Larry Crowne

Though the critics are slamming this movie, it’s not all bad. It will sell on VOD and show up on Netflix soon I am sure. It won no awards with me. If you plan to see it, I should warn you that Larry Crowne is no top shelf Tom Hanks or Julia Roberts film. Neither it is worthy of co-writer Nia Vardalos, for that matter. It is corny writing akin to an after school special only its audience is unclear. It could be middle aged or 20-somethings, I am not quite sure. It is lost on me. In truth, I do not care about the intended audience. I do wonder however who will get this film.

IMDB synopsis: “After losing his job, a middle-aged man reinvents himself by going back to college.”

Commmunity college is misrepresented along with human patterns of relationships. This film isn’t horrible though. It’s a vanilla way to bide your time in between meals. It will not teach you anything profound however about real tragedies like downsizing or foreclosure. It’s a happy message … phrases like “Grin and bear it” and “Just smile” come to mind. As long as you expect that crap, you may enjoy this little fling at junior college. (That makes it sound like more fun than it is)
[xrr rating=1.5/5]

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Paterson (2016)

Paterson

Paterson

“A quiet observation of the triumphs and defeats of daily life, along with the poetry evident in its smallest details.” -IMDB

Cast

Adam Driver Paterson
Golshifteh Farahani Laura
Nellie Marvin
Rizwan Manji Donny

Directed by

Jim Jarmusch

Written by

Jim Jarmusch

Other Info

Comedy, Drama, Romance
R
Thu 17 Nov 2016 UTC
118min
IMDB Rating: 7.6

When meditating, still life nature scenes and soft spoken recordings are excellent help for me. It was as if this film purposely included such chunks in the film to entrance its viewers. Because I practice meditation and relaxation, I’m attuned to this and I found those places where Paterson read poetry and waterfalls were running in the background to be ethereal, calming.

It reminded me of the music they play when I get my monthly massage. The insertion of calming scenes however couldn’t make up for the lack of believable characterization and the presence of a very dull plot. Still, as a whole, this movie was i its own way enjoyable for me. Paterson is well versed in famous poets but for the most part, he writes like an unschooled diarist and that was hard to sit through.

Jim Jarmusch is the Director. He directed Only Lovers Left Alive. While much more experimental and “otherworldly,” that film has a similar entrancing yet undefined component to it. I’m not yet convinced this director is one I appreciate but I respect he tries doing films that are different.

Adam Driver plays Paterson, the poet by night/Bus driver by day. I had a real hard time swallowing this character. His wife dotes on him, makes special cupcakes for his lunch, and begs him to buy her a guitar. It’s all a disjointed mess if you asked me. City transit bus drivers make just above poverty level wages and yet she treats him as if he is the king with the fat bank account. Sad for her. More importantly though, she has passion while he has none. Well, he is passionate about poetry but not much more.

FINAL THOUGHTS
No one can wow me with William Carlos Williams references. My MA is in literature. I had many classes on modern poets and wrote many papers. Perhaps that’s why this all seemed very contrived to me. I like bringing the great poets back but the way Jarmusch did it here was droll and gauche. This is one where I have to part ways with the big critics who appear to love this film. I give it:

6/10

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Monkey Kingdom

Every time one of these Disney Nature films comes out, my wife and I are Johnny on the spot to take our family. The last 2 we saw at the world famous El Capitan theater in Hollywood. This one we saw in the theater here. It was amazing as expected. It presented the idea of a natural order, potentially upset by the underdog. I will give you no spoils as to the outcome. I felt this movie broke away from the convention Disney has used in the past and brought us some inspiration practically applied. It’s fitting that Disney, the champion of Princes and Princesses in the movies, challenges that concept. Our family liked that most about the film.

For a nature film, this movie is perfect in every way. Every family with young children will love it. The incredible architecture of the fallen monument they make their home is spectacular. It’s a perfect way to tell a story. I would imagine the recipe for making these things is sort of like: 1) Put cameras everywhere and shoot 2) look for what can be made into a story and 3) Make it into a story. Obviously the monkeys are not actors. Cheap labor right? Wait until the union hears about it. The monkey union? At any rate, there is love, struggle, heartbreak, and all the emotions of families trying to make it. Though the monkey’s nature is a different house than ours, it doesn’t take much imagination to see the connections to being a human in our society. This one’s a winner. I give it 5/5.

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Father Damien of Molokai

One character from history, biography, and film has always held my attention: Fr. Joseph Damien de Veuster.

Tell us about a favorite character from film, theater, or literature, with whom you’d like to have a heart-to-heart. What would you talk about?

Source: It Builds Character | The Daily Post

“Damien of Molokai” is a low budget movie about a real life priest who self-exiled himself to a leper colony to care for their souls. Lepersy was 100% deadly when diagnosed back then. To be sent to the island was to receive a death sentence. What’s more? No one could ever return to the mainland.

I’ve always been fascinated by the story of Damien. I’d love to meet with him and discuss what it was like finally choosing to go to the island and sealing his earthly fate. I’d ask him about experiences paying the sick visits. How horrible was it? How did he manage to encourage people in such a state? I know his stories or wisdom would help me be a better teacher and person in general.

What I’d Like to be Remembered For

It’s a good question, what would I want to be remembered for after I’m gone. As I sat with a yellow pad, a lot of the same old values came out. I listed them. After that, I decided to eliminate the ideals that I liked doing in favor of those that I truly wanted people to remember me by. I came up with 5.

  • Loving Dad: I really want to leave memories with my kids and an impression to the world that I was a loving dad. This is sometimes easier than others but it can be challenging.
  • Effective teacher: A daily/weekly/yearly process and pursuit.
  • Dedicated Blogger.
  • Reader: I need tons of work here. Instead of putting out so much I need a daily practice of taking in what others have written.
  • Loving husband: This is a fun challenge and I hope people remember how much I love my wife.

Welcome to the November 2015 NaBloPoMo writing prompts! As with all NaBlo prompts, Saturday and Sunday are for free writing.

Source: NaBloPoMo November 2015 Prompts | BlogHer

Travel Lightly Down Life’s Road


It’s indescribable how the future changes things.

This week’s prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “indescribable.” Use the actual word in your post or just base your post on something that defies description.

If you’ve ever kept a diary you’ve probably experienced looking back at something you wrote in the past that has changed in meaning. Perhaps you were nervously anticipating an upcoming challenge that turned out being no big deal at all. Or maybe you were sounding your trumpet about an event that now, later in time, seems to have lost it’s sheen.

At 46, I could never explain this and I don’t know why I’m trying to do so to people younger than me. It’s less important to define everything and more important to define those universal themes that have stood the test of time for ones life. Like the photo above I found on Tumblr, we can’t see the track ahead clearly. The forest/city/town that we’ll see down the tracks will likely defy all current description. The best advice I can give as you travel through life is to take it easy and believe all things do change.

A Lifelong Pursuit

Women are the saving grace of humanity. Unfortunately, they are an enigma to us men. We can watch and wait patiently in hopes of gaining understanding. But understanding our lady is a lifelong pursuit.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Lazy Learners.” Is there something you’ve always wanted to learn but haven’t gotten around to? What is it and what’s stopping you from mastering the skill?

Whether it was my first crush in grade school or after the first few months being married, I’ve always wanted to understand women. I love my wife, she takes sych good care of me and our kids. It would seem the things she does along that path make perfect sense but they don’t always. It seems like men are easier to figure out. They have primal motives. Women are different and that intrigues me.

There is a sort of permeating sadness in all the women I have known. It’s as if they carry an extra burden in this life. That sadness makes them beautiful. Sometimes we men will do all we can to reach out and cure their sadness but we are not usually successful. I think the human race relies on that sadness for balance. Greed, hatred, bigotry, racism … these are all sins that cause wars and strife. Women carry a place for the lost of the world in their hearts. This is partially why we find them beautiful. I learn a little more each year I am married. I wait and watch and discover. Understanding a woman takes time and an open mind the likes of which I never imagined before I got married. It makes me better being married to a wonderful woman but I don’t think I’ll ever fully understand why. I’ve always wanted to understand women but the closer I get, the further it seems.

The Proper Time to Name a Soulmate

Through the ages there has been this idea that finding your soulmate will solve all your personal problems. It’s a false notion. I married well and my wife is definitely the best I ever had! Thank goodness she stooped to my level and said “I do.” For that I feel qualified to write this today. I’d like to give my take on a soulmate. I certainly feel I have found mine after 13 years of marriage (on 11/9/2015).

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Yin to My Yang.” How do you define the term “soulmate,” and do you believe in the existence of such a person — for you?

imageA soulmate is one who makes you better. You go through your teens and twenties learning who you are. After that I think is the best time to start thinking about a soulmate. People say they know the “one” before then but as for me, it would have been darned near impossible. I et my wife when I was 33 and she was 25. The age difference showed up here and there as a communication block but we aways worked through those times. Now it is almost never a concern.

When you decide to marry someone, you should know that labeling them “soulmate” is not the grand panacea or any marital ailment. I think of the soulmate as the one who can fight fair with you. Yes, there is a lot of fighting in marriage, I don’t care what people may say to contradict me. You choose to be with someone over and over until you die. At the end of your life is when you can look back and rightfully claim someone was your soulmate and not before. It’s a choice not a fairy tale. But, if you find someone who can fight fair with you and loves you enough to learn to fight fair, it can e the most wondrous sharing experience of a lifetime.

How the Face of Poverty Helped me Grow Up

Poverty is something most young people can’t comprehend until they experience it or even just see it. Seeing it transformed me on a trip I took to Mexico at age 18. I was forced to grow up in an instant (or a series of instants).

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “When Childhood Ends.” Write about a defining moment in your life when you were forced to grow up in an instant (or a series of instants).

This is me graduating with my first degree, AA General Education. That's my Grandpa with me. My experiences at a Tijuana orphanage at 18 influenced my desire to be college educated.
This is me graduating with my first degree, AA General Education. That’s my Grandpa with me. My experiences at a Tijuana orphanage at 18 influenced my desire to be college educated. I’ve gone on to get two more degrees and a teaching credential. Every day I seek to help children of all socioeconomic backgrounds as a teacher.

When I was 18, I went with a group of Southern California kids and adult leaders to give food and supplies to an orphanage in Tijuana. I had the opportunity to give a child a bike. The place was actually situated behind a dump. It was regular practice for the kids there to trash pick for food and other items. The leaders gave me a rebuilt bike to give to a boy who they told me had just discovered his parents stabbed and dead in the dump. It was sobering and sad.

I learned a lot on that trip. As an OC brat, I took a lot for granted growing up. That experience really made me grow up in an instant. I saw that security was not granted for everyone as it was for me. Poverty is real. I think all children growing up in the lap of luxury with Disneyland right in her/his backyard should spend time in poverty. It made me thankful for my parents and my family. It made me realize that I was always just a couple paychecks away from being in poverty myself and that I needed to invest in myself in college and savings to ensure a life far from poverty. I also learned that Tijuana poverty is far below any poverty I had seen in Southern California all my short life.

Love Each Other

John Lennon sang, “All you need is love.” Why doesn’t anybody want to hear that anymore? My mom said something similar as I was growing up. It annoyed me then but it’s foundational in my family and work now.

Daily Post Prompt: Do you ever find yourself doing something your parents used to do when you were a kid, despite the fact you hated it back then?

Damien Riley Wife Sarah and Parents Gerry and SusanMy mother would always tell us kids, I’m the oldest of 4, to love each other when we would fight. I remember pushing and even punching in the back seat on road trips. Sometimes my poor devoted dad would have to pull over to make good on his threat to.

I was an ornery kid to be sure. In some ways, I think I deserved a higher level of consequences than they gave me. But at some point, I turned out alright. Now I tell my own kids to love each other and even my “at times brawling” students. I did hate hearing it but now it’s my certified slogan. May it spread.


This post was published first as Love Each Other on Riley Central.

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