Posts Tagged ‘Love’

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DAMN YOU SHAKESPEARE…AND TYLER PERRY

April 25, 2010

Hey Cinephiles!  Been away from the blogging scene for  a minute but never for a second out of the movie loop.  As a quick update, yes, I furrowed my eyebrows many times at Avatar‘s thinly veiled racism and  found Sandra Bullock’s Oscar win in The Blind Side a calculated attempt by Hollywood to secretly promote the “Great White Agenda”.  An agenda that would be glaringly apparent should  Avatar have won for Best Film.  Poor Sandra.  A good performance, but me thinks your Southern accent and tight-fitting clothes ain’t gonna cut it.  The Hurt Locker, however was fascinating, intense, and totally deserved the win.  Today’s topic?  Dating and Romance.  Because hey, it’s where I am in life right now and affects how I people-watch  just like Tina Fey and Steve Carrell in Date Night.

Two years ago I attended a 4-day cinema therapy workshop retreat in Big Sur, CA  at the Esalen Institute.  Esalen is famous for it’s hot springs, fertile land and is a haven for those who can afford the rejuvenation and  holistic approach to wellness in all forms.  While discussing our favorite films, one of mine being West Side Story, the instructor informed rather than asked me if I was a “tragic romantic”.  Odd, I felt that I always connected with West Side Story since the first time I saw the original Romeo and Juliet at 13 years old.  I had not considered that preferred films could speak volumes about one’s predilections in life but was astonished  nonetheless considering the recent loss of my husband.  And today as I navigate the dating seas with the sharp and quirky mind of the analyst who can see clearly through the BS I am astonished by the trivial- but even more so at how I sometimes allow myself to make concessions for the men who promote it.  Dating, for most people I assume is like holding auditions- will you get a call back?  And if you do get a call back, then what?  Especially if I’m clear on what I want but you may or may not be able to reciprocate.  Blind faith I suppose.  And lots and lots of prayer.  Lots and lots.

Will he or won’t he?  Do or do not?  The push and pull of the drama, which is at the core of the classic romantic tragedy, is what has kept past relationships exciting.  At this point in my life I find myself wondering if that’s what’s best for me.  An even scarier thought is that the push-pull dynamic is something that ties me to the past, thus begging the question  if dating for me at this point is a wise choice if I continue to attract the jokers.  Don’t all the relationships experts say that you have to work on yourself before you can even entertain the thought of being in a healthy relationship?  Isn’t that a part of “The Secret”?  Clearly I’ve been going through the hoopla of it all and at this point I have to put my thoughts about it all into prose.  Quite frankly, sometimes I get angry about having to go through the stupidity of weeding out the jokers, especially since I was once a woman who was happy in love with a sweet man who occasionally had his sour moments.  I started as a poet I’m gon’ continue being one.  So as a way of purging the inner monologue  here goes a little something from off the top of the dome.  I think I’ll call it “Mastery”

Both attracted and repelled by your slickness

Of course your ego calls it charm

You know, that thing that precludes your shame

You think it’s charm

How you got away with it for so long is something for the Guinness files

And while you continue to master the art of beguilement

Your soul thirsts for a sustenance

One that you may not find in your predicament

Far too intelligent and composed to wish you ill

Though your spite can be contagious if I’m not careful

A battle for God to master

Emotions I  must master

And your slickness persists because you too, are attracted and repelled by my poise

You know the games wont be tolerated (without a fight at least)

“Doh”!

And the more I acquiesce

The more pitiful we both become

And like my mama used to say

I will not be made pathetic

The Mastery is on me

The truth of it all for me lies somewhere in the last scene of Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married, Too. Spoiler alert.  So the husband of Janet Jackson’s character, Patricia dies (tragically). Fast forward one year later.   Patricia, a psychologist (of course) and educator (did I mention I work in an elementary school?)  finishes  teaching a lecture on healing and is stopped in the parking lot by one of her colleagues.  Apparently a potential funder has desperately been trying to get in contact with Patricia to no avail.  Who is this funder who wants her attention?  Fine-ass eye candy Dwayne Johnson of course!  They exchange flirtatious smiles and it is hinted that Patricia is ready to date again.  Fade to black.   Prime set up for another Why Did I Get Married sequel.  My reaction?   Dating after widowhood is only the beginning of a roller coaster journey.  Of course your rational mind knows that your partner is long gone but it’s so easy to attract the ones that hint at the past.  It’s a part of “the process”.  And the mastery of it all is a daily affair.  My advice?  When you see through the BS, run for the hills.  Now only if I can take my own advice…

That’s all.  Till next time, movie lovers.

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On the ‘Slumdog’ Bandwagon

February 22, 2009

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Religious persecution.  Murder.  Torture.  Child abuse.  Violence.  Betrayal.  Prostitution.  More violence.  Love and a million dollars, too. 

I was not expecting any of this.  After watching Slumdog Millionaire clean up at almost every award ceremony I vowed to see and review the film before tonight’s 81st Academy Awards.  Is it all just hype or truly a powerful masterpiece of a film as heralded by the critics and the ticket taker at my local movie theater.  Judging by this post’s title you can see which side of the fence I’m on.   

Slumdog is the story of Jamal Malik (Dev Patel), an orphaned Mumbai teen who becomes a contestant on India’s version of “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?”.  After advancing one question away from the coveted prize he is arrested on suspicion of cheating.  While detained Malik tells his story of growing up impoverished, connecting his tragic life events to how he came to know the answers to each questions.  Clever.  The Movie Shrink likes. 

This is not your average fluff piece of a rags-to-riches tale.  While it certainly chronicles the most horrific of adversities in which the audience sympathizes with and roots for Jamal (a bit of art imitating life considering the indie film’s unequivocal win for Best Picture tonight) Slumdog is a history lesson, a necessary distraction from our current economic woes and a peek into the lives of those who are really struggling.  I mean hand-washing-clothes-in-a-river struggling.  Rummaging-for-food-in-a-landfill struggling. 

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The child actors are wise beyond their years and the most engaging aspect of the film.  Their eyes are haunting and dare the viewer to step outside the pleasures of Happy Meals, central heating, and indoor plumbing to see their world for what it really is- the life of a throwaway, a bartered commodity, a slumdog. 

Therapeutically speaking, Slumdog will resonate with those who seek a fictional representation of what it means to pursue love despite many obstacles.  Audiences will have a stronger and more negative reaction, however to the game show host, Prem Kumar (Anil Kapoor).  Kumar is sardonic and ruthless in his taunting of Jamal.  He is more than the arrogant host who does not want to see Jamal win, he is the psychological embodiment of the “crabs in a barrel” mentality whereas only he, a rags-to-riches success story himself, can be the pride of the Hindis.  In short, he is a hater.

This is a peculiar time in history where movie goers will be tempted to see movies like Madea as laughter indeed is the best medicine according to the popular adage.  Slumdog however, could not have come at a better time because of its international and multi-generational appeal.  All are struggling.  All are affected by the global financial crisis.  Why not see a film that will have you leave the theater feeling blessed for your many or few possessions?  Yes, jobs are far and few in between.  Yes, people are losing their homes and 401Ks.  The unfortunate truth however, is that someone will always have it worse.  Be thankful for what you do have.

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He’s Just Not That Into You…Marriage Neither.

February 13, 2009

 

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Ahh yes, yet another movie about the woes of dating and the never ending search for the confirmation of signs and signals.  What does it mean when he does this?  What does it mean when she doesn’t do that?  I know he’s wearing a wedding band but he’s going to leave me for his wife, right?  You see where I’m going with this.  Insert your own body-language related inquiries here.

If you’re  single, married, or somewhere in between He’s Just Not That Into You promises to resonate with anyone familiar with the dating scene in the age of Facebook and all communication electronic.   While I wasn’t exactly blown away by the story the sexy cast of characters was enough to keep me involved in their lives. 

At the center is Gigi (Ginnifer Goodwin), a twenty something career gal who suggests that girls are and have always been socialized to embark on a lifelong quest for Mr. Right.  As such, the story is mostly weaved from a Gigi-point-of-view where women second-guess themselves,  pondering if a guy can be Mr. Right after the first date and, of course, what it means if he doesn’t call after that first date.  Gigi, the hopeless romantic, is clearly the comic relief and through her series of desperate and quirky encounters with the opposite sex her storyline will surely give you something to chat about in the dark .

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As for the XY chromosome side of the tale, the guys- who share fewer bonding scenes than their female counterparts- ponder questions about commitment and what it takes to stay in a relationship.  This perspective centers around Ben (Bradley Cooper), a married thirty something who seeks to answer the age-old question if men and women can be friends without the benefits.   Unfortunate for him, his “friend” is the uber sultry and sweet Anna (Scarlett Johansson).  Judging from the audience’s reaction to Ben and Anna’s will-they-or-wont-they scenes I gather that married men all over the world are questioning their fidelity if they ever got Johansson alone in an office.

As each character navigates the seas of romance the moral is that there are no hard and fast rules to dating, no sure fire signs of ones intentions, and that being alone does not necessarily equate loneliness.  While the cut away documentary-like testimonials of love gone awry are humourous, to walk into the theatre with the expectation of HJNTIY being a litmus test of sorts for the perfect relationship (and I know you’re out there) is a fallacy.  Viewers will identify will some characters more than others and derive their own opinions. 

Which leads me back to my title post.  I left the theatre slightly unsettled at the implication that all men fear marriage and only agree to do it at the suggestion of their wives-to-be.  This conflict is mirrored in Neil  (Ben Affleck) as he struggles to commit to marriage after dating Beth (Jennifer Aniston) for seven years.  Similarly, Ben implies that marrying  his college sweetheart Janine (Jennifer Connelly), was at her request.  Glad it’s just a movie.

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