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Nyad Starring Annette Bening, Jodie Foster and Rhys Ifans / Now Streaming on Netflix

Mode for Trane


John Fraim

Every once in a long while, an inspiring film somehow makes through the mess of zombie, horror, apocalyptic, depressing films that rule over much streaming today. Finding a great streaming film is not like the old days of broadcast TV programs listed neatly in TV Guide. It is more hit and miss these days. At least this is how it has been for me and I suspect many others. For one thing, I can’t trust many reviews today and reviewing sources whether its Rotten Tomatoes or other major review syndicate. For that matter, I really can’t trust any reviewers today. Whether on Amazon or another source. Review content, rating and number should be suspect for all consumers today it seems to me.

For the most part, I usually stumble into finding certain films or series at certain times. The right film coming at the right time. Something I might not have known when it happened. But often, something I found out later: that great connection between my inner life and things that simply appear before it. I’ve always found my favorite films by this type of serendipity or chance. Coincidence. Many wouild say. Carl Jung would say “meaningful coincidence” or things in life brought together by needs deep within a person’s psyche. Jung explored this towards the end of his life in one of his last books titled Synchronicity. This involved looking at “meaningful coincidences” in life and being away of the context of a situation and not distracted by its bright, colorful, entertaining, distracting content of the situation.

Interestingly, these posts from Midnight Oil Studios – started in 2016 and now up to 650 – have almost always matched content to events of the day. In effect, external events often matched up with things on my current mind and formed that alchemy of a post to Midnight Oil. I am sure there has been much synchronicity expressed in my posts. Things often seemed to appear out of nowhere. Or, I simply noticed something from a space I used to not look at labeled “nowhere.”

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The incredibly uplifting and inspirational film Nyad from the book Find A Way, an autobiography by world champion distance swimmer Diana Nyad. It’s been a huge bestseller since its publication in _______. As noted by one of the reviewers on Amazon about it, a real favorite with their book club.

A story that has been told before for sure but this time approached from a different perspective. Here, you don’t have a young athlete going for the gold and then winning it. Here you have a young girl who got the gold thirty years ago, going for it again, 35 years later when she was 65 years old. The Cuba to Key West swim of Nyad’s was in 2013. This is not a story about getting that gold award in life. Here, in the sports world. No, this is really about going for that second gold award in life. At a later time in one’s life when getting that early award at a later time in life. This was what it was about in the case of Diana Nyad. It wasn’t that she was simply trying to break a first record in the first place. No one had ever set any type of record because the swim between Havana and Key West never completed by anyone.

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As the blurb about the book on Amazon, the review notes in the following. On September 2, 2013, at the age of 64, Diana Nyad emerged onto the sands of Key West after swimming 111 miles, nation to nation, Cuba to Florida, in an epic feat of both endurance and human will, in 53 hours. Diana carried three poignant messages on her way across this stretch of shark-infested waters, and she spoke them to the crowd in her moment of final triumph: 

  1. Never, ever give up. 
  2. You’re never too old to chase your dreams. 
  3. It looks like a solitary sport, but it’s a team. 

Millions of people around the world cheered this maverick on, moved by her undeniable tenacity to be the first to make the historic crossing without the aid of a shark cage. At the end of her magnificent journey, after 35 years and four crushing failures, the public found hope in Diana’s perseverance. They were inspired by her mantra – find a way – that led her to realize a dream in her 60s that had eluded her as a young champion in peak form. 

In Find a Way, Diana engages us with a unique, passionate story of this heroic adventure and the extraordinary life experiences that have served to carve her unwavering spirit. 

Diana was a world champion in her 20s, setting the record for swimming around Manhattan Island along with other ocean-swim achievements, all of which rendered her a star at the time. Back then, she made the first attempt at the Mount Everest of swims, the Cuba Swim, but after 42 hours and 79 miles she was blown desperately off course. Her dream unfulfilled, she didn’t swim another stroke for three decades.

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Watch a clip of Diana on YouTube.

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Read material and view photos from Diana

A Reflection / By Diana Nyad

Below published online at

It was ten years ago, September 2, 2013, that I at long last stumbled up onto Smathers Beach in Key West, on the fifth try over thirty-five years, after swimming across that epic ocean between Cuba and Florida.

My Head Handler through all the grueling years of training, Bonnie Stoll, who had been in my sightline every stroke as I breathed to the left for the 52 hrs, 54 mins, of the swim was in a virtual dance with me, through the throng of fans who had come to witness the moment in history. Bonnie inched her way backwards, with me dazed and off balance, following her to dry land, as the rules of the sport state. Two protective lines formed on either side of me, yelling out “Don’t touch her.” They had been informed that I needed to make my way on my own to terra firma before the official clock would stop.

Then there were the jellyfish. Honestly, these put me into a state of fear much more so than sharks. There are thousands of species of jellyfish and I’ve been stung by quite a few. The Portuguese Men of War, for instance, are no picnic. Besides the pain of the initial sting, you can experience slight anaphylactic shock and nausea. But nobody has ever died from stings from these animals. Certain species of the box jellyfish, can emit a fatal sting.

We brought world renowned box expert, Dr. Angel Yanagihara, from the U. of Hawaii, onto our team. Angel helped develop a suit legal for me to wear (no buoyancy nor warmth to it), plus a silicone mask, surgeon’s booties and gloves. All this gear made swimming through the nights (the jellyfish only dangerous at dusk and into the night) very arduous, but after nearly dying in 2011 after swimming into a swarm of box, the gear was the innovation answer for my being able to swim through these deadly little boxes, each one no bigger than a sugar cube.

This mission took on life values for me that resonated far deeper than an endurance sporting event. Values such as the courage to fail. The mathematical prediction had always been failure. This mission would require the will to drill down to every ounce of potential within. No concessions on any training swim. If Bonnie and I set out, usually in either St. Maarten or Mexico or Key West, to get in 16 hours one day, we never allowed ourselves to leave it short, even at 15 hours, 58 minutes. The research had to be at an exhaustive level. How to enter the realm of the potentially fatal box again? How to predict the counterclockwise eddies in the Stream? How to keep the bloody gashes of neck chafing, from the salt rubbing, from causing so much blood over this long period that the scent might attract sharks?

By Diana Nyad

It was ten years ago, September 2, 2013, that I at long last stumbled up onto Smathers Beach in Key West, on the fifth try over thirty-five years, after swimming across that epic ocean between Cuba and Florida.

 As life happens to all of us, much has been going on with me over these last ten years. Memoir written, off-Broadway play performed, speaking engagements far and wide, family and friend experiences….Bonnie and I traveling to new lands, such as Egypt and Antarctica. Bonnie and I also founded our non-profit EverWalk, to mimic our nature bonding out in the ocean now through walking.

I truly don’t want to sit around eating chocolates and looking back at Cuba Swim footage for the rest of my life. But it is the tenth anniversary after all, and that has brought me to a place of casting back to the inspiration of it all in the first place.

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One of the most powerful acting performances I’ve seen in a long time. By two of the greatest actresses of our current movie generation. Annete Bening and Jodie Foster. I’ve seen most of Foster’s films and there are few smarter actors in Hollywood than Jodie. And, who can forget Bening in the film American Dream as the perfect real estate agent?

Again, this is a film for those in the demographic group of being old enough to attempt a second start in life. A goal for a later stage in life.

Casting Bening and Foster was a brilliant casting decision. The two have true chemistry between them. One seldom sees this type of chemistry in today’s genre concerned more than character concerned film. But they play against each other like a female Odd Couple.

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I can identify very much with this film. On a much small level but still in a similar emotional cycle as the main character in the film Nyad – Diana Nyad – went through.

It relates to my person getting back into riding a bike after about fifteen years. In some way, I see my own journey now towards daily workout goals, checking the recording on my bike’s computer that measures calories, distance, time and speed. Or my Polar watch at the average heart BPMs during the bike ride as well as other electronic charted information.

The return to an old sport was something I thought about a lot. During the years when I was living as a bachelor in The Quarry in Grandview, I got a bike and a rack put on my SUV and started riding my bike in a serious manor. I drove around Ohio to find the Rails to Trails bikeways and realized how central Ohio is to these incredible types of bike trails. I rode miles on the rail trails around Xenia. Rode the Athens to Nelsonville trail. Rode most of the the Columbus Bikeways.

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So, there is that synchronicity between my return to an old sport and love and the film Nyad. The film is – seen within its largest context – a film about a second “wind” towards a goal in life. Where does one even locate this type of dramatic structure within the Hollywood

Like many events in my life, things come together without much causal connectivity. This particular connection between the outside world of culture and the inside world of psychology. Isn’t it interesting how little this internal world is even mentioned today in the media?

Nyad is one of the great female “buddy” genre films of two buddies later in life. Both of the lead characters have been around the block. They are not young and naive. They have become old and cynical about life. They are too smart not to be cynical about life.

There is a powerful genre pull in the film that has appeal to the 50+ demographics in the nation: those who are old enough to understand what anything called “second” rather than “first” means. And, old enough to understand or believe that 1) there can truly be a second life in the first place and 2) this second life might be able to bring back past emotions into the present.

The book is on Amazon but your first step is to simply stream this gorgeous film on Netflix.

Sure it promotes a great female athlete and female spokesperson for positive attitude in sport.

One might say we’ve seen this type of thing before. It’s in many PSAs of doing something good for the community. But this film has something special in the amazing script and chemistry between Bening and Foster.

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