Monday, June 29, 2015

June - Lightning Round

Was that the fastest month ever? The NBA and NHL finals were over two weeks ago. Seems likes two days ago. Even the Charleston shooting was a dozen days ago. So many old TV and movie stars were still alive at the beginning of this month and while they're still in our minds, we all await the next loss. It's not morbid curiosity, but it's the world we live in. Social media makes tragedy seem like a daily meal, as we wash the dishes, we're already thinking of the next one and what to have with it.

A month ago, I didn't have a cat. A month ago, I was a lot less happy as I am now and that scares me. Without this cat, I have pretty much two things that make me happy. My private conversations with those who make me laugh and movies. They are the only two things I seem to have left that bring me any kind of joy and yet, I'm not complaining. Apparently, my problems are nothing to those who air all their dirty laundry on Facebook. Mothers and fathers, who by all rights, should probably have their children taken away. Anyone insane enough to post as much negativity about their lives, probably shouldn't be in charge of children. Narcissism is one thing, but when it starts to seep into patterns of the children being sick, it frightens me. These are the tell signs we always read about when some crazy parents drowns their kids in a tub or drives their car into a lake. It's terrifying to think of. I've held that phone many a time, but I know all too well how CPS will react. Facebook isn't enough proof.

So I try and block out the negativity and I feast on the daily messages from my friends who make me happy. Many, who hide problems much greater than mine, but feel comfortable enough to share. Their secrets are safe. I hope they know. I value their friendships much more than they can imagine. I often wonder how people who were part of my life and I theirs, go on every day without me. I don't mean that in a conceited way, but I know the lack of seeing two friends, maybe once a week has given me worry. Worry, because we were close and each value close friends. I do love them, even if they don't know it and I fail miserably at showing it. This month has gone by so quickly, it never dawned on me it's been a month since I've spoken to anyone on the phone. It's been a month since my brother returned and yet we've spoken only once, for seconds, if that.

Life is not short. I've said before, it's an incredibly monotonous journey and sadly we spend more time doing things out of necessity than pleasure and that is where we fail as a species. We are so worried about the end game, we fail to play this one. Sure some think they do, but can you imagine their lives. Can you imagine waking at 5AM and the entire day being about making sure nothing comes between you and your defined abs? Can you imagine eating a meal made out of byproducts and food dried into a powder, because you believe it's natural? So many of these people kid themselves and believe that 30 years of living a normal, maybe even reckless life, can be turned around by going for a run and eating salad. Nobody I know who has endured has ever thought twice about what they did to their bodies and that might just be the secret. I don't mean any disrespect to those who might think I'm jealous of their "V" or their leg press, but I've known very few people who are obsessed with their appearance, who don't suffer from huge esteem issues and emotional problems that border on manic. I actually worry about these people, because they are an injury or simply age creeping up on them, away from battling depression. I speak from experience.

A 100 year old woman, swished a scotch in between her teeth and gums, she pretended to smoke a cigarette, as she had for 75 years of her life and she asked what was for dessert. She then nibbled her grilled cheese, dripping in butter and said "Life is really long and I've lived it." Maybe June wasn't so quick and for a change, I just lived it. We'll see. I'm not even at the halfway point of what she experienced and without sending out any false cries. I've had enough of this one, because I lived it. I don't want to keep repeating it for another 45 years, because if I have to, I'll be hoping for a lot more months like June.

Friday, June 26, 2015

A Couple Of Tips For My Facebook Friends (and Myself)

I won't lie. I'm a bit of a snob about things on Facebook. I know all of you (for the most part) and at one time or another, we've shared some time together. I've been away from every single person I know for almost a year now (6 days away) and I've actually learned more about people than ever before, because I'm forced, out of desperation to stay connected, to pay attention more than ever. Some of these "tips" might just be things I learned about myself, but most are actually kind thoughts for people who are truly making themselves look bad.

Filters and Photoshop - My dear female friends. What a picture looks like on your phone is one thing, but for many of us on computers, your selfie taken three feet from your face is hilarious. I realize we're not all perfect, but trust me when I tell you, your blemishes and bags look less ridiculous than your poorly airbrushed head shots.

Relationship Statuses - You're all in your 30's and 40's right now, so trust me and everyone who is both happy and miserable, you don't need to jump into anything...in the status section. I know people who have changed their relationship status and who they are dating, as many as six times in a five month period. It's a mean world out there and people talk. Relax, get to know your beau in the real world and when you're both ready to commit to each other exclusively, then you can update that status. No need to enter the info after that first date. Make sure you've at least met each others pets before you click that "in a relationship" button.

Spelling & Grammar - Teacher and self proclaimed "published" authors. Do you know how many people judge you when you make an error? Do you know how quickly your mistakes run through the direct message world and how much you've become the butt of jokes? I would never name names, but I have one friend who was so adamant about Common Core being taken down, she blamed the world for her being judged. The one problem with this is her attacks usually contained sentences like "I don't no who they think their." Also, if you're a "published" author, who can't put a cohesive sentence together and doesn't understand the meaning of 2nd grade words, please ask a friend to help, I'm not friends with one person, who thinks he's one of America's finest poets, but he's been posting hashtags about "Instragram" instead of Instagram for months now. It might also help if he knew how google worked and stopped being duped by poetry contests you pay to be a semi-finalist for. I don't mean this man any harm, I've heard he's a sweetheart, but I feel for the fact he doesn't have any true friends to point out these things. He's only going to get hurt.

Parents Complaining = Kids Sick - This is a no-brainer. People who complain incessantly, cause stress. They cause stress to themselves and to their families. If you're compounding this by complaining on Facebook, you're causing even more stress. Especially if your kids have access to Facebook. Listen, we all have stress, but you know what? The ones who have the most don't really use social media to voice it. There's an old saying about how when someone always has issues with everyone else in situations they're in, it's probably them. I do know one thing about this world and that's how kids think. If they see one sibling getting attention, even negative, they want it. So when you post nineteen times that you were up all night with little Joey, little Emily is going to want posts about her. So she's going to make herself sick. This then becomes a cycle and these parents, you all know who they are, spend their entire time complaining and the kids never get well. Funny how that week at grandma's or camp or even at the spouse who left always seems to rejuvenate them, but they're back to their illnesses a few days after their return. Kids are sponges and what ever they soak up, they'll carry for life. Remember that.

The Side Bar - If you have a phone you don't see it. If you have a computer, you do. So don't like my tribute to the nine dead in Charleston one second and then let me find out you just posted a racial rant on Conservative Tribune. I'm not threatening anyone, but wouldn't it be a shame if your boss or supervisor saw that?

Shoulders - I'm always here for any of my friends. I mean always. I think I've gone above and beyond for some and talked to them at wee hours of the night, when things seemed impossible. Some I've simply done what I can, not knowing if it is really any help and others have helped me. Their time and patience is cherished. One thing I don't like is those who only seek me out when they need something, then go months without so much as a hello, a like here or there or a comment. I'm not doing anything for likes or comments or hello, but if I'm the one you always come to in crisis, the least you could do is acknowledge me in some way when things you've dug yourself out of that crisis. Whether I've been of help or not.

Choices - I've mad some really stupid relationship choices and damn if Facebook doesn't remind me every day. The things I see, hear and I'm told by those who know I'm blocked by others, makes me wonder how the fuck nobody kicked me in the head. I've dated some people who really turned into horrible human beings, bad parents, selfish, desperate and I've also dated people who have become the greatest people in the world. Sadly, those people were the greatest and I was too busy chasing those on the first list. I've also learned that if I was better looking, better off and better mentally capable of having a relationship, I'd be hitting on a lot of my friends. I flirt, but damn, there are some real catches out there guys. Stop wasting your time on the girls ten years younger, who think Pontius Pilate is an aerobics instructor. Go for the brains and the mental stability, because that's what makes relationships last. Book smarts are fine, but when you see someone comment on the Broadway play and baseball game they went to and how excited they are by the Star Wars collectibles they want, but they also take great lengths to share their feeling on Charleston, you know they are someone you should be going after. The fact they're hot as can be also, well that's just a bonus. I know that old adage of "if I knew then," is cliche, but wow would my life be different. Then again, who knows, like I said before, if things are always going badly because of someone else, maybe it's time to look in the mirror.


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Review and Analysis - Cormac McCarthy's The Sunset Limited

Cormac McCarthy is considered one of America's best novelists of this generation. Let's be clear; being one of America's best novelists of this generation, is like being the executive vice president of a company with eight people. It's a nice title, but it's not really worth much. McCarthy has been around for a while, but not until the Coen brothers came out with No Country For Old Men, did he become a household name to anyone not professing to be living in the literary world.  I've never sat down and read any of his novels, but I've read enough excerpts to know, he's Americana and if you're anything like me, you know this is a kind word for crapola. It's bubble gum and Coca-Cola, collecting license plates and going to tag sales. It's what rich white kids write poems about, thinking they've invented the wheel, but not realizing those wheels were once made of wood, maybe even stone. McCarthy has a way with words that impresses the easily impressed. The Coen brothers made him look like a genius.

So, the movie version of The Sunset Limited came across my eye and I rented, more for someone else than for me. Somewhat hoping they'd see what I saw, without ever knowing what I would see. But I did. When your consumed and impressed by mediocrity, because of the writer, you think everything they touch is powerful, rich and deep. It is none of this. What it is, quite simply, is a lot of repetitive gibberish. The play is 90 minutes long, where three things are told. God is good, there is no god and why are we alive (to serve god or to be a cog). Now this might sound like a profound battle between theology and mere existence, but it's not. It's not even close and this will eat at you for exactly three minutes after it is over. The time, it took me, to fill my cup and slice a piece of cheese.

Tommy Lee Jones and Samuel L Jackson star in this version and let's be honest. For most of us, this is a can't miss duo and I'll admit they are fun to watch. There are moments of levity, not so carefully rammed in between the supposed serious stuff. Now, some will say "you obviously didn't get it" and maybe I didn't, but more often than not, this isn't the case. This was bad, not because the subject matter, but because of how it plays out. The key problem is, if we're to believe what we see, Samuel Jackson is being played the entire play, because non-belief always wins, because it has no rules. There in lies the biggest problem and the biggest misunderstanding. Non-believers, who are devoted to their shunning of organized religion, have a much harder time quantifying their beliefs, because there is no scale of goodness for them to measure up to. Believers, simply go by whichever book they choose to believe in and when faced at the crossroads, go whichever way they believe is just, knowing confession and repenting is available, should they stumble. Non-believers, have regret, failure and must live with the consequences and they build.

Much like writing, which quite possibly this play could be a metaphor for, this looks at two paths. The one that can be corrected through faith and the one that needs black and white answers, The battle of course, is that those with intense faith, foolishly believe their choices are black and white, based on righteousness, when in fact, it is simply dumb luck whether or not their actions work out. Non-believer, realize it's about acquiring information and then making a decision and each wrong decision is time wasted. Sure we learn from it, but that isn't in this play.

The reality is, nothing is in this play. It's belief in a life saved and belief that life can't be saved, because it's all about what happens after. The problem is, and some might say this is the brilliance of the play, is that the one who wants the after, isn't the one it's supposed to be. Or is it?

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Wegman's Hoax

The #1 Supermarket in America!

Sorry folks, but I'd rather eat dog food. Whenever I tell people I'm in Ithaca, they all say "ooh, they have a Wegman's. You're so lucky!" Well, I've been on this earth for forty-five years and only one in Ithaca and I've gotta tell you all a little secret. The country's greenest, hipsterish, coffee house loving, artsy fartsy, organic city has one small problem...there is nowhere to get decent food. The restaurants I've been to all suck, except of course, for the one Thai place that once won best Thai food in the state. The baked goods are about the worst you'll ever taste and the pizza is revolting. Thank heavens for Wegman's, you'd think.

Here's the thing with Wegman's. Maybe they get good cuts of meat, fish and chicken in. The problem is by the time you get it to your table, that "use by May 13th" label has been changed numerous times. You open up that beautifully, CO2 sprayed salmon, with it's beautiful orange hue and immediately you're hit with an odor like no other. How does a $16/lb porterhouse go bad within six hours in your fridge? Why is it that the second you open that plastic and look at the side that's against the styrofoam, you see nothing but grey? Every single time.

Don't even get me started with the produce, for which they are world famous. Bright tomatoes, you'd sweat were heaven sent. Apples, so golden and delicious, they'd tempt Eve a second time. Lettuce, so green and crisp, it snaps when you bite it. Close your eyes though and you wouldn't be able to tell them apart. To make matters worse, these so called delectable picks from some garden are painfully expensive.

So, as my year in Ithaca commences, I sit atop a throne, unable to leave for the third time. This time it was the salmon. I should have known by the smell, but I the date on the label said it was OK. I was fooled again, by my trust. I know people will say, "write them," "complain" and "don't tell us, tell them," but what will they do? Give me a gift card for....Wegman's?

So as of 6/23/15. I will no longer eat any proteins from Wegman's. Give me Maine Source, Tops or any other "low class/affordable" supermarket, because I'm done! Wegman's looks clean on the outside, but looks can be deceiving. Their food is nothing less than disgusting and even worse, it's technically poisonous. Well maybe that's a stretch, but I know this. The pain and suffering I went through....AGAIN...won't happen again. I'll sustain myself on rice if I have to, but no more Wegman's for me. Another F You Ithaca day! This place just can't get any worse.

Next...the weather. Only place on earth not in the Amazon where the humidity never goes below 98%!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Most Will Disagree Without Reading: Why I Despised American Sniper

Let's not waste any time arguing how much of this movie is fact and how much is fictitious. We know that Chris Kyle's unfortunate death could have easily been prevented, had he not been put into a situation with someone suffering from mental illness. Not PTSD, which the movie claims to be about, but mental illness. Mental illness not stemming from any war action, but something much more home grown. If you can't agree on that, then facts aren't your thing and you should probably just roll your eyes, call me a commie, traitor or whatever other false label makes you feel better about your ignorance. That being said, this is probably the closest part of the movie to the truth and it's not even seen.

The movie, according to Clint Eastwood is about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It's important to note this was not at all what the movie was intended to be about, until Eastwood was criticized for glamorizing a hired killer. One who had it in his bones, since childhood. A truly disturbing early scene, very quietly lifts all of life's mistakes off of Kyle. Most missed it. It's also important to note that the tone of the movie and the book are so completely different, they are almost unrecognizable. Kyle, in the book (his apparent own words), somewhat enjoyed the hunt. Somewhat is my kind word, for loved. His battle with the act of killing wasn't nearly what it appeared and if you watch the movie closely, it really wasn't a battle. One scene, does not make a humanitarian out of a man. That being said, in the world of them or us, let's always choose them. I would too. So not judging a man in battle doing what he had to do, but I am judging one enjoying it. Speak to anyone who has been in battle and you steer clear of the ones who come back and revel in it. I view it as horrifying as grown men who speak of high school as their greatest years. I assume, a PTSD of a different sort.

The biggest issue I had with the film, as a film, was that it had no substance and was littered with war movie cliches. Don't mention future plan or else you die. Don't mention that god has a higher purpose for you or else you die. Also, very important, when a friend dies, show no emotion, but then quick cut to you being a stellar father and husband. It's all been done before and much better. In fact, it's been done better in films Eastwood was on the other side of the camera.  By the time the credits roll and the real life footage kicks in (a scene that overwhelmed many vet), any normal person is disgusted with the propaganda they've sat through, but still appreciates what this man did in "defense" of his country. The lies, the exaggerations (not his kill list, but the circumstances) and the picture of what he became, are all a little too much for us who crave truth in biopics. The film fails in two plus hours to do what The Hurt Locker did in one magical final scene. For a movie that claims to have been about a serious problem in America, it never captured the essence of that problem, because that would have involved knocking a "Legend" of his pedestal and we don't like when that happens.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Caged

Why do people who have little or no constraints, fill their days, weeks and months with chores they neither have to, nor want to do? Why is it that they seem to find ways to turn every bad thing for others into a burden for them. It's amazing to me, when I read, see or hear people's complaints. Even more so when they don't realize I've heard them. Freedom comes in many varieties, but the freedom to choose being misery over happiness has always amazed me. I can't remember a day where there wasn't at least one person who didn't choose to do something that irritated them, for no other reason than to be able to complain about it. Is that living?

I've been in a bad situation for most of the past decade and despite my complaining about sleep and occasionally about my pain, most people think my one gripe is with other people's opinions. It's actually quite the opposite, I love hearing other's opinions, but I merely ask they be able to explain them. Most people can't, because they are bound by ignorance. They've chose a stance, based only on what they've heard others say and while they choose not to research things themselves, briefly believing they've gained some time for themselves, they actually spend more time defending, proactively their decision to stay, well stupid.

The people above are the majority, but imagine shutting out friends or only seeing them at parties or events, because you've created this false world, where you're needed somewhere. Imagine if every second spent in this locked up location, was merely to satisfy some pretend job you had? Feigning illness, injury and mental trauma every time you're asked to do something social, because you were too proud to listen to those who cared, but now find solace in the arms, both physically and figuratively of someone who doesn't know or understand your situation, because they came along so far after, they know nothing of your selfish behavior. But then, imagine your behavior grew with everyone who has known you for years, but you shield this child and nurture him, so he never sees the true you? Imagine that cage and the walls closing in, because you've created a persona that is a lie. I can't imagine how suffocating that must me.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Free Writing - Take 89

Totally random stuff in my head right now. After sleeping about 4 hours in 60 hours, I crashed for 4 hours this afternoon/early evening. I then went to eat and realized the only think to eat without making pasta or rice, was a nice breakfast. So what if it was 10PM. Breakfast is good at all hours. The options became limited today and I'm not happy. Was hoping to clear my face and branch out. Some of you will get that, but let's just say, my face has been a disaster for two months now and I was hoping help was on the way. Luckily, with my life right now, nobody sees it, but a tiny kitten, who doesn't seem to judge me for my appearance, but how much attention I give him. I then watched one of the worst movies I've ever seen and came upstairs. For five, maybe four, I'm not sure, hours I've sat reading news, chatted briefly with a friend and wrote an e-mail to my brother. My communication with the outside world seems completely via the Internet and I wonder some days where everyone who I used to hear from went. Then I remember I'm the one that moved and I'm taken back to 1985. The birds are chirping and the squirrels are stretching and somewhere there is a tiny kitten who hopefully misses me. He avoided me all day and I can't say it didn't suck. Here's to a better day, but I know better, so I wish it for someone else and try and make that happen. We'll see.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Goodbye!

Tonight, I was scrolling down my Facebook page, when I came to an post about his crazy woman who taped herself in her car, while ranting about the McKinney PD and pool incident. The woman's video has made her an Internet celebrity, because she is black and bashed the teenagers and not the police. Let's be clear, she's now in a special minority of people in the universe who believe this, but an even smaller minority of black people. Let's also get something straight. If you're an intelligent adult and you listened to her and thought she was correct, let's face it, you probably had your mind made up before you even saw the video, because why else would The Blaze and Fox News be running this? That being said, even uneducated, ignorance is acceptable, because it falls under the umbrella of an opinion. So let's leave it at that. This isn't the point.

There was one comment written under the link and it was by someone I went to high school with, someone I consider(ed) a friend and someone who actually never really posts anything, but pictures of his car on Facebook. The comment was this "shoot them all." Now, if I take race out of the equation and I take employment description out of the equation and I take every single aspect of the video out of the equation, pretending it is two people who differ only in the length of their big toes. If that's all I do, this is the most bigoted thing I've read by someone I know. I won't tolerate that kind of hate in my world, from those I call, even loosely, friends.

I then went down and there were two more anti-Caitlyn Jenner posts and two somewhat roundabout racist jokes that were not meant to be funny to everyone, but to only those who share this hatred. I'm holding off on blocking these people, because I don't want to misinterpret anyone and I don't feel like going down my list and asking every single person if they are a bigot. I will say this. I'm done with ignorant negativity. I take enough abuse as it is, by people who never once take a second to think what I might be going through and lash out at me, expecting it will be taken as a joke, like it normally is. I'm not going to threaten through my feed, but there are some who have no respect for Blacks, Spanish, women or their own kid's futures, despite the posts to the contrary. I'm done with those people and my list will start to dwindle soon and you know what? I'll be a better person for it.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Quickie Review - Tokyo Story

I could probably start now and write until noon and not completely discuss what I watched last night. Ozu's Tokyo Story is considered by those in the film industry, to be one of, if not the greatest movie of all-time. Sights and Sound polled over 300 of the greatest living directors in 2012 and it was consider the greatest movie ever made. To argue this is silly and for the average film goer, it would easily be refuted, but the reasoning would be even sillier...it's too simple.

The story is about an elderly couple who go to visit their grown children in Tokyo after an extended hiatus. What transpires while they are there and upon their return is a fairly common tale, but never since has it been captured with such style. Where the movie enters the realm of brilliance is in it's lack of character depth. Some will argue this, but each person is a caricature of someone we all know. The decline of the family as we know it in America, is present in full display in post WWII Japan. We see grandchildren who don't really know their grandparents and even worse, don't care to. We see kids who take their parents existence for granted, seemingly content in their amusement, but it's not all the children's fault. It's society's pressure we put on the mundane. Work, status and appearances have trumped human connection. Once again, this is not all laid on the children and while the focal point is the parents, the key character is the one caring soul who is not bound by blood.

Noriko is the character's name and she is the key to the movie. She tries so hard to be what everyone else wants her to be, especially society, but as we find, there is guilt thrust upon her and those who accept her for who she has become, not who she is. There is a scene about halfway through, where she does what is expected and while it is appreciated, it is why she is doing it that matter. Noriko doesn't want to talk about the weather, her work day or some other trivial subject, because that isn't her, but it is everyone. The movie is a gentle condemnation of us living our lives for every reason we shouldn't. What we find important, in the end, is not. If this doesn't resonate with you, the movie will have no effect. The dialogue will not send shivers down your spine, unless you listen to it and it reminds you of one you've just had. The words are words we all use; Yes. Fine. Pleasant. Good. The powerful lines only come to those who have felt the frustration of conformation. Those who haven't or who are unaffected, will smile and appease the film as they do others. The film will be lost on those and that's a shame.

In the final 30 minutes, we're left with the family together, because it has to be. Each person, has done their duty and they are off. I was left sobbing. Feeling the pain that the father and Noriko felt, as every other person simple passes through life unaffected by true meaning. Ozu paints each scene, unlike any other director. The camera is placed at knee level and each person is framed. The conversations will seem odd by today's standards, but this was done intentionally. The position of each person within the shot is essential to the scene. There is no movement of the camera and whereas today's films are revered for their camera work, Ozu's steady shots are even more effective. In the final scene, we are left with a feeling of sadness, but also of hope. We know better though and that is what makes it such an incredible film.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Free Writing - Take 88

A new kitten. His name is Vermeer, like the painter.
Cuddles for 12 hours (as of this post).
Hamburger - Salt, pepper, garlic powder, cumin and hot paprika & sriracha.
Late night snack of hummus and Swiss (I hate Swiss, but there were no chips).
No movies.
No battling on social media.
One hour of Hannibal was a letdown, but I'm in a minority.
A beautiful girl, who now, as a woman, makes me smile with her enthusiasm.
The kitten has now been alone nearly three hours. He's fine. I'm not.
Off to listen to his therapeutic purr and hopefully to find that peace.


Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Free Writing - Take 87

A little different style today. Instead of the flowing babble about one or two subjects, I'm just going to state some things I've realized in the past 24-48 hours, maybe a few more.

I realized that I've evolved in how I watch films more over the last four years, than I did over the previous 30.
I realized, despite my love of food, I could really just live on two breakfasts a day for the rest of my life.
I realized that sleeping doesn't really make me feel any better about myself, either physically or psychologically. I need two hours here and there and then a crash session, but laying in bed, chatting with someone via text is as peaceful, as long as it's the right person.
I've realized that everyone I know whose mood changes based on the mere sight of the sun, is selfish. The rain forces you inside, where you bond. These people hate that, because it's not about them then, it's about us. They don't live their lives for others. Never have, never will. Oh and they'll be the first to tell you that you're wrong if you point this out, so don't. Let me take that bullet for you.
I've realized that no matter how much you try with certain people, the people that praise them will always get their attention. Shallowness embeds itself into people forever.
I've realized how much I hate small talk. Especially with people I know. It's as useless as asking someone if you look fat. If you're fat, you know the answer, if you're not, you're a narcissist.
I've realized that we're doomed when it comes to food conservation. When people I tell over and over that it matters to me, go out of their way to waste, it's upsetting. Not nearly as upsetting as it is to those who'd be willing to eat it anyway.
I've realized that there is nothing more gutless than passive aggressiveness. It's the most grotesque form of cowardice there is. Even when trying to perform it as a test, it sickens me and I give up. How passive aggressive people look in a mirror is something I'll never understand.
If you've read this far, you'll see a little irony, but passive aggressiveness serves a purpose, when the people you try and face, constantly turn their backs, but are eager to know what you say. So there you have it, even in a world where I try to stay true to myself, I must at times act like the cowards of the world. I'd apologize, but I always do. Let someone else do it for a change.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Quickie Review and More - Warrior and the Evolution of Tom Hardy

Last night, I finally saw Warrior. When it came out, I remember it was compared to Rocky and I ignored it. I remembered all the people who had told me I was crazy for saying The Fighter was a better movie than Rocky and I couldn't imagine this was better than either. Well, it's not, but it's a very good film. Almost great, but it simply is so incredibly flawed by design, that it can't be. That being said, the actors perform magic with what they are given, warts and all.

One of those actors is Tom Hardy and he's quickly becoming not only the hottest star out there, but the best. Unlike a lot of others, he's a legitimate actor. Much like Fassbender and Gosling, he seems to pick roles that are catered to his strengths and steer clear of his weaknesses. In Warrior, his physical presence, plus is human quality is on full display and it's a pleasure to watch.

Since Warrior has come out, I've seen Hardy in Rock 'n' Rolla, Inception, The Dark Knight Rises, Inception, Locke, The Drop, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Bronson. The funny thing is, in two of three of these, I wasn't sure who he was. The Dark Knight Rises was a mistake in my mind. Sure he was allowed to make gobs of money and get his name in lights, but it hid all of his talents. Something that flew off the screen in his brief spot in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and was quite evident in Locke, despite my dislike of the film. I'm still waiting to see what I saw in Bronson and in Warrior, I've come close. It's hard to portray a pugilist and seem human, but he and especially his co-star Joel Edgerton (who was unbelievable in Animal Kingdom) do it with style.

Warrior isn't Rocky, because Rocky came first. It does have much better fight sequences and an incredibly well delivered script, but it misses that certain something and maybe it's just plain simplicity. Rocky was a feel good movie, despite the fact the champ loses. In this film, we know one will win and one will lose and that is a problem for the viewer, because we're cheering for both. It's handled well and avoids the obvious cop out, but it does have a few along the way. What separates Warrior from other fight films and even other family drama's is that we realize that every person is damaged, but in ways we're familiar. Alcohol, abuse, priorities, sickness and time apart are all things we know too well. Sure there's one plot twist that is borderline ridiculous, but we ignore it, because it's not important to us when we find out. It's not even important to those involved in the movie. The important thing is that when the credits roll, the film wins and so do the viewers, but most of all, we get to see Tom Hardy doing what he does best. Being human, in a role that one might try to exaggerate. We're lucky to have him and I'll personally be waiting for another Bronson!

Monday, June 1, 2015

May Movies

I believe I'm up to 162 for the year, but here are May's selections

  1. Goodfellas - re-watched - Must admit, it hasn't stood the test of time. Seems very choppy.
  2. High and Low - Kurosawa! Underrated and one of the best movies I've ever seen. 
  3. Force Majeure - Truly awful. Basic premise beaten to death, cliche resolution and then...ugh!
  4. No Tears for the Dead - Korean action that I turned off. Awful from start to finish. 
  5. Life Itself - Documentary of Roger Ebert misses the mark on almost every level imaginable. 
  6. The Hunter - Dafoe is unbelievable, as in not able to believe in this muddled mess.
  7. Alps - Oh lord! The writer/director of Dogtooth examines communication in an odd way.
  8. Predator - Re-watched. Don't watch too carefully, but still an all-time great creature feature.
  9. Selma - Impeccable direction, with one of the strongest starts I've ever seen. Oscar Snubbed!
  10. A Most Violent Year - How not to make a movie. It simply lacked everything.
  11. End Day - Silly, but very short Doomsday scenario film. Completely fails!
  12. Preservation - Standard, lost in woods tale, which teaches us to always turn our backs.
  13. Park Ave: Money, Power and the American Dream - Terrifying doc on wealth in politics
  14. Top Five - Chris Rock writes, directs and stars in a deliciously funny story about fame.
  15. Found - Wonderful horror concept is crushed by limited vision and budget.
  16. Cropsey - Pretty good take on how urban legends can resemble real life crimes or not.
  17. Wild - Reese Witherspoon is brilliant. A gritty, dark film about self exploration.
  18. Doin' It In The Park - Street basketball and its subculture. Fun if you lived in it.
  19. These Last Hours - Australian end of the world flick, works on almost every level. 
  20. Cube - Overrated cult classic, which suffers from wooden acting and absolutely no tension.
  21. [REC] 4 - Worlds better than #3 and solid finish to a very well done series. 
  22. La Haine - Visually striking and eerily current 1995 French drama. Us vs Them in B&W.
  23. Scum - Brutal drama examining youth penal system in UK. Ray Winstone's first role is solid.
  24. Still Alice - Is the title ironic? Wooden characters, even Moore, sinks this Oscar winner.
  25. Banshee Chapter - Irritating camerawork, but good acting and scares. That end though, ugh!
  26. The Mirror - Tarkovsky's visual and mental masterpiece. Indescribable in every way. 
  27. Zombeavers - Absolutely hilarious. One of the best horror/comedies I've seen in a while.
  28. The Killer - Re-watched - I realize it kills my cinephile cred, but my favorite movie of all-time.
  29. Andrei Rublev - Tarkovsky's take on Russian religion and leadership. Epic, but boring.
  30. Locke - Hardy in a car is about as exciting as it sounds, but he tries mightily to save it. 
  31. Primer - Not nearly as complex as claimed. Low budget, filled with errors, but almost works.
  32. Fruitvale Station - Story of Oscar Grant's death, carefully told and absolutely gut-wrenching.
  33. Assault on Precinct 13 - Re-watched - So underrated. One of my favorite low budget films.
  34. The Blue Room - French crime drama about affair turned bad. Starts strong, then fades.
  35. Europa Report - Almost astonishing how little happens in this space exploration story. Dud!
  36. The Rover - Beautifully styled, competently acted drama, can't save it from awful plot.
  37. Inherent Vice - PTA let me down again, second time in a row. Brolin and Belladona lone stars.
  38. Ivan's Childhood - Tarkovsky's first is a visual masterpiece with brilliant lead performance.
  39. Grabbers - Horror-Com about creatures who attack Irish Island, but their weakness is alcohol!