Tag Archives: low self esteem

You can’t come back from that

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Movies can sometimes set audiences up for disappointment in real life. There are certain things one just can’t do if one wants to maintain a relationship with another person. Unless the person in question has really low self-esteem, there are quite a lot of deal breakers that will ruin any chance of the ‘happily ever after’.

Here are the movies that are guilty of overestimating human forgiveness and understanding.

Wedding Crashers

Your new boyfriend seems uh… nice. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Wedding Crashers

“So, sure, Mom, he lied to us all about who he was, crashed both my sisters’ weddings, but it was only because he and his buddy like to spend every summer lying to strangers to spoil their days and have sex with any girl they can get drunk enough. It doesn’t mean he’s a bad person. I think he’s The One.”

– No ending to any real story that has happened ever.

Film poster for My Best Friend's Wedding - Cop...

My Best Friend’s Wedding, aka 10 Ways to Ensure Your Best Friend Gets a Restraining Order Against You. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My Best Friend’s Wedding

“Hey, remember that time you tried to sabotage my marriage and get me fired? Haha, good times.”

– Awkward future conversation that a man won’t be having with his former best friend.

Cover of "My Best Friend's Girl (Unrated ...

Why is she SMILING? Name three good qualities the guy has, just three, seriously, Kate Hudson! (Photo credit: Amazon)

My Best Friend’s Girl

“When I first met Tank, he was such an asshole. He took me out for a date to a strip club and got me to pay for his lap dance. But then he had no strings attached sex with me for a series of weeks before attending my sister’s wedding, vomiting on her during her first dance with her husband, fatally injuring my grandmother, and propositioning my mother for fellatio. And I think that’s around the time I realised he was the man I was going to marry.”

–      A speech you won’t hear from a bride at her wedding reception.

Once Upon a Time in America

He’s a very distinguished looking leading man (with a great hat) who just gets a little rapey sometimes. (Photo credit: 3G Blu-Ray)

Once Upon a Time in America

“I can’t believe you won’t forgive me after I never even apologised for raping you. We’ve clearly loved each other all these years.”

–      Man in straitjacket.

Big Daddy (film)

Aww, that’s so sweet. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Big Daddy

“I think it’s totally cool you only work one day a week, sit on your ass all day, and lie to child services to get a kid to care for irresponsibly.”

–      An intelligent, beautiful, successful lawyer’s response to her date right before the fake emergency phone call from her friend to get her the hell out of there.

Film poster for The Exorcist - Copyright 1973,...

Kill it, seriously, kill it now. Why are you talking to it? What, now you’re recording it?? Are you two making an album together? What the hell, priest? (Photo credit: Wikipedia, Copyright 1973, Warner Bros.)

The Exorcist

“Thanks for inviting me over yesterday to see your daughter who’s clearly possessed by Satan and literally the most terrifying thing I’ve ever seen. I’m back to have another word with her.”

–      A little white lie told with crossed fingers and a firearm held behind the priest’s back.

Cover of "The Family Stone (Widescreen Ed...

So much awkwardness. (Photo credit: Amazon)

The Family Stone

“Things feel so much more comfortable this Christmas since we swapped girlfriends.”

–      Not a likely remark to be passed between brothers at the family dinner table.

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This week… in my living room

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Oh wait, no, I didn't murder anyone in my living room. I just watched some movies.

Oh wait, no, I didn’t murder anyone in my living room. I just watched some movies.

Over the past week, in my mission to watch all the movies on the Top 250 IMDb list, I have watched Black Swan, Inglourious Basterds, Dial M for Murder, Gandhi, and The Godfather Part II.

Here are my thoughts…

Black Swan

Obviously, I didn’t exactly rush out to see this one. It has taken me until now to worship at the altar of Natalie Portman. Oh, I thought she was a pretty good actress, for sure, but no performance she had delivered had ever blown me away. No, not even in Star Wars, can you believe it.

That has all changed with Black Swan. I was actually angry with myself for not seeing this earlier. For once, I wished I had listened to the hype. Natalie’s performance, and the movie itself, mimics its subject matter. It is exactly like a ballet, perfectly executed.

As Natalie’s character Nina loses herself more and more in the dance and her quest to find the Black Swan, the dark side within herself, I found myself sitting on my couch, finding my anger over so many things that had happened in the past year of my own life. Seriously, I need to pay Natalie and director Darren Aronofsky for therapy.

Natalie perfectly portrays Nina’s childlike vulnerability, ambition, social awkwardness, fear, and anger. The film forces the viewer out of their comfortable, distant role of the knowing aunt, tsk-tsking at Nina’s low self esteem and fragility, into her world of confusion, fear, and darkness.

I think this film will stand the test of time and will still be regarded a classic in decades to come. I will be watching Aronofsky’s The Wrestler this week and can’t wait to see how he has told this story.

Inglourious Basterds

As a welcome change to all the old mafia and western movies I’ve been watching from the list, I saw a second film from within the past few years this week.

I have a complicated relationship with Quentin Tarantino. I so admire and relate to his nerdiness, his ability to reference such a diverse range of pop culture in his films (and his chatty-chat-chat interviews).

What I find difficult to deal with are the graphic killings in his movies. And boy, wouldn’t he love to hear that.

It’s not that I can’t take violence in movies. It’s a vital part of telling many stories. One of the earlier films I watched from the list was The Pianist, the story of a Jewish man during the Nazi occupation of his native Poland. Every murder in that movie shocked me and broke my heart, until I realised I’d spent an hour with my hand over my mouth and tears in my eyes. I visited Auschwitz and many other sites of Nazi atrocities during my trip earlier this year, and it was clear that the violence that occurred during this time was in no way exaggerated or glamourised in The Pianist.

Perhaps this Eastern Europe trip and the conversations I had with people who either lived through the Nazi occupation or whose family members did, was not going to be the best place for me to come from to think this movie was awesome. It certainly simplifies a very painful history that still exists within living memory for many people in the world.

Or maybe I’m just getting a little tired of Tarantino’s spaghetti western approach to telling any story.

The, yes, Jewish American, but American cowboys who come in to save the day just seemed so unnecessary to me. Why couldn’t the story have stayed with Shosanna? It begins with her and her family and the climax of the movie takes place in her cinema, where her plan comes to fruition; why are the cowboys necessary? It is an entirely fictional story, after all. I feel like the movie sells out Shosanna and her importance as the central character, in favour of Brad Pitt and his big knife. [Insert phallic theory here.]

I guess this angle is the only way that Tarantino could feel he had some claim as storyteller about this subject matter.

Coming up on the list is Django Unchained and I’m trying to keep an open mind, even though the approach seems to be about the same. Like most film lovers, I really really want to like Tarantino’s films. He is, after all, one of us. But I think his films need to grow up a little and stand on their own two feet.

Dial M for Murder

Hitchcock’s reputation as a flawless storyteller remains intact, in my mind, after watching this movie.

One of his lesser-raved-about films, I had the same experience watching it as I have had with his others; I feel like I can almost hear him thinking about each shot, each line of dialogue, the placement of each prop.

Like listening to a great album for the first time on vinyl, I turn a Hitchcock film up loud and hold my breath, not wanting to miss any subtle detail.

Dial M for Murder mostly takes place in a single room and I didn’t even realise this until the end. Hitchcock is such the master of suspense that I never once felt bored.

Ray Milland as Tony Wendice is incredible. He inspires hate, empathy, admiration, and fear in the audience. And that voice! He sent shivers down my spine. Tony Wendice is a refreshing change for a villain; the only weapon he ever wields is his intelligence.

I won’t say too much more about this one for those who haven’t seen it, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Gandhi

Watching this movie has made me want to change my life! It makes you believe in the power of an idea and of committing to that idea at all costs.

The real-life character of Gandhi makes it difficult to think of the film alone. The man is so inspiring and continues to carry such an empowering message of peace for people, even beyond his death, that watching the movie feels like a deeply spiritual experience.

However, thinking this way, I realised that this is evidence of how good the film is. Richard Attenborough knew he had an incredibly powerful subject for his film and just had to get out of the way.

I watched an interview with the actor who portrayed Gandhi, Ben Kingsley, and he spoke of just copying Gandhi as best as he could from recordings. The scenes of Gandhi with the crowds were shot with Ben and the crowds. There was no digital combination of the two created later, they were really there together, giving Ben the sensation of what it must have felt like for the real Gandhi.

This movie beautifully shows that when you have an incredible story to tell, don’t try to tell it, don’t embellish, don’t sign to the audience that this is dramatic or important, applaud here, etc. Just tell it.

The Godfather Part II

What an appropriate film to see directly after Gandhi. Talk about a different philosophical approach…

So while I had just experienced a spiritual awakening about peace and tolerance, this film, which thematically centres on revenge, still lived up to the hype for me.

And I totally agree that it’s better than the first Godfather. This is called the ‘De Niro Factor’.

Robert De Niro is just so damn good at making you feel a connection, an empathy with his characters. In this movie, when he is standing outside the room where his baby is ill, your heart goes out to this young father, feeling helpless and desperate that he can’t properly provide and care for his family.

The superiority of his performance, spoken almost entirely in Italian, made me long for more Vito Corleone, less Michael Corleone. Don’t get me wrong, Al Pacino plays Michael well, but he has become too much the hardened mob boss by this part of The Godfather story. The opportunities to feel empathy for his character (the rifts between Michael and his brother Fredo, and between him and his wife Kay) fall flat because it’s just so hard to see his vulnerability anymore. These experiences seem to affect his ego more than play on his fear of losing his family.

The contrast between the young Vito and the older Michael though does help to tell the story and it’s obvious what Francis Ford Coppola was trying to achieve. Personally, however, I think the recipe was just ever so slightly off. A dash more Vito and a sprinkle of remaining vulnerability in Michael and it would have been perfect.