Friday, February 27, 2009

Harold and Maude

Harold and Maude is a movie for the ages. Typically when I think of seeing old movies, I tend to immediately expect disappointment. I do not know where the bias came from, but for some reason there it is. This time, much like the other times I watch older movies, I was pleasantly surprised. Harold and Maude set out to teach the audience the things they are missing about their life. Watching this movie is meant to allow people to acknowledge everything about their lives and embrace them. Pain should be embraced, as well as pleasure. Death isn't the end, and nobody should let it be that for them.
The biggest thing that caught my eye was the different scenes with the various authority figures in his life, with pictures of THEIR authority figures behind them. The reasoning for this was as clear as day to me. This movie had a political message, there was no denying it. The fact that this movie was made in the seventies makes it even more obvious, when every time anyone did almost anything it was supposedly representing some "higher message"- which at that decade meant it was against whatever politics were going on. The crippled uncle who makes a fool out of himself every time he tries to salute and be patriotic had a picture of Nixon on the wall behind him; the creepy and overly sarcastic Priest had a picture of the Pope behind him, and Harold's overbearing psychiatrist had a picture of Freud behind him. The reason for each of these is to accomplish multiple things. First of all, it gives the impression that this boy - this young, free spirit - is stacked up vs the rest of the world. He is alone, overwhelmed, and outnumbered six to one. The other reason is because it is meant to show how different Harold is. While each of these three people are spouting the belief system of the people more powerful than they are, Harold bows down to nobody. He makes his own decision. And finally it comes down to the final thing; the depiction of how each of these men has one father figure who they embraced, and as such believe that Harold will embrace them as his missing father figure. Clearly we see that it doesn't happen, so the pictures are there to show, again, the big difference between Harold and society.
This movie was funny, deep, and quick witted. It was well done overall, and it went ahead and showed the way of life followed by many back then. Live life, don't fear death, and grow from the pain you experience.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Requiem for a Dream

Requiem for a dream is one of my favorite movies of all time. It bring the issues related to drug and alcohol abuse to light in more of an intense way than movies had done before this. I think that is one of the more interesting aspects of the movie, aside from the whole flick itself; the fact that it was willing to push the envelope in order to get a statement across.

That's the other thing I noticed about this movie: it is very rare nowadays that a movie comes out that has an explicit moral or lesson. When movies like Superbad/Pineapple Express/Tropic Thunder are some of the biggest and most popular films it seems like the audience wants fewer and fewer lessons to be preached at them through their method of big screen entertainment, and more and more random laughs.

While I did enjoy the hell out of those movies, it really is kind of refreshing to get hit with a healthy dose of "here's something to take away from watching this" without having to resort to "survivorman" or "dirty jobs". The message in this movie is, to my understanding, do not lose sight of what is important whatever you do. The drugs they use throughout the movie do nothing other than provide a new focus for these peoples' lives to go on, or they make it so the people get so dependent that they can't even experience what they want to experience without the assistance of medication. Do not lose sight of what is important in life, and live every moment like it's your last. That's what I got from this movie anyway.

It's weird, but before I took this class I would not have thought that the utter abuse of alcohol and drugs could even get to the extent that the movie depicted; after reading about some of the things people have done, though, and after watching and talking about some of the things we've gone over in class my eyes have been opened, so to speak. The fact that people can get to that extent is now definitely something I'm more adjusted to, even though I haven't necessarily experienced it myself.