Saturday, June 13, 2009

Life As A House, Role Models, Evan Almighty, Up!, The Wrestler

59. Life As a House
Is it 4pm? Did I just get home from school? Did I just turn on PBS? Is this an after school special? Or an after school punishment! "Life As a House" is one of the worst movies I've seen in a long time. In any movie, most character arc's take a long time to happen, nothing happens overnight. In the beginning of the movie the character will be a tough angry person, and near the end we'll see that they've changed their ways. But the son in this movie changes faster than a politician seeking office. To me, it was more like a soap opera than a movie, with all the sleeping around, the forced one liners, and the unreal circumstances. There were some good parts to the movie, but the best part of the movie was seeing how bad it would get. I will admit, it was memorable, that is for sure.

60. Role Models
When asking advice about whether to see this or not, believe that there is quite a bit of crude language and behavior. It was not worth watching and I hope I forget some of the language and images that I saw. With that said, it did end up having a pretty good message, and if I were rating the movie based on the 2nd half, I'd say it was really good, with only minor language issues. The character was played by Jane Lynch, who I thought was hilarious in this movie. My least favorite character was Bobb'e J. Thompson, who played a troubled child. He cursed and said some crude things about women and I simply can't stand when a child actor is asked to do stuff like that. Big turnoff for me and that will be what I remember in this movie. Similar to the kids in the bouncy thing in the movie "Four Christmases"... kids doing things that adults shouldn't even be doing. While I found parts of this movie distasteful, it was still better than Life As a House, no question.

61. Evan Almighty
I was not as impressed with this movie as I was with it's predecessor "Bruce Almighty". In Bruce Almighty, the team of characters made the movie work so well, with each playing their role well, and Evan Baxter (Steve Carell) playing a support role to Jim Carrey's "Bruce". I wonder if the missing element in this film was Jim Carrey? Had he been in it, would have I liked it more? Overall, I laughed sometimes, not when they wanted me to, but I did laugh some. Knowing that Wanda Sykes was in this movie, my hopes were high, but most of her lines were so obviously written to be the "joke" of the scene, it was predictable. And I rarely laughed at whatever she said. My absolute favorite part is the portrayal of God in this movie. And actually I liked his character more in this movie than I did in "Bruce Almighty". He smiles. He laughs. He is love and compassion. He's not a cruel punisher. I think so many people in America see God as a being that rules from high above, he punishes, disciplines, and hates. While most of that is completely wrong (he does discipline and punish, I think), this movie shows characteristics of God that are refreshing and attractive. Kudos to that! This is a good family film, oh, and the way they integrated live animals into the film, remarkable! If you see it just for that, it's worth it, but I'd see it again just to see how loving and genuine the character of God is.

62. Up!
If you havent seen the movie, don't read this. Quite possibly my favorite movie this year. Someone wrote a comment on their facebook page about how remarkable it was to show such a heart wrenching love story without even using words, and I admit, they are right. Right from the get-go, I was hooked. This movie has every element that a good movie needs, drama, action, humor, love, and a proper ending. My favorite character, as I bet is true with most of you, is the bird Kevin. Loved that even when the young boy discovered the bird was a girl, he kept calling him by the name he gave the bird, Kevin. Hilarious. Really good movie, great for children, adults, senior adults. Go see it! Soon I'm going back to watch it in 3D.

63. The Wrestler
Hailed as the comeback movie for Mickey Rourke, I knew this movie would make my list eventually. And thanks to Redbox, it finally happened. I saw a few previews and trailers for this movie so I suspected I knew what it was about (and because of the title, duh) but there really wasnt much wrestling in the movie. It was more about what happened in between the characters rise to the top, and hitting the bottom of the barrel, then the return to wrestling. My first reaction once the movie ended was that I didnt like it. With so much cursing, the characters constant return to the strip club and all that entails, the drug use... not a very healthy lifestyle for him and hardly a positive influence for mine eyes. However, after discussing the movie with my friend Brad one night, I have changed my mind. Not about the cursing and drugs and nudity. I still wish there was a way to do this movie without all of that. But I love the message this movie sends: do what you love, love what you do. You see, after Mickey gets injured he takes a break from wrestling. He makes an attempt at normal life by working in a grocery store. Here is a superstar of wrestling slicing my deli meat for me. He is a personable fellow, so that makes my stop for hickory smoked turkey rather pleasant, but the guy behind the counter just doesnt fit there. Eventually Mickey realizes this and he quits in the most memorable of ways. I loved the way he went out of that store, busting bottles and burning bridges! And you know what, burning that bridge didnt matter, because he returned to what he loved, wrestling. And the final scene of him soaring off the top ropes summed up how much his character grew. I suppose he will remain a wrestler until his body just won't allow him anymore. During my talk with Brad, I wondered if they could have censored the circumstances and the trials of this man and achieved the same goal of this character and what they wanted me as a viewer to learn about him. Afterall, the content was my biggest objection, but I dont think it would have been as genuine if they censored those elements of the man's life. So consider me a fan of this movie, but don't expect me to recommend it to anyone that I care for. I can't willingly subject anyone to the unhealthy lifestyle of the character, and the potential negative influence watching this movie can have on someone.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

We met online

I'm curious what people think about how social websites (MySpace, Facebook) and even dating websites (eHarmony, Match) have changed and shaped how relationships are formed and built. I have participated in 3 of the mentioned websites and my conclusion is this: relationships have gotten wider and shallower. You can have a relationship with someone you've never seen, never touched, and never spoken to with your actual voice. It's so strange if you think about it, and 20, or even 10 years ago this type of relationship would have seemed extraordinary. And now it's common. 34% of people in dating relationships admit they first communicated through a social website before ever meeting in person, 78% of those used Facebook or MySpace, 19% used eHarmony or Match, and 3% used other sites. Ok, I just made all of that up. But my point is that those percentages didn't shock you did they? Online, potentially superficial, relationships are so common. But when does all this connectivity begin to wear thin? Will there ever be a point when technology can't get any more direct? I'm sure people were asking the same thing 20 years ago, and look how far it has progressed since then! But really? How much closer can we get to people and yet still be a million miles away? With cell phones and Facebook and now Twitter and all these other ways to tell people what is going on with you, do we even need to see anybody in real life anymore? We can just continue updating our sites, having our friends and family watch us go through life on the computer screen. How sad it would be if we became so well-connected to people that we didnt need to see them anymore! Well, I, for one, am making a commitment to not be that well-connected any longer. The first step I took months ago was to close my MySpace account. More recently, I changed the privacy settings on my Facebook page. And I'm trying to be better at calling people instead of simply texting. Why make these changes?

1. Not everything I do is meant for everybody to see and/or know about. A little mystery never hurt anybody, right?

2. If you want to know what's going on with me, ask me in person (or I'll let you buy me lunch and I'll tell you anything you want to know!), or call me!

3. A real life conversation is more than just the exchanging of information, it's being with somebody, it's seeing a person express their joy or emotion when they are speaking about something they love or some circumstance they found themselves in. And also allowing that person to watch me while I talk about who knows what (I come from a family of talkers)

So as I think about scaling back my involvement on these sites (Facebook), it's not because I don't like the site, I think Facebook is a great way to keep in touch with people, show pictures and videos, basically an enriched email, if you will, but I crave real relationships. Live and in person. In the past week I realized how great it is to be with people, and as a loner, that's a pretty big realization. Don't get me wrong, I still love my alone time, but as far as relationships go, I need them to be real, not technified. This past Friday night, I attended an outdoor birthday party and got so much joy out of hanging out with friends, and for about an hour I sat in the grass and just watched everyone talking and playing music and laughing and singing. The memorable part was seeing that it doesnt take money or fancy locations or big events to enjoy each other. The next night I was at my friend Dean's condo as he worked on depopcorning his cieling and it was so much fun to be there with him and Sarah. Not sure I could've depopcorned all night like he wanted to (thanks for showing up Merilee, Wendi, and Sarah) but we had a fun time with each other as we worked. So I will end with this extremely wise statement that I will forever be remembered for:

Relationships are about people, dorkwad! So get in 'em, stay in 'em and call somebody!

But seriously, I challenge you to get less-connected on the computer, and go see a friend or call them.