Monday, 22 June 2015

Great Movies

Lately I seem to have renewed my appreciation of movies, after becoming slightly sick of watching the same stories unfold over and over again on TV shows.

It's amazing the works of art that can be created through movies.  It's amazing the emotions they can make us feel.  I wouldn't call myself an emotional person, but sometimes I still can't help but cry when watching movies.  I'm not sure if everyone else does too.

In history we're learning about World War 2, the Holocaust in particular after we completed our semester test.  We're watching Steven Spielberg's Schindler's List in class, and were meant to finish it today in the double period.  Despite the fact that I'm staying home today, I felt the need to finish the movie by myself anyway, and that's exactly what I did.

Oscar Schindler, the saviour, isn't the most likeable man.  He's a selfish business man, he loves women, he loves money.  The only reason he employs Jews is because they're cheap.  He uses war for demand, and slave labour to supply, and the only reason his factory could be called a 'haven' is because he employed a Jewish man to run the business for him.  He does become a humanitarian in the end though, after seeing the horrendous treatment of these human beings first hand.  Based on a true story, Oscar Schindler manages to save around 1100 Jews in this work of art.

The movie is confronting and intense and ingenuous.  It's filmed in black and white, but the colour red appears sometimes, creating all sorts of symbolism.  I see red as blood on the Nazi soldiers' uniforms.  I saw red on the coat of the little girl going into hiding.  Sometimes there was even a subtle red filter on different members of the Nazi party, or maybe I was imagining that.  There was so much unadulterated cruelty in this movie, and I never want to watch it again.

On to a happier note, the other night my mum chose the movie, Saving Mr. Banks, which is based on the true story of P.L Travers, the author of Mary Poppins, and how Walt Disney had trouble trying to gain the rights to her story.  It wasn't all Disney and happiness though.  In fact, it was quite a sad story as well.

"People write stories to set things right in the world." says Walt Disney to Travers.  Mary Poppins is based upon her childhood which she never quite got over.  Her father died, her story was sad, and her own version of Mary Poppins didn't succeed in fixing everything.  So I guess she had to write a version where Mary did.

I just love how the message isn't that Mary Poppins came to save the children, but rather to save the father.  There's the issue of the banks and the money and the children, and the cruelty and misunderstanding of Mr. Banks; but he really is a good person after all.  He loves them, just as her father really did love her.  At the end he fixes the kite, and what should be a happy ending is bittersweet and cry-worthy.

And last of all, today I decided to watch 10 Things I Hate About You because it has Heath Ledger and why not.  Seriously, this movie is one of the best.

It just makes me so so happy.  My favourite scenes would have to be Heath Ledger's face when he says "Are you saying I'm not a pretty boy"; when Kat's drunk at that party, dancing on tables and Patrick (Heath) is being all caring; when Cameron (Gordon-Levitt) goes on a tirade and Bianca kisses him to get him to shut up; and that paintball date after Kat flashes the teacher to get Patrick out of detention.  I just feel like smiling.

There were also so many things I didn't notice about this movie in all the times I've watched it before.  The counsellor's name is Ms Perky, the English teacher is really against white people, Heath's got an Australian accent the whole time, and at one point the dad says "My insurance doesn't cover PMS" which is just the funniest thing.  I mean, I probably did notice this stuff but I must not have remembered any of it.

Kat is also a pretty empowered person, I reckon.  It's funny how someone invented 15 years ago can embody idealistic culture now.  The difference is that back then what she did was weird, and now it would be considered cool for being unconventional.  The way she draws on the porch, listens to indie music and reads opinionated books; the way she sticks to her philosophy of doing things for herself and not society's expectations - Girls today envy that.

If someone would make a chick flick just as good as that one today, I'd really appreciate it.


Saturday, 6 June 2015

Parental Expectations

They're not as perfect as we used to think, back when we were 5 and they knew everything.  They're far from it.  Maybe this is what happens when you've been studying someone for your entire life - you can identify all the ugliest parts of them.  And maybe the only reason they seem so ugly is because they reflect your own inner demons, and you know that one day you're inevitably going to turn out like them.

I can see the immature thoughts in their mannerisms, in the things they say, the way they conduct and direct conversations and their actions.  It's those immature thoughts I didn't think any adults had, when really they're just people with more experience at hiding this ugliness in public.

Because I know my parents so well, sometimes I can't keep my mouth shut and I try to explain philosophies of their negative behaviours to them, but I can never quite say it right, subtly enough, so I'm going to try to explain it to you, here:

In my parents I see the self-absorbed need to prove themselves, and part of this self-worth comes from not only proving themselves to themselves, but also getting recognition of their awesomeness from others.  They can't help but say phrases like "I told you so" or "You see!  I'm right!"  It's come to the point where as soon as I admit that something my mum said was right, I'll wait 5 seconds for the "I told you so" because I know it's coming.

My dad does this in another way.  He just loves making himself look good, or whatever his definition of "good" is (sometimes it's questionable).  He likes attention.  He likes indirectly, but still obviously, bragging.  He puts himself down to gain attention, just like your regular attention seeking teenage girl.  He wants everyone to think he's smart, or he's funny, so he'll try to paint himself that way in any situation, looking like a fool to me and possibly the person/people he's trying to impress.

They come from a culture I find somewhat displeasing - where students are pitted against each other to see who's better at everything, specifically academics.  It's why their friends and themselves enjoy proving themselves so much.  My mum tells me about how snobby some of her relatives and friends are, how they'll only give you their fake-as time of day if you're wealthy.  They have friends who talk about how self-absorbed I apparently am, when my parents are self-absorbedly talking about how self-absorbed these said friends are.

In my family my dad and I do this thing where we belittle my mum every time she says something we find stupid.  He laughs at her and we treat her so disrespectfully, as if she's not as smart as us.  It's a form of bullying, and like most forms of bullying the motive behind it is a sense of empowerment, that you're smarter than them.  In turn, my mum belittles her colleagues.  She always warns me about bitchiness when she's the biggest bitch I know.  She'll blatantly say, "I'm actually a very nice person.  Everyone says so." or "I'm very intelligent."  We all want to prove we're alphas, and we persuade ourselves in our heads that we are, when really we're all insignificant people and no one really gives a shit.

They're also so spiteful, and it comes from that blinding red hot rage you sometimes feel, where you start plotting distasteful revenge in your head, on everything you could hold over the other person.  Of course, being my parents, they have a lot they can hold over me.  When I was younger, my mum said she wouldn't plait my hair in the morning.  Then it became: "I won't take you to school" or "You can't use the big shower".  She actually took the effort to inconveniently move all my stuff into a different bathroom today, all out of spite.  And eventually, when I'm all grown up, they'll have nothing to hold over me and we may end up not speaking to each other.

I do know they love me, and they have good intentions for me.  But the lack of genuine empathy in this family is astounding.  When it comes to being kind, it's for the idea that they're a kind person.  It's just another way to prove that you're great.  It's seldom that any of us truly feel sad for any reason other than ourselves.  We're a family of selfish people, except maybe my sister.  She never shows any utter self-absorption.  But then, she's so self-deprecatory.  She's so insecure, but still worried mainly about herself.  Is it that everyone in this world is partially selfish?

I come from a family of people who won't be satisfied unless they believe they're special in a way.  It's a family of hypocrites, attention-cravers, insecurity and blaming.  To me, these are the ugliest characteristics in the world because they're the uglies I've grown up with.  These people can take pleasure in putting people down for every single thing they've done wrong, but manage to feel bad about it later.  And in this family, I win the competition of who's the most selfish, of who contains the most of these uglies, because I feel it so much, and I show it the most.

But what's the point of understanding all this and not putting it into positive action.  I guess all I can do is learn from all their mistakes, and learn from all the beautiful parts of them too.  People like this end up being somewhat powerful and successful, but shallow and unhappy in a way as well.  Pin-pointing uglies in less-than-perfect parents is pin-pointing parts of you to eradicate, or to cover like a blemish.

Note: I've literally been out all day and  it's late and I am exhausted.  Don't mind my untidy grammatically incorrect rant x