The Amazing Father Figure Focus

•July 16, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Approximately fifteen minutes ago, I came out from The Amazing Spider-Man. I saw it with my sister-in-law and I had very high expectations on it. Since I work at the cinema, I see parts of all the movies that pass through and half the time I get them spoiled for me simply because of my job as a projectionist. Normally this doesn’t bother me – it might be a movie I don’t intend on watching, or one I don’t mind having spoiled. Sometimes it’s even fun to try and figure a movie out just by piecing together the scenes you glimpse at random. At other times, I really try my darndest to avoid seeing key scenes and endings – Spider-Man would fall into that category.

Since I am also on Tumblr, my dashboard has been flooded lately with gifs and images from the mentioned movie, which really has only helped up my expectations. I’m sure a lot of you know what expectations are like where movies are concerned – if you let them soar too high, there’s a risk that the movie will send you crashing down when it doesn’t live up to them. Likewise, a movie that might’ve been good can be partway ruined only because you hyped it too much. In the same way, a supposedly bad movie can redeem itself my exceeding your expectations. In the case of Spider-Man, I wasn’t actively trying to contain my expectations or trying to rein them in. I wasn’t even that psyched about it when the news first came out. Somewhere along the way, I started getting excited, because it was coming together well and looking like a really good movie. With Andrew Garfield in the title role and Denis Leary (whom I enjoy very much for his comedy as well as his acting) and Rhys Ifans in supporting ones, I was starting to look forward to it more and more.

The trailers looked amazing. Then came the actual movie and I got to spend time at work while it was playing in two theatres and it still looked amazing. I was never a fan of the three “original” Spider-Man movies, as I never warmed to Tobey Maguire, so when Andrew Garfield was cast, I at least felt like this could be a movie worth seeing. Well, today I finally got the chance – it ain’t easy when you work at a cinema, since one of the last things you want to do on your day off is go to the cinema.

This isn’t a review of The Amazing Spider-Man. I was never good at reviewing, be it movies, books or other people’s performances. If this is a review of anything, it’s a review of my feelings while I watched the movie. A specific set of feelings.

The movie was amazing. It exceeded my very high expectations and it did it with grandeur. The actors did a great job, the hero was believable, the chemistry between Garfield and Stone was great, the visuals were stunning and I’ve never been more keen on jumping of buildings and swinging myself around with the help of spiderweb.

I’ve also never encountered a movie that was heavier on the ‘missing father’ angle.

As much as I don’t read comics, I know Peter Parker has lost his parents. I know he’s lost his uncle. I expected both things to happen. I just didn’t expect the movie to accent the loss of his father so very much. I lost my own father in 2009 and I’d be lying if I said it didn’t still hurt, because it does. A lot. There were so many scenes in the movie, so much dialogue where that pain was targeted with a laser pointer and shot at point blanc. For the last twenty or thirty minutes, there wasn’t a moment when tears weren’t on my cheeks or in my eyes. To say it sideswiped me would be an understatement. There was nowhere to hide. The movie over all is so heavily painted with fathers, father figures, parent/child relationships and loss that, if you took a step back and looked at it really critically, there would almost be reason to think Marvel overdid it. Just a tad.

Still, I loved the movie. I believe that this was in part because I could relate so much to the main character. The insecurity and awkwardness, as well as the missing father. I would definitely watch The Amazing Spider-Man again and I believe I will. The emotional toll it took really only served to make it even better. Even if it hurt like hell.

“Come on, everyone’s lost at twenty-five.”

•October 30, 2011 • 3 Comments

I don’t know if I’ll ever have enough confidence to actually love someone.

If you know me at least a little, you likely know how easily I can be affected by movies. I relate, I start thinking, I realise things about myself. Having stepped out of the theatre about half an hour ago after finally having seen One Day, my mind is, needless to say, whirling with thoughts. That movie went straight to my heart and every scene touched me in one way or another. I don’t know whether to be happy or saddened by the grand total, but I suppose pensive could be a good word for describing what I’m feeling right now.

I won’t be rehashing old relationship tales or assuming that I’m the only person in the world who feels this way, because I know I’m not. Nevertheless, for those of you who don’t know – when you feel like I do right now, you often do feel like you’re the only one. It’s a very lonely feeling, being insecure in love.

Yes, that’s what it is. I do not dare to have faith that love lasts, because you never hear about the love that lasts. Of course, you could probably provide heaps of examples of happy couples who’s been married for fifty years, but my point is they don’t make a lot of noise (mind out of the gutter, you). It’s the breakups you hear about. It’s the same in most walks of life – the bad things make the most noise.

I have been without a relationship for about three years now. (Those of you who want to argue that, feel free to send me an email.) It’s been by choice and I’ve been quite happy with it. There are loads of relationship preconceptions that I simply don’t like – anniversaries, gifts, things of that nature – and also I doubt my ability to commit to one person like that. I am a loving person, but there’s such a responsibility involved in a relationship that it strongly deters me from wanting one.

You watch these movies and think ‘if only someone would look at me like that.’ Well, people have looked at me like that and yet I’m here now, writing this. I know I’m young and I know I hopefully have several more years, decades even, to deal with the issues I’ve mentioned here, but that doesn’t make them less worth talking about. Talking is a step on the road to working things out with yourself.

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What’s your opinion? Do you feel secure in love?

“If I could give you just one gift, do you know what it would be? Confidence. That or a scented candle.”

-Dexter Mayhew (Jim Sturgess), One Day (2011)

“Life is divided into the horrible and the miserable.”

•September 24, 2011 • 1 Comment
Woody Allen in concert in New York City.

“What if everything is an illusion and nothing exists? In that case, I definitely overpaid for my carpet.”

-Woody Allen

Tonight, I saw Midnight In Paris, the new movie by Woody Allen. For the record, I absolutely loved it! I won’t go into any detail about it, since this is not a movie review, but I can say that Adrien Brody as Salvador Dalí was brilliant. Then again, I am a big fan of Dalí. And, as it happens, of Woody Allen.

I haven’t been an Allen fan for very long. It used to be I knew who he was and I had seen Annie Hall because Christopher Walken is in it. I can’t quite recall when my interest in this fairly odd man was awoken, but it might’ve been around the time Whatever Works came out. Somewhere along the way, I started having Woody nights with a friend of mine, which basically means we get together and watch a movie or two of his. Slowly working our way through all of them and it’s great fun.

I know some people might not view Allen’s movies as ‘fun’, but I do. The wonderful thing that I quite quickly picked up on was how much I can relate to the views and points expressed in the movies – especially the ones where Allen himself has a part. The life cynicism I can definitely relate to and I feel like every other movie describes my life and my views perfectly. It’s almost scary at times, but in a way that makes me both laugh and sigh. At the end of the day, Woody Allen keeps providing me with a refreshing look at my own behaviour and thoughts and I can’t help but love him for it.

I’ve viewed myself as a cynic for years now. I might only be in my early twenties, but cynicism doesn’t have an age limit, does it? Oh, I try to be positive, I try to be a romantic, but there’s always that little thought in the back of my head that ‘pssh, that’ll never work.’ I’m not a negative person, I’m a cynic – there’s a difference, yeah? And then along comes Woody Allen and expresses my thoughts perfectly in his films and that’s what makes them so enjoyable for me. ‘Look, someone else understands my (arguably pathetic) reasoning!’

I’m Swedish, I love to complain. You know the stereotype, right? Complaining is fun. Being a cynic lets you complain all the time, but not in that in-your-face way. It’s perfect. I’m happy and cynical. Thank you, Woody Allen.

“Life is full of misery, loneliness, and suffering – and it’s all over much too soon. “

Time to wake up…

•March 22, 2011 • 1 Comment

Have you ever had a wake-up call? I’m sure you have. Have you even had several? It wouldn’t surprise me – I know I have.

A wake-up call can be anything, and it can be about anything. A word from your neighbour making you realise that yeah, your lawn looks awful. A picture in a newspaper reminding you of the dream you had back in high school about becoming a firefighter. It might be of a more severe nature. Anything can ring that bell and the bell can be attached to whatever you can or can’t think of.

As I said, I’ve had several. Reminding me what I love doing, making me realise I’ve spent way too little time with my father, reminding me how much my best friend means to me. Some things bigger, something smaller. Sometimes – and I’m sure you all know this one – a wake-up call comes too late. We see it on a global scale way too often, but I’m going to bring it down on a personal level for now. You see, the fifth of this month marked two years since I lost my father. Two years since my mother and brother showed up unannounced outside my dorm on a Saturday morning, their faces ashen and their general appearance first surprising me and then making me worried once I saw their expressions.

I cried so much that day. I cried for weeks. At twenty years of age, the last thing I expected was to lose my father. Sure, he was seventy years old, but he was the healthiest person I ever knew. His biggest problem was needing reading glasses. He ran, worked out at the gym, had just met a new girlfriend – he was healthy and happy. Now I suddenly had to wrap my head around the idea that he didn’t exist anymore. I will not enter into any religious aspects here, since I am not clear with where I stand in such matters, but suffice it to say that I was lost.

I have always been plagued by my bad memory. So when dad’s girlfriend took me aside and told me that dad knew that I wanted to spend more time with him, it both helped and hurt at the same time. Now, I suppose a brief backstory is in order here. Basically, I lived most of my life with my mother after my parents moved apart when I was about four. A few months prior to dad’s passing, I’d mentioned that we should get together more – both because I wanted to get closer to him and because I felt bad for slipping away for him like I had. To his defense, my father never stopped caring. It was I who stopped sharing, with both my parents. But now I wanted to set things right with dad and I had managed to tell him that. We had plans to hang out during Easter break that year, when the rest of the family was going to Bali (a place I didn’t fancy going to, since I am not a sun person).

Needless to say, plans were changed. To be honest, my recollection of that time is both hazy (because of my bad memory) and clear (because how can such a thing not imprint itself in your mind?). I could write a mile long entry about my dad’s passing and how I’ve dealt with it, but that is not the focus of this entry. My point was to showcase the biggest wake-up call I’ve had to date. Cherish what you have, while you have it – tomorrow isn’t a certainty. Carpe diem – seize the day. You don’t know what you got until you lose it. The clichés are endless.

Tonight, I had another wake-up call. Much less violent, much more positive. After much excited waiting and rising anticipation, I finally got to see The Fighter tonight. I have been looking forward to this movie ever since I first heard of it, on account of my love and admiration for Christian Bale and the fact that the trailer was so intriguing. Mark Wahlberg isn’t wrong either. When it was praised at the Oscars (and Bale finally won his well-deserved golden statue) I was even more excited. Then tonight I killed two birds with one stone and saw The Adjustment Bureau and The Fighter, one after the other. Due to my foot surgery three weeks ago, I can’t walk far and therefore make the most of an evening at the cinema. The Adjustment Bureau was better than I expected – I am not a big fan of Matt Damon – but the reason for this post lies within the second movie of the evening.

The Fighter, if you haven’t seen it, is based on the true story of boxing brothers Dicky Eklund and Micky Ward. Describing and summarising movies ain’t my strong side, but I know what I like and I loved this one. It wasn’t that I recognised myself in anyway, or that the story played out on the screen in anyway resembles my life. It was the feeling that you can do anything you set your mind to. It might not be easy, it might not be fun all the time, but hell… What kinda life is it, if it’s always fun? You tell me that.

It also made me realise that I am in charge. In my life, I am the one who ultimately decides what happens. Sometimes, this involves taking uncomfortable decisions or doing things I don’t want to. You know what I’m talking about. Now, I’ve had a million wake-up calls exactly like this one. Been all ‘hell yeah, time to get up off the ground where I’m sulking and do something with my life!’ I can’t even count the times. Likewise, I can’t count the times these efforts fell flat. The times I ended up not moving an inch from that spot on that proverbial ground, simply going back to what I knew and what was comfortable. Why make a fuss, when it’s so much easier to turn a blind eye and stay right where I am? And oh, how sick I am of it all.

It’s not that I like it where I am now. I am far from what I want to be, from where I want to be. True, I don’t even know exactly what or where that is, but the problem is that I don’t dare to find out either. I’d rather stay on my couch for another day, not attempting to change anything because ‘it’s easier that way’. And yet, I find myself encouraging other people to do the exact things I should do myself. It’s all very hypocritical, but I can be a decent mentor when I hit the right note. I know roughly what to say, in any case.

So how come I don’t apply what I teach to myself? Ah, if I only knew. I’d probably be somewhere completely different, had I done that. But you know what? It’s not too late. It’s virtually never too late. Sure, I might be living with my mom and little brother, working two jobs and spending most of my free time watching movies, writing or sitting by the computer – but that doesn’t mean I can’t change. The Fighter ignited that spark in me again – get up, get out, do something! – that I’ve felt so many times before, maybe even stronger this time. But for me, the strength of this spark means nothing, absolutely nothing, if I let it die out.

I’m not saying I’m turning my life around first thing in the morning. First of all, I still can’t walk – I hobble around at best and walking on crutches for too long takes the breath out of me. I’m pretty unfit, yes. But like all changes, I gotta start small. My mind is my biggest enemy, you ever heard that? Sure you did, and I’m sure you can relate at some level. So I’ll take this time and do what I can to make my mind agree with the rest of me. Work on my willpower (oh boy, that’s a tough one), figure the basic stuff out. Slowly but surely turning gears to in the end hopefully accomplish something. I’m not expecting to be perfect – hell, I might fall right back onto that couch and claim failure – but I know for sure I can do better than this. It’s not going to be easy, but I’ll sure try.

Because I am awesome. Y’hear? I am awesome. And so are you.

I’m not a motivational speaker. I’m certainly not a preacher. In fact, I’m a shy, giggly, uncertain twenty-two year old, winging my way through it all. But I’ve got thoughts and the words to put them down, and you know I will. I want to express myself or I do believe my head will explode..!

I draw inspiration from a million things. As far as other human beings go, Christian Bale has a funny influence on me. For good or for bad – it’s both, depending on the situation. I won’t deny that I look to a bunch of actor/musicians for inspiration, because just as creativity, I welcome inspiration from all over. I mentioned Joseph Gordon-Levitt last night, for his overall creativity; I can mention Jeff Bridges, David Bowie, Christopher Walken, Robert Downey Jr. I can also mention my older sister as a person who inspires me. My father. In fact, my father always believed in me. And if he could, seeing as relatively little as he did of me – why can’t I? If nothing else, I owe it to him to believe in myself. And I owe it to myself.

So I think I’ll just go ahead and do it.

Are you RECording?

•March 21, 2011 • 1 Comment

So…

New blog. New project. I don’t like to think of things like these as ‘projects’ though – I believe that word is jinxed for me. Whenever I embark on a so-called project, it just ends up trailing off into overgrown wilderness and hollow ruins of what could potentially have been something beautifully creative. It always is in my mind, let me tell you that.

If I have to call myself anything, I’d call myself a writer. And you’d think, for a writer, a blog would be the ideal medium to work with, because what do you do in a blog if not write? Photoblogs, sure (don’t worry – been there, done that… doing that). But I am the kind of writer who has issues finishing things. I can write heaps, but I can’t finish much anything. Open-ended narratives? Yes. Short stories? Sure. A longer story with beginning, middle, end? Let me get back to you on that. In a year or two. Or never.

Creativity is a fickle thing. I’m sure you’ve heard that one before and I’m sure that, if you’ve ever tried it on for size, you’ve found it to be true. You know how some people seem to be creative all the time? Yeah, I don’t know how they do it either. But what I have to do, and what you have to do if you’re in a similar situation, is go with it when you’ve got it. Make the most of that creativity when it fancies dropping by. It sure can be frustrating, but I have found that it sure is worth it.

In my pursuit of creativeness, I have tried a lot of things. One of these things was to join hitrecord.org – a collaborative community where you make art of all kinds, together. Everything you upload can be re-used, remixed, re-recorded by anyone else and in turn, you can re-use, remix, re-record everything anyone else uploads. At this time, I can’t remember what lead me to hitRECord, but I think it was seeing Inception at the cinema a bunch of times (because it is an amazing movie) and via Joseph Gordon-Levitt ending up aware of hitRECord. ‘What’s it got to do with Joseph Gordon-Levitt?’ is a fully appropriate question if you’ve never heard of the site before, so feel free to ask it.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt, or RegularJOE as he’s known on the site in question, is the person who started it all. In his own words, snatched right off the frontpage of hitrecord.org,

HITRECORD.ORG is a project I started almost five years ago now, and in 2010, we evolved into a professional open collaborative production company. We create and develop art and media collaboratively here on our site. Even this introductory video is the remixed result of a great many contributions. So rather than just exhibiting and admiring each other’s work as isolated individuals, we gather here to collectively work on projects together. Videos, writing, photography, music, anything — we call them all RECords.

If that is not creativity at one of it’s best facets, then I don’t know what is. So, of course I signed up, because here was an awesome opportunity to use the creativity I like to think I possess. Why not?

Well, that was in August of 2010. And… that’s as far as I got. Signing up, joining the community. I looked around, poked a few RECords, but never actually did anything. I never forgot about the page either, I just never contributed anything. Wanted to, but never did. Then just the other night, I read a blog entry that hitRECord reblogged on Tumblr and I felt ‘if she can, why can’t I?’ Why not be inspired by her being inspired? And today, just an hour or two ago, I logged in and uploaded a few writings that I wanted to share with the community. Found an audio clip I want to try and illustrate. Got some ideas. Small ideas, but still something. Something to start with.

Isn’t that creativity – making something out of nothing? At the very least, making something bigger out of something small, even tiny? Literally everything can inspire you, if you only let it. I’m not picky with where my inspiration comes from, I welcome everything. That way, the only thing that limits me is my own imagination. And hell, that ain’t a tight limit.