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Posts Tagged ‘movies’

Like you, my dear reader, I enjoy TV.  I have my favorite shows.  I look forward to seeing my favorite characters as if they were characters in my own life.  I set my DVR faithfully.  My family enjoys discussing our favorites together.  They seem to be the dialogue that is always running in the back of our lives.  When there is nothing else to say, there is always TV to talk about.  It’s the language that we all speak in this day and age.  And like you, dear reader, I have found the silence deafening.

So here are some ways to enjoy the writer’s strike without resorting to making your own TV shows:

1. Catch up on series you’ve missed or never seen.  For example, my husband I use Netflix regularly.  This lovely service offers not only movies and documentaries, but TV series.  So we’ve been taking advantage of this service and watching series we’ve never seen before, like Weeds.  Prior to this last year we never had movie channels so we always missed those original HBO or Showtime series.  But this is a great way to make the most of our free TV time!  Weeds is now one of my favorite shows and I got to watch all 3 seasons in a matter of weeks, instead of years! Freaking awesome!

2. Stop watching TV and start watching movies.  How many amazing movies are there that we’ve never seen?  Think of all those Oscar nominated movies for the last 60 years that you’ve never heard of, let alone watched.  Now is the chance to become the impressive movie buff you’ve always wanted to be!  TCM runs a month of Oscar nominated movies in January/February.  Not only do they show the movie, the host of that movie fills you in on what nominations it received, actors stories, and film background, providing you with everything you wanted to know but never did.

3. Don’t watch anything at all!  Crazy, I know, but what better time to pick up the half finished book you’ve been putting off (you know the one I mean, my reader).  This is the perfect opportunity to find new genres or authors that might hold your literary interest well into the days that new TV comes on!

4. Find a hobby!  Personally, I’ve always enjoyed arts and crafts.  So I’ve been using this time to finish some old sewing projects I started.  While this may not sound super glamorous, it keeps my fingers busy and my attention focused.  I still put the TV or music on in the background while I sew, but suddenly, I don’t really care what’s on.

5. Play a board game!  Lately, this has become the new obsession in my group of friends and my family.  Our communal favorite is Apples to Apples.  We’ve played this on Christmas Day with family (including grandparents), at our New Year’s Eve party with friends, at the end of book club, and on many, many late nights.  It’s a different game every time depending on who you play with.  But if that’s not your cup of tea, there are always the classics, like Scrabble and Trivial Pursuit (which now has a DVD update).  Or there are always new games coming out like Catch Phrase and In a Pickle, which I’ve heard are both quite entertaining.  It’s difficult to play these games just mano y mano, so this brings me to my next point…

6. Get together with friends!  It doesn’t matter what night it is!  We’re adults!  No one tells us our bedtimes!  I recently heard an alarming statistic that Americans today have fewer intimate friends than at any other point in history.  I think a large part of this has to do with the endless amount of entertainment constantly surrounding us, particularly TV.  Bored? Turn on the TV. Nothing on? Change to one of the 600 other channels you have available!  Nothing on any of those?  Flip open your laptop and read about anything that tickles your fancy.  Or play a game against strangers you never even speak to.  With all these choices it’s no wonder that so many people would rather isolate themselves in the safe world of technology and television than to venture out to deal with actual people, who may actually affect their lives.  So my suggestion is this: get together with friends for dinner or drinks.  You don’t have to go out and spend money.  Have them over to your house for cheap, comforting casseroles and inexpensive wines or beers.  Linger over dinner, enjoy good conversation, play board games late into the night or just debate who’s football team looks better for next season.

My point is, if there’s nothing new on anyways, why waste time watching the junk they’re filling the time slots with?  Find something better to do!  Hey, you could always start a blog!

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Without endings

I am as much of a modern literature fan as anyone these days, but sometimes I yearn for the old ways of writing.  I yearn, in fact, for books and movies to have endings.  Now I know that literally all books end, factually the pages run out and the back cover closes.  But in the literary sense of the word, many books today don’t have a sense of finality.  There is no realization that the main character has come to, the wrong is left unrighted, the romance ends with questions instead of a marriage or a breakup.   Instead, we, the readers, are treated to an open ending.  A conversation occurs that unveils previously unknown facts and the words on the page run out without an explanation or resolution.  A new plot twist occurs, sometimes a car crash, a death, and our beloved characters are left scrambling to pick up the pieces.  In these cases, and in many others, it feels that the characters (and us, dear reader) are left in perpetual limbo, never moving forward or, conversely, coming to accept that things will never change.  There is just…

I’ve noticed this trend in movies as well.  Granted sometimes it is my own fault that I expect an ending without knowing enough about the movie.  For example, I recently say The Golden Compass, which for all intents and purposes was a good movie.  But in the spirit of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, had no ending for it’s first installment.  It merely showed the main characters moving off into the distance while we are left on the far shore watching them fade into the distance.  Now, when I saw this movie, I did not realize that this had been a series of books.  I thought that it was one book, and I set myself up for disappointment when I expected at the end of 3 hours to be treated to a resolution.

Yet this kind of non-ending is accepted in the case of movies that are made to have sequels or are a part of a trilogy. There are many other movies that end with the sense that there is more to the story without it being explained.  Take for example the movie The Kingdom.  It is the fictional account of a group of American intelligence agents going somewhere in the Middle East to investigate an attack on Americans living in that country.  The movie is entertaining, if not slow and at times under-developed, but it ends with the question of what will happen in the future?  Now I would guess that the director and screen writers created this ending for it’s dramatic effect, but, while I appreciated the fact that there is no ending to conflict in the Middle East at present, I longed for the resolution to be some what stronger.  I longed for the director to give me a tidy ending, an answer to the problem.  I know this is an unrealistic hope, as so many movies today aim for realism rather than resolution.

I’m sure there are a million other movies or books out there without endings.  If you, dear reader, are as tired of stories without endings as I am, let me know about them so we can warn others so they can stave off disappointment!

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As part of my new attitude towards life I’m going to make some resolutions, despite the fact that New Years is still over a week away. There’s no time like the present eh?

1. I will no longer allow my health to rule/ruin my life.

2. I will try to lighten the feeling of my blog by inserting some silliness into it (and my life).

3. I will not think so much, but just write!

So…here’s currently what I’m thinking: I love Christmas movies! I’ll happily watch them all year ’round (I know sacrilege to some of you Christmas purists). In fact, Love Actually is one of my favorite movies, period. And recently I was reading an column (or blog-I don’t remember) in which the writer included Love Actually on a list of Christmas movies that should only be watched during the Christmas season. Though I do acknowledge that it is set at Christmas time, I don’t think that is the main point of the movie. I don’t actually think that it has anything to do with the message. Christmas functions solely as a way to move the plot forward and allow characters to speak more freely, for as they said in the movie, if you can’t say it at Christmas, when can you, eh?

Therefore, I don’t believe that wonderful movies like this should be limited to viewing just during one month a year. Most Christmas movies are so full of joy and positive messages that they should be shown every month. Think if people watched It’s a Wonderful Life or White Christmas in the hot summer months. Maybe it would get people to stop acting so crazy! Maybe, just maybe, it would give them a little of the Christmas season perspective and bring a little warmth to their hearts. So, if there was a vote, I’d vote that no movie be limited to just once a year. I’d vote instead to watch White Christmas in July.

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