Sweet & Sour

"Isn't as good as the sum of its parts".

What this essentially means is that something, whether it be a film or a baseball club, exhibits true talent in several segments within the whole, yet the segments fail to interlock with one another to create a cohesive product. There's another, scarier line that can, in ways, be seen as an analogous statement:

"Is packed full of failed potential".

Is there anything worse than trying to enjoy something and being disappointed because the likable points, let's call them the brushstrokes, neglect to form a beautiful picture? Sure, it's much easier to endure a real stinker; you can dismiss any and all efforts into one lump sum of wretched dreck. However, that rollercoaster ride, that scrutinizing process of seeing the beautiful strokes lying underneath a sea of glopped-on grayish matter, can be painful.

It can also be rewarding, though, as it teaches us how to embrace some minor flaws, or major if the situation deems, in an effort to truly appreciate the bigger picture. Some times, the way it all comes together, no matter how fine the components, can construe and distort into something problematic. It's not unattractive, or ugly, or even pungent ... it can be just, purely, mismatched.

Interestingly, there's a quote from Jason Lee's author character in Vanilla Sky, a film many see to be one of such instances, that hammers home a resonant point:

"The sweet is never as sweet without the sour, and I know the sour".

That's one of my favorite quotes from a movie, period. It invokes the blending of flavors, the indulgence of Americanized foreign culture (think sweet and sour chicken), and the pessimism of a typical overshadowed guy that desires for both the sourness and the sweetness of life. The line speaks of "sour" with a surface-leveled negative connotation, but it actually expresses a form of satisfactory indulgence with his problematic life. He thrives off of the pain he's endured, which makes the sporadic tastes of sweetness this world offers to him all the more usurping. All that from a very, very simple line of words. Every time I hear this, it makes me smile.

Life's all about blending the sweet with the sour, about trying to scrounge together a strong sum from the parts that are given to us. We construct our own structures, we paint our own masterpieces, but we also must utilize the darker, more eschewed elements to construct our final products. Are these works of art perfect? In a way. Perfection can only be achieved with a little imperfection. Sure, humanity paints its own masterpieces, but just about any true artist will tell you that it takes a wrong color choice, a poor structural decision, or a problematic usage of words to learn exactly how such works of brilliance come into this world.

But then, of course, some things just don't equal the sum of its parts.


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