schaden_freude_lj: (free falling)

Greetings! Here is my second entry for the 100 Things Blogging Challenge and today's installment is The Descendants. It won 45 awards and another 72 nominations and they were all well deserved.

The story revolves around Matt King, an attorney and sole trustee to 25,000 acres of undeveloped beach property that has belonged to his family since the reign of Kamehameha the Great. His extended family is urging him to sell the property to developers before the trust dissolves and while he's looking at different offers, his wife has a boating accident complete with closed head trauma, and ends up on life support. Her doctor tells Matt that she is clinically brain dead and she has an Advanced Directive on file. He gives Matt a few days to contact family and friends to come say goodbye before she dies.

Over the course of these few days, Matt learns all types of things about his daughters that he didn't know, because he is the self-described "back-up parent, the understudy". He learns a few unsavory things about his wife as well.

The movie had a few light and amusing moments, but for the most part, it was excruciating. Watching Matt's perception of his life unravel with revelation after revelation, each one a little worse than the one before was heartbreaking. Seeing his friends' and family's either over the top reactions or complete lack of empathy was horrible. Matt turning his oldest daughter into a co-conspirator, and putting both daughters into unacceptable situations was understandable, but oh so wrong!

Worse still were the scenes at the hospital. Those took me back to sitting with my mother and picked at scabs I thought had healed. As painful as it was to watch, I genuinely cared about these people and their plight; I was completely immersed and my attention never strayed until the final credits began to roll.

If my critique hasn’t made you run and hide, please consider seeing this film.


This entry was originally posted at http://schadenfreude.dreamwidth.org/68244.html.
schaden_freude_lj: (Thoughtful)



{Take the 100 Things challenge!}




When I first saw this challenge posted, I knew I wanted to participate, but it took several days to decide on a topic. Ultimately, movies were the only logical choice, because they are such a large part of my life. Movies produce laughter and tears, fear and courage, lust and disgust, etc. Likewise, films may intentionally or unintentionally evoke memories and the strong emotions associated with those memories.

This type of reaction is what I wish to discuss today, and the culprit is Kevin Smith's Red State.

First, I went into this movie cold. I'd heard a little bit about it when Smith auctioned the distribution rights to himself at Sundance, but I really didn't know anythng about the plot.

Second, since it was included in the Horror/Thriller section at Netflix, and it is Kevin Smith, I was expecting a lot of gore and a few laughs.

Man, was I wrong.

In Red State, Smith tackles Fred Phelps and the Westboro band of inbreds, the ATF disaster at Waco, and the conservative party's interpretation of religion. He does it extremely well, I just didn't expect it to be so goddamned scary!

There was quite a bit of gore and unsettling, oppressive violence. However, to me, the most frightening scene in the movie was:

The Sermon

YouTube has disabled embedding, so I can only supply a link.

Those nine minutes hurtled me back to my youth, attending an Assembly of God/Pentecostal church, and perfectly illustrates how one person can use a little nugget of scripture to manipulate people into believing anything, and use God to justify hate.

Kevin Smith is an excellent film maker, and his topics are 100% guaranteed not to be boring. Michael Parks is one of the most underrated actors of all time, and I think he should be in every movie made from now on.

Regardless of your political/religious views, this movie will make you take a long look at society and yourself. I highly recommend it.


This entry was originally posted at http://schadenfreude.dreamwidth.org/67956.html.
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