Friday, January 29, 2010

WARTS AND ALL



Hi, all. Just a quick post today. Although, I'll be posting later on my other blog,'90 Days'.

I hope you'll stay tuned for my bare all, soul baring self-exposure in my experiment.

I purposefully didn't post yesterday on '90 Days' because the exercises aren't day by day (as I originally thought) as each chapter is a week by week kind of thing so I am spreading it out.

Again, stay tuned and check back on that blog later today for more warts and all confessions as I continue to learn what my next path is.

In a post script on this, I will say that it's interesting how this process works: it's the old adage of 'you can't know where you're going until you know where you've been' kind of thing.

In other random thoughts, I'm once again wildly switching gears here -- as I tend to do.

I've been drawn to bleak movies lately that play out with little or no hope of a happy ending for it's characters -- nor for the viewer who watches them sway.

What that says about my frame of mind lately perhaps is in itself telling.

First up was 'Revolutionary Road' with Kate Winslet and Leonardo Dicaprio where the plot and 'no nuances here' theme is evident in the get go.












They play Frank and April Wheeler, a couple who has it in their minds that they are too special for the domestic world in which they live. They have carved out for themselves a niche in mid 1950's suburbia, with Frank as a lowly cubicle worker and April as an unhappy would be actress and stay at home Mom.

On a side note: even though they are around the same age, I feel now as I did over ten years ago with 'Titanic' that Kate Winslet (whom I've loved way back since her 'Sense And Sensibility' and 'Quills' days) and Leonardo Dicaprio (see 'This Boys Life' and 'What's Eating Gilbert Grape' for some of his early wonderful work and get a glimpse of what was to sure come his way) aren't well suited together. I always feel she simply looks too old to be his counterpart. Just my opinion. Mind you, I also hate to see older male actors with younger women. Bring back Melanie Griffith, Meg Ryan, Michelle Pfiefer, Goldie Hawn, Emma Thompson and Susan Sarandon to fill the alpha female roles.

'Revolutionary Road' clearly shows the strains of a life that could have and should have been different, more so with bitter and spiteful April after a failed attempt at community theater.

They concoct a plan to move to Paris with their two small children in tow to reclaim their lost lives. However, as Frank gains momentum in the work force and April faces an unwanted and unexpected jolt, their lives are jarred back into reality and their Paris plans thwarted.

All this with tragic, although predictable, consequences.

Kate Winslet was nominated for an Oscar for best actress for her role as April (and I felt Dicaprio, too, should have been nominated) but won for her role in 'The Reader' instead.

Note a terrific scene stealer performance by Michael Shannon as John, in an all too brief performance that rightfully garnered him a best supporting actor nod by The Academy -- he stole every scene he was in.












Next film: 'Seven Pounds' with Will Smith and Rosario Dawson. I don't think I have the capacity nor vocabulary to properly describe such utter devastation.










Will Smith plays Ben Thomas a man who is visibly damaged. As the movie unfolds everything falls in line and all questions that are in place when the movie begins are answered by the end of the film.

This is a man with immense guilt for which he doles out a pound of flesh (my interpretation) for each consequence to make up for a tragedy he feels responsible for.

As the film nears it's end, it becomes evident what his role is and how he intends to atone. Kind and brutal all at once.

Have a box of tissues handy.

Lastly, I present you with 'Rachel Getting Married' starring Anne Hathaway (who was nominated for best actress in this film), Rosemarie De Witt, Bill Irwin (as her loving father, but always the clown as Irwin is most known for) and a welcome reintroduction of one of my acting idols from the 80's, Ms. Debra Winger.









How good it is to see Debra Winger on film again after such a long absence from the industry, although, her role is less than flattering as the detached Mom of the two grown daughters (Hathaway and De Witt).

Hathaway plays Kym, fresh out of rehab for the weekend to attend Rachel's (De Witt) wedding, her older sister.

The film is generously peppered with inter-racial relationships and a bohemian lifestyle that doesn't get acknowledged nor explained. Perhaps that in itself is refreshing (no need for justification, it just is) but it left much unanswered.

Kym is the 'child' who wants and needs acceptance and attention and chooses Rachel's wedding as her platform, making a highly inappropriate rehearsal dinner speech.

As the father, Bill Irwin only wants peace in his domain and explains away Kym's dysfunction with fatherly love and acceptance while Rachel is quietly resentful.

We find out that a tragedy ensued years ago involving Kym and a beloved member of the family which haunts every person in attendance and also explains the strains between Debra Wingers characters detachment and involvement, although I found my self nonetheless unsympathetic with her. Watch for a powerful scene between her and Hathaway which explodes like a fist of rage against easily shattered bricks.

That scene explained away the dynamics between Winger and her girls, especially Hathaway, and yet I still felt unsympathetic towards Wingers character.

I was also highly annoyed with the narcissism of Rachel. Days and days of adoration and speeches of love complete with serenades and music 24/7 leading up the nuptials.

The one sympathetic scene I did empathize with Winger was when after hours and hours and hours of the reception that wouldn't end, she finally announced her departure.

By that time I was ready for it all to stop, too.

Not the movie, but the narcissism of it all. Enough already.

I could have done without all the music sequences and replaced it with more character delving.

At the end Hathaway goes back to rehab to finish her stint and we're left unsure of any resolution.

I would love to revisit this family in a few years and see where they are.

As for me, I'm off for a walk and then more reading my book so I can chart my progress and thoughts on my '90 Days' blog later today.

Then, I'm off to the market to buy ingredients to make a nice vegan dinner for Ed and B tonight, perhaps Nachos with the 'cheese' made out of cashews and nutritional yeast or Thai peanut noodle fare.

I'd like to give a big shout out and thanks to Herrad @ 'Access Denied -- Living With Multiple Sclerosis' for my second blog award! So appreciated!

LATE IN THE DAY EDIT: Just posted on my '90 Days' blog. Phew!!!

Wishing you all peace, serenity and a wonderful weekend.
~Jo

7 comments:

Steven Anthony said...

god, we really are twins............I have been drawn to the same sorta movie as of late....jinx:)

love ya

Meeko Fabulous said...

Thanks for these movie reviews! It's always so helpful for me! Vegan Cheese??? I had no clue it existed. Does it taste much different?

Jo said...

Well, taste and texture are always a 'concern' when it comes to the veganized reconstruction of our favorite foods.

I haven't personally made the 'cashew cheese' myself, but have a cookbook that explains how. Not sure yet if that's the route I'm going tonight yet or not.

I've actually had the 'cashew cheese' in the restaurant in Santa Monica I bought the cookbook from and even Ed and B loved it! Now, whether I can reproduce it will be the next valid question.

But specialty stores like 'Clark's Nutritional Center' and 'Trader Joe's' carry many vegan items, including sliced and gratable soy cheese products. They also have soy versions of 'yogurt', cream cheese, sourcream....

thesurpriselily said...

Happy SITS Saturday Sharefest! I love your blog! The design is beautiful!

Um, cashew cheese...not so up my alley...but cashew brittle? Well, everything tastes better covered in sugar! You'll have to tell me how it turns out!

The girl with the flour in her hair said...

Stopping by from SITS Sharefest...we also went through a bankruptcy awhile back. It's stressful, but such a relief. Unfortunately, we aren't in any better shape, but that's another story... :) I hope it works out well for you.

And I'm intrigued with the cheese...

Mommy Kennedy said...

Hi! Just stopping by from SITS. Good luck with your financial journey. My blog is a frugal one so it may be of some interest to you. You are always more than welcome to stop by!

Dawn said...

Stopping by from SITS...

I have been drawn to old 1940's WWII movies of late. I think it is the optimism that they try to portray in the hard times of war that draw me in.
I don't deal well with cold, dreary weather and here in the Northeast that is all we have had for months so...
I may not feel optimistic myself, but watching the movies makes me feel like there is some light at the end of the tunnel.
Oh- bankruptcy- been there, done that. It is a hard road to go to rebuild afterward.