Monday, October 24, 2011

Highlight Reel (aka A Blanket and a Remote)

The universe conspires to keep the coolest things just out of reach of adults in the United States. Take nap time for one. Why should the under five crowd monopolize the quality sleep time, that is the middle of the day? And recess. Why shouldn't we take some time to play, just because? But kids aren't the only ones keeping all the cool tricks. Animals fly south for the winter. And, they hibernate! How cool is that? "Hey Honey, ready for bed? I set the alarm for early May. 'Cause when we got up last April, I was groggy 'til mid June."

Well, in honor of hibernation (,and higher sensibilities), here are ten films for the cold days and hot chocolate nights. Not only will these movies entertain you, but each offers an interesting value in personal development... I hope. In order of...random.

The Tourist (2010)- Despite being critically lambasted,  this is a fantastic story of internal change. Math teacher Frank turns a mistaken identity case into a chance to re-brand himself "an adventurer."
Italian policeman 2: You wish to report a murder.
Frank Taylor: Attempted murder.
Italian policeman 2: That's not so serious.
Frank Taylor: Not when you downgrade it from murder. But when you upgrade it from room service, it's quite serious.

   Takeaway: You've done good things. You've done crappy things. You've done less than you'd hoped. But only you can decide to be the best version of yourself.

Temple Grandin (2010): Claire Danes's best film ever. I'm not kidding. Best. Film. Ever. The true story of a woman who is, "not like other people. [she] think[s] in pictures and [she] connect[s] them." Her mind for observation and incredible eye for detail allows her to solves problems in amazing innovative ways. And her autism creates unique social challenges that she overcomes with the help of her family and friends. This character is so dynamic that it even makes animal husbandry an exciting setting.

...They will be very calm. Nature is cruel but we don't have to be. We owe them some respect. I touched the first cow that was being stunned. In a few seconds it was going to be just another piece of beef, but in that moment it was still an individual. It was calm and then it was gone. I became aware of how precious life was...
   Takeaway: You have to outgrow your obstacles. What's your excuse?

 The Social Network (2010): Amazing film. See also, "Facebook Me."
Erica Albright: Look, you are probably going to be a very successful computer person. But you're gonna go through life thinking that girls don't like you because you're a nerd. And I want you to know from the bottom of my heart that that won't be true. It'll be because you're an asshole.
  Takeaway: Success is awesome. People are important. If you don't have someone to high-five for your millionth user, there's a bit of a disconnect.

Hitch (2005): Not quite on the same caliber as "The Social Network," for script craftsmanship. It's funny. It's light. What's crazy is that it's true. Well, not a true story. But they offer a lot of useful truths for men and women alike. From a prohibition forbidding lip biting while dancing, to an admonition to leave room for their 10 after you go 90.
"One dance, one look, one kiss, that's all we get, Albert. Just *one shot* to make the difference between happily-ever-after, and oh-he's-just-some-guy-I-went-to-some-thing-with-once." 
   Takeaway: As much as it sucks, and as much as the feminist in me cries "Foul!" Hitch is right, "With no guile, and no game, there's no girl." But, just as importantly,.."Basic principles? There are none."

Limitless (2011): They always said that drugs would open up your mind to new things. In this case, a drug opened up his mind to everything. Total recall and the ability to synthesize all available data are two powers of the down on his luck writer when he's introduced to NZT-48. He finishes a master novel, and makes millions in stock trading in mere days. Suspicious associates, blackouts,  and death, however, are among the less enticing side effects. Manipulation and hubris move the story right along.
Eddie Morra: [at a party] ... Well sure, you'd get a short-term spike, but wouldn't that rapid expansion devalue the stock completely in two years?
Kevin Doyle: No, 'cause there are safeguards!
Eddie Morra: Against aggressive overexpansion? There aren't because there are no safeguards in human nature. We're wired to overreach. Look at history, all the countries that have ever ruled the world - Portugal, with its big, massive navy... All they've got now are salt cods and cheap condoms.
[crowd laughs]
Eddie Morra: And Brits? Now they're just sitting in their dank little island, fussing over their suits. No one's stopping and thinking, 'Hey, we're doing pretty well. We got France, we got Poland, we got a big Swiss bank account... You know what? Let's not invade Russia in the winter, let's go home, let's pop a beer and let's live off the interest.'
   Takeaway: Nobody is going to give you NZT. What's the the next thing you're going to do to expand your mind?

These are a few good ones on which you can get started. I'll get a few more going and work up a reading list for my fellow bookworms. I look forward to your input and reviews. Happy viewing.