So I've finally joined the 21st century and got a DVD player. It's my first one actually. I mean I've had one on my computer, but never actually had a separate one for the TV before. It never really was a priority for me. I'm not too big on watching movies anymore, or television for that matter, but since I got this DVD player as a gift, I've been checking out free DVDs from the library.
I have absolutely no intention of ever buying any DVDs or renting any, but only getting whatever is available at the public library for free. They actually have a surprisingly large selection of newer films. So far, of the movies I previously hadn't seen before, I recently watched: Inception (2010), The Social Network (2010), Avatar (2009), Precious (2009), Salt (2010), Sanctum (2011), The Adjustment Bureau (2011), and Noam Chomsky's documentary film Manufacturing Consent (1992).
I thought I was going to love Inception, being a huge fan of anything about lucid dreaming and altered states of consciousness, but it actually wasn't as great as I thought it would be. I mean it wasn't by any means a bad film, perhaps better than average, but it also wasn't anything I'd need to see again. Although, I'd probably say the same for all these movies. I'm just not big on watching films. It just feels so passive, just sitting there watching, without interacting, I actually prefer reading, feels more engaging. But if I do watch a movie, I like watching a movie that always keeps me on the edge of my seat, in a state of heightened excitement, with mystery and intrigue, of not knowing what's going to happen next and eagerly wanting to know more, but ultimately being surprised in the end. Yeah, I like a movie that surprises me, excites me, and keeps me interested from beginning to end. I guess that's true for anything though. Boredom is a thief of joy, and joy is at the heart of life.
One thing I'll say about Inception, is that one of the dreams in it towards the end featured an elevator, where each floor opened up into another dream world scenario, a totally different landscape. Back in January I wrote about having a dream about an elevator that did just that, and I swear I hadn't gotten the idea from Inception, because I just saw the movie for the first time last weekend. I suppose an elevator is an appropriate symbol for traveling into the deeper layers of your subconscious. I've dreamt of elevators a few times before, usually either going underground, or if going up starting at an underground basement level, but almost always surfacing in a completely different place, a different building and landscape, as if the dream elevator acts as a sort of time machine or portal into another world.
I thought that was kind of interesting to see, already having had dreams of that nature. Also in the film, when DiCaprio's character's sleeping body was submerged in a bathtub to wake him up, he experienced the water in his dream as a torrential flood of water pouring down on him. I've had dreams like that, where elements in real life merge into the dream, like for instance, my alarm clock going off, and perceiving it in the dream as a police siren passing by. I've had that happen a lot.
2. The Social Network
This movie just made me hate Facebook more than I already did. If Zuckerberg, Facebook's founder, is anything like the way he was depicted in this film, he was a major jerk, really out of touch, no wisdom, no empathy, and also probably a high functioning autistic. If you haven't seen the movie, did you know his idea to create Facebook was originally envisioned as a way for male students at Harvard to rate the hotness of females on campus, and so was basically intended to be a sort of quasi dating service to spy on female classmates and make it easier to hook up with them. It originally was limited to Harvard and then expanded to other universities, until it finally become available to anyone. Not that there is anything wrong with that, necessarily, but it was quite revealing to discover that the world's youngest self-made billionaire, is just another shallow self-absorbed heartless prick.
I don't do Facebook. I do understand many good reasons why people use Facebook, but after going on there and finding several members of my family, and most people I went to school with, I realized that I really had no desire to reconnect with these people, and that it would be strange to connect with people on there that I have no intention of connecting with in real life.
Although you could say the same for this blog perhaps, in the sense that it is primarily a communication between myself and an audience of people that I will probably never meet, except the main difference is that this is more of an intellectual creative outlet, and I do not connect this blog with my full name, location, places I went to school, places I've worked, places I lived, names of relatives, and other very specific mundane trivia of my life. Whereas on Facebook that's pretty much the whole point. Facebook is less anonymous, but is often more superficial. Blogging can be much deeper, but more anonymous. Facebook just seems like the kind of place for people to spy on others, or to have shallow conversations with others, without really connecting on a deeper level. And of course it's not intended for that, but just that, I'm not the kind of person that wants to connect my family, friends, acquaintances, and people I only "know" from online but have never actually met, all in one place. I'm just not the kind of person to do that. I need to have some privacy. I'd rather keep my personal conversations with family and friends private, not an open book for everyone to read; otherwise being open and honest in a public space requires a certain degree of privacy and security, which doesn't leave an easy to follow trail to one's personal mailing residence like Facebook does to a much larger extent than a blog, usually.
Avatar was kind of fun to look at, though probably would had been more enjoyable to see on a large cinema screen. It was a good movie, but again, nothing I'd need to see again, unless of course I had the chance to see it at the theater. Found it weird that conspiracy theory nuts, which are more often than not Christian Fundamentalists, were calling this movie indoctrination into green earth based pagan spirituality, which they apparently consider to be satanic. I find it silly. I could find the links to these crazy articles, about the so-called "evil green agenda", specifically Agenda 21, but I'm just not in the mood.
The best movie perhaps of the whole bunch, at least the one that touched my heart the most, surprisingly was Precious. The story of an abused, illiterate 16 year old black woman, growing up in Harlem in the 80s, who was repeatedly raped and impregnated twice by her HIV positive father, and living with her abusive mother who is on welfare, abusing the system, who regularly beats her, belittles her, and blames her for all of her problems. Yeah it's dark and depressing, but it is a real story, shared by many that needed to be told.
5. Salt, Sanctum, The Adjustment Bureau
Salt, was entertaining, but ultimately just another mindless action flick. Sanctum was the worst movie of this bunch. Couldn't even finish it. Was the absolute worst James Cameron film I ever saw [Edit: Actually he was only a producer, so technically I guess you can't call it his film] the dialogue sounded more like a low budget made for TV movie, except they used the word "fuck" a lot. The Adjustment Bureau was okay, but really far fetched, and not worth seeing again.
6. Manufacturing Consent
Only thing I'll say about the film Manufacturing Consent, which hard to believe is twenty year old now, is that it is just as relevant now as it was when it first came out. It's a huge documentary worth watching more than once, and can not really do it justice in this short space, but I will for now only highlight one point which is relevant to something I posted here before. I wrote about American football a couple times this year, about how ridiculous I think it is, and not just football but how most spectator sports are primarily weapons of mass distraction used to keep people occupied with nonconstructive activities that are so entirely pointless and idiotic, and ultimately diffusing feelings of anger and oppression and discontent for the purposes of preserving the status quo. Well, I actually removed those posts last month, but am putting them up here again, to supplement this one (Football 1, 2).
Here's a great quote from Manufacturing Consent about thought control in democratic societies, as it pertains to the subject of sports, which is highly relevant to what I wrote about it myself. The reason why spectator sports receive so much funding and endorsement and media attention, is not just because they are popular and in high demand, but because they perform an important function of social control, primarily by fostering "irrational attitudes of submission to authority." (Chomsky) Yes, that's it. I thought that was a great line. I just had to add that, because that's pretty much what I was trying to say in those posts.