iamtheinvisiblehand

Posts Tagged ‘movies

My mother has finally finished her preliminary 4 rounds of chemotherapy. There is now a 3-week wait before a full battery of tests is made to see if and how much the treatment has helped. And then, all the decisions that have to be made will be made.

I hadn’t realized just how scared and stressed out I’ve been over this until this week. I was flipping channels when I found the movie “My Girl”. I’d already seen it when it was originally released and I remembered I cried. That was the time when I’d go to see just any movie. I became more selective when my daughter was born not only because of the obvious time constraints, but also because I decided that life already provided enough drama every now and then, so why pay to see something sad on my already limited outings.

Under normal conditions, I would’ve kept on flipping or just switched off to read a book (it’s currently Ken Follett’s “A Dangerous Fortune”), and yet I just stopped and forced myself to watch the whole thing. Obviously, when the time came I cried, only this time it wasn’t just a few scattered tears, no. This time it was bawling until I had no more tears left. I felt a little like Emma Thompson’s Elinor Dashwood when she learns that Edward is not married – everything she had kept inside for so long just came gushing out, uncontrolled, something like a dam suddenly bursting and flooding everything around it.  Me being so pale, the just-cried puffy eyes and reddened nose finally cleared after a couple of hours, leaving me to wake up this morning with swollen eyelids as a souvenir of the previous day. But also, I felt incredibly relieved.

The thing is, it helped me realized that ever since my mother’s diagnosis I hadn’t found the time or the strength to admit my fear and anxiety, nor was I willing to do so either. I buried myself in my work so I would never have time to think about it, and just avoided anything that would make me feel upset. And while crying is supposed to be a healthy manifestation of our feelings, when other people need your support or you need to convince yourself that things are going to be alright, crying becomes the affirmation to the contrary: it means that things probably aren’t going the way they should and in all likelihood it’s not going to be ok. And now that I know that I had all this buried deep down inside, I’ve come to terms with the fact that regardless of the tests results, life will never be the same.

I mean, if all goes well, then I’ll probably adopt a new take on life and be more optimistic, which is fine, although in my case it’ll probably be temporary; if it doesn’t, well, no matter what my relationship my mother is like, seeing your own mother deteriorate and eventually let go of this world has to be one of life’s hardest trials.  

Seeing her, a rather tall and large woman shrivel into a helpless old lady has already been tough enough. She’s lost over 30 lbs. since October when the chemo started and rarely eats, goes out or does anything anymore. I know there’s a depression component there that worsens it all but still, there’s only so much the rest of us can do to improve her situation. My mother will have to fight this battle alone and if she doesn’t find the strength to kick the cancer, no one else can do it for her.

Having said all this, I’m glad I had the chance to cry it out and acknowledge everything that’s happening. I know that difficult times are just around the corner and that I’ll probably have to allow myself to cry every once in a while if I don’t want to have another breakdown.

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Busy as I’ve been, I only just saw that People magazine declared Channing Tatum as the Sexiest man Alive for 2012.

PLOP!

THAT guy is the sexiest man alive?

OK, I know that looks are a matter of personal taste but really, HE IS IT?

I also know that George Clooney and Brad Pitt can’t be on the cover every other year and should be named Honorary Members or something like that (Denzel Washington and Bradley Cooper could also be part of the club), but seriously, I think PEOPLE could’ve chosen better.  And I’m not saying that Tatum doesn’t have the looks, I’m just saying he’s not all that. Maybe he was also chosen because he’s become so popular and well-known. If that were the case, other guys could have made the list as well, although I must confess that I haven’t seen the full list so I don’t really know if the guys I’m going to mention were already included.

 Where is Jim Caviezel? He may not be IT, but he looks pretty darn sexy in Person of Interest. I guess he would have been one of my picks for the cover, because frankly, I think the guy is just perfect.

Was Johnny Depp in there? Don’t know, but he definitely should be.

I think Chris Hemsworth (Thor) was included, but I rather prefer his brother Liam (The Hunger Games).

Jay Ryan (Beauty & The Beast) could’ve also made the list. I mean, a tv show that has to thank the looks of their main characters for its ratings and not really the plot says a lot. 

Italian soccer player Paolo Maldini could’ve been a model. Luckily, he chose soccer, so tv exposure was greater and I got to see him quite often. The fact that he was an excellent player and completely devoted to his family always made him irresistible to me. He’s retired now, but he could’ve made the cover of any fashion magazine had he wanted to. Check him out, you’ll see what I mean.

Ian Somerhalder, Patrick Dempsey, Matt Bomer, Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Matthew McConaughey, Ryan Gosling, Eion Bailey, Hugh Jackman, Hugh Grant, Matthew Goode, Stephen Amell, Richard Armitage, Colin Firth, Gerard Butler, Jude Law, Christian Bale, Gary Oldman,Ewan McGregor, Dominic Purcell, Rob Lowe, Edward Burns, Chris Zylka, Mathew Lewis (Neville Longbottom – all grown and gorgeous), Oded Fehr, Sendil Ramamurthy, Hayden Christensen, Paul Walker, Colin Farrell,  Sean Faris, Eric Bana all look pretty good to me as well.

Leonardo DiCaprio is definitely one of my favorite. He brushed past me in Paris in the spring of ’97. I was leaving a bar called Barfly while he was trying to get in. Titanic had not been released yet and he was in France shooting The Man with the Iron Mask. And even though I don’t particularly like blondes, I can tell you that the guy is flawless, and what’s worse: he looks hotter with each passing day. I’d definitely say he looks better now than he did then, as it seems that the whole maturing process only makes him look more interesting. That, and the fact that he has proven to be a first-class actor should’ve made him a strong candidate for sexiest man for 2012. Maybe People magazine took a leaf out of the Academy’s book and decided to ignore him despite him having proven over and over that he truly is all that.

There are guys like Damian Lewis who I don’t particularly like, but I can see why others would.

And there are guys who are so popular and make people swoon all over the place and yet I can’t see what it is everyone else is seeing. That would be the case of Ashton Kutcher, Usher, Justin Timberlake, Robert Downey Jr. and Jon Hamm. And Channing Tatum. Seriously, I don’t get it.

People magazine need to do better this year, because there are so many good candidates out there it’s a shame they’re left out and leave us wondering when the hell the definition of sexy changed.

I’m not biased or anything, but as a moviegoer – especially now that I’ve slashed my movie outings from once or twice every weekend to once a month – there are certain crowds I just wish I didn’t have to put up with while trying to enjoy a movie.

I’ve narrowed them down to these 4:

1. The giggly girls. They manage to giggle about every single thing, but they are especially annoying during suspense or horror movies. I remember vividly a couple of stupid girls sitting next to me during Shyamalan’s “Signs” who just couldn’t stop giggling even through the scariest parts. And don’t get me started on the fits they have when there’s some kind of skin exposure, or if the actor is cute, because sometimes it’s not even worth enduring the rest of the film.

2. The teen boys. Not only do they fail to pay attention, but because they get bored after a few minutes, they start talking to each other – LOUDLY – or throwing their popcorn at unsuspecting viewers behind or in front of their seats. As if that weren’t bad enough, they keep asking one another what is going on, because none of them seems to be able to grasp the essence of the movie. And I’m not talking about serious or complicated movies, like say, “Inception” in which if you don’t pay attention you can easily get lost, no. I’m talking about “Puss in Boots” or “Transformers”. I mean, how thick can you get?

3. The parents with the bored child. Sigh. You can spot them easily because the child is already showing signs of a meltdown even before the movie has started. At some point, the child will get uncomfortable, either by having to sit still for 2 hours or by the insanely loud audio theaters are using these days, and the tears will come shortly after. In the end, they just waste their money because they have to leave before the child has a full-blown tantrum. I feel bad for these parents, having suffered this myself, and in their defense, there is truly no way of knowing beforehand how a child is going to behave during the movie, no matter what their behavior was five minutes before entering.

4. And last but not least, the phone-addicts. I mean, not only is it spelled out in huge letters across the screen, cinemas usually get the star of the upcoming blockbuster to tell people to TURN OFF THEIR PHONES. And still, these people think that the world will come to an end if they turn they wretched thing off.  Even if, let’s say you need to be available for whatever reason (even though it’s hard to believe a person can’t be spared 2 hours of their precious time, but whatever, it happens) , you can silence the device and still enjoy the movie. If it does ring, at least it will be silent and you can swiftly leave the theater to take the call. These people, however, never do that. Not only is their phone left on, it is not even silenced. To make matters worse, the phone is more often than not stashed at the bottom of the purse (in the case of the ladies) or in some unreachable jacket pocket (in the case of the men), so it takes them about 4-5 rings before they can get to it. And then, they answer it. IN THE THEATER. LOUDLY. And no matter how many “shhhhhes” they get, it’s like they’re in their own little world where there is no one and nothing else but the phone and themselves.

I’ll just have to forget about Saturday night screenings and stick to Sunday morning screenings, as teenagers and phone-addicts don’t usually get up that early.

Browsing for a new book to download on my Kindle, I came across Fifty Shades of Grey, a trilogy that has been on the best-seller list for some time now.

Naturally, I was curious, so I read most of the reviews to try and get a true picture and decide whether I should buy it or not.

The story revolves around wide-eyed virgin Anastasia, who falls for Christian Grey, a rich hottie who’s into BDSM. Hmmm. Eyebrows arching, but still visible. 

Now, even though I haven’t read the book and therefore cannot give an informed opinion on it, I have read almost all the reviews and I was able to infer one thing: it appears that the guy is the possessive type and a control freak and the submissive girl can’t do anything without his permission. You know, the “you’re mine” type. He’s absolutely charming and Anastasia just can’t let go. Brows keep rising, forming deep creases on my forehead, but still there.

After reading the reviews I couldn’t help but wonder why on earth people would feel compelled to read a story about a girl that appears to be in a borderline abusive relationship? I mean, all the symptoms are there: the naive girl asking permission to do the most mundane stuff, unable or unwilling to shake the guy off for one reason or another, and a guy that is completely irresistible, thus making it easier to dominate the girl. Yikes! I guess it may be part of the whole BDSM thing but still, sounds insane.

Again, I haven’t read the book and I may be wrong, but the reviews (even the good ones) state these exact same things.

Now, what I’ve asked myself since then is not only why people would enjoy reading about an abusive relationship (other than for the kinky sex that apparently abounds throughout the book, and at that, eyebrows have completely disappeared and merged with hairline), but mainly, why would an author, and a female author at that, create such a weak, submissive heroine.

Take, for instance, Bella Swan from Twilight. I’m an avid reader, and I’m pretty sure she is the most pathetic female character I have ever encountered in the 30+ years of my entire existence. She is sour, has no self esteem whatsoever and just seems to go through the motions instead of trying to live, turning her into an almost robot-like character. In all 4 books of the saga (yes, I read all 4 of them because I bought them at the same time, stupid me. They do make for super-light reading, the type you can do while on the phone and cooking at the same time. In my defense, I haven’t, and probably will not, see the movies), she never ceases to wonder why this perfect guy – who, thank God, is a vampire because imagine trying to convince your daughter that real, human guys are nothing like him!!!!! – chose her and can’t explain why he loves her despite being clumsy and just, well, ordinary. Imagine that: loving another person despite their flaws and in short, because of who they are!!!!  And still, her romance with vampire Edward Cullen broke all book and box office records.

Katniss Everdeen, the heroine of The Hunger Games is fierce, strong, talented and driven, and yet she remains reluctant to show any emotion or feeling throughout the entire trilogy, and when she does, she does so grudgingly. Why take away the part of her that makes her all the more human?

And let’s not forget most of the rest of the female characters of the YA genre. Instead of creating characters that are worth imitating, all these authors come up with are the stupidest, most nondescript people ever invented.  You’d think that having the power to influence, or at least make a difference, in people’s lives by reaching them with your craft, would make them come up with something better…. 

On the other side of the heroine spectrum is Isabel Allende. Most of her leads are women and they are the most wonderful characters imaginable, full of contradictions and ups-and-downs, like a real woman. Her novel La Casa de los Espiritus es about 4 generations of women, and each one is as fascinating as her mother before her.

All of the characters in Kathryn Stockett’s “The Help” are admirable and are so easy to picture you’d think you knew them all. And they are proof that you don’t even have to like some of them in order to appreciate how real they are. Of course, I’m referring to Hilly Holbrook, a major b****,  but absolutely credible nonetheless.

There is also Steig Larsson’s Lisbeth Salander (Millenium trilogy), who is a truly remarkable character. I’m sure anyone that’s read any of the 3 books will agree with me. She is a little awkward, but she remains sensitive and driven at the same time, making it impossible not to like her.

And there’s Hermione Granger, who, IMHO, can never be excluded from a true heroine list.

But of all the heroines I’ve come across, neither Elinor Dashwood, Dolores Claiborne nor Jane Eyre have anything on Bridget Jones. Yes….I’ve read Helen Fielding’s books and even though there are things about Bridget that are exaggerated to exploit the comedic side, she still rings true to me: she’s got self-esteem issues due to a variety of reasons,  and yet she is able to just enjoy it when good things happen to her without wondering why or whether she deserves them, which in my opinion, is the only way to make the most out of any situation. 

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From blogdecine.com

So, anyway, I won’t be buying Fifty Shades of Grey, even if the price drops to 0.99.  I like my heroines to be as real as possible, if it’s not much to ask, so I’ll keep looking….

Before motherhood, going to the movies each week was a given. No matter what was playing, I was sure I’d see it.

Things have changed a lot since then.

The last time I saw all the movies in the run for the Oscars was 6 years ago, right before my daughter was born. That was the year “Crash” won for Best Movie.

Since then, I go to the movies once or twice a month (instead of four or five times) , usually with my daughter in tow, to see The Muppets or Puss in Boots, etc., you know what I mean. And even though I’m not complaining, because I’ve always like kids’ films and never missed a premiere even as a childless adult, I think I have now become an expert in recognizing every single actor’s voice used in animated movies.

Whenever my husband and I find a movie we want to see (The Dark Knight, Inception, Avatar) we set in motion our organization skills so we can have a night out and a few hours to ourselves. And it’s not that it’s difficult, it’s just that we believe that spending the weekend with our daughter is really important, since our time together on weekdays is more restricted.

The other thing is that since our outings are few and far between, we now choose what we’re going to see very carefully so we don’t end up ruining it and wasting those precious hours by not enjoying the movie. That’s why most dramas (the ones requiring tissue and entailing ongoing sobbing) or serious award-winning movies (specifically those awarded in Cannes, Berlin, etc.) are out.

For instance, “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” will premiere this Friday (yes, very late compared to the rest of the world, I agree) and we are already setting up the whole thing so we can go. I read all three Stieg Larsson books in a few days and thought they were the best I’d read in a very long time. As if that weren’t enough, my husband and I are huge David Fincher fans, so I seriously doubt we’ll go wrong with this one. 

All this to say that just as these past five years, I haven’t seen any of the movies nominated to the Oscars this year, so I don’t have a clue as to who should win. (That is, other than in the animated Feature Film Category, which I believe should be awarded to Kung Fu Panda 2. If you haven’t seen it yet, do it now – it’s worth the while!).

I saw “Slumdog Millionaire” two weeks ago on TV and thought it was an excellent movie, well made, excellent soundtrack, despite the crude portrayal of what the children endured, which I’m sure is as real as it gets. I also saw True Grit and ended up exhausted with the long journey and the anguish, albeit quite impressed with the Hailee Steinfeld’s performance. I saw “The Hurt Locker” on TV as well but can’t say I particularly enjoyed it. We bought “Black Swan” on DVD, courtesy of my husband, who has a severe weakness when it comes to Natalie Portman AND Mila Kunis, so you can imagine what he thought of the movie…

As a huge “Harry Potter” fan I went to see all 8 movies as well, the last one last year, none of them with my husband because he can’t stand them. I also went to see “The King’s Speech” without my husband (ok, I understand why he wouldn’t want to go), and “Alice in Wonderland”, “How to Train your Dragon”, “Inception”, “Toy Story 3”, “Rio”, “Rango”, “Tangled”, “Kung Fu Panda 2” and I think that ends the list. Please note how many of them are G-rated movies.

So if anyone asks me who should win, I’d have to base my comment on my appreciation of prior roles and on what has happened before. Taking that into account, I would say that it would be nice if a movie that breaks with the tradition wins the Best Movie category, e.g. “The Artist”.

As for the Leading Actress, why is it that Meryl Streep and Glenn Close keep getting nominated each time they’re in a movie? Don’t get me wrong, I believe they are two of the greatest actresses of our time, but the Academy should open the view of their periscope because they are not the only ones out there.  Hopefully, any of the others will win for a change.

About the Leading Actor, I am completely biased, seeing that Gary Oldman is my favorite actor (and sexy as hell) and although he has played many outstanding parts he has never been nominated before, so he should take it home. He is, however, competing against George Clooney (again, he’s good but not thAt good and yet Hollywood seems to idolize him), Brad Pitt (why he hadn’t been nominated before is also a mystery to me), and Demian Bichir and Jean Dujardin, who appear to be just as worthy.

That’s another thing: the press always seems to favor Americans over anyone else, even though the others are just as good. I clearly remember the year fellow Colombian Catalina Sandino was nominated for her part in “Mary Full of Grace”. She was up against Hillary Swank, Annette Bening, Imelda Staunton and I think someone else. It was clear to the press that the only ones competing were Hillary Swank and Annette Bening. None of the others were ever mentioned. Of course, they were proven right in the end, but honestly, I assume the others were nominated for a reason, not just to fill out a minimum. And they are now doing the same thing with Clooney and Pitt. Shame.

So anyway, another year has passed and I am still out of the Oscar-loop. Sigh. Oh well, there are worse things.



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  • Carrie Rubin: I don't always remember names well, but I remember circumstances. I especially remembered yours because it's such a rare cancer, and you were the firs
  • iamtheinvisiblehand: Thank you for your kind words, but also thank you for remembering it was me....it's amazing that you'd remember this considering the endless stream of
  • Carrie Rubin: I am so sorry to hear about your mother. After you commented on my blog yesterday, I remembered that your mother was the one who had cholangiocarcinom

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