A quick one from Mbird friend and contributor Russ Masterson:

I watched Unstoppable last night, Tony Scott (director) and Denzel Washington’s 2009 action/drama about a runaway train (think: formula action flick, trains about to collide, derail, kill thousands). The entire mess, the full-throttled runaway train, is the mistake of one frumpy guy, Dewey, who works in the rail yard moving trains from one track to the next. Dewey hops off the train to throw a switch and doesn’t have what it takes to climb back on once the train starts to speed away.

For most of the movie Dewey sits in a train operation’s center watching other people risk their lives to deal with his mistake. He is helpless in his failure, can do nothing, as his picture and mistake are broadcast across the networks. It’s a striking picture of human frailty: our failure in both big and small things, the one bad decision, the one stumble, “the combination of human error and bad luck”as one of the train operators calls it (if you believe in luck). Towards the middle of the movie one of the heroes of the film, played by Chris Pine, looks at Denzel and says, “One day everything is going okay, the next it’s all falling apart faster than you can put it back together.” But of course, you already know that from experience.