There is a very interesting trend I have noticed with movies lately. The movies addressing why in our minds we may feel sad, depressed, happy, joyous, entitled, or just lost. They have started to address the idea that we medicate to preserve ourselves from ourselves. And they are putting it in the middle of a Romance, not to say they are romanticizing it but they are giving it a commonality that we can feel and touch. But they also point out that this is some of the first times in history that do not have the “impact” of a WWII where we have the time and acceptance from those around us to explore deeper. But with any self exploration comes ups and downs. I think the first example I can point out was in the movie “Beginners”. It started off with a more blatant approach:
In Beginners you get these summations of what the world was for his father through pictures of the time he lived in; 1950’s. From snapshots of the war or comparisons of doctors and families and the difference between the way they grew up and the way we did. You find out he is and was gay for his entire marriage and when his wife passes away he can finally explore it. What that impact had on his marriage and what impact it had on him. You learn what he had to lose if he openly said he was gay, “His family”, the black and white smiling pictures of kids and parents at a pool or at the beach. You also learn how the world of today allows him to finally explore his own self more than he was allowed to when he was growing.
Then they talk about our generation with the same pictures: “We didn’t go to this war, we didn’t have to hide to have gay sex, our good fortune allowed us to feel a sadness that our parents didn’t have time for, and happiness I never saw with them. We didn’t know how we learned the stories in our heads, but sometimes they stopped running, and sometimes I could really see those in front of me. “
It is that one part that really hits home, the fact that our good fortune has allowed us to feel a sadness that our parents didn’t have time for. There is a strong truth in this and often overlooked. We are a generation of great opportunity and freedoms that were not there for our parents or more importantly their parents(depending what age you are), but with that has introduced more sense of introspection and self exploration, which in turn leads to depression, doctors always pointing at our mothers or fathers or past as reasons for which we may be “fucked up”, and the advancement of drugs that can help to bandage these kinds of feelings. So you get the one movie, where it began, ironically enough called Beginners. The idea being people in their late mid thirties still not having a clue to how the world works or how they fit into it, just beginning.
The second movie I saw was The Perks of Being a Wallflower. This movie is addressed directly at the youngest generations. Starring the younger generation of actors in a feature film dedicated to the idea of repressed memories, medication, exploration, bullying, and sexual orientation. It doesn’t use subtle metaphors or subliminal messaging, it comes right out with a blatant toast to the main character Charlie who has no friends, “A Toast to our new friend Charlie.”
Charlie asks, “What did I do”
He is responded to with, “Nothing, you see things, and you understand, you’re a wallflower. *pause* What is it what’s wrong?”
Charlie says, “I didn’t think anyone noticed me.”
Responded by, “We didn’t think there was anyone cool left to meet. To Charlie!”
Emma Watson knees down and say, “Welcome to the island of misfit toys.”
They use drug use, alcohol, sex, fights, and highschool as huge catalysts for what is a very well done story of what it felt like to be in highschool. I personally could relate ridiculously well in terms of the “feeling” of highschool.
The feeling of highschool. Those moments in time. Those frozen periods of time. Something only accessible when we were young. We were told so many times to that we would soul search to find ourselves but as we aged the ability to do so diminished in a way that maybe we had already been ourselves, found ourselves, been free with ourselves. Or maybe the way we could cope with life back then diminished, changed, dispersed over time not allowing our brains enough free space to explore like we could when kids because now we defended. The carefree mindspace filled making our souls more inaccessible than ever, but because we grew up being told we would have to “find ourselves” we were given a vest of dynamite as little children and don’t know any other way of getting the door open than blowing ourselves up in the process. These roadblocks put up by experience and life. Easily hurdled by youth, and easier to trip on by age. And metaphors aside… I will now tangent some more…
The lights of the monitors all around us probably have something to do with it. The idea that even if we aren’t connected that dim flicker of a screen versus the frozen moment in time we can put into poetry or story of our childhood. Or maybe it is the fact that the screens don’t flicker anymore, they are bright lights if all put together could be seen from outer space. Those lost feelings of just being happy and free driving windows down music up cigarette lit.
The movie is almost a glorified version of the reality we live in today. The need to explore our minds more than our fathers. The consequences we suffer when we do not. The repercussions a repressed memory or hatred, or sense of being bullied or bullying may effect us as we strive for answers. The not so easy and often extremely painful journey for, but shortened in the film, release you may get by paying attention to the shift in socially inaccessible PTSD or the repressed memory. “We didn’t go to this war, our good fortune allowed us to feel a sadness that our parents didn’t have time for…”
Same story different generation this time. The younger generation, the self medicated generation, the 1% generation(let me go on record saying I hate the 99% vs the 1% shit and occupy wall street is a whole other can of worms I don’t wanna open right now, but I will say I think half of it was bs).
Sure as we see in the Rants section of alttabme.com, the hot button topics often get the bigger topics sidelined or overlooked these days, especially when it comes to politics or the people as a bigger entity, a greater whole, but even though that may be true for the purposes of the movie and a general shift in our societies “forefront thoughts” they fit perfectly for the presentation this movie had to offer. Then you get to the movie I saw last night “Silver Linings Playbook”, to which the synopsis written on the back of this movie is quite misleading:“After a stint in a mental institution, former teacher Pat Solitano moves back in with his parents and tries to reconcile with his ex-wife. Things get more challenging when Pat meets Tiffany, a mysterious girl with problems of her own.”
Sounds like FUN! Robert De Niro, Bradley Cooper, the actors of my generation! This movie will be a blast!
Well it turns out this movie is variation of the movies above but this time catered toward my generation more. The 20-30 model. In order to make this work they focus more on forming a situation that causes that “repression” or undiagnosed mental hiccup to become the forefront. In a way it is forcing the issue as one would be exposed to the idea of sobriety at an AA meeting. For my generation the idea of “talking about your feelings” was just on the cusp of being acceptable but still held and holds a great stigma. Going on medication would frighten people and threaten relationships. It isn’t until my generation hit a certain age where we realized that our parents telling us we didn’t need therapy might have been bullshit. But because it was so ingrained in our heads as a bad thing we turned to one another for support. So you have the broken helping the broken.
This can often lead to some fragmented relationships that can only end in one person’s happiness and one person being content. Either one person gets something out of the relationship and makes steps towards exploration and the other realizes they need to step away to let them now learn who they are or you are stuck in a situation where you realize the “crazy” isn’t going away anytime soon and if your crazy isn’t at the level of crazy of the other or even if it is, can you both deal with it and progress forward. Not necessarily in a step by step direction but in a progression for your love, for your well being, and for your selfishness. The hardest part I think is recognizing it is OK to be selfish.
This movie did a spectacular way of showing that crazy being met by more crazy to help in a once again romanticized ending. While I may not agree with the way it “works out” I do agree with the fact that these movies are realizing something we, as a people, may not even be aware of. They are movies, they are entertainment, but they are truths bottled up into scripts, portrayed by society inflated personas. The Shakespearean Fool is how I would define me as a personality if ever asked to give the best description of myself. I can tell the truth more often than others because I can twist it into a jest. If you are laughing, as much of a reality check it may be, it is still a “joke”. You see the world, the one in the castle that is sheltered from the peasants and even more the world outside the walls. But as the Fool you live outside of those walls, you walk with the people, your day job is the only time you are “part” of grandeur.
They tug harder on the “therapist medicated” group in this movie. The stigma attached to them, the actual good it can do for those who need it, and the fear we have after we swallow the pill given to us that perhaps the person giving it to us is in no better place than us, it has been misdiagnosed, we will be judged, or it will make us less of the person we hope to be.
Something I myself have had to deal with as I got older. My coping mechanisms as I grew started to focus elsewhere. I too suffer repressed memories or none at all. I too have heard the “Let’s talk about your childhood too many times”. The best therapist I ever saw said to me, “So you have some childhood trauma? Well why don’t we talk about today.” I was never happier when I heard that. Because unbeknown to me I have very little to reference or give to the so called trauma or things that happened in my childhood other than other peoples memories and accounts. Did I repress it? Maybe. But is it also possible that because I was unaware of the negative aspect of it, I didn’t care enough to remember? I take Klonopin. I have heard it all, the naive approach of, “Doesn’t that make you weird?” I have answered it in every way I know how, “It doesn’t actually change me it just makes the panic attacks not happen, No it doesn’t make me tired”, but even I wonder if it truly does affect me a bit.
I LOVE that these movies are touching on this aspect of our social interaction with the world and ourselves. I love that they talk about medicating. I love that they talk about self medicating. I love that they just talk. Seeing it, hearing it, picturing myself in it, all of the things you do while watching a movie are exciting, because you/I live it every day.
I too suffer anxiety and social inadequacy. I grew up scared to form opinions as it might outcast me. Then becoming so independant to counter the extreme I experienced and disliked that I became extremely opinionated, because I found picking one thing was better than riding the middle. But in the end I am always waiting for someone to argue back and show you a different one. Being moldable with your opinions is something that isn’t understood by many. If you take a strong stance, perhaps you only have one view? Take my ArcheAge post recently. I took a very strong stance on the game, but if no one stands up to what others hype and overlook you end up with mediocrity. Will something come out of it? Will the developers take my ONE opinion into consideration… I don’t know, but I do know that an opinion is just an opinion until you actually give it some backing. This is why I have a very hard time dealing with those who choose one direction, say as an example, politically, but have no idea why. They reference a bible or a document from years ago, but they ignore the words coming out of those who have influence now and today. I do not claim to be well read, as I hardly do it, but I am observant enough to form an opinion on something just by interaction. That was my saving grace in highchool english. I read none of the books but listened to the class and the teacher in my half asleep stupor, allowing myself to put together, albeit fragmented, rebuttals or advocacy. Through more conversation I could then solidify that standing. That is what I do to this day. I found the most extreme example of this form of communication being taken as “attacks” or “invasive” when I lived in California. The East Coast mentality from NYC is that a debate, a conversation, a bias of opinion is normal conversation. If you don’t get heated, you don’t care. But out there if you didn’t keep it a level below 1 it was considered rude and almost condescending. All I want is for someone to stand up to what they believe in, because if you are like the 1% blowing your flutes and beating your drums, without reason and ideas to help repair something you picture to be broken, then how do you expect someone to listen to you when they do come down and say, “OK LAY IT ON ME”. We are all in this world doing our best and thankfully some of the world knows they don’t always have it right. Take for example this quote from Groupon’s CEO who was just fired:
After four and a half intense and wonderful years as CEO of Groupon, I’ve decided that I’d like to spend more time with my family. Just kidding – I was fired today. If you’re wondering why… you haven’t been paying attention. From controversial metrics in our S1 to our material weakness to two quarters of missing our own expectations and a stock price that’s hovering around one quarter of our listing price, the events of the last year and a half speak for themselves. As CEO, I am accountable.
For those who are concerned about me, please don’t be — I love Groupon, and I’m terribly proud of what we’ve created. I’m OK with having failed at this part of the journey. If Groupon was Battletoads, it would be like I made it all the way to the Terra Tubes without dying on my first ever play through. I am so lucky to have had the opportunity to take the company this far with all of you. I’ll now take some time to decompress (FYI I’m looking for a good fat camp to lose my Groupon 40, if anyone has a suggestion), and then maybe I’ll figure out how to channel this experience into something productive.
And holy fuck did I just derail hardcore.
Uhm, romance, drugs, anxiety.. yeah… since I was little I yearned harder than anyone else for that love that just made sense to have next to you in every situation. The one that makes sitting on a couch kissing OK even if it is at a family gathering. The love that makes you inspired to write. I wonder sometimes if I am incapable of that love, if I need strife to write. But I know much of my writing has been inspired by love, sometimes good love, sometimes destructive, and sometimes lost.
So the fact that these movies are using Romance as a coating is brilliant.
The romance that is in our lives is a driving force regardless of if we choose to see it as we do our jobs, careers, income, “laid out life plans” or not, so coating these movies in an outer layer of romantic comedy/drama helps it to be digested. As ambitious or successful we are, these relationships will define who we wake up next to and who we stay awake at night talking to because they may just be better than our dreaming.
These movies treat relationships as less fragile. More of a filler until the right one is presented to us through happy mishap. Cheating being less of a faux pas and more of an exploration to finding out the truth. That I feel is more catered to the generation after mine, I think. Even the older relationships in movies are ending with the couples just not being happy, a bi-product of a lot of relationships committed to for the wrong reasons. One would think perhaps that would happen less after we have had more time to watch the Divorce boom of our generation. The common thread being the idea that expressing your feelings toward another and not making them express it toward you first, a twisted version of cat and mouse, will land you the kill. Even in these movies where they portray that as something they dislike, it is still how the boy gets the girl. Through naivety it looks as though they are doing it differently with their words wrapped around the idea that the games are bullshit, but through that disconnect they actually present themselves in the exact way they wouldn’t want to have to deal with.
But I applaud these movies and I think it is important to recognize that our society does have more time to reflect, and with that comes more questions. It causes us to try new approaches, it allows for some of us a reflection on how we have had to grow up dealing with it, or for those of us younger how they might have to deal with it if they don’t.
Mass media and films are not the gospel but they do appeal to a very broad audience to make a “blockbuster”. People are watching, people are listening, people are relating, and to me that is a damn good step in the right direction. Now if I could only figure myself out so I too could have a 3 minute montage where I figure out why my life drastically changed chemically at the age of 20 or someone could actually release a movie with the answer to what love actually is at the end instead of blowing the entire movie with an over the top dramatic ending in one direction or another, we would be all set haha. But in all honesty, I think the best endings are the ones that leave those choices up to you, because love is personal. Your mind is personal. The way society treats your medication(exposed), or love(undervalued), or anxiety(misunderstanding)… not so much, so it is nice to have those exposed moments in the meat of the production but the end having a little bit you can bring home and simmer on.