Monday, June 8, 2009

Where the Wild Things Are

I remember the book, Where the Wild Things Are. I was just a child when it was first read to me. This may have been my starting point for my love of monsters. The great thing about the Wild Things was, they were not mean monsters. Sure, they had terrible claws, but they loved Max.

I wanted to be Max, for more than one reason. I was not the best-behaved little boy, so I had that going for me. I wanted them to be there, to be my friends, but I needed them to be there to protect me from the bullies that wanted to hurt me every day.

When I first saw the preview for the movie based on the book, I cried. It took me completely by surprise. I cried because it reminded me of people long gone. I cried also because I was happy. The Wild Things were THERE. They were moving. They were real. They were finally real. They had kindness in their eyes and you could see how much they love Max.

I have since seen the preview dozens of times, and my reaction to the images and music has changed. I am still very happy with the way the film looks and seeing the Wild Things moving on screen brings a huge smile to my face. What still makes me sad when I watch it is, it reminds me of when I was little and how I’ve changed as I’ve grown up. I have lost that sense of wonder and childhood innocence and that brings a tear to my eye. It is a horrible shame that as we grow up, we lose the wonder and happiness that we all had as kids. I wish that we could all remember what it was like to believe in magic and trust in our imaginations.

The other thing that makes me tear up is, I can now share the story. I can share it with my daughters. It is o.k. that I have lost that childhood innocence, because I can see in them all the wonder, happiness, innocence and joy that can be had in the world. As they grow older, I want them to believe in magic. I want them to chase fairies. I want them to know that imagination is king and there is a place Where the Wild Things Are.

I have grown up. I gained weight. I have seen evil. I have seen death. I have been betrayed. I have experienced loss. I have experienced fear. I know that the people dearest to me will die. I have made mistakes. I have had my trust shattered. I have made bad choices. I have seen how the world works. I have grudgingly become an adult and it makes me sad.

I want to protect my daughters from that, but I know that I can’t shelter them forever. I would only be hurting them if I did. The time goes by so fast. For now, I will revel in their imagination and joy and love of discovery.

The preview for Where the Wild Things Are says:

In us all, there is hope
In us all, there is fear
In all of us, there is adventure
In all of us, there is a Wild Thing

I will protect them from fear for now. They can have hope and adventure, and they can both live for a while in the place Where the Wild Things Are.

Death makes you think.

Yesterday, my mom's friend was killed when she was struck by a car. My thoughts go out to the family, but I can't help think about other things as well. Both of her sons had their first children within the last year. She was finally a grandmother, and now she will never see them grow up. The kids also lose out because they will never know her.

While my sympathies go out to the family, I can't help but think about all of the other things that have happened as well. I know that her younger son's wife did not like her at all. That is clear from the way she treated her. It's really too bad, because this caused huge problems between the mother and son. Problems that can never be fully resolved. Now the two of them have to live with what they said with no possible way to make amends.

This got me thinking about my family. Now, the situation that we have is no where near to what the other family had, but it got me thinking; life can end at any time. People can be taken away for no reason in the blink of an eye. Excuses like, "I'm too busy." or "Maybe later." are the kind of things that can end up haunting someone for the rest of their life. I still hold out hope that people will snap out of their little world and embrace their family as a blessing and not a hindrance, but I think I need to come to terms with the fact that this is just how things are going to be and nothing I say can change someone else's habits. It's really too bad, because just like my mom's friend, there are some people (not) in my life that will not get to see my daughters grow up. The saddest part about that is, it is by their own choice that this will happen.

I guess it comes down to this. Do what you want. As long as you know you can live with your choices, do what you want. It may not be what I want, but that's life.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

When you don't quite agree.

Does anyone remember when Bush and Cheney were running for office and the gay marriage issue came up? As Republicans, it came as no surprise to me that they were against it. What did surprise me was the fact that Cheney's daughter, Mary was gay and Dick Cheney was still against equal rights for gay people.

Then, in a stunning move, I saw that she actually seemed to be SUPPORTING her father's views on gay rights by working for his election and re-election. I was amazed that people would do things so against their own self interests.

I am not sure what I think about this. First, there is family. Family is forever. You are supposed to support your family and help them achieve goals. Second, you don't want to hurt your own chances for happiness. It makes no sense to help someone (like Bush and Cheney) that work to take away your civil rights.

Family can be a powerful thing. Family can also be an annoyance. It all depends on how much you want to be a part of it. You could love your family so much that you would do and say anything to help them get what they want. On the other hand, it is possible that you could be turned away from your family because of someone else's opinion about them.

Now, I am going on the assumption that families mean well. I don't want to get into dysfunctional territory. Mary Cheney made a choice to support her family because it was the right thing to do at the time. Dissention in the ranks weakens the foundation of the family and causes nothing but problems. If the press got a hold of them, they could cause a rift (real or fabricated) that would have torn the family apart.

I have seen it with my friends. Someone new shows up and they whisk them away to another part of the state for their own reasons with no regard for the other person's family. This causes a rift and in one case ended in divorce.

Not having empathy for your significant other's family ties can be devastating to them as well. It can cause permanent relationship damage between spouses, siblings or parents. I have also seen examples of this. The worst part is, all it takes is one person to sack up and re-open a line of dialog. Maybe something was done that was unintentional. Maybe something was said that was misinterpreted. Maybe it's nothing at all and it's getting harder to resolve by the day. You never know until you try. Rarely is it ever too late.

Differences of opinion are always a strong factor in the breakdown of the family dynamic. Some of the time, it can be political reasons. Sometimes, racial. Sometimes religious. What's sad is, it does not matter. I can not change your beliefs and you sure as hell will not be able to change mine.

Let me give you an example of this. Bill, my co-host on Outside the Cinema disagrees with me on political topics. So you know what we do? We don't talk about it at all. what is the result? We are great friends. My parents? They were raised Catholic. Me? I don't believe. Do we argue about it? Not anymore.

What's good for you is good for you. What's good for me is good for me. End of story. I have a podcast called Are You Serious? It is basically a show where I get to rant and rave about whatever I want. Republicans? The religious right? Generation Y? Bad movies? I get to yell about all that and more. Why? Because it is what I believe. What's great about it is, even though my parents don't exactly agree with my every opinion, they support what I do. Because we are family and that's what you do.

I wish more people understood that, just like Mary Cheney does.

My response to movie critics.

Dear Movie Critics,

I am not sure exactly when you lose your love for movies, but apparently it happens to all of you. It is a shame that so many of you can not just simply enjoy a movie anymore. If is any indication of your love for cinema, then you are all pretty much film snobs.

When I review movies on both the Outside the Cinema and Are You Serious podcasts, I try to think about many different factors.

1. Did I personally enjoy the movie?
2. Will audiences enjoy the movie?
3. Is it true to the genre/source material/subject it is spoofing?
4. Is it a good reboot/re imagining/sequel?
5. Is it any good at all?

Those are some of the criteria I use to determine a rating for what I will be discussing. There are some movies that I know are good, that I actually like, but will never watch again. that does not change my review of the movie.

Then, there are movies that I know only I will enjoy (for the most part.) Movies like Ultraviolet, Tank Girl, Johnny Mnemonic, Demolition Man, the Resident Evil Series. They are fun and some take a grain (or bag) of salt to watch.

Land of the Lost is not a Daivd Fincher film people. It's a Saturday morning show from 35 years ago! Is it good? I thought so. Is is box office gold? Maybe. Is it the best thing out this summer. Not at all. Did I laugh out loud the two times I've seen it so far? Absolutely.

Critics, get off your high horses. Your job is to report on the content of a movie, to tell us if we will enjoy it. Not to be snarky bitches making fun of them. Do your job correctly. Your reviews are not auditions for other writing jobs. Write a review the way it should be done.

For example:

Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, your kids will love it.

That's all it takes. Here's another example.

Land of the Lost, if you like dinosaurs and laughing, this is for you.

Seriously, you are all a bunch of pretentious film snobs. It's summer. You should all know what a summer movie is about. A perfect example is Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. It's a popcorn movie. A big, dumb, loud, awesome spectacle. This is not the time for movies like The Wrestler or Slumdog Millionaire to be released. Calm down, you will all have your chance to indulge your snobby side come the fall.

That is all.