Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Pondering: The Way, Way Back

Finally, the angels are singing!!
A real movie. A new, fresh, thought provoking movie.
THE WAY, WAY BACK is a sweet, sweet movie about a young kid, Duncan, (Liam James, the young Shawn in PSYCH) who is the only one sane in a world of insanity, on a summer vacation to the beach with his desperate mother, played by Toni Collette (LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE, EMMA), and his mother's cruel boyfriend (Steve Carell THE OFFICE, SEEKING A FRIEND FOR THE END OF THE WORLD).....

Duncan's sanity for the summer comes in the form of "the girl next door"...

Played by Anna Sophia Robb, (BRIDFES TO TERABITHIA, SOUL SURFER) and a bunch of misfits characters at the local, run down water park, led by Sam Rockwell, (SEVEN PHYCOPATHS and COWBOYS AND ALIENS)

Two of the misfits, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash...

Just happened to write and directed the whole thing too- the idea coming from Rash's stepfather telling him what Duncan hears from his mom's boyfriend in the opening sequence of the film.

This is the duos first directing stint, but they did co-write DESCENDANTS...

which won  an academy award for Best Adapted Screenplay and was previewed up at the Telluride Film Festival in 2011.

We saw THE WAY, WAY BACK at a Saturday matinee and there were a respectable amount of people there- lots of couples and the majority older then us, our kiddo was the only teenager in the theater. Is anyone doing demographic studies of who is going to what movies? Cause old people, and thirty somethings and up actually have more money to spend then the younger folks- go figure Hollywood! And we tend to enjoy movies that are less expensive to make, but enough with my rant.

Being a child of divorce- what struck me watching this movie was how well it depicted the insanity that adults try to ram down kid's throats, when they decided to go off and do such a selfish thing as break up a family. Most kids are not stupid and in their gut, like all of us, know truth, but struggle with it, because they love their parents. I know I did.

Even today, as a teacher, youth group leader and an observer to my kiddo's friends I have witnessed the subtle brain washing that has to go on to convince children that the reality of their whole world being ripped apart is actually a good thing.

Bribery greatly helps. What child would not love a summer of freedom at the beach or in real life perhaps gifts and special weekends with daddy after months of tension and fighting. Forty years later, I still vividly remember the weekend of a nice hotel, pools and fancy dolls when I found out I had a step mother.

The reality of divorce, the reality of childhood really, is we have no say, no voice to what horizon our parents are sailing us to, or if  they change course mid way.

What to do about, I do not know, though, several years ago I read a fascinating book, or listened to it,  called THE MALE BRIAN by Louann Brizendine, a neuropsychiatrist on male's  brain development through every stage of life....

Gosh that make me sound so "heady" which I am not and it really is a good book and an easy read, she has one on the female brain as well...

Two interesting facts I remember- in kissing- male spit is full of hormones and helps females be more responsive and...

Men bond with their babies through skin to skin contact, which is why I brought up the book in the first place, though the spit thing is interesting.

How to get really good dads, make sure they are hands on from the beginning. Reality in parenting as in everything- out of sight, out of mind really does apply. Sadly the US is one of only a handful of countries who do not have paternity leave for new dads. Interesting side note- mothers- who take more maturity leave then the usual six weeks have a much harder time leaving their babies.

Then there is the whole factor of women who always have to have a man and often sacrifice their children to keep him, as in Duncan's case throughout most of the movie.

Although not my experience growing up, I have seen  mothers, in their desperation to not be alone have not been the protector they should have been and left their child to be the mature one. The needed for a man is a powerful one, a curse really, the Bible says given in punishment for Eve's picking of the forbidden fruit...
 Your desire shall be for your husband,
 And he shall rule over you
Genesis 3:16

THE WAY WAY BACK shows all of this in a wonderful open and raw way, Duncan the holder of truth but powerless and unprotected against the insanity around him, his only oasis a run down water park of misfits.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Pondering: Sellebrity

Watched  a really thought provoking documentary this afternoon, SELLEBRITY, directed and produced by Kevin Mazur  and available  on Amazon Prime.
Mazur takes a hard look at our need to peer intrusively into our celebrities' lives and persuaded the likes of Jennifer Aniston...

Kid Rock...

and Sarah Jessica Parker...

to open up about one of the downsides of being famous in an age where not only do we have an insatiable, voyeuristic appetite to know all about our stars, but everyone in the world has a camera via their cell phone and can instantly "upload" it to the rest of the world!
I actually experienced this phenomena a few years ago, when at the Telluride Film Festival I saw this...

Yes that is George Clooney, I think, though I never really got a good look at him for the quantity of non-photographers (pros are not "invited" to Telluride), but it actually was a pack of older women who should have known better.
I had been attending the TFF for three years and only James Franco ever came close to the mobs that followed Clooney around.
and there were no craved older women following him, if I remember correctly!
One of the most disheartening things mentioned on SELLEBRITY was the invasion of privacy celebrity's families have to endure, especially the children, footage of kids pleading with the paparazzi to stop taking pictures.
Of course there is "nothing new under the sun" and RIVIERA COCKTAIL: EDWARD QUINN

 proves it, another documentary available on Amazon's Prime right now. Edward Quinn spent much of the 50s  photographing and invading stars private lives on the Cote d' Azur.
He started about the same time as Audrey Hepburn...

and Sophia Loren...
who humored him with more poses in her hotel room, after he hid in the bathroom while she dismissed the other photographers.
In RIVIERA COCKTAIL, he witnesses the change from the time the stars welcomed the photographers to being more guarded and there being more completion for the money shot.

And money is still being made from Quinn's wonderful black and whites, which can be viewed at which includes not only celebrities but the likes of Pablo Picasso and
gypsies and cars of that era.

I know the invasion of privacy the World Wide Web has created has just started to be pondered, but looking into another's private life has always been around, even before the invention of the "point and shoot camera"...
The great impressionistic artist, Edgar Degas declaring he wanted to depict his female bathers as if he was peeking through a door's "keyhole". Sorry folks, voyeurism as always been and will always will be a part of the human nature.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Hollywood's new job: Outsourcing

I feel like a broken record or I should just cut and paste from previous blogs my complaints of offerings coming out of Hollywood, such as my most recent optimistic trips to the movie theater to see Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg's 2 GUNS...
And Bruce Willis and the gang...
Both totally predictable, uninspiring and really unsatisfying, since I am not a "Millennium  Male" or someone in China, which is where the studios are making most of their money, according to news sites  like The Warp.
Money is money, I guess and Hollywood as always gone towards the money. But in basically "outsourcing"- movies are getting more and more "American" clichéd and well downright "crappy". Yes there are clichés- I'm a walking cliché of living in the West, heat my cabin with a stove from wood stacked outback. My deck either had mountain bikes or snow skis covering it and my husband's favorite beer is Fat Tire, but we just also spent a week in California maneuvering our dusty 4X4 SUV around Mercedes and Porches at the beach.
Both people and movies fall flat if all they offer is what you expect to see, without any irony-contrary to all the "what is trending now" buttons on Hulu, Netflixs and Twitter.
Heard a disparaging report on NPR's MARKETPLACE recently that Hollywood is actually running scripts through an algorithm, soooooo....
If only well, "millennium males", i.e. those who like ComicCon or foreigners wanting to see American actions movies with a lot of "bang" for their buck- then that is all that Hollywood is going to make!
No idea- other than a  new age of really good, story, character filled movies, cheap enough made so they can see a profit, until the theater starts to fill up with well, everybody else in the US of A who has just stopped going to the movies and have  stopped being a factor in the algorithm machine Hollywood is using to decide what movie to make! 
I think we are ready for a Renaissance, which means I guess right now this would be the "Dark Ages". When the last Dark Age happened, did they know they were in one?