It is a phrase that we’ve heard many times (in part anyway), but I am always amazed when I find an example of it that hits close to home. It comes as a greater surprise when the example comes from something that I would not exactly consider meaningful. My latest run in with this feeling is one such example.
I love movies. Not all movies are what I would consider good, but I believe most movies have something good within them. I recently watched a movie starring Ryan Reynolds and Sandra Bullock called “The Proposal.” There did not seem to be anything special about this movie, but as I am a fan of the actors in it and I had some time to kill so I gave it a shot. It is what one would call a typically formulaic romantic comedy. The two lead characters initially hate each other but through a series of wacky events find that they not only misunderstood the other person, but actually love them. It’s a trope we’ve seen time and time again, and was used in a rather unimaginative way. Then about three quarters of the way through the movie there is the following exchange that hit me out of nowhere:
MARGARET: I forgot, OK?
ANDREW: You forgot what?
MARGARET: I forgot what it was like to have a family! I’ve been on my own since I was 16 and I forgot what it felt like to have people love you, and make you breakfast and say, “Hey! We’d love to come down for the holidays.” And I say, “Well, why don’t we come up and see you instead?”
The scene is intended to be the moment that the unlikeable character is humanized and becomes someone the audience can sympathize with – but for me, it ripped a page right out of my life. I have been on my own for a very long time, but unlike Sandra Bullock’s character in the film it’s not because my family died – were are simply estranged. I almost think it unfair to use the words “simply” and “estranged” back to back as estrangement is never something that comes simply – but that’s a topic for another time.
What I allowed to happen in my case was that I took the estrangement of my wildly dysfunctional immediate family and inadvertently applied it to my extended family as well. And they were the ones who loved me, and made me breakfast, and inquired as to when I was going to come see them. It was a terrible thing I did to them, but it was also a terrible thing to have done to myself. In my life I created surrogate families with the friends I surrounded myself with – and don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my friends and I do consider them to be a family. But there is something about blood relations that makes one feel that you must innately put up with them. Whereas friendships, well – they grow apart. Try as one may to keep it from happening, life just has a way of taking us in different directions.
I recently had occasion to be exposed to that part of my family again, albeit not under the greatest of circumstances. And even after years apart, after the neglect I showed them, even in the midst of this terrible situation – they were still my family. And the words of Margaret’s character in The Proposal succinctly and completely summed up my situation – I forgot. I forgot what it was like to have a family. But more than that, I fear I may have forgotten what it is like to be PART of a family. The moments of exposure come and I recognize that I miss the feeling that family provides – but then the moments pass and I go right back to being my insular self. Not meaning to be estranged, but being so any way. I see this manner of being taking its toll on my surrogate families as well and I have to wonder, have I truly forgotten what it is like to be part of something? Have I lost the ability to be part of a family? Did I simply forget? Or did I make a choice and now I am reaping the fruits of those decisions?
Then I remember that it was an unremarkable piece of writing in a film that was mediocre at best, that made me think of something that really reaches into the core of who I am.
I love movies, and that Life Imitates Art. And that something so simple can bring to mind something so deep and complex.
This is your Week In Geek recap for week ending December 21, 2014!
In Theaters This Week
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
In the third part of Peter Jackson extended rendition of one of Tolkens earlier works, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies completes the epic tale of Bilbo Baggins, as played by Martin Freeman. Along with Bilbo are the cast of characters including Gandalf, Legolas, Bard, Tauriel, Thorin, Thandrul, and the dreadful menace of Smaug. We follow the middle earth tale which culminates in a battle against the forces of darkness. With a run time of 2 hours and 24 minutes, this movie is rated PG-13 for violence and potential bladder injury.
1. A phenomenon in which a luminous electrical discharge appears on a ship or aircraft during a storm.
2. A 1985 Joel Schumacher film surrounding a group of friends just out of college, and their struggle with adulthood.
In 1985, 12 (going on 13) year old me did not know either of the definitions listed above. It was a pretty rough time for me. I was living with an abusive parent, I had just come off of failing 7th grade at a private school in at attempt to punish my parents for their divorce and for moving me to the private school in the first place, and I was being left behind by all of my friends. (That last one is important with respect to how I feel about this movie, so pay attention.) So what is a tween to do for an escape? MOVIES!
1985 was a not so great year for me, but was a truly great year for movies. This is the year that gave us Back to the Future, The Goonies, Legend, Clue, Weird Science, The Jewel of the Nile, Cocoon, Desperately Seeking Susan, Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome, Real Genius, Better Off Dead, The Breakfast Club and of course the reason for this post – St. Elmo’s Fire. While many of these films that I cherish allowed me a temporary escape from my reality it was the last two that really had a huge impact on me. Both of these movies gave me hope. “Both?” you might ask – “they are very different stories!” This is true – but they came at a pretty dark time in my childhood and made me believe that I might have something to look forward to.
We’d like to thank everyone that came out to Famous Faces and Funnies to watch the recording of the show! We apologize for not being able to go live from the location – We’re working on it!
A special thanks to Fawad Siddiqui for making it up from Miami to join the show and to Rick Shea for joining the panel and allowing us to record at his awesome comic shop!
As you know we took to our social media sites asking people to tell us their thoughts and experiences regarding the man of steel and we were going to give a prize to our favorite comment. Well the winning comment goes to a user over on Google+ – HAROLD HIRSCH with the following comment:
It was announced yesterday that the second installment of the man of Steel franchise officially had a name – “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.”
But wait a second – Batman v Superman? This is the second Man Of Steel movie, and not only is Man Of Steel not in the title, but the person that the title references (ie Superman) does not even get top billing? What gives here? This is the second installment of the Superman franchise and he is getting second billing in his own movie!
When the announcement was made that there was going to be a Batman vs Superman movie, I was just as excited as everyone else. However I was under the impression that this would be a Super hero team up Movie. OK the addition of Batman is exciting – isn’t it? The More I thought about it, the more problematic it became. We have just met Superman in this new universe and there is no mention of Batman, let alone any other heroes. So how is this going to work?
Disney’s Frozen has gotten under my skin in a way that no movie has in a very long time. I knew I enjoyed it the first time I watched it, but I really had no idea just how much this movie would be on my mind in the time since then.
At first I thought that maybe it was just the fact the Disney had seemingly gone back to their roots in making great animated movies in the vein of The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and my personal favorite – Aladdin. Correction, my former personal favorite as Frozen has soundly dethroned its predecessor. However as time has progressed I am coming to find that it really isn’t that simple. Frozen has simply spoken to me on a level that very few works have ever managed. In short, Frozen got to my heart. (As it turns out, contrary to popular belief, I have one.)
Saturday, March 24,1984.
Shermer High School,
Shermer, Illinois, 60062.
Dear Mr. Vernon,
We accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it was we did wrong. What we did *was* wrong. But we think you’re crazy to make us write an essay telling you who we think we are. What do you care? You see us as you want to see us – in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. You see us as a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess and a criminal. Correct? That’s the way we saw each other at 7:00 this morning. We were brainwashed.
But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess and a criminal. Does that answer your question?…
The Breakfast Club.
This is the opening, and with a minor change the closing of the 1985 John Hughes teen movie classic, The Breakfast Club – one of the of, if not THE seminal movie experience of my adolescent years. In large part this film was responsible for changing my perception of who I thought I was and in many ways who I ended up being.
This week we talked about the movie 1976 Horror film Carrie (you can see the video of the discussion below). We took a look at the Spielberg/De Palma collaboration not only as a classic in the Horror genre but also as a snapshot of what was common/acceptable in movies almost 4 decades ago. But we also happened to draw this movie while the Carrie 2013 remake is out in theaters, so this really turned into a discussion of Carrie as a franchise. Below are some quick Highs and lows from the three films:
This is the movie that started it all. The story is of a shy girl who was sheltered from the world by a fearful, delusional mother and the damage done to her by this upbringing. Carrie is an outcast, shunned by the social groups in her high school as a pariah. Not only does she not have the social skills needed to integrate in her environment after only recently being allowed to attend a public school, Carrie is unprepared to deal with the changes her body is going through as she becomes a young woman. After traumatically having her first menstruation in a locker room full of her classmates and panicking, these girls mercilessly mock her chanting the refrain – “Plug it up.”
The post was originally written as a twitter response (140 characters at a time) to the following conversation:
If you've read @EndersGameMovie & enjoyed it, my recommendation is stay away and preserve your memories…
— The M Cluster (@TheMCluster) November 2, 2013