What time is it? Now.

I loved this film and made it my movie of the month – rent it out on DVD now. Worth 10 out of 10 amazing gymnast bodies 🙂