*All 31 "Prompts" might not be featured on this blog; I have my own schedule and topics to adhere to.

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Wednesday
Apr272011

Worldly Wednesday Movies You Haven’t Watched

‘W’ is for Wednesday and what a coincidence that this A to Z Challenge letter falls on this day of the week. Since traveling was on my mind earlier, I decided to share two movies about Wednesday that I found from filmmakers around the world. One is a short film and the other one is a feature film that I did not know about and I‘d be surprised if anyone else in the blogosphere who resides in U.S. has watched either of these movies. Now is a chance to plan for an entertaining weekend with film treats from overseas.

Wednesday
British director Rob Sorrenti takes the “boy meets girl” storyline to another level in this movie. The story is about a girl and boy who were born on the same day, in the same hospital and they meet years later in the same place when their paths cross. The movie runs for 24 minutes and won “Best Short Film” at the 2007 Fort Lauderdale Film Festival.

Wednesday
(actually, 'Wednesday' is the English translation for the movie’s original title, “Sreda”)
Victor Kossakovsky is a Russian filmmaker who made this 1995 documentary that chronicles his mission to locate 100 people including men and women who were born on his birthday, Wednesday, July 19, 1961 in Leningrad, a place that is now known as St. Petersburg. This documentary shows his results of trying to interview those that he found. It appears to have won an award at the 1997 Berlin International Film Festival.

These movies were also selected for this list because they have all screened and won awards at film festivals, making them great additions to my Film Festival Wednesdays series. Enjoy!

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Tuesday
Apr262011

Victim Playing Characters. Which One are YOU?

'V' is for Victim, specifically Playing the Victim and/or Self-Victimization and how you can use movies to diagnose your own problem AND find inspiration to make improvements.
A to Z Challenge,Movies
A conversation I had yesterday.......well, argument actually with a relative recently helped me to overcome my slight writer’s block for today’s A to Z Challenge letter. One of my pet peeves are playing victim or blaming other individuals or groups of people for problems, circumstances or difficulties to do better.

The thing is, we all probably do it at one time or another throughout life. I know I’ve done it but I am grateful that I at least acknowledge this behavior and have the ability to be conscious of it so that I can make sure to try and not repeat it in the future. I wish the same applied to more men and women, especially in underprivileged circumstances in this country and around the world. There are some movie characters with parallels to different types of victimized behavior or lack thereof that people practice in real life.

Non-Victims
Some people can become victims if they choose to be one by letting circumstances get the best of them. However, they instead turn their obstacles into opportunities. Even though successes were made during a point when some of these movie characters had nothing to lose, their behavior and perspectives still remain a good example of not feeling sorry for oneself.
A to Z Challenge,Movies
“The Pursuit of Happyness”
(Yes, I know this movie is based on a real-life story but let’s just stick with the movie...okay)
Will Smith’s character Chris Gardner became homeless after a bad investment left him with no money. He could have blamed his mean wife for leaving him and their son when times got rough. He could have blamed his son for being a financial burden. He could have blamed the company that made the product that he invested in for not offering more sales support. He could have blamed God. Instead, he got himself and son into a shelter and then worked on making some money to improve his situation.

“The Full Monty”

Unemployment is no joke. I’m sure that many of us know quite a few people who have experienced it or are currently experiencing it without any job prospects. In this movie, a group off manual laborers have been out of work since their plant closed down. Bills are piling up, custody battles are in play and depression is on the rise among “The Full Monty” movie characters. Among the group of men is a rather enterprising individual who decides to take advantage of a service that he notices is in-demand and capitalize on it with the help of his former co-workers to make money. The plan brings them some unwanted fame and insecurities but guys in “The Full Monty” at least find a way to overcome their self-pity after realizing that playing victim does not help the situation.

“Million Dollar Baby”
A little ol’ low paid waitress named Maggie living in a dump convinces a boxing trainer whose motto is “I don’t train girls” to help her become a World Champion. Hard work, a positive attitude, talent and determination helped this movie character transform herself into something great, even when her family still criticized and belittled her. She could have blamed her father for dying. She could have blamed her mother and siblings for being what many deem as poor “white trash.” She could have blamed her job for not paying her enough to help her achieve her dreams. Instead, Hilary Swank’s Maggie saved her pennies, spent her waking moments in the gym when she wasn’t at work and appreciated the opportunities that came her way.

This is not to say that there are no victims. In fact, here are characters that could use the victim card and would be justified in doing so because they are indeed Victims. The interesting lesson to learn from each of these particular characters though is that they still persevered.....even when they could have easily just sat back and blamed others for their troubles:

Real Victims
A to Z Challenge,Movies
“Men of Honor”
Blatant racism....the kind that spits at your feet as you walk pass, like what Carl Brashear experienced in Men of Honor......can surely make someone a victim. This movie character was threatened, abused, his efforts sabotaged and his most cherished family memento smashed into pieces. He had a reason to play victim because he was, in fact, a victim. Carl Brashear still fought his way through the obstacles, all without so much as a single complaint. If you met him on the street in this movie without knowing what he was going through, you would have probably never guessed that he endured what he did in the Navy training.....that’s how well he ignored his victim status and this says a lot about his character.

Self-Proclaimed Victims Playing Victim to Justify Bad Behavior
A to Z Challenge,Movies
Set It Off
Some of the main characters in this movie do get dealt a bad deck of cards.....but at least they have a job. That is a lot more than the characters in “The Pursuit of Happyness” and “The Full Monty” had, and still.....the main characters in “Set It Off” claim that the “system is fucking us all anyway” so after experiencing a strong of terrible events including unfair bias or judgement, wrongful death by cop and child welfare battles, they set out to rob banks in order to uplift their circumstances.

While their experiences could be similar to those in the non-victim category, the difference is that these “Set It Off” characters brought a lot of their problems on themselves and also chose to stay in the victim category, thus, playing victim for as long as they can milk the title. Being down on one’s luck or not being able to get through due to the “system” (by the way, what in the world is... or... who in the world is ‘the system’...can somebody let me know?) is used as a justification for breaking the law, stealing and putting other people in danger....all which is bad behavior.

Here is a news flash: You’re no longer the victim if you start joining the ranks of the very people who you claim are bringing you down....nor are you the victim if you become a criminal because you feel like that is the only alternative to living down and out since “the system” is keeping you down...the people who are harmed, whether directly or indirectly by your actions become the victim...NOT YOU!

Now, I’m not talking about simple circumstances here such as if someone vandalizes your property or steals something from you.......in these cases, YES, there is a clear victim and the thief or vandal should have consequences determined by the police (the police who are not corrupt, of course) and judicial system (the portion that is not corrupt).....hopefully that includes time in jail.

With that out of the way, I’m talking about circumstances where people blame other individuals or the rich or a group of people or “the system” (whatever the hell that is....REALLY.....can someone tell me what the hell is The System?) or the church or the white man, black man, chinese man, mexican man or foreign man or kids or aliens or Government (I know this one is reaching...since government can be blamed for what they mess up, but you get the gist of it) or nature or animals or the sun or the moon or the zodiac signs, etc. etc. etc.

Playing victim and blaming others for problems that are clearly our own doing does not make those who we place the blame on, the bad guy. We’re still at fault for the problems that we bring on ourselves and until YOU (yes, I’m talking to you....whoever you are...if this message resonates with you) realize that and take accountability for what you do not have or what you do not like....you are still going to be in and remain in the same damn circumstance, and that is no one’s fault. You and ONLY you can change that!

After comparing these different movie characters and their Victim status roles, which one do YOU relate to?

Have you been in multiple victim roles?

How can those who are Set in their "Victim" ways be convinced to change their way of thinking?

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Monday
Apr252011

Uniformed Characters United by Fuzzy Faces

‘U’ is for “Unity” and “Uniform” as it relates to movie characters with memorable moustaches or beards today in my A to Z Challenge post. Facial hair, or what the The Bumbles calls “Fuzzy Faces” is the highlight of this week’s Monday Movie Meme so here are my picks for characters that sport these looks and made it work for them. These characters also have something else in common......costumes. They each wear some type of extravagant costume that the average personal would not normally wear walking down the street in real life.

Jack Sparrow in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” film series
A to Z Challenge,Monday Movie Meme
We must not forget the facial hair worn by a modern day pirate that actor Johnny Depp made so famous. Jack Sparrow’s moustache and beard gave him a little goatee action that become one of this character’s signature styles throughout those “Pirates of the Carribbean” movies.

Erik Heller in “Hanna” (Now Playing in Theaters)
A to Z Challenge,Monday Movie Meme
He has enough hair to share while living with his daughter out in the woods of Finland. I recently went to the movies to check out “Hanna” and this Erik Heller looked much better when he reduced the facial hair down to a little stubble.
A to Z Challenge,Monday Movie Meme
I imagine that all of the hair he was sporting in the movie’s opening scenes would’ve got in the way of his butt-kicking tasks.

Aragorn in “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy
A to Z Challenge,Monday Movie Meme
Played by Viggo Mortensen, the facial hair on Aragorn not only made him look sexy but also gave him a rough appearance that was suitable for his particular “Lord of the Rings” character.
A to Z Challenge,Monday Movie Meme

What movie characters with facial hair would YOU add to this list?

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