Mr. Destiny is one of those guilty pleasures I have. I know it’s a variation on a theme that gets overused in movies. In some ways, it’s an updated version of It’s a Wonderful Life. For me, it comes down to regrets and the paths our lives take based on certain things that have happened. For Larry Burrows, played by James Belushi, it’s the high school baseball championship game. Last inning, down by 1 point, full count. He swings and strikes out. Burrows thinks about that moment every day decades later and wonders what would have happened if he’d actually hit a homerun. His current life is ‘normal’ and boring and everyone seems to have forgotten it’s his birthday. He gets fired, his car breaks down, and he can’t get a cup of coffee. In comes Mr. Destiny who allows him to see what would have happened in his life if he’d actually hit the homerun.
His whole life has changed and after becoming the hero of the school, he marries the prom queen meaning he marries into wealth and becomes president of the company he got fired at in his previous life. Everything seems too wonderful to be true (including a mansion that is unbelievable). And they are as things starts falling apart. Niles Pender, who is working with him to sell the company to a Japanese company, tries to kill him after he changes his mind. His secretary/lover (played by a younger Courtney Cox who I almost didn’t recognize) also tries to kill him. Burrows realizes the most important thing in his life are the people he loves which are now denied him, including his wife played by Linda Hamilton whose performance I loved in this movie. He tries to court her, but she’s already married to someone else, and she basically asks him, if they were happily together in the alternative timeline, why didn’t he stay?
This movie resonated with me and I think of in the same category as a Star Trek Next Generation Episode I loved, Tapestry, which is another one about destiny and the choices we make. Each little decision paves the way for who we become and as we get older, more and more regrets creep in. The things you thought would turn out one way go a completely different direction. Hopes you had wither and then you play mind games full of what-ifs, wanting to blame certain decisions without appreciating what we have right next to us. As the years pass by, I realize more and more how precious time is and how we really can’t take moments/opportunities for granted. Am I sounding awful cheesy? ha ha. Sorry. I really wanted to watch this movie again and enjoyed seeing it with Angela. We often talk about the decisions we made when we were younger and the ramifications they had later on. They form webs, threads, ‘tapestries’ that would ‘unravel’ as Picard put it in the episode if you loosened one of the strings. Mr. Destiny is not a movie for everyone, but like I said, it’s a guilty pleasure that reminds me of a favourite quote from Sand Man.
The paths fork and divide. With each step you take through Destiny‘s garden, you make a choice; and every choice determines future paths. However, at the end of a lifetime of walking you might look back, and see only one path stretching out behind you; or look ahead, and see only darkness.