What I learned from A Thousand Words

I was in the mood for a funny movie last weekend, so I saw Eddie Murphy’s new movie, A Thousand Words.  I broke my own rule and went to see it without reading the reviews.  Not wise.   

The most succinct plot description would be that a con man got conned to within an inch of his life, literally.  To stay alive, the main character had to shut up.

I wanted laughs.  Well, I probably laughed four times … too many.  Later, I would realize that other viewers were equally underwhelmed.  And on Rotten Tomatoes, not one critic gave the movie a positive review.  Ouch.

I did, however, love the song “Out Loud,” sung by Mary Mary while the credits rolled.  *smile*

A Thousand Words didn’t crack me up, but it did make me think about the power of words and how easily we toss them around thoughtlessly.

  • Words are like time, a valuable commodity that can be squandered and never recouped, or used wisely to bless others and enrich lives.
  • With age comes wisdom to let pass the opportunity to assault someone with a well-timed verbal zinger.
  • Idle words are expensive, even in the online world.  Some of the “conversations” I see on the Internet are merely  glaring instances of verbal abuse of the written kind and severe cases of premature exclamation. 
  • Relationships are won–and lost–on the battlefield of words, and particularly virulent cases of verbal diarrhea wipe out many would-be friendships.

If you had just 1,000 words left in your life, what would you say, and to whom?


  1. So, isn’t it ironic that a film so poorly reviewed could stimulate discussion on something so important? I’m no movie critic but I loved the film. So did my husband. I teach and took a workshop on restoring civility in our schools. I always loved Eddie Murphy until he started doing ridiculous slapstick from the Big Momma, Jerry Lewis school of comedy. 1000 words was much richer. So sad that because of expectations, the film couldn’t be enjoyed dor what it was, a beautiful lesson so right for our ugly communicative time.

    • True, it did have some valuable lessons, Grantz, but they were somewhat lost in translation, for want of a better term. I learned a lot from it, however.

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