Thursday, November 7, 2013

Rebel without a cause or maybe not.

The film some might say that put James Dean on the map is Rebel Without a Cause.  In the scenes we have seen thus far, we see Jim Stark a "troubled youth" who can seem to do no wrong in his parents eyes.  Today's standards or even back then with a not so wealthy family, a parent would be irate if their child was drinking underage.  Jim's parents try to understand what's wrong with him.  He is given everything and yet acts like the world dealt him a bad hand.  Then you have Judy who talks about being treated horribly by her father but when you see them together you see no love and affection for her but definitely for the young son. 

This era has always been depicting daughters giving their fathers a kiss on the cheek and the father asking how their day was.  In the film however the father looks down upon this and even slaps Judy asking her to cut it out.  It is certainly a 50's that I have never seen until now.  Judy also tells Jim "Who really lives?" I think she meant by that, that no one really does anything not normal.  Dad goes to work, mother is a stay at home wife, kids go to school etc. etc. etc.  No one really breaks out of the mold that they live in, this "Ideal" lifestyle. 

The film Pleasantville comes to mind when she makes the comment. The film shows a fictional 50's show called Pleasantville where everything is perfect, from the town to the folks who live there.  In that film two unsuspecting characters from the modern day 90's are thrown in to this fictitious world and slowly start to unravel it out of perfection.     

Where we left off in Rebel Without a Cause was Jim was bullied in to a game of chicken with cars after a jab fight with knives went in his favor.  Unfortunately Jim seems to be the type where you don't go looking for trouble, trouble comes looking for you.  I will continue with my blog once we finish our last scenes. 

Mean Girls, Cliques & Bullies.

Mean girls has never been a good film in my opinion.  I think it exaggerates a semi accurate depiction of high school.  In my high school it was hard to find cliques or the social groups.  It was a high school of 2,200 kids and well to me everyone was insecure and we all just blended together.  My first school consisted of Smart kids, myself, goths (some referred to them as trench coat mafia because Columbine had just happened) and metal heads.  We kind of broke the "mold" but again it was hard to find these groups in such a big area.  My second school consisted of 16-18 year old's with 22-60 year old's and everyone just chatted with everyone or you just talked to the people you knew. 

Mean Girls tells the story of a fresh faced girl coming to high school for the first time.  It highlights the fact that she is definitely a newbie to public schools but makes so decent friends.  Along the way she befriends the plastics who are the top of the social food chain.  My professor mentioned bullying during his lecture and to me the film shows that all to well.  The nice simple girl becomes a bully herself and takes "the godfather's" place.  The film also highlights girls who hate certain aspects of their body however they seemingly have perfect bodies or "ideal figures". 

If we were going to talk about a film that highlights more of the clique, social standing, or your typical stereotype it would be the Breakfast Club.  In mean girls Lacey Chabert's character Gretchen more or less tells Cady that she could be wrong about the guys she likes.  That your friends will let you know if he's right for you or not.  In the Breakfast Club Molly Ringwald as Claire says there is a lot of pressure from her friends and she hates going a long with everything they say. Mean Girls and Breakfast Club both highlight this but one is shown to us while the other is talked about.

The stereotypes from breakfast club are a geek, brain, basket case, princess, jock, and a rebel.  Those stereotypes have and will stand the test of time.  The names may change or be updated but they still remain strong 28 years later.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Rock & Roll

We started watching films with musical influences.  One was Hard Day's Night featuring the British Invasion sensation, The Beatles.  The other was a biopic of the band The Doors.  Hard day's night was more for the fans with a funny storyline and a exaggerated behind the scenes look of the John, Paul George and Ringo.  The Doors was a 1991 biopic starring Val Kilmer as Jim Morrison front man of the popular 60's group by the same name.  Both groups paved the way for many artists today who were or still are influenced by their music and also the popularity and the changes their music made. 

My professor brought up a good point that in a Hard Day's Night, the times seemed simpler.  Girls in dresses or skirts running chasing the guys.  With the doors dropping on the scene in 1965 a year later from the release of a hard day's night, the people seem more free love and less simple.  War, love, peace free speech and fear seemed to be fueling a nation.  The Beatles still had their fans but times changed and leaned more towards the Doors and the Who. You can also tell this through the lyrics and melody.  Beatles had more poppy, catchy tunes.  The Doors had more intense and even darker sound along with the lyrics.

I think other influential artists who changed music and paved the way for performers of today are Selena and 1Direction.  Selena changed music by being one of the first artists to have her song be in both Spanish/English topping the charts.  Aside from the popularity of her music, Selena sadly is also known for her abrupt untimely death.  Her successful career though paved the way for several artists to crossover and have a fan base in both languages. 

1Direction is one of those rare right moment stories where five strangers audition for X Factor in Great Britain and get voted off but is later grouped together by Simon Cowell.  They are to me The Beatles craze all over again.  Reason being is not for the music which can be catchy on occasion but because their handsome young men with British accents just like the Beatles.  In my humble opinion I believe the Beatles lyrics have a little more something to them.  None the less, the music is definitely different but the crazed female fans and the millions of dollars in merchandise, film and ticket sales is on the same plateau as them. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Mission Impossibly Successful!

I think our project went really well. Especially after we all reached a consensus on what our project should be narrowed down too. I would like to think I played a part like everyone else by suggesting certain topics for our game & bringing what I hope to be a helpful positive attitude to the group. I feel we had the best reaction to our game in the sense where everyone was wanting to say something. True it was the usual suspects who spoke, but others kind of came out of their cocoon because they knew the material and wanted candy. I felt like it went so well we could have easily done all of class time. I think for future reference that maybe mission impossible should almost be combined with bond as a group topic. We all found it to be a little hard to watch. Boring almost because we've seen things like this done before only more amped up.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Romantic Comedy or Rom Com.

In class we started discussing the Romantic Comedy or more currently known as the "Rom Com".  These types of films relate to both men and women but certain films lean towards the female gender and vice versa.  We talked about what false hopes or what things do you get from these types of films.  One classmate had mentioned that when watching these films love is for everyone and then my professor remarked back saying that if love is for everyone then why don't you have someone.  These films also give you a "happy ending" or the even the "Hollywood" ending where everything is splendid and showing that these two people will enviably end up together.  In our culture or society that's what people want to see.  The cute guy, the pretty girl, their issues, the happy ending.  People want to escape and watch something end up perfect because things in real life don't always end up like that. 

The film were currently viewing in class kind of breaks that formula a bit.  The lead character George has a woman that loves him but he is going through a mid-life crisis and treats her more like a friend.  All of the sudden he sees this other woman on her wedding day and is instantaneously attracted and must find out everything about her.  We haven't finished the film but his character reminds of Julia Robert's in Eat Pray Love.  Both characters are unsure what they want but Julia's is in my opinion more cruel by deciding to end her marriage without even consulting her husband.  Both films have broken the popular concept for these films.

I think the biggest film to break this perfect ending was 500 Days of Summer.  Not to spoil the film because its a very good story but they don't end up together.  She loves him but is not IN love with him.  He thought about marriage and a future with her but she ends up with someone else.  The "Rom Com" serves a purpose with audiences but I believe the concept we have known for a long time is changing.  Some people now prefer reality as opposed to fiction.

Friday, September 20, 2013


Superhero's to me have always been Spiderman, Batman, Superman etc.... The thing with them is, they live in crime stricken cities.  They fight the bad guys and they have a plethora of them.  Captain planet from the 90's fought for the planet's Eco-system and it's future for generations to come.

My superhero would....well I don't know what he would do.  The Charismatic Crusader has fellow citizens of  Boom City raving about his adventures.  Men want to be him & ladies swoon and faint at the mere mention of him.  He fights cry with a wink and a gun.....finger gun that is.  He schmoozes with evil doers until they are compelled to become a model citizen.  He'll give you a pep talk, flash his pearly whites and says his infamous phrase "I don't need luck for my charms."

Elephant Man

Have seen clips from the film and heard quotes and other dialogue spoken over my lifetime but have never took the time to sit down and read it until now.  I don't want to give the story away but it's a fascinating tale of a man John Merrick who developed facial distortion in his youth and became an outsider or outcast among society.  All he wanted was to fit in with said society but in doing so he changed his unique qualities in a sense to become like us.  What's so special about us?  There's kind of a similar reference to this in the book between Treves, Merrick's friend & Gomm where Treves asks is there something wrong with us?  It kind of highlights the fact that we ourselves are not that fantastic meaning we are human, we make mistakes, we are imperfect. 

I think the book highlights Merrick wanting to fit in to society but truth be told he really is like everyone else in society.  Other than his deformities and probably being denied a proper education because of them, he is just like everyone else.  They saw him as something different and to most different can be or is scary and therefore people steer away from it or make it a negative thing.  He's probably your favorite character in the story aside from Merrick because it kind of had a Of Mice & Men feel like Lennie & George.  You feel for Lennie's disability & George's frustration in keeping George safe and taken care of.  Merrick just wanted a "normal" life.  To lay with a women, have friends and be treated as an equal.  To a certain degree he was treated like an equal with presents and his "friends" who would visit but it seemed more like charity then true kindness.  The book is a great read and what's even more interesting is that your reading true tale so that brings the content of the book to a higher level in terms of understanding how thinking was back then and has it changed that much?

I recommend this book highly and I think the next step for myself would be to see this in actual play format.  To see this performed live would be a delight.