Monday, June 30, 2014

What's Next On My List? The Beaver

I generally don't watch Mel Gibson movies since, you know, he went insane. I did like him a lot in the 90's though. He was one of my sister's favorites. (I am also excited for the new Expendables movie!!!) And when this movie came out I just looked at the movie poster and the title and I just went "You gotta be f*cking with me.", so then I checked out what the premise of the story was and then I was almost certain that somebody just wants to mess with me. This cannot be an actual movie. But it is and well Jennifer Lawrence is in it so logical conclusion is that I had to watch it. And so I did. So let as now see what this puppet is really all about:

Our story starts with Walter, the father of two boys who has completely lost his connection with reality. He is failing at his job and he is losing his family. What is worse, is that he doesn't seem to care about it either. One night, however, he finds a beaver puppet and he uses it to express his emotions and feelings. He gets back his life, his work becomes profitable again, everything seems to get back into place, but his wife has had enough of the puppet. Unfortunately, Walter doesn't seem to be able to function without it. So much so that the beaver starts to talk to him, as if it really was another being. Walter desperate to get on with his life decides to cut off his own hand and the beaver with it. His eldest son finds him and he is rushed to the hospital on time, where under the appropriate care he gets a chance to get back to his life and reconnect with reality.

I liked this movie, although I am not 100% sure I got what it was about... In the end really we never said out loud what Walter was suffering from and that really bothered me. His son clearly had issues and as we know, plenty diseases can be genetic. The fact that he got so bad that he cut off his own hand? They should make sure that does not happen to his children! Other than that, denial. The movie for me personally was about denial. About how if we can see the good side of things, the bad goes under the radar. But ultimately it cannot be avoided: Some problems don't go away because you ignore them. And that is another point to be made. With the fact that we don't say out loud what actually happened, the viewer is given free interpretation. By that I mean that you can choose to view it from the point of the wife, Meredith: She loves her husband so much that she is willing to accept this foolishness just to have him back in her life. You can view it from the eldest son's view, Porter: His father has been a failure to him ever since he started to see how others are. By that I mean that his little brother Henry doesn't know any better, he doesn't have anything to compare his father to, he just wants his dad a funny puppet is fine by him. But Porter knows people, he has seen happier families, and he has seen his mom happier. He actually sees in himself his father's mistakes and that ruins him.
Ultimately making Porter find his father on the floor in the garage with his hand cut off evoked feelings in him that he thought were long gone. And that's another thing: Porter's story was a lot more touching because we knew about the father's issues. Seeing his father's lack of people skills, he tries to work on his own. He does this with a girl he really liked in school, but messes up simply by not being able to see the clear boundaries. The girl of course sees him for the nice - somewhat lost - boy that he really is, but that is because she took the time. Otherwise it would've all been for nothing.

To sum up, it was a great movie. A bit ridiculous at times, but what in life isn't, really? It was very powerful toward the end, and as I said: Free interpretation. From this point of view it was a bit like a book. The characters were nicely introduced, everyone had a story arc from beginning to the end and there was depth to every character. Yes, some answers weren't given, but I can live with that. I know he is a total a**hole, but yeah, this was an excellent performance from Mel Gibson. Probably the best one I've seen since Maverick (in which his love interest was Jodie Foster! What do you know?)

Watch it? Yes, I recommend it, but think of it as a serious movie. It will hit you in unexpected ways. To end let me quote Ricky Gervais' speech from the Golden Globe awards: "Jodie Foster made a movie about her beaver."

Until the next item on my list!
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Walter - Mel Gibson
Meredith - Jodie Foster
Porter - Anton Yelchin
Vice President - Cherry Jones

Monday, June 23, 2014

Homework Assignment: American Language Development

Yes, I have a class with that name. It actually sounds hilarious written down like that, we only use initials and I keep forgetting what they stand for. Either way, in the second class of this trilogy, we had to write essays. The first one was an argumentative essay, where I bravely defended the fact that Medicaid covers the penis pump - but I didn't get the feedback I was hoping for, so I don't feel like posting it anymore. This on the other hand, was a descriptive essay. I find this to be the worst essay I've ever written, and as it always is: when I hate it, the teacher likes it. I still don't get how that works (but it has, for over 16 years now...). Either way, I trust this teacher's judgement so I decided to post it proudly. Also, this teacher likes to check for plagiarism, so it will be fun if he looks for my essay and will be fooled to believe that it isn't my work :D But no worries, he knows about my blog, so he'll figure it out pretty fast!
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The Adventures Of Captain Comic-Con

From a small gathering to an attendance that surpasses 100,000 visitors each year, Comic-Con has become an immense industry. With fandoms gaining popularity over the past decade, it is no longer surprising that people are more likely to share their worlds with others. From comic fans, to cosplayers, all the way to the dreamers who wish to meet their idols, the conventions seem to have it all. The aim of this paper is to investigate if Comic-Con has outgrew itself or if it still holds dear the values it kicked off with in 1970.

A convention is a kind of assembly of people who share the same or similar interests. When we speak of Comic-Con we must also include the smaller scale events, which resemble a sort of garage sale. During these fans gather and sell their own comics or they trade with others. In this paper, however, the focus will be on the larger version of this tradition. The comic convention in question was never only for comic book fans. As stated on the official website, “the founders of the show set out to include not only the comic books they loved, but also other aspects of the popular arts that they enjoyed and felt deserved wider recognition, including films and science fiction/fantasy literature.” (“Comic-Con International: San Diego”). And since then several panels have been welcome that celebrate not just artists, but writers, directors and actors as well from all around the world.

In this paper the author will further analyze the 2012 San Diego Comic-Con. In 2012 the convention was held from Thursday, July 12 to Sunday, July 15. In this year there were 600 separate events. These included panels that featured new releases and even workshops as well as conferences on the arts of comics. They presented films, anime and even games. There was a costume competition for cosplayers; an autograph area and finally a Portfolio Review corner, where young artists could showcase their works for the biggest publishers.

The reason behind choosing this year is the fact that there was an array of very interesting panels listed in that year’s event that caused a bit of controversy. As mentioned before, movies are also a huge part of the convention. This tradition begun when comic based movies started to gain popularity in the beginnings of the 2000s. To be precise, exactly in 2000 the first installment of the original X-Men series appeared and it was well received by the public. And five years later the first real crowd pleasing DC live-action film followed: Batman Begins (2005). The bar was then set pretty high and movies were able to not only make it big, but sometimes even exceed expectations.

As these movies managed to reach a bigger and a different audience as well, the convention started to grow. As it turned out it can be used for advertising and kick-off campaigns. In the San Diego convention, Hall H is known for receiving the biggest crowd as well as the most sensational panel available each year. Among the honorary mentions we have the Avengers panel, starring the whole cast in 2010. Its success was followed by last year’s Batman vs. Superman panel, headed by director Zack Snyder.

In 2012 panels included such comic based movies as Iron Man 3 (2013), and Man of Steel (2013). The participants could also view a panel on Peter Jackson’s adaptation of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012) and Guillermo Del Toro’s sci-fi world in Pacific Rim (2013). Perhaps one may raise an eyebrow when they hear that really simple action movies were featured as well. Some interesting choices include The Expendables 2 (2012), A Good Day To Die Hard (2013) and a completely independent movie like Life of Pi (2012). Again, the debate over what the convention should be about can no longer be ignored. Most forums will argue that Hollywood is taking over and the essence of this event has been lost.

Another major complaint has arrived based on the length of the panels. They last about 30 minutes. In comparison to the sometime eight hour, 30 minutes is not at all satisfying. It is clear that the magnitude of the convention disrupts the pleasure of the fans. Here, getting back to the movie panels, there has been some argument over which movies should appear. Again in 2012 a panel for the last installment of the Twilight saga was presented and had left a bad after taste. A generally teen related movie series was found to be out of place by many, but the aim of the convention has always been to bring in fans of fantasy literature as well. Despite the outrage of some attendees, this panel in particular was not so out of place, because it was a movie adaptation of a well-received fantasy novel.

The argument can go on in the background, while focus shifts onto the essential problem, that is: Getting into these panels is nearly impossible. While some complain about the panel itself, others will complain for having missed out. In a blog entry posted this January on Epic Geekdom, the writer explains the pain of missing out on other panels due to the lines outside each hall. He says, “The lines are crazy, and it has become the norm to camp out overnight outside the convention center in order to get a seat in a hall.  The day gets wasted.  We camped out for Hall H 2 years ago at 5am out in the cold.” He continues, “it was nice conversing with folks but I missed about 4 other panels throughout the day and when we got to the front of the line, at about 3pm (right before our 4pm panel) we were turned away. We didn’t even get to go in.” (RM Peavy.)

The system is very faulty. That year is memorable because a young girl died trying to keep her place at the panel for Twilight – Breaking Dawn Part 2 (2012). An article by The Wire explained the situation, “Fans said the convention center staff was about to switch the line, so the beginning became the end, and that she was running to keeping her place in line.” (Simpson). The girl crossed the road at a red light to make sure she saw her favorites and it ended her life. As previously mentioned, the wait is the major issue with the panels. Each year forums fill up with angry attendees that feel as if their time was wasted.

Perhaps it is too easy to blame Hollywood. Moving from movies to TV shows, the array of options is endless. “The movie panels at Comic-Con 2012 have been overshadowed by the sheer number of television shows in attendance. With Warner Bros. Television alone bringing 14 of their series to San Diego, chances are that your favorite series will be represented – and will be revealing information about their upcoming seasons” (Ocasio). Each year at least twenty new shows debut in the fall season. The movie industry is not alone in gaining profit from the popularity of the convention. In 2012 in particular two shows started that did need panels. One was Arrow (2012-), based on the popular DC character Green Arrow. As a matter of fact, major comic book publisher DC invests more in television series, than it does in movies. Therefore it is logical that these receive a spot on the panel list.

The other shows were a science-fiction series entitled Revolution (2012-2014); and from the fantasy department, the famous Game Of Thrones (2011-) returned with a panel in Hall H. These fall into the mentioned categories of fandoms that the convention focuses on. But some unconventional choices appeared as well, among them the Big Bang Theory (2007-), Glee (2009) and last but not least Bones (2005-). There are arguments to be made on both sides, what is essential is that the lines of which fans the convention actually wants to appeal to have been blurred. These in no way adhere to the original concept that the event started with back in 1970: a small gathering for fans.

But spectrums change. The world of the geek has expanded. No longer is it embarrassing to know more about the U.S.S. Enterprise, than the Second World War. Over the past years another phenomenon added to the experience of Comic-Con which is known as cosplaying. This word appeared in the paper several times and it is time to explain it. The word is a shortened version for ‘costume-play’ and it is so recent that several dictionaries don’t even feature it. The idea is that of recreating the clothes and the accessories of a fictional character and bringing them to life. This fan obsession brings people together; so much that contests for best cosplays are now organized at almost every Comic-Con. Players bring to life characters from games, mangas, and movie adaptations as well as comic book characters. Some of these costumes are so precise that producers have offered jobs to some designers in upcoming projects. Just to draw a comparison, actor Harrison Ford revealed that his reason for never attending Comic-Con prior to 2011 was, quote “I'm not going to where people dress up as Princess Leia”. The slave outfit from Episode VI has been a crowd favorite for many years now. And along with it one can encounter at least a dozen Darth Vaders and all of his storm troopers scattered around the convention center.

It has to be mentioned that the magnitude of the convention brought on more Cons around the country, and the world as well. There is a website dedicated to listing all the upcoming conventions and the state where they will be held. The site is known as and they invite readers to help them if they missed any. They list not just the big, but the smaller cons as well. The site description says “UpcomingCons is committed to providing the most updated comic con list anywhere. We try to list every convention we find, and we would appreciate it if you would add a con that we don't have.” The others that resemble the magnitude of the San Diego event include Emerald City Comicon in Seattle (WA), Big Apple Comic Con in New York City (NY) and Megacon in Orlando (FL). These events occur every year, but the San Diego being the first of its kind, and now the biggest of its kind, it is also the single one that everyone wants to attend.

The reader must be wondering how one can go to one of these cons and what kind of budget they should count with. The San Diego Comic-Con has a precise system set up for attendees. The convention does not sell tickets, but badges. These are physical badges that one needs to wear at all times while attending. The official website highlights that “although we strive to make attending our show as easy as possible, obtaining a Comic-Con badge can require the persistence of Superman, the patience of a Watcher, the ingenuity of Tony Stark, and the readiness of Batman. We strongly recommend that you read each section related to attending Comic-Con so that you don't miss any important deadlines for registration.” (“Attending The Show”). One can register and then get their hands on the badges during the open online-registration. These badges are quite hard to get. In previous years they held re-sales for badges that weren’t claimed, but in 2014 this is unlikely. On the website the badges for the 2015 convention are already being advertised.

The price for the badge varies based on the day you wish to attend. There is a preview night, before the convention kicks off which costs $35. Each of the three days costs $45, and the final day still adds and extra $30. Without counting lodging and travel for most of the attendees from outside California, one is looking at $200 just to attend. Not mentioning how much one spends on additional purchases, from comic books to food, it is clear that Comic-Con is not a cheap adventure.  One may decide to buy a badge just for one day, but most of the bigger panels are counted as top secret and you have to wait to see what is inside. If one chooses the wrong day out of the 3 they might be even more disappointed than the ones who are willing to wait 8 hours and later not get into the panel. The last day is really a wrap-up and no new panels are revealed, and still the ticket is not even half-off.

It is not fair, however, to draw the conclusion that Comic-Con has sold out and that the fans are not important anymore. In 2011 Morgan Spurlock directed a documentary at the San Diego convention entitled Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan's Hope. The movie focuses on two wanna-be artists, a cosplayer, a figurine collector and a comic-book vendor. The latter has a business that was doing quite badly, but he had a chance to make up for some losses with the comics sold at the convention. The cosplayer participated in a competition which she and her team won with their costumes inspired by the gaming world of Mass Effect (2007). One of the wanna-be artists actually received a job with a comic book company that gave him a chance to get his name out there. And the figurine collector raced to get a rare 12 inch edition of Marvel’s Galactus. Once he did, he enjoyed the rest of Comic-Con with a bright smile on his face. Aside from the everyday geek, the movie also features interviews with big names, such as Stan Lee, Kevin Smith and Joss Whedon. The movie makes sure that the viewer experiences the pure magic that comes with being a part of this world.

In conclusion, it seems that the magic is not lost. The convention tries to please a wider audience and it can be argued whether or not it succeeds in it. The panels include conferences of Comics Arts, new releases of comics, literature, and movies. Since it is on a larger scale, it makes sense that they want more of everything. The list of panels has and will always be a point of discussion among attendees and critics alike. Despite that, the idea of trying to bring favorites from all around the world to visit the fans cannot be considered a bad idea. The lines are the expenses are quite outrages and it is very hard to enjoy yourself if you wish to attend a panel in Hall H, as most of your day will pass in front of your eyes without having done anything. Still, in spite of the costs and the obvious downsides that come with it, not only the author of the paper, but many others still dream of making it to Comic-Con one day. The dream of the 100,000 who will attend this year is just a couple of months away from becoming a reality and others are not far behind.

Works cited:

Tuesday, June 17, 2014


My latest video just reached 300 views and I would like to thank everyone who saw it and liked it and took the time to see what an amateur likes to spend her time with!
A special thank you to my cast and crew, who were amazing! I love this little business I am in! I love my life for it and I thank everyone for letting me be Me!

If you haven't seen the video click here:

And click on the picture to read about what happened behind the scenes!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Homework Assignment: American Literature 4

Prior to September 2013, I was able to count my favorite classes on one hand... This fortunately changed for the past two semesters thanks to two teachers. In these classes, we had to write essays and well, the one I wrote for American Literature 3 was so horrible that I decided to burn it. From format to sources, it simply just sucked. It is short of a miracle that the teacher gave me a good grade! However, for the second time I really put all my knowledge on paper and I even got good feedback, "Excellent!", for the exception of the last paragraph (which I already knew would suck, because I just rushed it after realizing that I would exceed the required character number). Praise from this teacher means literally the world to me so when she handed it back and told me that it was a great essay, truly my heart skipped a beat. I planned to before, but after that I knew that I would upload it.
And not just that, but the essay itself is about a book and its movie adaptation, so it is quite fitting with the theme of my blog as well. The movie starred Michael J. Fox in the lead, with a young Kiefer Sutherland and Phoebe Cates. But don't let me summarise again, just read the essay :)
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Bright Pages, Big Screen
An analysis of how the city is adapted from the book of 
Jay McInerney into the movie

Jay McInerney’s novel Bright Lights, Big City was published in 1984 and four years afterwards a movie followed. The screen adaptation was also written by McInerney, it is therefore interesting to investigate how well his vision of the streets of New York was then portrayed in the movie. This essay will analyze three scenes from the movie with its respective counterpart from the book. At first the harshness of the morning light slaps the protagonist back to reality; afterwards come instances of how hope helps him find the light even within the darkness. Finally the morning light just over the Hudson River shines on and it reflects the chance for a new beginning. The aim of the paper is to discuss in detail how the scenery around the main character can change based on the flow of the story.

The city of New York has been represented in several ways in movies, but the two most prominent are: a dormant monster or the background. The former should be interpreted as something that comes alive at night. And once in the night, it becomes the playground for the antagonists and ultimately the main character’s worst nightmares (e.g. Cocktail, 1988; Fame, 1980; Three Men and a Little Baby, 1987; Saturday Night Fever, 1977; and New York, New York, 1977). The other aspect of the city is simply that of a light background. Although it is considered by many to be the city of dreams, in movies it usually only stands for a subtle sign of hope; it ultimately exists to showcase how wonderful life can be when one lives in the States (e.g. Coming to America, 1988; When Harry Met Sally, 1989; Curly Sue, 1991; Six Degrees of Separation, 1993; and as an honorable mention: Home Alone II: Lost In New York, 1992).

McInerney’s novel plays with this, as it will become obvious, he first transforms the dream of being big in New York into the nightmare of being alone while surrounded by people. And afterwards he gives back that spark of hopefulness that comes with waking up to a whole new day.

Our protagonist, previously an unnamed character in the book, is recognized as Jamie in the movie. He has somewhat given up on his life: He barely manages to get through the day without getting high on cocaine and during the night the series of parties give him a refuge from reality. Being from Kansas, having moved around all of his life, he finds his home in the Big Apple. But a series of unfortunate events pile one on top of the other and Jamie loses his way. He no longer likes the city he once thought of as home.

The book begins at a party, it is almost morning and our protagonist is lost between his thoughts. He is drinking, still high and he wonders how he got here. After leaving the club it doesn’t get any better. “It is worse even than you expected, stepping out into the morning. The glare is like a mother’s reproach. The sidewalk sparkles cruelly. Visibility unlimited. The downtown warehouses look serene and restful in this beveled light.” (8). The protagonist tries to get a cab, but running low on cash he starts to walk home. His only protection from reality lies in his sunglasses, which offer some of that sweet darkness. During his way he follows familiar streets and familiar scents. “You start north, holding a hand over your eyes. Trucks rumble up Hudson street, bearing provisions into the sleeping city. You turn east. (…) / On Bleecker Street you catch the scent of the Italian bakery. You stand at the corner of Bleecker and Cornelia and gaze at the windows on the fourth floor of a tenement. Behind those windows is the apartment you shared with Amanda when you first came to New York.” (8)

It is compelling to see that the morning, which usually stands for new beginnings and the ultimate source of hope, here becomes a nuisance. In the movie Jamie wonders around in the city and continuous flashbacks, small instances of his past life shed light on his demons. Not to mention that in the movie, as he starts to walk home, a car delivering baked goods passes by him, referring to the bakery that served him as a guide.

Although the book takes its time in revealing who the above quoted Amanda really is, in the movie we immediately get a glance at who she was and the happy life he had. Amanda was his wife, the one who insisted they move to New York, and when she left him, she painted the whole city black for him. Now he can only see the city rot away before his eyes.

“Down on the West Side Highway, a lone hooker totters on heels and tugs at her skirt as if no one had told her that the commuters won’t be coming through the tunnels from Jersey today. Coming closer, you see that she is a man in drag. / You cross under the rusting stanchions of the old elevated highway and walk out to the pier. The easterly light skims across the broad expanse of the Hudson. You step carefully as you approach the end of the rotting pier. You are none too steady and there are holes through which you can see the black, fetid water underneath. / You sit down on a piling and look out over the river. (…) / You watch the solemn progress of a garbage barge, wreathed in a cloud of screaming gulls, heading out to sea. / Here you are again. All messed up and no place to go.” (9).

This very scene appears again at the end of the movie. The reason for it and how it changes from its first appearance to the last will be essential to understand the story. Jamie, whose life is all tainted by a brownish overtone, only sees colors at night. The Big Apple offers, however, a darkness that calms him. He finds a way to hide from his own thoughts at night. Admittedly everything he does, from the drinking to the drugs and the partying: it is a form of denial. Throughout the book we discover that Amanda was given a job as a model and one day she didn’t come back from Paris. Jamie, as last resource decided to look for her at parties. Unable to accept what happened to his life his turns to the only thing that is able to block out his thoughts and fears: drugs.

The one who introduced him to the night life, Tad Allagash, his only friend, asks him to hang out with his cousin for a night. Although at first Jamie interprets this as a responsibility, he is unwilling to help out. He then, however meets Vicky, the cousin, and the city transforms before his eyes. “The evening is cool. You find yourself walking the Village, pointing out landmarks and favorite town houses. Only yesterday you would have considered such a stroll too New Jersey for words, but tonight you remember how much you used to like this part of the city. The whole neighborhood smells of Italian food. The streets have friendly names and cut weird angles into the rectilinear mad of the city. The buildings are humble in scale and don’t try to intimidate you.” (89).

The writer purposefully connects the women in his life with the city. Having lost Amanda and having since then wondered through life aimlessly, Jamie now sees the beauty in the city: Vicky is not from around there. He has a chance to show her the good side of the streets, the ones that during the night are never engulfed by darkness.

Moreover, Jamie decides not to get high. He leaves to go to the bathroom and stares at the powder in disgust. He wants to stay sober, he wants to remember, he wants for this to have a meaning for him. He lacks actual substance from his life and for the first time the thought of clarity seems sweeter than that of a blur.

In the movie, we follow the couple from afar. They walk along the lonely street, talking, sharing stories. It is dark outside, and some of the street lamps don’t work either. Their calmness also calms the viewer. By leaving the shot at a wide angle, the surrounding gains importance, however, the two main characters never become part of the shadow that surrounds them. The blonde Vicky, in comparison to the black haired Amanda in the movie, represents again hope and light. Essentially the only thing that our protagonist really needs: clarity. For a long time he never thought he could ever get over his wife, yet here he meets someone who is different from everyone else in his life.

It is also important that although they meet at a night club, they don’t stay. The writer lures them into the open to see how the protagonist changes. From the streets to a sweet little restaurant and then back to the street. Not only does Vicky make him change his nightly rituals, but she does so without him noticing. He only becomes aware of the positive change once he realizes that he indeed loves walking around in this part of the city.

From darkness must come light. The last chapter begins at a party where Jamie sees Amanda again. He tortured himself with questions, wondering what it is that he did wrong for her to leave him. And for the first time he sees the party from the outside and for what it really is: Rotten. He no longer finds comfort in the jokes of Tad and finally realizes that perhaps Amanda leaving was the best thing for him. She was poison. She is like the drugs he wasn’t able to live without once he lost her. Having loved her for so long, he never thought he would be able to move on. But after this party he finally sees the warmth in the morning. “The first light of the morning outlines the towers of the World Trade Center at the tip of the island. You turn in the other direction and start uptown. There are cobbles on the street where the asphalt has worn through. You think of the wooden shoes of the first Dutch settlers on these same stones. (…) / You’re not sure exactly where you are going. You don’t feel the strength to walk home. You walk faster. If sunlight catches you on the streets, you will undergo some horrible chemical change. / By the time you reach Canal Street, you think that you will never make it home. (…) / As you turn, what is left of your olfactory equipment sends a message to your brain: fresh bread.” (172-173).

The book ends with him trading his sunglasses, the only protection from the harsh light for a roll of bread. The movie, however, took a bit different turn. He does trade his sunglasses, but afterwards he walks to the pier. From there he lays his eyes on the beautiful New York city skyline and the orange lights of dawn reflect serenity. The city becomes background again and the dormant monster is laid to rest. Reality is no longer a threat for Jamie, even if it wasn’t like this in the beginning. The protagonist, as we find out, has been running all of his life as that is the only thing he was good at. As a child his family moved around a lot and he never stayed in one place long enough to lay down some roots. When he moved to the city, he hoped he could do that with Amanda. Not only did she leave him, but in the meanwhile his mother passed away and he decided to run from his family as well. The parties, the people, the city all contribute to him giving up on his dreams as a writer and he even loses his job. It is at the last party that he reminds himself of how strong his mother made him and running away from problems won’t solve them. He calls Vicky, the beacon of light, and after talking to her he gains the strength to leave this wretched world behind: Amanda and Tad included. “You will have to learn everything all over again.” (174).

In conclusion, this movie might be one of the best adaptations released in the past 50 years. The writer made sure to convey the message in the title of the work. He changed the order of how the lights start to give the protagonist clarity, however the same effect was gained in the end. By leaving the protagonist nameless in the book, one could relate to him more, however being able to see him from the outside – as it is a different medium – we needed something more to connect to Jamie. The author had a clear message in mind and it is fantastic to see how that message was laid out for the viewer and reader through very different mediums and yet yield the same result.

  • McInerney, Jay. Bright Lights, Big City. Bloomsbury Publishing, 2007.
  • Bright Lights, Big City. Dir. James Bridges. Perf. Michael J. Fox, Kiefer Sutherland, Phoebe Cates and Dianne West. MetroGoldwynMayer, 1988. Film.
  • Buckland, Warren. Teach yourself film studies. McGraw-Hill Companies, 2003.
  • Alber, Jan. "Unnatural Narrative." (2009).
  • Iuliano, Fiorenzo. "Falling from the Past. Geographies of exceptionalism in two novels by Jay McInerney." Altre Modernità (2011): 91-104.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

What's Next On My List? The Shawshank Redemption

I watched this movie exactly three days ago. A friend of mine, who is a huge Stephen King fan, told me to see it as it is the best. I had come across the poster several times, and I like the lead actors very much, but it never occurred to me to watch it. First of all, I don't care for Stephen King. I realize I should probably read his stuff, I plan to, but the adaptations I've seen so far made me anything but interested in him. My literature teacher did make us read from him a short story, 'Night Surf', which quickly became a favorite, so I realize that I should indeed read more from him. And I'll get there, but before that I had to watch this movie, because I promised.

Andy Dufresne gets sent to prison for murdering his wife and her lover. He claims to be innocent, which we find out 20 years later that was indeed true. In the meanwhile, however, he makes friends with an inmate called Red - the guy who can get you things - as well as the warden and the guards. He used to work in a bank and the tax returns as well as some money laundering comes in handy with an inmate who's got nothing but time. But knowing he is innocent, he grows tired of being a puppet. He did blame himself for the death of his wife, but he does feel that 19 years were enough of a payment for all that he did wrong in his marriage. Andy escapes Shawshank prison and takes off with the warden's money only to be reconciled with his good friend once Red is released for good behavior.

First of all, this movie has a 9,3 rating on imdb. I don't think I have to tell you that it was good. It is very sad, with a positive ending, but when you think about it, it is simply horrible. I've seen many movies - and series - about prison and well, none of them really made me easy about the situation the men are in. It makes you question the system, doesn't it? This story in particular does for sure. Let alone the fact that you keep asking yourself at certain scenes, where exactly the guards are when inmates start beating the shit out of each other. And on other occasions you see that the guards are on some levels just as horrible as the inmates that are behind the bars. So really, is everyone on the right side of the wall?

"If you ask me, I think he just did it to feel normal again."

What my sister critiqued about the movie, was that there were so many things that worked out just the last minute. Too many coincidences, she said. Him getting the last cell on the floor and then being able to use the rock hammer, and then the storm that covered the noises he made and so on... To be honest with you, I didn't mind. I felt that he didn't know anything and he made the best of what he had. This to me was proved by his surprised face once he realized that the wall could be maneuvered with the rock hammer. He was so surprised as he only intended to do his little hobby. From then on he realized that perhaps there is a way out. He made the best of what he had and he did good. He did really good, but his anger was fueled nonetheless. It was understandable that despite it all he would just dig and dig. To tell you the truth, I didn't care about the series of fortunes that helped him in escaping. No, the thing that got to me the most from the whole movie was the friendship Andy and Red had. They had a natural bond, which started off with a bit of distance, as it would in real life. I think that was it, the fact that their friendship could've existed on either side of those walls. It was something to aspire to in real life!

"A little place on the Pacific Ocean. You know what the Mexicans say about the Pacific? They say it has no memory. That's where I want to live the rest of my life. A warm place with no memory."

What have I learned from this movie? I am almost certain that this movie is to blame for all the narrations Morgan Freeman does! Other than that, the prison culture alone is quite magical. I mean that it is something that we don't think about as much and perhaps we should. It is also something very under the radar for the everyday person. I know that this depicted a certain prison at a certain time, but as I said before, it is still something to think about. The other conclusion I've come to is that I should read more King. Like right now!

Watch it? Don't watch it? Oh, who am I kidding, you've already seen it, didn't you? Watch it again then!

Until the next item on my list!
_ _ _ _ _ 

Andy Dufresne - Tim Robbins
Warden Norton - Bob Gunton
Tommy - Gil Bellows
Captain Hadley - Clancy Brown
Heywood - William Sadler
Brooks - James Whitmore

Thursday, June 5, 2014

What's Next On My DC List? (Cartoon Movies) The Flashpoint Paradox and Justice League War

As you know I am a huge fan of comic based cartoons! I always hated that Marvel doesn't care about it as much as DC does. I see that the big blockbuster movies pay better, but still, I know grown men who enjoy the cartoons just as much as the live-action. And, to be honest, I like them a lot more... So I was thrilled when I heard that there was going to be a cartoon with my favorite hero, the Flash and another Justice League cartoon based on the latest designs of the characters. Let us get into it right away:

After a successful night of crime fighting, Barry Allen wakes up to a whole new universe where he is powerless. While looking for answers, he tries to find Batman, but he only finds another man under the mask, his father Thomas Wayne. In this alternate reality it was Bruce who died and his father turned to solving crime in a different way during a raging war between Aquaman and Wonder Woman.
Barry believes that it was his arch enemy, Professor Zoom who went back in time to change the past, and he tries desperately to get his powers back. Batman helps him to do this and they discover that Superman did arrive, but he was captured before he could find his adoptive parents. He was used to create weapons and Barry saves him and he helps them to stop the war that caused so many lives. On the verge of death, Professor Zoom appears and Barry confronts him about changing the past. The Professor laughs at him, for not having realized that it was him who changed the past. Barry went back in time to save his mom, who was killed one afternoon before his birthday party. By saving just one life, he jeopardized that of so many others and caused for the Justice League to never be born to begin with.
Although at a great cost, Barry stops himself before changing the past and all goes back to normal. It hurts him deeply to have lost his mom all over again - which I believe was one of the most touching DC stories ever written - but it helped him realize that he doesn't have to blame himself for her loss. He was not meant to save her to begin with.
This was by far my favorite DC cartoon so far. We have seen alternate universes several times, but there is something a lot more interesting in having put a heroes conscience and actions on the line. The fact that it all came from trying to do something good, actually put a lot more weight to the story. Unfortunately people don't care about the Flash that much, but I love him dearly and I really enjoyed him being in the center of attention for once! It truly shows that he is a very important member of the Justice League!

The Justice League, still not assembled before, joins in a fight to stop an alien invasion of earth. The Batman is a myth; Green Lantern is still arrogant with powers; Wonder Woman is thought of a destroyer, rather than a hero and Superman works for the government. Arrives Cyborg, who craved his father's attention so bad that he ended up being just another experiment, now doted with alien technology.
At first, one vigilante against the other, but then combined to fight off the common enemy, the Justice League must result to Green Lantern's guidance while Batman retrieves the captured Superman.
The cartoon is essentially another origin story, but it is great at that. There is always another common link that brings these heroes together and that's a great thing to discover over and over again. I especially love how they get to know each other, for example the fact that Batman has no actual superpowers always causes a bit of controversy among them, and the lesson always is that they are all heroes as heart! And each movie tries to find a balance between the screen time given to each hero, and in this case the focus shifts onto Green Lantern. I think that was a great change as he too, just like the Flash, is mostly thought of as a background character. I really liked this cartoon, although for me the alien invasion angle is getting a bit old... But that's just me! It is a great story nonetheless!

So make sure you check them out as soon as possible! I am have been trying to force it down my best friend's throat for over six months now, but he just won't allow for the awesomeness to flow in... but I'm not giving up! The first is a great spin on a classic tale, while the other falls on the line of fun origin stories, with heroes whom we all love!

Until the next item on my list!