Friday, October 24, 2014

Warrior (2011 film) + discussion on violence

I’ve been slacking on blog posts, partly coz lack of inspiration, partly laziness when inspiration hit. Usually inspiration is finishing a fucking amazing movie, book, or TV series. Some just truly fucking hit me out of the ballpark. This was one and I’m gonna write while still sitting here in amazement at this movie. Warrior, 2011, starring Tom Hardy, Joel Edgerton, Nick Nolte, and Jennifer Morrison. I can’t remember who recommended it to me, I think partly coz of Jennifer Morrison and her awesomeness! (love her in Once Upon a Time! :) It’s a fight movie plain and simple, but goddamn is it a motherfucking awesome fight movie!!! I prefer boxing, but dammit those MMA fights were fucking incredible!! I can’t think of a fight movie that got me so involved in sooooo many fights! ie. usually they get you all riled up for the final one or something only. This one, holy fuck. I’ve never been so into it, yelling, jumping, grunting, cheering. Ha. And I watch this at a point where I’m realizing I need to take a break from boxing to spruce up the ol’ aging body with some mobility improvements. So needless to say I want sooooo bad to go to sparring and “go to war” as they said in the movie, and as one of my sparring partners, Heather, loves to say about how we spar! Sometimes it’s about skill and being smart, and sometimes we just go to war! Haha! God I love it!!!

So yeah fucking awesome movie. So one thing that was truly amazing was the music. I love the band The National and they had songs at the beginning and end of the movie, and then the score, the motherfucking score!! SOOOOO amazing!! I love great soundtracks. Music that swells as the scene swells!! And the first hit of the last fight.... music rising before it starts, a lull of almost silence, then POW with the first hit!! I gotta say that sounded tremendous on my big speakers!! Tremendous!!! (then I realized it's 1 am and my neighbours are gonna kill me... sheepish look :/ ... and so I reluctantly put on headphones for the last bit.... :(

So much was so great about this movie... Nick Nolte as the pathetic ex-alcoholic abusive father of the two brothers fighting. The shit between brothers, father, etc. that’s just hinted at in the beginning, clues about their history come out and you’re intrigued and are dying to find out more. It reminds me so much of the Battlestar Galactica fight between Apollo and Starbuck... nothing like a fight to dredge up all the shit between two people. God I gotta re-watch that soon! I watched the extended DVD edition of that episode and it was amazing! I can’t even imagine how paltry 45 min of it would’ve been!

And the ending of this movie! I was curious to find out what exactly happens after it all ends, but kept thinking you gotta end at this point, you gotta. You show any more and you’ll have ruined what you worked so hard to create. And it was just right. Just perfect. And the whole ending fight between the brothers, the anger, the anguish.... sigh... :(

So one thing I kept thinking throughout this movie is a debate I have often in my head. I believe in pacifism, I don’t think violence is ever the answer, especially on global or societal problems. I also believe we as individuals would be better off without anger. Coz I’m recently re-reading the mindfulness book Peace is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh, and I understand why he says “pillow-pounding” is not the answer to anger issues, that you need to untie the knots, the internal formations inside us that cause that anger. I wholeheartedly agree. But. sigh. We do have aggression in us, often fueled by anger. I think it’s natural and normal for humans to have aggression, and some of us have more of it than others. But I believe in sport. Sport is a controlled environment that allows us to discharge that aggression in a way that usually won’t result in death or permanent injury. Fighting sports such as boxing and MMA are an obvious outlet, but even the hits of volleyball, the jostling in basketball, the swing of a bat are all great outlets. Much better outlets than people who are aggressive in their everyday speech or interactions with others!

So what is the true way here? Is the ideal that we all become so at ease with ourselves that anger and aggression never come up? Logically I think it is. Emotionally... emotionally all I know is that I love fighting and I love watching fighting. And I don’t believe there is harm in that. I was talking with my mom recently and I was talking about how if I love watching fighting in movies and TV shows why do I find some scenes too violent? I was referring to a scene I’d seen from Sons of Anarchy when my coworker was watching it on his computer. The guy is grabbing the other guy’s head and smashing it repeatedly into the pavement with the camera glued to the increasingly bloody face. And my mom had the smartest answer! A fight is between two or more people of somewhat equal abilities, but when one person has overpowered the other and continues to inflict violence the line is crossed. That is when it becomes abuse or torture and one of the worst evils humanity inflicts. Violence. Such a big topic. But for now I think I will stop there.

Friday, March 7, 2014

The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks

Oh my god!! I LOVE Brent Weeks!! Ok first I love him for his book The Way of Shadows that I just read. But then reading his acknowledgment and interview in the back I love the man himself!! ;) The book was amazing and the author sounds hilariously awesome and thanks “quirky” people like me who actually read the acknowledgments when they don't even know the author! haha! I realized I read them to see if I can find out what the author’s like. And you often can’t coz they just list people to thank, but with Weeks’ it was funny and endearing and open! And then add to that to his awesome post/article he wrote about George R.R. Martin choosing not to be accountable to fans, and I think this man is awesome!! :D

But now more about the book’s awesomeness. sigh. Damn! Thankfully I had time this week coz I just read the 2nd half of the book in the last 8h straight!! To say it's a page-turner is the understatement of the year!!! I’ve been reading awesome fantasy books my whole life and stayed up late to read them tons as a kid, but as an adult with responsibilities and obligations I rarely (sadly) ever have time to let myself get sucked in like that!! But holy shit did I with this book!!

The world he created from the city of Cenaria to the continent with its different cultures was amazing! Although I gotta admit at the beginning of the book I felt the world of the continent seemed a bit simplistic and not lush enough to be believable but that impression sure changed with the rest of the book! And the other hesitation in my love at the beginning was the lack of female characters. ie. just a street kid for our hero to take care of, an ex-whore, daughters, and wives. Nothing atypical. It changed somewhat with the introduction of Viridiana, and Kaldrosa totally eased my worry. A bold female thrown in, in a role that didn’t dictate it had to be female. THAT my friends is what marks a great gender-neutral writer!! That’s one of the many things I love about Steven Erikson, random characters in all sorts of roles are women.

What else to say beyond that the fact that it’s awesome storytelling!!! TRULY FUCKING AWESOME!! Again makes me bemoan the popularity of Tolkien and Martin when it comes to adult fantasy, when there’s soooo much better out there!!! And I love that the book had an “extras” section like DVD’s do with interviews!! When you love a book (or movie or show), you’re dying to find out more about it and its creators! So happy books are starting to do that too!! And I like what Weeks said in his response to the comment the trilogy has a really dark and gritty feel... he mentioned how can you have hope and redemption (and heroics I’d say) mean anything when they don’t come from darkness and weakness? I wholeheartedly agree!! And agree that the books have hope and redemption! I think that’s what Martin has to learn as a storyteller, tell us how shitty it is, how weak and selfish people are, but show that they have moral debates, and goddamn sometimes people do rise above the shit!!! Or at least it makes for more captivating reading if they do! I think coz it inspires hope in us as readers? That we could too? Martin squashes all hope. All hope of good characters surviving, all hope of any redemption for any of the medium to bad characters, etc. God I hate how much I’m comparing to Martin but I just finished season 3 of Game of Thrones and am reminded of all that I hated about the books.

Also just an isolated comment... (SPOILER ALERT!!) .... when Durzo tells Kylar that he scarred Doll Girl’s face... oh my god I felt punched in the stomach!! Just as Kylar must’ve. :/ And I was so upset Durzo’s letter to Kylar was ruined by blood!!! ARRRRGGHHH!! haha! And I love the cover designs!!! Sooooo gorgeous!!!

Unrelated... but in the last few years I’ve been so happy to find new amazing fantasy authors, Weeks, Erikson, Patrick Rothfuss, but realize it’s time to find some great female ones!! There’s always such a different feel to a book by a female author. I find I tend to relate more and get involved more. No guarantees but I’m eager to find some new greats! :)