Tag Archives: change

true confessions & revolutionary road review (kind of)

I have a confession to make my friends: I have no clue how I got into the world of academia (if you can call it that–hint: you can’t).

No. Fucking. Clue.  I’m not very well-suited to intellectualism in terms of personality (or intellectuality, for that matter) and I don’t think I ever consciously decided I wanted to end up where I am today.  The point is…I at some point came to the conclusion (okay, I’m pretty sure I was watching a film by some sort of overly-clichéd director, and was most likely baked out of my skull) that I should have gone to film school.  It was never something I even remotely considered, but I think it would have been pretty fucking sweet.

ANYWAY, because of this latent desire, I sometimes feel the need to write my opinions on films I have seen.  So, enjoy the exorcism of my half-baked scheme.

I recently saw the film Revolutionary Road and really enjoyed it, as I knew I would, because Kate Winslet + Leonardo Dicaprio = two of the greatest actors of our time, in my humble opinion.

Something that was quite striking to me was the intimacy of the filmmaking.  I recalled after the film that Kate Winslet’s husband (Sam Mendes) directed the film, to which the unique presentation can probably be attributed.  There was something vaguely marked about way the story of this couple was told, and I had trouble conceptualizing precisely what it was, but I really think the best way to describe it is that it was particularly intimate–every facet of their marriage, their emotions, and the complex interplay between the two, came across on the screen.  It really seems fitting and explanatory that there existed this incredibly close relationship between the person behind the camera and the person in front of it (as much of the film revolved around Kate’s character).

Aside from the philosophical takeaway I got from the film, I enjoyed it stylistically–the music/costumes/set design were magnificent and made the story far more engaging.  The acting was absolutely superb, not only in the lead roles, but there were a number of supporting characters (namely, Leo’s work buddies, their overzealous garden-obsessed neighbor, and her institutionalized son) that I felt added a lot to the film and whom I thought about afterward.  Some of the dialogue was a bit much for me (some of the lines actually made me laugh, during dramatic scenes) but that is a complaint I have fairly often.

The ‘story’ was basically of these two people and their perceptions, interactions, and methods of coping with a life that had not been meticulously constructed to suit them.  They questioned whether or not this was the life they’d imagined (any Thoreau fans out there?) and what–if anything–they could change in their collective life to increase their satisfaction with it.  To be more precise, the fundamental concept that underlied their conundrum (in my view) was whether their circumstances needed to be altered, or if it was simply their perception that needed changing.

I often wonder this in my own life–particularly because I tend to do things that I think I am expected to do.  A perfect example would be my choice to get a relatively serious job, when I was perfectly happy chilling and being  a barista–I felt lazy and lame about that choice, but the truth is, I took time off from my studies so that I could have time to myself and not have to worry about the world’s idea of what I should want.

Ergo, this film really resonated with me.  I think many of us ‘go with the flow’ only to one day look at our lives and wonder who told us that we had to want all of this…whether it’s the two kids and the picket fence in suburbia (as in the film) or a career in academia or medicine or some other pretty serious field (as in my life!)–as I think she said in the film, at some point, we just keep doing what we’ve been doing to prove to ourselves that it hasn’t all been a mistake.

Interestingly, the person who most identified with this notion in the film was the one who had been deemed insane.   Kate’s character’s plans for “fixing” her life were portrayed as unrealistic, and yet the ‘crazy person’ in the film thought they were entirely necessary–this is very interesting to me and quite relevant, I think, in the overall conversation about what happiness is, and the role of desires and practicality within that conception.

I really enjoyed the film.  It really spoke to the numbing nature of certain aspects of life and did a really wonderful job of examining different perspectives of life in suburbia, and life in general.

I’m not sure I’d view it again (although I very rarely view films twice due to my attention deficit) but it was very thought-provoking for me and I’m quite pleased that I finally got around to seeing it! Definitely worth seeing, blogga-buddies. :)

xx Charlee

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elation, nonsense, and hooray for martin luther king junior :) (and obama)

Okay–first and foremost, I would just like to say I am ABSOLUTELY ELATED that this long-awaited day, January 19th, 2009 is finally here.  I think I’ve been looking forward to this date for 8 years!!! Bush is FINALLY peacing out!  I’m actually not much of a Bush-hater, but he obviously has struggled throughout the course of his term and to be frank, the very constitutionality of his term is not clear in my mind.

So I’m not going to talk politics but I cannot remember the last time I was this happy about the state of affairs in this country!

Anyway I am terribly sorry I have not written in the past few days,  particularly because they have been quite eventful!

Friday I went to a work party, where Sam and her boyfriend got into a fight.  I’m a fan of Sam’s boyfriend because he’s quite chill–not as swift as I might like but he’s cool enough.  Anyway, for some reason he and I began talking about politics–something I try quite hard to avoid in most situations, but the one exception to this rule for me is if I think someone is open to learning something that I am able to help them grasp…which was the case here, so I discarded my usual policy.  Of course, Sam is kind of crazy (and rather dim) so she kept making belligerant comments and trying to change the subject although her boyfriend (Callum) was listening rather intently.  So eventually he told her to take it easy or something like that, and she completely overreacted and stormed off…a few minutes later, Mason came to tell me that Sam was crying outside and angry with me.  Greatttt.  I went outside to see what was up, and long story short, she was being drunk and irrational…so it’s all good now.

So then Saturday I worked with Mason, and he said Marley (roomie) and I were “making everyone cry” to which I obviously asked him to elaborate, and he said that I had upset Sam and Marley had upset Chad.  To be perfectly honest I hadn’t been keeping too abreast of Marley and Chad’s situation so I didn’t have much to say on the subject, but later after discussing it with roomie, it turned out that she had decided she didn’t really fancy him after all–pretty standard for Marley, but that’s part of her charm…in my opinion anyway!  But apparently not those whom she loses affection for so quickly…

That night, Mr. Martini and I had a very relaxed night watching a documentary entitled “Resolved” about high school debating.  He and I always do the most random things together!  It was something we just saw and thought looked interesting so we viewed it, and it turned out there was a lot of racial context that one wouldn’t generally expect given the subject matter of the film–there was a team that challenged the way high school debating works in this country by saying it is exclusive and more or less racially discriminative.  I’m not sure how much I want to go into this concept because I’m a bit short on time, but given the date and current events and all, I will say that several of  the people I love most in the world, my best friends (and one of my former roommates) are black and I have spent a fair amount of time working in public schools where 99% of the faculty and students were African-American, so I feel that I have an understanding, or as much of one as any white person can have, of the challenges that they face and it is an issue closer to my heart than it is to most (white) peoples’.  That said, in this film, the team was not arguing the resolution they were given, but was instead arguing that the entire framework/institution of high school debating were racist; the documentary obviously did not show their entire argument, but something about it really didn’t sit well with me.  Last time I checked, the better way to get your point across would be to argue the resolution, and win, thereby instituting the so-called change they were working towards (assuming that their allegations of racism were indeed founded).  Not to mention–a lot of people, and probably me before I became familiar with the black community, believe that we live in a post-racial society.  So to “pull the race card” and completely skirt the issue that is meant to be debated is really illogical and uncalled for in my opinion–and furthermore, sets our society (and the black community) back several years.

I think in many ways that is what is so inspiring about Obama, and Martin Luther King Jr. before him.  Martin Luther King Junior did not play the victim, he was aggressive in his campaign for change, but in a way that was poised and so incredibly admirable–I don’t think there are many people, and certainly not myself, who could maintain such a calm and articulate manner in the face of an issue so inflammatory and passion-stirring as racism. Obama, on the other hand, took this to an entirely new level.  Politics aside, I don’t think I have ever been so inspired by someone as I am by Obama–and throughout the election, I was always the one telling friends and family that he was creepily subliminal and psychological in his speeches and that he came across as such an inspiring figure because of the tactics he used.  However, when he won, I was so incredibly emotional and elated that it became a night I will never forget.  He really is evidence that race is no longer an issue in this country–and though it has never been an issue in my eyes, I can say that I have experienced racial tension/discrimination first hand; but even so, to know that most of the country does indeed subscribe to the “post-racial” concept is so incredibly beautiful and amazing to me that it is one of the few things that truly leaves me speechless.

Obama affected change not by going over the history of the country or by listing his grievances–and to be perfectly honest, I think he would have been completely justified in doing either–but instead, he portrayed the world and the country as many of use see it and hope it actually is–and in so doing, taught us all a thing or two about the power of belief and coming together with others who share our beliefs.  Obama was not part of the political machine, he was (and is) part of the people.  He showed us that we can live in a country we’re proud of, that we can say “no” to the things we don’t accept or believe in, and that, more than anything, “yes, we can.”  His entire campaign was built upon the concept of change, but in so many ways, Obama himself is the change.  Or to quote him, the “change we can believe in.”

No matter what your political beliefs, we could all learn a lot from this man.

ANYWAY that got a bit lengthy, but I’m in a bit of a daze of Obama inaugural excitement, and to be sure, I’m not a Democrat, so I’m hardly one of the sheep I so despised throughout the campaign.  However, my emotions have really gotten the best of me today because I’ve been thinking about what tomorrow means to all of us, and how the world really is changing; and of what it will mean to so many of the young people I have worked with who have expressed feelings to me that I cannot imagine feeling and that I know will be replaced with a new worldview because of Barack Obama–America is indeed the land of opportunity, and anyone can do anything.  It isn’t all just lines of bullshit as so many of us may have suspected.

Viewing the film Saturday night, by the way, was accompanied by consumption of copious amounts of wine, and by the end, Mr. Martini and I were getting a little more lovey-dovey than we probably should have.  I blame the wine.  Alas, I spent the night in his bed, but we were not intimate–truthfully, I kind of wanted to be because I adore him and am physically in need of some loving, but I have an inner “flooz-o-meter” (n. the inner meter of the degree to which one is acting like a floozy) that prevented us from getting down.  C’est la vie.

I’m truly a bit frightened by the intensity of my feelings for him as well as the intensity of his future planning involving me, though.

Anyway this has taken much longer than I had hoped–I must get ready as we are having a dinner party tonight to celebrate Bush’s last night in office.  Hooray hooray hooray!

Hope everyone else takes a moment to give thanks this evening as well–whether or not you’re an Obama fan, so many lives lost is reason enough to be thankful that by this time tomorrow night, there will be a new sheriff in town. ;-)

xx Charlee

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