Friday, January 20, 2017

The Choice

I've seen some really good movies lately.

There was a thread in each of the movies that connected them.

I'll explain more later.

Don't Think Twice

This movie is about an improv group in New York. It's all about "group think" and having each other's back while on the stage but clearly it's about way more than that.

It's about how they act as a group off stage. 

Two of the members of the group get an opportunity to try out for "Weekend Live" which is essentially SNL. The reactions of each of the members is soooooo interesting when one of the characters actually make it onto "Weekend Live."

I won't spoil if for you but it's such an interesting study in human nature and the way we react when jealous, hurt or faced with a challenge.

Great quote: "I feel like your twenties are about hope, and your thirties are about realizing how dumb it was to hope."

I loved this quote because clearly all of the characters in this movie were living with and in the hopes of being discovered one day. They had cruddy jobs, worse living conditions, all in the hopes of something more.

This movie was wrongly rated as R. We don't usually watch R-rated movies and feared the language would be distractingly awful but it wasn't--thankfully.

The improv parts of the movie were very funny.

La La Land

You've probably seen this or heard of it or watched the Golden Globes to see that it won big.

We saw this movie the very next night after seeing Don't Think Twice.

It's so different than what I thought it was going to be. We saw it early after it's release and I'm so glad we did.

We went with friends and didn't really let Monte know it was kinda/sorta a musical until right before we left.

Monte likes musicals when we are in a pretty theater watching it live.

Or an animated movie made by Disney.

But nothing else.

He's complex.

We got to the packed cinema and saw trailer after trailer of the most emotional, heart-wrenching movies ever.

I think I cried 3 times.

Monte loudly whispered to his friend next to him,

"I don't know about you, but I'm ready for a musical!"

La La Land is about an aspiring actress, Mia, who works as a barista in between auditions and a jazz musician, Sebastian, who dreams about buying his own club while he works odd jobs.

They start to date while they encourage one another in their careers.

Again, I don't want to spoil it but the movie becomes an interesting view into how we handle watching someone succeed when the other doesn't.

It's a visually beautiful movie and I listen to the soundtrack all the time.

Great quote:  Mia singing:  "Here's to the ones who dream/ Foolish as they may seem./Here's to the hearts that ache./Here's to the mess we make."

Hidden Figures

This is a movie about the African American women who worked for NASA as engineers and mathematicians in the era of segregation and the race to be the first country to put a man into space.

It's such a phenomenal movie because it's true.

It makes me wonder how many more stories this amazing haven't been told.

And why Hollywood keeps making dumb superhero movies 
when there are true heroes in our history that have MUCH 
better stories to tell than anything with a cape or spider web.

The conflict of this movie is the appalling racism and sexism.

These women were doing important calculations for NASA in a basement in a building far from their colleagues.

There were separate bathrooms, cafeterias and coffee pots.

And salaries.

NASA wanted the works of their minds but didn't want to include the women in important meetings.

As the pressure to get a man into space increased, the need for these women increased too. Old laws and traditions had to be broken so progress could be made.

But it was the beauty of how these women supported one another that I was struck by.

I can't say enough about this movie. Go see it!

Great quote:  "Any upward movement is movement for us all."

The thread in each of these movies was the choice.

Each movie listed above, put the characters in a position to choose selfishness or support.

In Don't Think Twice, the characters had to choose whether they were going to be happy and supportive for their friend who won a spot on "Weekend Live" or jealous and angry.

In La La Land, the characters were offered the chance to choose to focus on themselves or their relationship.

And in a musical montage, you get to see how each decision plays out.

In Hidden Figures, the characters were in the same position, waiting to be noticed for their skills and efforts. It wasn't until Octavia Spencer's character said, "Any upward movement is movement for us all," that the theme for each of the movies really gelled for me.

When we feel left out, ignored and overlooked, what do we do?

When someone close to us is included, highlighted and invited in, what do we do?

Do we give up hope because all of a sudden we feel foolish?

Do we ignore relationships because we are too busy licking our  own wounds?

Do we miss the opportunity to support each other because we are too busy sizing each other up?

Do we miss the blessing of seeing someone blessed?

Do we turn our backs on joy because it didn't choose us first?

It's that choice that has me thinking.

If you've seen any of these movies, what did you think?

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