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Who Are You? … What Do Our Favourite Movies Reveal About Us?

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movie cat

I love it when the lights dim, conversations gradually decrescendo, a hush falls like a velvet curtain over the theatre.

The intermingling scents of hot popcorn with young mens’ Polo or LaCoste colognes and their sweet dates’ whore-lure fragrances are lost to us once the music swells and first words are spoken on the screen – we become absorbed in another world.

Another world, another story. We all love stories. We love to go places we’ve never been, or to be the fly on the wall, travelling inner worlds of those minds we can’t comprehend.

…………………

Am I coco-loco crazy or do you think we can define ourselves by the movies we love?

Could a psychologist look at our movie preferences and – like a mystical police profiler – decide who amongst us is Mother Teresa and who is the serial killer ready to explode? Or who is an over-the-top optimist floating on a cloud and who is struggling day-to-day, clinging desperately to the precipice of a skyscraper edge?

I think they probably could.

If all you watch are Freddie Kruger slasher flicks, sitting in your parents’ basement with dank mildew infiltrating your pores, I don’t want you living in my neighbourhood. NOPE.

I want the folks who fawn over Casablanca and Out of Africa and Wizard of Oz and Mary Poppins.

I don’t think I’ve ever encountered a person who said they dislike movies in their totality. I’m sure they exist but I haven’t met one yet.

Genres, yes?

movie genre

I’m not a horror fan. I don’t watch Chuck Norris movies. Or Action films. Or Science Fiction flicks.

I do enjoy adventure, comedy, animation, crime, drama, historic, thriller, musical, western, and Romantic-Comedy (ROM-COM) i.e. Chick Flicks!

It’s rare to find someone who isn’t moved by something they’ve seen in the movie theatre. Laughter, nausea, tears, disgust, love.

I’ll often tell people that I visit my local Cineplex ONLY because I enjoy butter and salt-laden popcorn … the film is just a feeble excuse to snorfle back hot saturated fats and rapturous sodium …

But in all honesty, when I see a well-written, beautiful photographed, deeply emotional or funny movie – better yet, a deeply emotional AND funny movie … the popcorn becomes a sidecar to the main event as it should.

Bravo to the enormous production team that it takes to make one flick (have you watched the almost interminable final credits of a movie?).

I love to sit in the darkness and become immersed in the deep-bass sound and colour dripping vision, and if the story is strong and well-paced … well … I’m in cinema heaven. I feel like I’ve smoked crack and entered some other dimension.

Surely our choice of movies tells a story of who we are and reflects out innermost selves, right?

Like the books we read, the music we listen to, the TV shows that capture our interest, movies tell a story TO us for certain, but they also tell a story ABOUT us.

So, what would my preferences say about me?

Here, I’ll open up and spill my guts into the theatre aisle for you to dissect and ponder, like crows over carcasses on the highway.

For all of the armchair psychologists and therapists out there, I give you my Top 15 lifetime movie selections with their genre noted alongside:

Movies

  • When Harry Met Sally -Rom-Com
  • Serendipity -Rom-Com
  • Reds – Historic
  • Schindler’s List – Historic
  • Benny and Joon -Rom-Com
  • Beauty and the Beast – Animation/Musical
  • Wait Until Dark – Thriller
  • Bonnie and Clyde – Historic/Crime
  • Lincoln – Historic
  • To Kill a Mockingbird – Drama
  • The Silence of the Lambs – Thriller
  • Monty Python and the Holy Grail – Comedy
  • The Sixth Sense – Thriller
  • Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid – Historic/Comedy/Drama
  • The Sound of Music – Historic/Musical

Medium shot in bank of Gene Hackman as Buck Barrow, Warren Beatty as Clyde Barrow, wearing hat, and Faye Dunaway as Bonnie Parker, all holding guns/pistols; woman seated in background. PHOTOGRAPHS TO BE USED SOLELY FOR ADVERTISING, PROMOTION, PUBLICITY OR REVIEWS OF THIS SPECIFIC MOTION PICTURE AND TO REMAIN THE PROPERTY OF THE STUDIO. NOT FOR SALE OR REDISTRIBUTION. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

My guess is we all respond to a certain kind of storytelling, and the movies we love resonate with that inner narrative we use to see the world.

So. Any broad themes creeping up?

Many of the film titles show 2 names (Harry/Sally, Benny/Joon, Beauty/Beast, Bonnie/Clyde, Butch Cassidy/Sundance Kid) … yup, I’m a sappy romantic. I enjoy romance in one form or another. (Reds and Serendipity are romances too, just without character names in the title)

I like unexpected storyline twists that give me a pleasurable twinge of excitement in the unknown (Silence of the Lambs, Wait Until Dark, Sixth Sense, To Kill a Mockingbird)

And finally, music.

Almost all movies have an accompanying musical soundtrack even though we’re often barely aware of it.

When Harry Met Sally has a wonderful ’40’s and ’50’s era background Swing track, Louis Armstrong lending a tinge of musical romance. Schindler’s List a haunting, dark violin-based theme song that intensifies the emotional sadness. Who knows and loves Butch Cassidy without humming “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head”? Bonnie and Clyde pulses to the fantastic banjo bluegrass theme of “Foggy Mountain Breakdown” … and of course Beauty and the Beast and The Sound of Music are replete with catchy tunes throughout.

Ah yes, movies.

Isn’t it great to live in a time when we can live the lives of anyone from history, anyone from today, anyone still to come?

All on one large silver screen for just a few bucks out of our pockets.

And every week, a new selection of pics come along, giving us another opportunity to explore within ourselves what it is that makes us tick.

Of course by the sales of porn and skin flicks, there’s one genre of film that captures the universality of a part of our humanity that we just don’t admit a lot to the world outside.

But that’s a whole blog post for another day and time.

Harry Twatter

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The Orgasm of Doing … 15 To-Do’s

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Sally Orgasm

Sally’s Orgasm of Doing …

He didn’t spend his life surfing TV channels.

She ran a business. Or built a robot. Or made love in a canoe. Or discovered DNA or walked the edge of the CN Tower.

He or She DID something.

Something that changed lives. Something that changed their own life. Something that inspired others to change their lives. Something that went from inside his or her head out into the real world.

to-do-or-not-to-do2

Shakespeare said, “To Be or Not to Be”

I say, “To Do or Not to Do” …

Are you a consumer or a creator?

Why not be your own god?

Create a life. Create something you’re proud of even if it only impacts yourself or a few lives of those you love and treasure.

I slap myself silly sometimes when I realize how fortunate I am to live on this blue ball in infinite space where I can sample so many wonderful, different things, taste so many amazing foods, experience so many different cultures. And I live this life of a minor king without having to mount a Crusade to defend it all.

I consume. I do. I’ll sit for 3 hours and watch my Hamilton Tiger Cats doing their football He-Man stuff while I lay back and drink light beer and eat popcorn.

But then I do. I read. I write. I sing. I cook. I clean. I build. I run. I grow. I sweat. I live.

It’s important to get outside of yourself and do things that not only make you feel good but have a positive feel-good impact on others too. I’m no saint (although I could be a Hell’s Angel!), but I feel great after I’ve worked a morning shift at my local soup kitchen.

Of course, not everyone can do everything.

And for sure, I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer … there are even rumours that my shit stinks. They’re true.

But I’ve made a few good moves in my life like building a financial base of savings in my 20’s and 30’s so that by my investments, I now have self-government in many ways to choose and do the things that interest me.

I don’t have a million dollar house filled with designer furniture but I do have an inordinate freedom to choose what I want to do and when I want to do it.

And because I’m so favoured, I need to take advantage of all these wonders and touch down on a tiny fraction of what’s available. To do less seems to be a phenomenal waste of my tiny droplet of time in an enormous ocean.

drop in the ocean

So … I need to think and plan and be deliberate in living this life.

Otherwise, I’ll be adrift in the breeze, lost without a sail.

For me this means making lists and charting a direction of enthusiastic living.

Today’s list of To-Do’s and Not To-Be’s goes as follows:

15 Things I Still Want To Do Before I Die

  1. Build A Guitar
  2. Make Love on a Beach
  3. Drink a Glass of Dom Perignon
  4. Write A Song That Is So Good It’s a Classic
  5. Save Someone From Drowning – Literally or Figuratively
  6. Jump Out Of An Airplane
  7. Play A Song On Stage at a Summer Music Festival
  8. See All 50 U.S. States and Walk on Every Continent
  9. Attend An Olympics Opening Ceremony
  10. Learn a New Profession Every Year
  11. Reach $2 Million Net Worth from Investing
  12. Run Up the Empire State Building
  13. Learn to Dance Better
  14. Do A Freestyle Road Trip Each Year – No Itinerary
  15. Become A Vegetarian For A Week

You just never know… I might do all of these things or I may not. I might change my mind next week and decide to do a bunch of different things that excite me.

Doesn’t matter. I’ll be experiencing the Orgasm of Doing … for today, this is my course.

What matters is that I feel an life-affirming enthusiasm for something, anything. Otherwise I feel dead inside. Why die prematurely?

I don’t want to be dead until I’m … well … dead – and frankly, I’d rather not have that experience either …

Maybe like Woody Allen says, “I’m not afraid of death; I just don’t want to be there when it happens.”

Woody allen death

What Makes Jerry Seinfeld So Funny?

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Jerry Seinfeld

Remember Stewart in my high school? You know, Stewart. Short. Unathletic. Funny dude.

We all knew that guy in high school … he wasn’t terribly popular … but he had an amazingly quick wit and sense of humour.

I would have loved to be the funny guy.

Even teachers begrudgingly loved the funny guy.

To our faces, they pretended he was just a wisecracking smartass, but when they turned their backs to the class, and wrote indecipherable math formulas on the chalkboards in their shirts with sweat-stained armpits, they too had silly grins that couldn’t be contained.

Cheerleaders wouldn’t get naked and screw the funny guy (at least during high school years) because he was kind of scrawny. And too smart. Not book smart. Life smart.

Bullies were even too afraid to beat him up because they knew he’d cut them down to embarrassing size with his quips and shrewd words. Bullies know they have small dicks and are stupid – they don’t need it pointed out to everyone.

Stewart became class president in Grade 12 because no one would touch him, physically or mentally. Stewart had power.

I don’t know where Stewart is today, but I’ll bet he’s in charge of something wherever he sits his ass down.

Of course there are all sorts of categories of guys and gals in high school… the jock, the cheerleader, the stoner, the free-spirit Bohemian, the math nerd, the politician, the loner, teacher’s pet.

Every school has them. Every one of us knows the full gamut of stereotypes that we can put names to … you saw it in school, and you see it in the workplace.

In today’s information-heavy world, it’s not muscle and brawn and aggression that win battles… well, not usually anyways.

It used to be that the strongest Attila or Ghengis in the clan automatically was the leader.

Later it was the Sundance Kid guy with the best pistol shot. Fear was derived from strength of body or weapon.

Butch and sundance

But today, the brain is the weapon of choice.

The person with the strongest wit and intellect and ability to think on their feet becomes the next great leader or popular messiah.

  • Barack Obama showed that in recent American elections with his folksy charm and ability to communicate and connect.
  • Bill Clinton won the people over with his magnetic appeal, intellect and charisma (and sexy allure!).
  • Bill Cosby was a big winner for decades with his warm smile and down-to-earth chuckles until his ugly arrogant ego was pulled out of the shitty cesspool.
  • George W. Bush paradoxically used old-era scare tactics and Cold War paranoia to wiggle his way through elections, a toss back to earlier times. No intellect or wit necessary. Which proves that there are exceptions to every rule.

George w bush

………………

But I hear you asking, “why in the world is he thinking about these images from his past?”

Well, it’s because I just bought tickets to see Jerry Seinfeld in Vancouver in November. Another funny guy.

I chuckle and titter at Seinfeld’s “observational-style” humour – unlike the Don Rickles “insult” humour style of comedy and fun.

Rickles: “I shouldn’t make fun of the blacks,” Rickles said, and then proceeded to do just that: “President Obama is a personal friend of mine. He was over to the house yesterday, but the mop broke.”

I laughed and I laughed … NOT!!!

Funny to me is when both the comic and his target are laughing. Does anyone honestly believe Obama would burst into a sincere belly-busting uproar at Rickles’ joke?

Did one black person smile and snigger? Right … NOPE!

Seinfeld: “I was best man at a wedding one time and that was pretty good. Pretty good title, I thought … ‘Best man.’ I thought it was a bit much. I thought we had the groom and the ‘pretty good man.’ That’s more than enough. If I am the best man, why is she marrying him?”

Seinfeld: “A friend of mine is going in for a nose job next week. You know what the technical term for a nose job is? Rhinoplasty! Rhino! This guy is aware he has a bit of a problem … he’s obviously sensitive about it, that’s why he made the appointment. Do we really need to compare him to a goddamn rhinoceros?”

Anyone can laugh at these observations. Or not.

I’m blown away by the minds of those who are able to pick up on minute details in life – like “best man” or “rhinoplasty” –  that can be twisted just a tiny wee bit to bring out the absurdity in the things we do and experience.

I guess it’s just a part of me that is on this continual search for inspiration and artistic genius.

Rickles and Seinfeld

I’ll have what he’s having…

Of course we all have our own taste in comedy and the things that make us spurt milk out our noses unexpectedly.

I’m not the guy who falls out of his chair at a “fart” joke but I respect that noisy, annoyingly smelly things can bring a naughty smile to some.

But I do pee my pants watching a knight having his limbs systematically and bloodily chopped off in Monty Python’s “Holy Grail”… figure that.

Wouldn’t it be funny if I somehow ran into “High School Stewart” at the Seinfeld event in Vancouver?

Oh well.

Even if Stewart isn’t there, I’m betting I’ll sit and sniggle and chortle and crack up at a lot of what Jerry Seinfeld has to say for an hour or two. He somehow made a whole multi-year running TV show about “nothing”… absolutely “nothing”.

And that, my friend, is this guy’s kind of humour.

Master of your domain

A Prelude To A But …

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so-you-think-you-can-dance-dancer-wallpaper

I was watching an episode of So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD) the other night.

I love this show filled with crazy-talented young dancers.

How is it possible for JaJa and Virgil and Gaby to master 3 or 4 formidably challenging new dances EVERY week?

I look for inspiration everywhere, ALL the time.

These dancing Olympians are inspiration defined.

As it was, light rain drops pattered against my living room window ledge – occasional quiet thunder rumbles rolled in like bowling balls careening down the lane towards the pins –  and the early evening sun was trying mightily to edge its way through the clouds to brighten the 50 shades of grey.

One of the chickens in the yard was squawking loudly like she was giving birth but all the eggs had already been laid for the day.

I turned my attention back to the TV screen as one of the SYTYCD judges, Jason Derulo, began his critique of a just-finished dance.

Then an unexpected lightning bolt crashed into my head … his words were a PRELUDE TO A BUT.

PRELUDE TO A BUT?

Derulo meandered and danced through his critique – his words filled with “great” this and “dope” that .

But it struck me in a puzzling fashion that just by the tone of his voice, the expression on his face and the usage of his words, it wasn’t going to be all sunshine that he was dishing up, he would be crashing this love party with something negative to add …

At some point in his next few sentences or paragraphs, there would be a big BUT …

Big But

Nope. NOT a big BUTT… A big BUT!

He had signalled a Prelude to a BUT …

But … how did I know that?

I’m gobsmacked that the human mind in its understanding of language and nuance to tone, can feel, sense a change, a foreshadowing of things to come.

We all do it. We watch and wait for the signs with keen intent.

Many years ago, in my teenage or young adult years, I’d hit those rare eclipse-like moments.

The instant where I summoned the knee-knocking courage and found myself meekly asking a sweet young candy-scented maid to a movie or dinner.

Those first few words that slipped from her delicious lips? The hesitation? The smile or dour look on her countenance?

They would tell me if I should begin cheering or shrinking away in embarrassment like a naked man in an icy cold shower.

It didn’t matter if her first words were “NO” because the prelude to the “No” was enough to signal the direction of my exaltation or humiliation.

I’d love to … (oh oh! No, don’t say it…) … BUT … I have a hangnail treatment scheduled that day.

Or better still, “I’d love to because  (yay… no BUT!) I’ve always wanted to sky-dive. Sure, that would be nice.” See? No pause, no prelude to a BUT!

When a doctor enters the cubbyhole office room or slowly saunters into the hospital room where his patient awaits?

We all know from real life experience or vicariously through watching any of a million TV hospital shows just what the “news” is going to be.

The smile or look of reticence on the physician’s face, the slow or optimistic slide of the shoes over the floor, the medical chart held close to the chest or swinging at the doctor’s side, the small corny joke … there are so many tiny nuanced markers that answer the questions that have yet to be asked.

And then the tone of voice, the inflection of the words. Listening for a prelude to a BUT.

“Your lab test results are all fine (oh no, frown on Doc’s face, slowing speech)BUT … the CT scan has a small shadow we need to look into”

Your lab test results are all fine (no hesitation, serene look on Doc’s face)AND … the CT scan looks clear.”

doctors-exam

My ears are buzzing. Did you say I have 2 days or 2 years to live?

Will she go to the movie with me? Did he love my dance performance? Do I have terminal cancer or organ failure?

In most cases we know almost instantaneously because we’ve learned to observe all of the tiny details that speak to us before words ever float through the air.

We know if the dark brown stuff flying towards us is shit or chocolate before we ever get to taste it because we are amazingly attuned to the fine details of spoken language and body language.

The SYTYCD contestants are strong-willed soldiers of positivity and great attitude. The hours and years of dedicated effort and pain and sacrifice that come through in their attempt to impress, mean little in this competition they’ve willingly jumped into.

They smile brightly at the bouquets and the brickbats sent their way. Occasionally a small willful tear escapes and slides down a cheek.

But.

They know in a Santa-flew-down-the-chimney-in-a-flash moment when the judges begin to speak and critique their work.

They know if it is all just a Prelude to a But.

Happy sad eggs