Category Archives: loss of innocence

Tackling Life Through Film

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Life is gritty,  it is messy  and mistakes happen often.  There are no

‘easy’ paths to take nor do you expect things to always fall into place

in the real world. The film, “Boyhood,” which tackles reality of life in

relationships and many dimensions of everyday families has been

well received. You may have heard that Richard Linklater wrote and

directed this original screenplay.  Instead of using different actors to

portray time passing and people aging, he used the unique process of

gathering all the same people together to make this film, year after

year.  It took twelve years to make, “Boyhood.”

 

The beginning of each school year is carefully documented with

the different locations the family has moved to, along with the

ever changing wide variety of characters in each segment.

 

Two children who share the story’s childhood are played by his

daughter, Lorelei Linklater and newcomer, Ellar Coltrane. The

reoccurring character roles for a period of twelve years. You see

Lorelei acting like Britney Spears in her famous song, “I’m Not

That Innocent.” The adults who portray their parents are played

by Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette. This endearing movie just

may possibly win the 87th Academy Award’s “Best Picture of

the Year.”

 

Here are some of the themes displayed in this ground-breaking

film:

Love

Marriage

Children

Divorce

Family

Bullying

Finding your passion

Elementary School dynamics

Moving to other homes/schools

High School dynamics

College education

Photography

Empty Nest

Religion

Music

Art

 

Relationships

Connections

Forgiveness

 

When my good friend, Gary, who writes for a living on the staff

of the “Columbus Dispatch” asked me to let him know what I

thought about the movie, “Boyhood,” I may have responded a

little bit late at night. I wrote him a rather long text about my

feelings about the movie. Overall, I told him, along with my

youngest daughter and my brother, Rich, I would give this a

three * * * rating out of four * * * *.

 

There are very interesting aspects to this movie, one is how

the mother really tries to help her children lead a successful

life, while still making poor relationship/marriage choices.

Oh boy. This is actually my story being played on the Big

Screen.

The first husband ends up the ‘best of the lot.’ There are times

you feel he is really ‘on the ball,’ showing he cares by being very

articulate and expressing how much he wants to know his two

children, son and daughter’s thoughts. He engages in a serious

sexual conversation, which did not embarassess me at all. It

was so reminiscent of both my parents it startled me. This is

quite disconcerting, since we are open-minded and say just

about anything, my brothers and both my parents, when my

Dad was alive. My Mom is still a ‘hoot’ because she is about

the most modern woman I know, except possibly Betty White,

who also is above 80 years old. She just turned 90, right?

 

The sad element of the story is mentioned in my one word

use of “Bullying” in the list of different reoccurring themes in

the movie. Poor Mason, never seems ‘to catch a break.’ His Dad

cares about him, but gets preoccupied with his musical career.

Ethan Hawke does an excellent job singing, having also written

some of the songs they all sing in the movie.  He is used as a

scapegoat by his mother’s second husband and is bullied by her

third husband. He manages to get through several of the moves,

jobs and choices by just ‘sliding,’ playing a kind of  ‘slacker.’ But

underneath the surface, Mason is the central character you are

rooting for throughout the movie. He is a deep thinker, an artist,

with a camera, a daydreamer, and he makes it to college, winning

a silver medal and scholarship.

 

Does this encompass too much revealing information? No, I will

reassure you, it is the slow unwinding of the story, as if it were

a book you were reading chapter by chapter. The summary on

the book jacket (or in this film,  the DVD case) doesn’t tell you

the whole story.

 

Will you like it? I hope so.

You will need to set aside time, take breaks and I feel take time

to digest the story. I had to rewind the film since the changes in

his elementary years are NOT designated, “One year later.” You

have to ‘keep up with the film,’ pay attention to how quickly the

girl develops and seems to be a ‘brat’ until she becomes more

confident in her own ability to be independent.

 

Patricia Arquette is amazing. I felt her world. I felt her needs

and her interests. I felt her ‘weight of the world,’ trying the very

best she could to make wise choices, leaving bad, abusive man

behind. Her mother is well portrayed and the woman that her

first husband gets married to is interesting. Her parents also

come into the story line, making a unique impact on the kids’

lives, too.

 

When the movie opens, the boy Mason is lying in a yard with green

grass under him and a brilliant blue sky above him. The song which

starts this out is Coldplay’s song, “Yellow.” It is really perfect and

sets the tone for the movie viewer. The soundtrack includes many

famous musicians.  I would like to entice you by sharing some of

their names here. As mentioned, original music is introduced in the

movie, too. (Ethan Hawke wrote several songs, one the family all sing.)

Lady Gaga sings two songs, “LoveGame” and “Telephone.” Bob Dylan’s

song is. “Beyond the Horizon.” The Black Keys, Gotye, Foo Fighters,

Kings of Leon, the Beatles and Mason’s father’s (Ethan Hawke’s)

interpretation of their split up. I would like to see his own rendition

of the way the Beatles’ solo careers should be put into one album.

 

“Crazy” sung by Gnarls Barkley is a fantastic song. Had not heard

this version before. “Deep Blue,” sung by Arcade Fire band, with Ken

Butler and William Butler being part of the group of musicians and

lyricists who wrote the final song played during the credits was

outstanding.

 

I rewound the final song, with some tears going down my face. It is

a touching story, with all the traits of true storytelling genius. The

way Richard Linklater and his whole crew, team and actors worked

together on this made this an impressive movie. I took note even

the first song being called, “Yellow” and the last song, “Deep Blue,”

seemed like they handled the details perfectly.

 

The 87th Academy Awards Ceremony will be on tonight. Neil

Patrick Harris will be the host. If you watch television, you

have seen the ‘hype’ for many of the films. I have seen almost

all of the ones in the best picture, actor and actress categories.

If you wish to see my reviews or summaries, I have written of

“The Theory of Everything,” “The Imitation Game,” “Selma,”

“Big Hero 6,” “Gone Girl” and “Unbroken.”

 

I shall be watching it, along with the pre-show Red Carpet on,

“E!” channel.

 

Will you be watching?

If so, do you have your any favorites?

 

 

 

 

A Quest for Forgiveness

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I watched the movie, “Philomena,” at home with all the lights turned out. I

usually like to watch movies with someone. I had reserved this at the library,

for my good friend, Jenny, and I to watch. Her aunt died, unfortunately, and

they were going to be away. Although I mention her death, it is something

that Jenny and her family have chosen to view as ‘for the best,’ due to her

declining health and age. Just so you know.

 

I was by myself absorbing a piece of history, a time where there were some

“edges” to the kindness, found in religion. Judgment went hand in hand with

the predicament that Philomena got into. There was a sad part of this movie,

which will not ‘ruin’ it for you, that must be talked about.

 

Since no one was there, to discuss and ponder with, after the movie ended.

You will be my person I go to, who may contemplate what bothered me about

the movie. I wonder why some people who take on positions, like a particular

nun in Philomena’s life, have to be so cruel?

 

The man, Martin Sixsmith, who was a journalist and someone who liked to

write about ‘straight news,’ was assigned a ‘fluff piece,’ or so he thought. He

ended up becoming involved with a woman’s life, which ultimately changed

his life.

Martin Sixsmith wrote a book that was published in 2009 called, “The Lost

Child of Philomena Lee.” I will recommend this, before even reading it.

When life slows down in my ‘day job’ at the warehouse, (busy summers, less

so, in the winters) I will be getting this book out of the library to read.

My grandchildren will soon be back to school, so less busy times ahead in the

evenings for me. I will enjoy reading this fine story, despite my knowing its

ending. The details that are given within books, images and evocative incidents

resonate so much more when the words weave their tale.

The story of how Philomena gets pregnant is brief. It is a fleeting, emotional

choice; yet it shows her affection and interest in the young man. There are many

times in her life, she may have regretted this moment. Overall, it did not dampen

her outward spirits. Philomena is such a positive source of light and laughter.

She reminded me of the zany character of my Great Aunt Marie. Philomena has

‘gumption!’

She tells most of her stories to Martin with levity, without too many complaints.

She does hide her shame and her inward remorse, for what she did. She admits

to saying the rosary and going to confession many, many times, over the years.

It is when her son would have turned 50, that she mentions it finally to her own

daughter, she raised in wedlock. Her daughter is catering an event for Martin’s

fiftieth birthday, that is how the story begin. . .

 

She was a teenager, taken to stay at a home for expectant mothers. The nun’s

emphasis of their being “unwed mothers” is stressed in a negative fashion.

 

Parents trying to connect with their child they put up for adoption, adults who

were put up for adoption and anyone who enjoys a good, heart-wrenching story,

will all enjoy this movie. I am sure you will find meaning in the book, too. After

all, it inspired a wonderful and well-received movie.

 

Thousands of Irish-Catholic adopted children, raised to adulthood, are still

trying to find their ‘roots.’ They are wanting to find their heritage and their

families. The reasons for the secretive records are disclosed in the book and

the movie.

The ‘nunnery’ she was sent to live until her child was born, was named, Sacred

Heart. It held a serious (sanctimonious) attitude towards ‘sin.’

The expectant mothers were supposed to work, for their ‘room and board.’ They

had to do this 5-6 days a week. Philomena’s job was laundry, by hand, with lye

soap. Scrubbing their skin off their young hands, under rough and hot conditions.

 

One self-righteous nun, Philomena remembers, was cruel in her expectations

of these young women who were away from their families and homes. Sadly, the

head nun’s attitude was expressed, “Atonement is required for your sins.”

Not that these girls, didn’t go to Confession as often as possible!

 

The babies were only allowed to be seen once a day by their mothers, if their work

was done.

 

At one point, I was bawling, tears streaming and sobs ensuing. There was a place

on one of the simple cots they slept on, if Philomena stood on it, it brought back

the memory of her son being taken away in a car. His face is pressed to the window.

 

You know this, from the very beginning:

Philomena didn’t want to give up her baby boy.

 

The story from beginning to end, includes a lot of fun and silly parts. Martin’s

teasing Philomena and Philomena’s assessments of life, people and situations

all are so special, warm and happy. You will carry the part that Judi Dench

portrayed, this amazing woman, who did become a nurse and did try to lead a

righteous life, in your head for days. It has taken me since Friday, to put into

words, the way I came to love Philomena.

 

Judi Dench did not win an Academy Award, nor was Steven Coogan nominated,

but this movie is stellar.

 

Judi Dench did an outstanding job in her 2013 portrayal of this indomitable lady.

“Philomena” will steal a piece of your heart.

The Opposite of Romance

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There were Saturday afternoon movies on television where

the brothers got to take a turn choosing the movie. Which

meant; it must be winter! Then, while they were outside

gallivanting in the Spring or Fall, I sometimes wanted to

get ‘lost’ in a movie and dream’ a little.

One of my favorite ‘escape’ movies was called, “Tammy and

the Bachelor,” starring Debbie Reynolds. She played a 17

year old girl, living barefoot along a Mississippi swamp

with her Grandpa, played by Walter Brennan. Along comes a

city ‘folk’ handsome man named, Leslie Nielson. You can

just guess what transpires!

There are four ‘Tammy’ movies, if you wish to indulge in

plots that resemble cotton candy spun into tales of love

and romance. I adored these, along with the old black and

white “Thin Man” movies. These were about a wealthy

married couple but enjoyed playing detectives. Myrna Loy

plays a rather ‘spunky’ wife, with William Powell as her

debonair husband. This comedy-romance movie spun off

into quite a collection of films.

Today’s post could not be written on Tuesday or Wednesday,

since I really had a debate with myself. I was unsure

what you would consider about my thoughts about the recent

debacle on a silly show called, “The Bachelor.”

I mean this week is “Brain Awareness Week” and what am I

doing writing about a show that most probably consider

‘mindless drivel?’ Pretty ironic!

I would be remiss if I didn’t say that I had watched the

Bachelor show, observing dating in its most unnatural

habitat. How could I have a witless dating after fifty

blog and not have some comments to ‘weigh in with?’

Although the ancient, and almost extinct, patterns

depicted in this season’s show were amusing, they also

had some alarming warnings.

The Bachelor, Juan Pablo, has become fairly infamous

in the past two days. Besides there were many people

who had purposely watched the season. I can only

imagine women cringing behind their pillows, gritting

their teeth every time he said such surface-oriented

compliments.

On the show, I noticed there were few women who even

noticed his very shallow dialogue and subject matters

in their conversations. Almost all seemed to get big

grins on their faces, while we watched him ingratiate

himself with such comments as,

“You are so sexy!’

“You are the most beautiful woman.”

“You look pretty today.”

or, using his Spanish, “Ay, ay, ay!” (Meaning ‘Oh, my!’)

It happened to be the Final Rose Ceremony and the

episode that usually ends with a marriage proposal.

Lots of current hype about the show, the shocked

silence in the studio audience. The stunned host,

even, shaking his head.

Either you caught the different wild stories on

the entertainment news or you may have already

seen a cover story about Juan Pablo. He pocketed

the diamond ring that he had us all focus in on

while he chose this with the Lane Jewelry man

who makes his periodic appearance, when the final

show is approaching.

When Juan is about to tell Claire, one of the two

final women left on the show, that she is not his

heart’s desire, she figures it out. She had already

insinuated that he had made a major rude ‘under the

radar,’ (possibly crude) statement to her on their

‘island date.’ As they were disembarking from the

plane, while no microphones would pick up his not

so nice comment, which threw Claire through a loop.

She made a big deal about that she had expected a

different kind of ‘sweet nothing’ whispered in her

ear. We can just imagine.. He was, according to Claire,

‘crude.’

On their final night together, Juan had persuaded

Claire to soften her heart. He was giving promises and

espousing future plans of their having babies together

and raising his daughter, Camilla. She had decided she

loved him, would ‘forgive’ his faux pas and was ready

to get engaged to him.

I think, after all these years, I had a sick to my

stomach feeling. A deja vu moment. I saw myself, talking

myself into accepting what most, including my parents,

would consider ‘unacceptable behavior.’ This happened to

me!

I felt compelled to write this, thinking that it may

save one person from this foolish mistake. To cover

a television show that I do feel within the realm of

my interests and studying dating patterns. Little did

I realize the ‘reality show’ would open up my memories

of a bad situation.

When Juan did not ask Claire, but told her that she

was not the one he loved, she let him have it. That

she would not take a hug, she put her arms out and

with a firm (and not bitchy voice) said that she would

not want to marry him nor wish to have any children

with him. She felt sorry for the one who would be

part of his future life. (This is the gist of Claire’s

final ‘stand,’ I am sure there are videos of this

episode, if you wish to get the juicy details.)

So, the final night with the second girl did not

go too smoothly either. Nikki had written Juan a

very heartfelt letter, professing her love for him.

She had already told him once before and she also

(like Claire) had been one of three girls to take

Juan ‘home with them.’

Nikki is saddened that Juan does not say any sort of

answer to her thoughts, her question being, ‘Do you

love me?’ This final night, she cries because she

is unsure of his answer.

Unless you have been living under a rock, or hate this

sort of thing, (hopefully you stopped reading awhile ago.)

Nikki was not given a ring nor asked to get married, by

Juan. Nikki, again, tells Juan she loves him and has

enjoyed every moment together…

Juan tells her he is not going to ask her to marry him

until he ‘is very sure’ or that he is ‘100% sure.’

Then when she has poured her heart out once again, Juan

says these words:

“I like you a lot.”

Seriously!

One smart man, Sean, who chose a great partner, in

Katherine (or Catherine) is in the studio audience

watching along with two other couples and a full

room. Three couples have followed the procedures,

kept the pattern or formula of finding their partners

and gotten married.

Sean says a wise statement,

“Isn’t this like biting the hand that feeds you?”

He is astounded that even on the “After the Final Rose

Ceremony,” Juan is not able to say he loves Nikki nor

if or when they will get married.

Lots of red flags have gone off, in my own head, during

the course of this particular Bachelor’s season. Juan is

able to kiss and do more with some, but says to others,

“Out of respect for my daughter, I will not kiss all the

women.”

He chose to go out into the ocean with Claire, where it

looks in the moonlight, like they are making out. Possibly

more.

The next day, Juan gave HER a lecture about disrespecting

his daughter, making her feel bad that she had ‘enticed him

into there.’ Presumably, they did more together that night

than he had planned. She was half of the equation and yet,

he doesn’t say he is sorry. No, he places the blame on her!

If I were a pediatric nurse, as Nikki is, I would have

used my mind and my intuition to pack my bags really

early on. Looking back at the season’s shows, maybe she

still will walk out.

Here are my quick words about the girls that stayed,

once Juan’s behaviors became questionable:

Have you been brainwashed?

Have you not been out on a date for quite awhile?

Are you desperate?

Did you get ‘caught up in the moment’ and possibly

got into a competitive spirit… which explains why

you didn’t care that Juan is not the ‘brightest

bulb on the Christmas tree?’

Have you ever heard of Stockholm syndrome? Were you

held against your will?

This season’s Bachelor show did not do well in the

producer’s choice in a man to follow the guidelines.

The parents, during the family ‘hometown visit’ had

been saying that Juan doesn’t always know who to

choose, is immature and also, that he is egotistical.

I see Juan trying to come off as nice and easygoing,

while showing a lot of control and forethought into

his actions.

During commercials the week before this Final Rose

Ceremony program, they called this, “The Most

Controversial Bachelor Show Ever!”

I would call it the show that held women back in time,

to when they were not able to make their own choices.

It was a ‘throw back’ to the giddy, but sweet, movies,

like “Tammy and the Bachelor.”

Too bad it did not have the lovely innocence or

sentimentality needed in a truly romantic show.

We’re Among Friends, Right?

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At the risk of appearing immodest or vulgar, let me say those under

50 plus years may not want to read this! I have spent over 20 years

walking with a couple of girlfriends, with covering the whole gamut

of subjects. We cannot believe we have come to the topics we now

discuss. Some of these are ones I’m sure if we had had a crystal ball

to search and gaze into back in our thirties, we would have been so

shocked to hear the things coming out of our mouths!

Here are a few comments about each subject matter, hopefully not

too shocking these days with what is on commercials and more open

discussions, too. Here in no particular order or priority are what has

come up lately:

“Why do bald men have such long and curling hair coming out of their

ears and other places like the back of their neck?”

“Why do I have a couple of odd and errant places that I need to weed

whack with my razor on my chin, upper lip and neck?”

“Do you ever feel that you need to try some of those enhancement 

products to make everything “smooth sailing?” (For examples “warming

gel,” “personal lubricant, or “pure pleasure arousal gel?”)

“Does your partner need to try the products for erectile dysfunction?”

(I once had a partner who really did think if God intended him to have

an erection, than he would have one. Otherwise, there was no need 

for sexual intercourse since we already had procreated. I wanted to

scream! “But what about God’s gift of intelligence that created such

products and medicines? Also, why on earth do some men’s sex 

drive go the opposite direction from their wives? And, visa versa.)

Last, but not least of recent topics, from a movie way back when

we were in our thirties, (1993) “Indecent Proposal.” If I had been

approached by Robert Redford in that time period, I would have

been 38 years old, still single then! Yes! Yes! I would have taken

a million dollars and had sex with his character in that movie.

I could not believe Demi Moore’s character and her husband,

Woody Harrelson’s character debating about such a subject!

Oh, yes, I do know this is totally irreverent to marriage and its

sacred sanctimony. But come on! Once and you are rich!!

I believe that we have covered enough stuff but will not venture

into the gross subjects that include the leakage from different

orifices and the products and pads needed to correct and 

collect such matter.

We have gone over the line today, I am sure! But, we are 

among friends, aren’t we?

 

Broken in Spirit

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I have a male friend who has been broken in spirit for quite

awhile. He was only 11 when he lost his innocence. At the

time, he thought he should go around and brag. He was proud

of the older babysitter who had taken him to bed. He was way

“ahead of the game!” Or so he thought.

I think back at my age 11 and see myself so happy, carefree and

learning how to be grown up. Sometimes I would like trying coffee

or having a sip of an alcoholic drink that was left over from my

parents’ parties. The morning after, my brothers and I would eat

the mixed nuts, nibble on the leftover appetizers, crackers and

cheese, and a sip of the drinks. I usually would think they were too

strong and not like them. Occasionally, I would find a maraschino

cherry that had the bourbon taste from an Old Fashioned. That was

good.

At the same time, I was also told by my mother the facts of life. Along

with my brothers, neighbor kids and all. One day in the summer time

my brothers and I had come back from our morning helping at Head Start

and having stopped at the grocery story on the way home. We were unloading

the car of groceries when a familiar blue box fell out of a bag. My brother

asked, “Why are our napkins in a box now instead of the regular package?”

(You may remember the box would be labeled “Sanitary Napkins!”)

Anyway, my mother said she would put them away in the bathroom and tell

us later why.

My Mom was a cool and savvy person who knew whatever she taught us, we

would pass around the neighborhood. So, she got on the phone, (summers off

from teaching, other mom’s at home…) and asked the parents if it would be

okay to do sex education with a group of the older kids at her house and she

would serve cookies and lemonade. All the parents she called, I am sure felt

relieved to hear the news, and said, “Of course.”

That is how we all three learned about the birds and the bees, myself 11, my

next younger brother 9 1/2 and my youngest brother was 7. The neighborhood

kids asked a lot of good questions. It makes me chuckle now, because someone

had seen a big “69” on the sidewalk down the street and asked their parents

“What does that mean?” They knew it must mean something, because the Dad

had stammered and said, “Go ask your mother.” And the Mom had said, “Never

mind.”

My Mom told them the meaning of “69.” All of us looked at the floor and could not

look at the opposite sex in the room for awhile after that!

Also she told us, this is rather important, that you should love your own body, be

proud of it. That you should never feel ashamed or do anything that makes you feel

uncomfortable. She emphasized that we should tell our parents if we were asked to

do something with our clothes off. Even if it were a grandpa, aunt or uncle. First

ask, she said, to make sure you were not being hurt or something bad may happen.

This audience was so much easier than her high school English or Spanish classes!

No rude noises or smart remarks.

Actually, we were all kind of quiet until we each thought of something like that

question mentioned.

Finally, she told us that we should treasure something called “virginity” and

not give it away until we were at least 18. She used this number because she

said to us, “That is when men can go to war.”

We asked her more details and she had some brochures to pass out. She had

these from a year before when she had thought about doing this very same

thing. After all, one of my girlfriends had her period at age 10 and that had

started the wheels turning in Mom’s head!

Years later, I am happy to tell you that my teen aged  brothers and I were open

and honest. We talked about first base and all when we were dating and asked

a few questions between ourselves. My parents would have been sensitive and

answered more as we grew but we used each other as references. We made it past

18 and not bragging, I made it to 19.

I used the same concept of using anatomically correct terms with my three children.

My two daughters made it to age 19 and my son lost his at age 16. We talked about

masturbation and trying not to go “below the belt” too soon. “Once you go too far,

you can never go back,” I preached as a single mother.

I am appalled that my male friend lost his need for  playing “kick the can,”

“capture the flag,” and “hide and seek” along with other childhood favorite games.

My guy friend claims that from the moment his 15 year old babysitter taught him all

the “fun things he could do” at age 11, he lacked interest in games all together.

My friend, sadly, also stopped paying attention to school and homework. It all

became a blur until he married “the hottest girl in high school.” They had three

children before age 21! He has been married and divorced four times. (Even that

I feel bad for, because he did want to “do the right thing and get married to each

woman.”)

This is not to judge that part of the story. The loss of innocence warped him

and it made a huge impact on his decision making throughout his life!

On the late night that he shared this story over the phone, I could hear

him snuffling. I asked him did he need a shoulder to cry on? He declined my

coming over just to hold him. I repeated, “Everything’s going to be all right.”

He cares now and wishes now, that he could redo his life from right before that

moment in time. He would like to make it come out differently. If he could “turn

back time” he would go directly there.

He wishes his life could be started all over again from age 11 on. I have read

a few blogs with quite hair raising childhood stories that could compete with his

story. He is a human being with as many human frailties as we all have. Maybe

just slanted a little differently. It makes me want to “fix” his life but cannot even

contemplate that or try to. He will be my friend and only a friend. He probably

could use some counseling sessions with a professional to work out some of

the anguish and pain. Any suggestions that could ease his blaming himself for

something that someone did to him?