Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tom Shadyac: Is Having It All Really What Life is All About?

If anybody has ever lived the American Dream, it would be Tom Shadyac. He has lived the lifestyle of the rich and famous. Shadyac is the director behind some of Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters, including Ace Ventura, Bruce Almighty and The Nutty Professor.

Can you imagine having the money to buy anything you wanted, being able to go anywhere you wanted on a private jet, or to live in a 17,000 square foot mansion in Pasadena? Well, that’s exactly how Tom Shadyac has lived his life.

Most of us can only dream of such a life—to be famous and rich beyond our imagination. But is it all what it seems to be? After a horrific bike accident, which led to a serious concussion, Shadyac started to ask some questions. Is all of this stuff really important? What are we living for? Shadyac isn’t that different from most of us. It seems that our culture is teaching us that having more is better and that the meaning of life is found through the things we own. Shadyac began to wonder why we accept the life culture presents to us as the one we should be striving for.

Shadyac decided to drop out of the Hollywood scene and stop making commercial movies. He sold his 17,000 square foot home in Pasadena and moved into a trailer park in North Malibu. Since then he has been giving away most of his money.

His self-described spiritual journey caused him to re-evaluate his career has led him to produce a new documentary, I AM. He hopes this project will help him to understand what is wrong with our world as well as what is right. I AM features many great minds who talk about society’s big and complicated issues. Shadyac feels the film presents an opportunity to explore why today’s culture is so obsessed with competition rather then cooperation and why people are more aggressive rather than compassionate.

I’m sure some people may accuse Shadyac of being the typical liberal, Hollywood jerk who is only interested in telling all of us how we should live our lives. But I think he is sincere and actually makes a good point. After all, he did have everything you and I could ever want. Apparently, that did not bring fulfillment or happiness.

Let’s face it. We live in a society where our media continually tells us we deserve to have everything we want. The American Dream, for the most part, is nothing more than the pursuit of more stuff. As we fill up our attics and our garages, we have to build bigger houses to hold it all. But where does all of this lead us? Tom Shadyac is looking for answers. And that’s a good start. I don’t know where his faith is, but I think he is asking all of the right questions.

It’s refreshing to see someone willing to take a look at our society and not just accept things as they are. Is it possible that God has a more fulfilling life for us than the one most of us live?

I AM was released in February 2011. It’s definitely worth a look.

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