Feb. 14th, 2012

innocent_man: (Default)
Movies that get Best Picture Nominations are not, despite occasional claims to the contrary, all cut from the same cloth. A quick perusal of the nine pictures nominated this year will tell you that - yes, several are dramas, but that's a big category, and the movie I'd call the front-runner (The Aritst) I don't think you can legitimately call a drama.

But yes, there is a tendency toward topics that will elicit reactions, and that leads to hard topics. Sickness, divorce, grief, war, tragedy - we watch movies about these topics because it's cathartic, I think. To say that I enjoy these movies is more or less accurate, but it's more a matter of appreciation than pure enjoyment. I get pure enjoyment from Demon Knight, but it doesn't make me feel much. I feel very strongly watching Children of Men, but I don't necessarily want to see it again.

Anyway, yesterday we saw Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close. Michelle had to leave; the experience was too much for her because the protagonist reminded her of her son. I really loved the movie, but it's not one I'd want to see again. I found myself getting tearful more than once.

Some of that is because I miss my dad. I feel like I was robbed of the last few years with him because of his illness. I'm sorry he never got to meet Michelle or Sarah, both of whom I think he would have loved. I'm sorry that Teagan didn't get to spend more quality time with him, though she remembers him fondly.

But really, there was one scene in the movie that got to me. In the movie, Oscar (Thomas Horn) is a boy who's pretty clearly on the spectrum somewhere. He's high functioning but pretty obsessive and very easily overstimulated. He's also incredibly bright. His father dies, and a year later he finds a key that he suspects might have been a clue his father meant to give him (his father would frequently set up such puzzles for him). His only clue is the word "Black" written on the envelope, so he maps out everyone in the city of New York with the surname "Black" and plans to visit them all to see if they know something about his father.

This is hard for him because of his disability, but he manages. But along the way he speaks to "the Renter" (a man living with his grandmother, who turns out to be his estranged grandfather, who presumably returned after his father died). He confesses what he's doing to the Renter, and the scene is hard to watch, because it's an autistic boy trying to make sense of a world that just doesn't. He's seeing loss and grief in everyone he meets, and he's developing an empathy that just doesn't come naturally to him. He feels trapped behind his own issues and his own desire to avoid letting his father's memory slip away.

What resonates, besides the loss of the father, is feeling trapped in one's own brain. One of the main reasons I decided some years ago that I was going to like to people, that I was going to try to be kind and attentive, is that I hated feeling trapped. I hated - I do hate - feeling like I don't get people and feeling like they're wrong, because they probably aren't. Usually it's something I'm just not getting, and I find that much more palatable - the notion that may be I just don't grok - than the feeling that the people I interact with are just doing everything wrong somehow.

We all live in our own heads. See from other people's perspectives is hard, because we aren't wired to do it. Some of us are better at it than others, but it's a skill you can cultivate. I try to do it every day. Sometimes I fuck it up. But watching someone on the extreme end of things try to reconcile that was hard to watch. But it was good. It's good to feel intensely. Leastways it is for me.

Oh, the father in the movie dies in 9/11. The movie gets accused to exploitation. I'm not sure I buy that. I think that if he had died in a car accident, it wouldn't have had the same weight in the story because the boy needs to be able to leverage cooperation from strangers, and I think that shared sense of loss helps. Likewise, say what you want about using 9/11 to tell stories, but the truth is it's the only event of its kind in recent American history. As a writer, I understand the need to use it, to put it in some kind of context in my own head, just so the world doesn't seem so wrong.

So it's the same thing again, really. Anyway, it's a good movie and I recommend it.

And points. )

FFS.

Feb. 14th, 2012 12:29 pm
innocent_man: (moon)
It stands for FOR FUCKS SAKE.

I've been getting calls from chiropractors ever since the accident. I don't need one. I'm fine. But I'm still getting calls. And because I don't have a land line, they come in on my cell phone. Here's today's call:

ME: Hello?

HIM: Hello, is this Matthew McFarland?

ME: Yes.

HIM: How are you today?

ME: Depends who this is.

HIM: That's great. I'm calling from the Blabbity-Bloo Chiropractic Center-

ME: That's what I thought. I don't need a chiropractor, but thank you.

HIM: Words words - click.

Here's the same conversation, run through the Subtext-o-Tron!


ME: Hello?

HIM: Hello. Is this a potential customer?

ME: Go fuck yourself.

HIM: I'm totally not listening to you right now. I'm would like to have your insurance company's free money-

ME: Go fuck yourself. GO. FUCK. YOURSELF.

HIM: But money! click

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