I have to admit that I was in disbelief that a 22-year-old girl, who I had only ever seen play Katniss in The Hunger Games, could win an Oscar for best actress. Ever since the night that I watched Jennifer Lawrence trip up the stairs to collect her award I have wondered what the joke was. Every article I read said she was a kind and generous person. Is that enough to win an Oscar? Every article said Silver Linings Playbook was a great film. Okay, well, I would assume that since she, her co-star and the movie were all nominated for Academy Awards. I had not watched Silver Linings and I doubted that her performance could be that great. I was wrong to have doubted.
The movie was just released on Amazon this week and I must say that I love it. I think Bradley Cooper (who was nominated but did not win) gave a performance at least equal to hers if not better, but his competition was of course not the same. The characters they played (Pat and Tiffany) are the equivalent of two wrongs making a right. Both are more than just a little crazy and both understand the struggle to move on from a dark part of your life. Their families love them, but don’t really understand them; they understand each other. Watching the two of them help each other and listening to the dialogue swing between comedy and tragedy was an unexpected and uncommon treat. I am glad that I finally got to see their performances and any praise that they receive is truly deserved.
I was told growing up that I was a crybaby. Of course it was my older brother who said this and of course he said it to bother me, but I used to feel guilty for it. To this day I cry more than most while reading books and watching movies, only now I couldn’t care less what anyone thinks. I enjoy a good story and, to me, a story is good if it touches your emotions and makes you care for its characters. My personal reaction to good stories may be to cry or laugh or even shout out what I am thinking, but what is so wrong with that? Stories effect me, and I love to be entertained by them, and if that’s a problem go sit in the other room 🙂
Downton Abbey has been a favorite of mine for a while now and yet sometimes, when I think of how the characters follow such different rules of life from mine, I wonder why I like it so much. There is the idea of escapism; loving to live for an hour in a world very much not like your own so that you can forget your own worries. There are shows that I watch for this reason, but not Downton.
What stands out to me (I have just finished watching Season 3) is that there is such a sadness about the show that one does not expect at first. A period drama is a window into a life that no longer exists, but usually the glamor and the intrigue keep sadness at bay. Not at Downton. The very first episode of Season 1 set that tone (with the deaths of the Titanic passengers) and the story has never strayed far from it. Whether it is disappointment in love or frustration with the rules of society; whether the loss and gruesome reality of war or the anger and danger of a wrongly accused prisoner, life for the characters of Downton has always been closer to tears than to joy. That is why I think I love them all so much.
For all that the upstairs family have been blessed with, they have had it balance and even at times out-weighed by their suffering. Those below-stairs have had almost the same luck, with each good turn being followed almost always by a bad one. The strength of each one of them to find a light to lead them onward; to find a thread of meaning to guide them, and their ability to trust one another, when it truly counts, makes them each an example of humanity.
Because of the consistent presence of sadness in the show, I feel the end of Season 3 was fitting and well done. I am not happy with the closing act as it means one of my favorite and one of the more unique characters will not be returning next season, but I don’t deny that it is appropriate. Life at Downton had become joyful for most all of the characters and balance needed to be restored.
How do you write unease? How do you make the audience feel the tension and feel scared about the possibilities of a moment? How do you show in widescreen what someone thinks? Perks of Being a Wallflower author, screenwriter and director Stephen Chbosky does those things and more. He builds a world around a character that lives in your heart. You feel what Charlie feels and you are desperate that he find what he needs. Life, his life, is such a precarious balance; balance between showing too much and falling off a cliff; that precarious knife point where you could either be loved or be killed. The twists and turns of the story throw you in the most surprising and yet unavoidable ways. You are living Charlie’s life with him and the experience is beautiful.
It would appear that I am incapable of following the simplest of instructions, even when I am the one who devised them. I had started this blog with the intention of only ever reviewing things that could be found through Netflix and Amazon Prime. I am making an exception.
Sometimes I just need to write and it isn’t always inspired by Netflix and Amazon viewing. Sometimes I need to rant, but that makes me sound crazy…rant. So I will…jabber? No. Rabbit on? Possibly. Mouth off? Hmmm. Random Spoutings? Makes me sound like a fountain, but it’ll do.
Sometimes I have something in my head that doesn’t really mean much; doesn’t really have the weight and depth necessary to be a full-review post, but is something that I want to say. Random Spouting.
Sometimes a thought or a question will occur to me that I really have no desire to flesh out into an entire, well-researched post, but I want to share it. Random Spouting.
I’m sure there will be other circumstances under which I’ll feel the need to spout random posts and so I will.
Rules, you say? They were more like guidelines really 🙂
The above phrase will definitely be on my tombstone. That or “Too lazy to…” it just depends on how generous the person is that decides the phrasing. It won’t be me because I won’t make time to get around to it. I’ll have thought about it hundreds of times and just never gotten around to telling the tombstone maker “Please just put my name, birth and death dates, and say that I loved my children more than I could ever show.” Nope. Someone else will have to make that call.
I’m never quite sure if I use being busy as an excuse or if I really am too busy to get stuff done. It sounds good for sure “Oh, I would have written a blog post everyday, but I’ve just been too busy”; just because it sounds good doesn’t make it true.
So here is the over-obvious obligatory statement…I haven’t been blogging because I have been really busy. Is that true? The world may never know.
When I think of “inspiration” I usually think of a positive example (a model you wish to follow) and there are so many great blogs for me to aspire to that review movies and television shows. Morgan on Media looks all aspects of the entertainment industry along with reviewing shows. What’s Alan Watching was my favorite TV show review blog before its author moved on to a different format. Television Without Pity has a ton of content, written by a variety of authors who all seem to have a snarky, sarcastic streak – which I love.
Recently though I came across a newly started blog (first post was on March 1st 2013), with a very similar theme to mine (recommending what to watch on Netflix), but with a style that inspires me to be its opposite. Brady Wahl’s blog, or What to watch on netflix tonight, created 18 posts in three days (which I envy), but has no original content. Each post consists of four movies, their plot summaries and that’s it. There is no reasoning given for why those movies were chosen which I think is a key component to any recommendation. With no commentary the posts are just smaller versions of the computerized lists provided by Netflix and Amazon.
So what Brady Wahl’s blog has inspired me to do is keep writing. It may take me months to accumulate 18 posts, but I’ll be proud of them and hopefully they will help people find something good to watch.
UPDATE: 4-1-13 Tonight I visited the blog that I referenced originally (Brady Wahl’s blog) and not only does it have a new name, it has a new format. Now there is a specified theme for each day’s set of movies, which is better. Context is always good 🙂