Movies and Me

Once upon a time, there was a pool on a roof that had a leak, and there was a kid who dreamed of writing books for shows and movies which only existed in his mind.

Now, there’s only a forty year-old man, with his waning memory and degrading writing skills, waiting for something to bring it all back.

But once upon a time, he dared to dream and live up in the clouds. He dared to see the world, to see things dangerous to come to, to see behind walls, draw closer, to find others, and to feel.

These are the movies that shaped this kid into the man he now is. These are the movies he cried and laughed over. These are the movies that were etched into his mind as movies that had soul, grit, and tenacity. These are the movies he watches over and over again when he needs fuel for his soul. In a way, you can say these are the movies that defined him.

I will graduate life with honors, and without regret.

Whenever I look back at my life, I always look back at how this movie changed my life. For a time, I started collecting stones for my own “memories.” I bought The Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman because of this movie. My wife probably never even understood the significance when I gave her the book. I even wrote my final obituary “Simon style.” That damn obituary kept me alive throughout my bipolar years. I wanted to die a romantic death, so I kept putting off my suicidal thoughts. I wanted a perfect ending to my life like Simon did. This is the movie that has imparted this lesson to me very deeply

“O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless… of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?” Answer. That you are here – that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?

My young, idealistic self, asked myself that question too. What will my verse be? What will my contribution to the world be? To change the world and be remembered in my passing. I used to think I’ll do grandiose things, save the world from destruction, bring everlasting peace and all that jazz. At the twilight of my life, I now look at my life, standing on the seashore, thinking these thoughts to myself. It’s not me that I leave to the world. It’s my son and what he does. And I think I’ve done alright by the world, leaving a boy who is kind and infectious with his energy. I didn’t leave a version of me. That would have been a terrible malady upon the world.

Give me your hand. You know what this is? It’s my heart, and it’s broken.

I felt this so deeply that I had to spend all my young adult life being melodramatic. My heart was broken before it was whole. And for a while, I thought I would end up like Miss Havisham, handing down my heartbreak to someone else. It turns out that I would find my own Kaoru, which leads me to…

Tomoe haunted Kenshin all his life. But Kaoru brought him peace.

It’s not who got away who really mattered. It’s who stayed when all was lost who does. My wife often misunderstands why I loved this OVA so much. It’s not because the OVA reminded me so much of what I lost. It’s because the ending showed me so much of what I gained. Kenshin ended up with Kaoru and found peace with her. The swordsman laid down his sword because there’s no reason to wander anymore.

l have nowhere to send this letter. And l have no reason to believe you wish to receive it. l write it only for myself. l’ll hide it away with all the other things left undone between us. – Susannah

For a long while, I thought this would be how it would end for me. I was as haunted by Tristan about his brother’s death as I was about someone I lost as a friend. But I found my bear, and I went and defeated it.

“Tristan died in the moon of the popping trees. He was last seen in the north country, hunting. His grave is unmarked, but it does not matter. He had always lived in the borderland, anyway. Somewhere between this world and the other. ‘Twas a good death.”
Your pool must have a leak

This is all I have to say about this, really.

You can be loved by me!

It didn’t end the way the movies did. I never had the realization that Chris did. I had the epiphany years after the fact, after I chanced upon this movie on TV. And it dawned on me, “Oh, she was that crazy girl pushing everyone away, testing to see who comes back.” So that was why she asked me why I never called back, lol. In my defense, I was a bit dense back in the day. Okaaay. I was full on oblivious. Really thick. I finally understood the reference to 500 Days of Summers though. I misunderstood what you meant the first time you said it. But I finally got it years later.

The power of movies without words…

We watched this movie without subtitles, in it’s original language audio. And for the first time in my life, I realized the power of movies without words. It was this film that made me want to become a filmmaker. It still does.

Whatever you end up doing, love it. The way you loved the projection booth when you were a little squirt.

We can’t talk about film without taking about this masterpiece, this love letter to cinema. If there was ever a film that captured everything wonderful about cinema, this was that film. Everything about it just speaks genius. Including this heartbreaking soundtrack.

What I remember most from this film is that it gave us this soundtrack:

There’s many more I’d like to list down, but for now, I’ll stick with those that molded me during my formative years. And these are those films.

Idealistic Love is Not Ideal

Women think romance is all that there is about love. Getting swept off their feet, finding their knight in shining armor, finding their one true love – a soulmate even. Candlelit dinners, moonlit walks on the beach, a slow, rhythmic dance to a trippy love song…

You ask any woman what her idea of perfect love is and nine times out of ten, they’ll be able to describe it perfectly to you, with matching lists and a number of requirements to boot. It’s crazy! To think that love can be encompassed and be limited to a number of requirements on a woman’s bucket list. And mind you, men do it too. In a much simpler, barbaric way. They just look for a girl version of themselves, who will both be a mother and a whore to them. Kind of simple, if the man is simple. But find a fucking, complicated man more complicated than a motherfucking labyrinth and you get a bucket list longer than a fucking novel rivaling Madeleine’s Artamene.

We’re all reduced to looking for perfect loves and perfect matches, when in reality, no one is perfect, and no one (human) loves perfectly. So why look for something that does not exist? We’re all made with deficiencies – flaws that make us deliciously human and vibrantly more alive. So why look for perfect love when we’re all imperfect beings loving imperfectly?

Love shouldn’t be reduced to a list. Or a process of do’s and don’ts. Love just simply is. Without you knowing it or making a list, it’ll creep up to you from deep down your gut up to your heart, into deep, deep inside your mind. That’s how you know you’re in love. When you can’t find a reason for why you’re in love, and you just say, “I don’t know why, I just am.”

Love isn’t a formula, or a recipe. So go into it blindly, and come out of it with your eyes wide open – to the world.

Wanking, Writing, and Provoking Thought

A film review is supposed to do the following job: critique a film, and give possible audiences a preview of a film’s quality in order to help them decide whether to see a film or not. It’s also sometimes written for two audiences: industry insiders and moviegoers. As such, the writing of a critique depends heavily on who the audience is, and what the purpose of the writer is. If its purpose is simply to rate a film and give moviegoers a preview, then the writer has the responsibility to be objective in his review of the technical aspect of the film, to be honest of his opinion of the film, and to write his review in a manner that his readers can easily understand. Depending on the publication a critic writes for, his review can be as highfalutin or as ghetto as the audience expects it to be.

A film review can also be written to spur discussion, or influence industry insiders in some way. Again, it’s just a matter of writing for a different audience.

One thing however I think film reviewers should never do is spoil the film for others. I consider it a cardinal sin for reviewers to post spoilers of a film. In some instances, if the reviewer really wants to post a spoiler, spoiler tags must precede the post, giving readers a chance to avoid being spoiled.

I find it idiotic when reviewers, instead of actually reviewing a film, summarizes it. Nothing can be more enraging than for me to find a film summary instead of a film review. It’s okay to write what the film is about in vague terms as long as you don’t reveal the entire plot to the reader.

I also find it funny when people attack critics for their reviews. All our lives would be better if we just realize that reviews are nothing more than just opinions. You can let yourself be bothered by it, or ignore it completely. After all, it’s just one man’s opinion. Will it lessen your enjoyment of the film if others disparage it? If others like or dislike a film, why should it bother you? Be firm in your own opinion and be happy in the fact that you at least have one. Nothing good can come out of trying to change the opinion of others.

I’ve always considered film critics to be wankers. They with their uppity noses and their snobby little circles, trashing films left and right because it makes them feel good about themselves. To me, it was intellectual masturbation pure and simple. And it was utter bullshit. Who cares whether a film elevated art as long it was entertaining?

To me, as a moviegoer, the whole point of watching a film is to be entertained. The film being thought-provoking is just a bonus. I do however, expect a film to have a story, a coherent and entertaining one. Failing to have that will have me ripping the film to shreds much worse than a dog ripping your balls out.

As a filmmaker however, I see no point in making a film that will not promote change for the good. (I come from the Surf Reyes school of thought of filmmaking being an agent of social change for the good).

To the critic however, praise becomes ever more rare as they become inundated with the same tired stuff everyday. When you’ve watched as many films as these sons of a bitches have, you begin to become more and more unpleasable in your views. Because you have seen so much, little surprises you. And because you have seen the best, nothing can impress you again except more of the best. Your job in effect, makes you lose touch of the pulse of the ordinary audience. To you it is a boring tripe, overdone to death, but to others, it’s a refreshing film, mindblowing and totally unique. The job then becomes a challenge. To view a film, not with the tired eyes of a critic, but with the eyes of a child hungry for a story.

I’ve always thought that a film review shouldn’t be as simple as labeling a film good or bad but should be more about presenting the film as a taste. Different people like different tastes and a film review should take that into account.

This is also one of the main reasons why I find it idiotic when people attack film critics for their reviews. If you don’t agree with their views, then find some other critic that matches yours. Then you’ll have a much more reliable source of review for movies you’re planning to watch, or not watch.

Money CAN buy happiness. You just need to be a smart buyer.

Buy a ticket not a plane.
Get a bike, not a fucking jaguar.
Get an education, not a diploma.
Buy a rest house, not a fucking mansion.
Buy experiences, not products.
Get a life, not life insurance.

Everyday of your life, you make choices. Money is not the end, it’s simply the means to an end. After a certain threshold, money stops being a source of happiness. Above the line of poverty, everyone is equal when it comes to securing happiness. Once our basic needs have been met, the truly happy are separated from the pathetically miserable by how wisely (or unwisely) they spend their money.

If you try to fill that void in your life with material things, chances are, you’ll fail miserably at being happy.

Choose memories over photos.
Choose trips over cruises.
Choose backyard barbecues over catered parties.
Choose a dress instead of an outfit.

Buy for others instead of yourself.

Life really isn’t all that hard to figure out. If you consider yourself belonging to the middle class, then you have in your hands the power to be happy. All you need to do is choose wisely.

We don’t need to be filthy rich. We just need to be a little less greedy.

We work to live, we don’t live to work. How much is enough for you?

For me, only as much as is needed to see my son smile and see him healthy.

Simple joys, simple toys.