Time as Money

(Entry below was handwritten on 3/5/14)

It was another half day of work missed. I had to clock out at around 2:25 because my internet connection kept dropping. So I called my cable company and they sent an emergency technician out to my home to resolve the issue.

His name was Elvis, and when he called to let me know he was on his way, he greeted me with “Buenas Noches.” I guess he thought I only spoke Spanish when he looked at my last name.

He was here for a long while, connecting a new, separate cable line for me. Mine had been split with the cable line going to the apartment upstairs. He also replaced the modem I had with a new one.

I hope this fix corrects the problem, because I really don’t want to go into the office to work. Working at home in the wintertime is just so much better.

Elvis left at 7:30pm, and it was just in time for me to watch In Time on television. It’s the movie with Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried that takes place in a future where time is used as currency instead of money.

It’s an intriguing concept, but kind of a boring movie. I read a review online which stated that people really are living by the currency of time, except that we don’t know when our time will run out.

It’s not like in the movie where you can check your wrist and see how much time is left for you. The ‘poor’ people in the movie live day by day, they are risk takers and need to make the most of their allotted time. The ‘rich’ people are cautious, trying not to do anything risky because they want to be immortal and not die by mistake.

It made me wonder how differently I would live my life if I knew how much time I actually have left. I guess people with terminal illness are the ones who really face their mortality and force themselves to create lists of what they want to do and experience, all before death takes them out.

There are so many paths out there for someone like me, someone who isn’t tied down to a husband or kids, or a house. So I have to wonder why I continue to play it so safe. Maybe because of how I was raised- very sheltered and in fear and suspicion of others.

Men have so many more choices and freedoms than women. Men can go out and drive to an all-night diner or bar, hang out there for a while and then go home, without the fear or risk of getting raped or kidnapped in the parking lot.

Women don’t have these kinds of freedoms. I envy women who have the guts to travel the world alone. Travelling alone is a fear that I hope to overcome before it’s too late.

In the movie, In Time, Amanda’s character is rich and always has body guards surrounding her. They advise her, ‘You can’t be too careful’ when she is simply staring at a man, a stranger. She replies with ‘Are you sure?’ I think there is such a thing as being too careful, it keeps you away from living the adventure that is your life.

March 7, 2014. Tags: , . movies. Leave a comment.

Jawbreaker Movie and Soundtrack

(Review below was written on 2/4/2000)

I chose to watch this movie on cable one night because I enjoyed other movies Rose McGowan has starred in, but this movie has got to be her worst. She’s great at playing her nasty role but the movie and plot is not good enough for her. I was wondering what made her agree to star in the movie after reading the script. It’s actually so bad, that it’s good in a campy way.

This movie has been compared to Heathers, a movie which basically has the same premise. Heathers is a much smarter film which is well written and which has characters that are better developed. Jawbreaker may be mildly entertaining to look at, what with its colorful sets and costumes. It’s cartoonish and over the top and that may have been the point.

The popular and unpopular alike will be curious about seeing this movie because the unpopular girl gets a makeover and the popular girl is humiliated at the end. By the way, if you want to see was Liz Purr was like alive, you should watch “The Rage: Carrie 2” where the same actress plays a character named Tracy (a popular girl).

After seeing the movie and hearing all the great music in it, I knew that the soundtrack would fulfill my expectations. The music is simply fabulous, especially tracks like Yoo Hoo, Don’t Call Me Babe, and Stay in Bed. Next to You is another great song.

Some of the songs from the movie are not on the soundtrack. For example, the song that plays while the girls are putting their dead friend, Liz, back into bed. I really enjoyed that song and was somewhat disappointed when it didn’t appear on the soundtrack.

Another song from the movie that was absent from the soundtrack was the song Heartbreaker which was playing when the girls were walking down the hall and deciding that the character, Vylette, needed a boy.

Listening to the soundtrack feels like you’re watching the movie all over again. It is hip and stylish like the movie was. There’s a diverse variety of songs and I’m sure everyone will find songs that they love on the soundtrack. The artists on the soundtrack that I would recommend are Ednaswap, Transister, Letters to Cleo, and Grand Mal.

Jawbreaker_Polygram314556033

July 13, 2013. Tags: , , . movies, Music. Leave a comment.

Reality Bites Review

(Review below was written on 5/10/2000)

This movie is very entertaining on many different levels. It’s one of my favorites. The music, for one thing, is really great and fun. The soundtrack is awesome and it really helps you understand the kind of world these characters live in. Anyone attending college will identify with the empty feeling of not knowing what lies ahead and the confusion that comes with trying to make something of your life.

Lelaina is the main character, the valedictorian of her graduating class in college and I like how the movie shows that even someone very intelligent can struggle when making the transition from college into real life and full time work. She works as an intern at first, but knows the work is not really what she wants to do with her life. She tries to juggle new romance with staying afloat financially and keeping her sanity. The character is very real, relatable and Winona Ryder’s performance is natural and endearing.

The movie has several funny moments and you’re sure to laugh every now and then. It’s fun to watch Lelaina get revenge on her mean employer and Troy being witty and reflectively quoting from literature. One of my favorite moments is when he answers the phone with a greeting of, “Hello, you’ve reached the winter of out discontent.” As an English major, I enjoyed these little clever references.

This movie is good for all ages because it gives insight into the grungy generation of angst and the death of idealistic youth.

reality

July 10, 2013. Tags: , , . movies. Leave a comment.

Dead Poets Society

(Review below was written on 4/12/2000)

I felt compelled to watch this movie and write a review because of the great love I’ve always had for poetry. Few films really explore, examine, and get into the heart of poetry to reveal its power, significance and beauty.

In a strict prep school, where this movie is set, career-oriented students face a burdensome education. Amongst the drudgery comes their new English teacher, Mr. Keating, and unconventional professor who challenges them constantly to open their eyes to the life that is before them.

These young men learn to strive for what they desire, go against the pack, and find out what is truly important to them. The timeless message of the “dead poets” in the film will relate to any audience- living for the present, enjoying life in youth, and not taking anything for granted.

This is a wonderful screenplay which assures us that words can change the world and compels us to constantly try to look at things in new ways. One should always provide for their future in a lucrative career, but not at the expense of individuality, expression, or the ignorance of the real beauty of life or what the heart truly desires.

The road less taken (rather than conformity) becomes the tempting ideal, and the students learn that seizing the day is the key to making their lives extraordinary. Viewers of this movie can’t help but take into serious consideration the philosophies of Mr. Keating.

“We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, “O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless… of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?” Answer. That you are here – that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?”
-John Keating

July 7, 2013. Tags: , , , , . movies, writing. Leave a comment.

Review of Loser

(Review below was written on 2/18/2001)

I was curious about watching this movie from the previews and it turned out to be a lot funnier than I expected. It was very entertaining and I couldn’t believe how fast it seemed when it got to the end.

The main character, Paul, is an innocent lamb bought to the slaughter of the big city. He instantly suffers major culture shock when he leaves his safe, happy home to enter the dorms of obnoxious college life in New York City.  I found it pretty ironic that while Paul tried to follow the advice of his father for making friends, (Interested is Interesting) he is still met with derision and suspicion from most of the strangers he encounters.

Poor Paul is trying to keep his grades up while dealing with partying roommates, and he develops a crush on a classmate, Dora, played by Mena Suvari. Mena Suvari is excellent in this movie and does a total turn around from her character in American Beauty. Their relationship is innocent and sweet and you find yourself feeling for both characters. The movie also has great music.

The villain is clearly spelled out as the pretentious professor, and Paul’s roommates seemed to get more and more annoying and useless to the script. Their scenes did nothing to move the story along. As the audience, you end up rooting for Paul who never changes, gives up his values, or tries too hard to fit into his peer group or the cold world of the city.

I recommend this movie, its funny and romantic, without being overly sappy.

loser

July 2, 2013. Tags: , . movies. Leave a comment.

Films That Make You Think

(Entry below was written on September 5, 2011)

This weekend I saw the movies Limitless and Me and You and Everyone We Know. Both movies were good. Limitless really gets you thinking about how hard it is to go after your dreams and motivate yourself, and how easy it would be to take a little pill everyday that would clear your mind of distractions and give you a jolt of energy and motivation to really start living your life on purpose.

It says a lot about our modern society and how we all want the magic fix: a pill (shortcut) to keep us from having to do all the hard work in order to achieve success and well-being. Finding time to exercise, sleep enough and meditate and set your goals (your actual goals, not the ones that other people expect of you) is really hard work. It’s hard finding a balance between your priorities and your daily responsibilities to keep yourself clothed and fed.

Me and You and Everyone We Know was a simple story, trying a little too hard to be quirky, but was entertaining anyway. It kind of highlights how all people are a little lost and no one really knows the point of life or why they are here, alive right now. I like films that examine those questions, or at least shed light on how people must actually feel beneath their socially acceptable masks.

Last night I remembered the scene in the The Haunting I think it was (terrible movie) where Catherine Zeta-Jones and a couple of other people are brought to a house to supposedly have their sleeping patterns and insomnia examined, but the house ends up being haunted. Catherine’s character says:

“You know what, the rest of you may hate your insomnia but I’m not sure I want a cure for mine. That’s when I get all my best ideas… I’m alone, occasionally… with no distractions. My mind is racing with creative ideas and come 3 am I feel like a genius.”

There is a lot of truth to that statement. I wonder what I could write if a had a clear mind and no distractions in the middle of the night, every night, for the rest of my life. Living in a quiet house somewhere, with no traffic noise, no neighbor noise, no  boss, nothing but my books, my journals and my pens. What a dream it would be.

June 26, 2013. Tags: , , , . movies, writing. Leave a comment.

I am Nobody’s Little Weasel

I recently rented the movie Amelie which I started out really liking a lot. I had heard it was a feel good movie that pointed out all the little special things about life that most people usually overlook or take for granted.

Amelie is a quiet, young girl in her early twenties who suffered from a lot of traumas as a child. As a result she lives mostly in her imagination and tries as much as possible to avoid and ignore reality.

I found it to be a really charming story about a young girl who felt suddenly like she found her purpose in the world after doing a kind act for a stranger (anonymously) and seeing how good it made her feel.

She has this epiphany and starts to do more and more kind, benevolent acts for strangers, acquaintances, neighbors and coworkers. She does this purely to help them and entertain herself at the same time with the idea that they are clueless about how these good things just happen.

I thought wow, here’s a movie that’s about a pretty, young woman that doesn’t focus on her trying to get/keep/find/win a man. And actually it shows her having a higher purpose. Her life’s mission is guided and focused on that one purpose. I found it to be really refreshing and inspiring. Until, it of course turned into a pseudo love story about her being too shy to approach a guy she grew up with and is secretly in love with.

I thought I was going to vomit when her elderly neighbor tells her to ‘go get him’ or something to that effect. I was completely disgusted. This could have been a movie with a real, profound message and meaning and instead it became a typical, cliché love story.

I would have loved it if it carried on in the same vein throughout, and Amelie had learned that it she could bring joy and light to the world simply by being herself and doing good deeds for others.

By the end of the movie I was upset because of course Amelie’s mission in life turned out to be to get her man, forgetting all those kind acts she did for others and switching her focus entirely. It was so predictable and tired.

I so thought this movie would be about something else. Something not so typical and truly inspiring. And it was inspiring throughout the first half, then it just got boring. The guy she was in love with kind of came up out of nowhere, like an afterthought. And the movie would have been just fine without him in my opinion.

The title of this blog post is one of Amelie’s lines in the beginning of the film. I guess she was wrong.

amelie-poulain04

June 14, 2013. Tags: . movies. Leave a comment.

I Know When to Talk

There is a very painful scene in the movie Welcome to the Dollhouse in which the main character, Dawn, is asked to read her essay on ‘dignity’ in front of her 7th grade class. She begins to read and is told repeatedly, like 4 or 5 times by the teacher: ‘Speak up! louder!! We can’t hear you!’ I felt this scene because I have gone through it in my own way countless times in my life.

I have probably the quietest speaking voice you will ever hear, and people usually struggle to understand what I say. This was not fun in school, and it still bothers me to this day. Sometimes I practically scream and I still cannot be heard or understood.

This movie hit close to home for me, except maybe I think I was Dawn in high school, instead of middle school. I was the dorky outcast who ate lunch by herself and was mercilessly teased every day by the same tireless people. It was just that bad. I cannot imagine ever going back to that time and how tortured I felt. Of course now I can look back and think how silly it all was. but everything at that age is so serious and so life or death. That’s when the melodramatic poetry starts coming out, and your paranoia gets way out of control.

I had an overly active imagination as a teen, and lived for fantasy and just being alone in my own head. It was hard to let people in. I felt they didn’t understand and no one could relate to me. I was going through the same adolescent years as all my peers, but for some reason I felt I was not having even the slightest bit of the same experience they all were.

Being a soft-spoken person does not go over well. it allows people to feel they can talk over you, discount what you’re saying. I think speaking is a lot like writing, I don’t do it unless I have something to say. And it’s an act of courage every time you open your mouth to speak or put words down for another person to read.

You open yourself up to judgment, or the possibility that you will be misunderstood, shunned, or even ignored (which has happened to me). I don’t like people who interrupt, who talk for the sake of talking, who feel the need to fill every silence with words, and who cannot stop to think before they speak. I speak when I have something to say. (It’s like smiling when you have a reason to, not because you are told to).

I write when I don’t think anyone can stand or sit still long enough to hear all that I need to pour forth from my heart, or if there is something to say that is uniquely mine that needs to find it’s form in the written word. When you write, the journal won’t stop you or interrupt you, talk over or smirk at you, ignore you, or pretend to listen to you while it just stares on.

Title of this post is from the Garbage song, The World is Not Enough

June 1, 2013. Tags: . movies. Leave a comment.

Les Miserables on Screen

I finally had a chance to watch Les Miserables, the movie, this morning, after having wanted to see it since it came out on Christmas in 2012. Though it was a bit long, it was still very enjoyable and entertaining. The casting was inspired. I remember seeing Hugh Jackman up close on Broadway back when he starred in the play, The Boy from Oz. He was truly amazing and talented and I can understand his casting for the lead role of Jean Valjean.

The other leads were also great, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried, Eddie Redmayne, Samantha Barks. All were believable and played their parts with so much heart. It was only Russell Crowe who kind of bothered me. He was OK in some scenes, but in others, his lack of emotion took me out of the story.

Having scene Les Mis only on Broadway a few times, it was much easier to see it on screen played out by this case because I was able to better understand the story and the plights of the characters. I’m glad the movie was made and the songs are always a treat. I have always loved On My Own and Castle on a Cloud. Those are the ones I remember all the lyrics to and love to listen to again and again. And of course, I dreamed a dream. Almost every song is great, including Hugh Jackman’s interpretation of Who am I?

The story centers around Jean Valjean, a criminal who just got through serving 19 years in jail for a stolen piece of bread. He is hunted relentlessly for years by Javert, the policeman character played by Crowe. Jean Valjean starts out a thief but then struggles to redeem and recreate himself. After escaping parole, he resurfaces years later as a wealthy businessman and mayor, and the Fantine is one of the women who work for him in a factory.

Hathaway plays Fantine with such devotion and despair that it really moves you. She wholly embodies the part and makes you feel all her emotions, much as she did with her role in the movie, Rachel getting Married, a role that also earned her an Oscar nomination. She looks startlingly thin in Les Miserables, as she purposely lost 25 pounds to play Fantine when she is ill and dying.

Fantine gets thrown out of the factory where she works and is reduced to selling her hair, her teeth and her body in order to support her young daughter, who lives with a pair of unscrupulous innkeepers. Valjean takes pity on her and decides to take her daughter, the young Cosette, under his care. He raises her and protects her all her life, keeping his promise to Fantine that she will be looked after. Years later we see a grown Cosette, still with Valjean.

Amanda Seyfried plays Cosette as an adult. Seyfried’s voice is perfect for what this role entails. She plays Cosette with innocence, but also power.  And her voice is strong, clear and extremely beautiful. I found it hard to believe she was actually singing live as all the actors were required to do for this film.

The story turns then to focus on a group of students who lead the charge in the French Revolution, among them a young man named Marius, who falls in love with Cosette at first sight. I found their love story to be very romantic and the unrequited love of Eponine (for Marius) to be heartbreaking as always. This is an epic story that will sweep you away.

I found the extra features to be enlightening as well. They go into the motivations of Jean Valjean, who Jackman explains as a man wanting to constantly become a better person and do what God expects of him. He explains that theme as something most people can relate to. The desire to redeem oneself in the eyes of God, and do the right thing. The extras also go into the life of Victor Hugo who wrote the book Les Miserables, and it was amazing to learn of all that he had accomplished in his lifetime.

I highly recommend this movie. It’s a pure escape with beautiful music, beautiful scenery and talented, emotional actors. I definitely shed tears during many scenes, and you probably will too.

les_miserables_ver11

May 26, 2013. Tags: , , . movies. 2 comments.

Friends, Fears, Introversion

The other night I saw some of the movie Jennifer’s Body on TV. It played on a Spanish language channel and was overdubbed in Spanish, which was kind of amusing.

Megan Fox and I have certain things in common. She has been quoted as saying that she has no friends and never leaves her house. This allows her to stay away from the horrors of Hollywood. She also has a fear of flying, and says she listens to Britney Spears music to stay calm while on a flight because she knows it’s not her destiny to die while listening to Britney Spears.

That may seem odd to people, but it makes sense if you have certain fears like this. You have to sort of trick yourself into staying calm. I feel the same way about Madonna’s music. When I listen to it I feel completely calm, because it takes me to another time in my life when I didn’t have fears or stresses.

I’m glad I’m not the only person who doesn’t feel the need for friendships. Luckily for her, her looks allow her to have a husband who overlooks this personality flaw, if you want to call it that. He loves her and married her anyway. I hope one day for the same, even though I don’t resemble Megan Fox at all. At least it’s nice to know that it’s possible to have a husband who cares only for you as a person, and not how social you are in the rest of your life.

Some people just don’t have the gift for socializing. It’s a skill that some people have and others don’t. Maybe it’s just a matter of time, until I feel more confident in who I am. I don’t know. But friendships take work to maintain and for me, I just don’t know how to make them happen and make them last. It’s been a lifelong struggle.

Some people are just introverted and social contact drains them. They live more inside their own minds than out in the real world, and there really isn’t anything wrong with that. It takes all kinds of people to make up the world, otherwise it would be a pretty boring place. There’s no reason to fight against your own nature or who you are. I spent a long time feeling inferior to extroverted people, but I’m going to stop, because no one is any better or worse. We are all just different, unique individuals.

May 22, 2013. Tags: . movies, writing. 2 comments.

Next Page »