Tag Archives: movies

Strolling along the Summer Blockbusters……

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by Kenneth Justice

~ Do you ever feel like your life is on auto pilot?

I swear, it seems like so much of my life is ho hum. Not to say that I live a boring life or that I am unhappy…..it just seems as though a great deal of my life is rather uneventful.

Is that how life is supposed to be?

I suspect I am a victim of having read one too many Agatha Christie novels when I was younger or having sat through too many action/adventure movies. I wake up some mornings hoping to find myself stuck in the middle of a high-stakes bank robbery in which I have to save a damsel in distress and foil the plans of a master criminal with an accent like Christopher Walken or Gary Coleman.

But that’s what Hollywood does…right? Create fictional plots that are entirely unrealistic to help us ‘escape’ the humdrum tune of our everyday lives? We get sucked in by otherworldly adventures in order to get our minds off of our lives?

But is it too much for me to want my life to be exciting?

Okay, so I don’t want to find myself on a plane that gets hijacked by a crazed Nicholas Cage but I would love for a little bit more excitement to break into my otherwise rather normal life.

Am I asking for too much?

A friend of mine called me recently and was complaining about their job, “It’s just sooooo boring” my friend said. “I don’t hate it. And the people I work with are nice. I’m just so bored by it all”.

I’ve written about the monotonous nature of jobs before and this morning I woke up wondering; what if the problem is not the job? (Office Space)

Maybe it is easier to deal with a monotonous job…when our lives have a little bit more excitement to them; (perhaps that is why Michael Keaton put on a mask?)

Isn’t that why some people gravitate toward risky behaviors; for the excitement?

–) Drug use (like Michael J. Fox in Bright Lights Big City)

–) Reckless sexual behavior (Basic Instinct)

–) Underground racing ( know a couple people who participate in illegal racing the likes of which you may have seen in films like the Fast & the Furious)

Obviously, participating in reckless behaviors is not necessarily the answer to adding a little excitement to our lives….but I wonder to myself; what is the answer?

I really enjoy going on walks in the woods. I love being outdoors, away from traffic lights and houses.

I love the ocean. I enjoy visiting little beach side towns and watching the sunset.

Of course, being out in the woods or alongside the ocean isn’t quite the same as being on a plane with Jack, Kate and Hurley (the LOST crew) as it barrels down toward the earth, crashing into a strange and mysterious island.

But I guess what I’m saying is that I often find a measure of joy in more simple things…..

Sure, I would love to spend a week with Harrison Ford on some quest for a lost Mayan artifact, as we fist fight Nazi’s through a dense jungle…..but I find that a simple walk through the woods usually brings a smile to my face.

Hey, when it comes to the ocean I’d love to hang out with Roy Scheider and Richard Dreyfuss in a rickety old steamer and would probably spend a good deal of money to hear Scheider say, “We’re gonna need a bigger boat”…..but simply seeing the water and hearing the waves crash into the beach tends to satisfy my craving for adventure.

I guess what I’m getting at is that perhaps I don’t need Bruce Willis to save the day, maybe I can find enough adventure in the little things in life…..I just have to keep my eyes open and not get too caught up in my job and going through the motions.

Sometimes we just need to go for a walk……

Or have another cup of coffee!

Kenneth

 

and for all my fellow Summer Blockbuster Movie Lovers; “Yippie Ki-Yay Mother F***er!”

 

 


Is nudity always sexual???

vassillis gonis

 

By Kenneth Justice

~Nudity and sexuality….in Western Culture these two items are often the subject of a lot of debate.

There are those who want to ban sex in the movies and in advertisements and there are those who say it’s not a big deal.

In movies and television the nudity seems to be increasing…especially thanks to popular cable shows from networks like HBO and Showtime, nudity in the movies seem to be on the rise.

There are those who want to ban the nudity in movies and television and there are those who say it’s not a big deal.

The last time I wrote about this subject the reaction was extremely mixed…..

Many people wrote about the positive elements of nudity in relation to nudism, public beaches, and even nudity in film….

While other people wrote about the scandalous nature of nudism, nudity on public beaches, and nudity in film…..

Nowhere do we see such contrary opinions than if we mention the words nudity and sexuality.

Interestingly enough, one of the things that stood out to me from my last post on the subject was how many people related nudity to sex. It seems as though a lot people don’t differentiate the two; in their mind if you are naked than something sexual is occurring…..

I do not believe nudity equals sex.

Nudity can be connected to sex….but it doesn’t have to be…and it definitely doesn’t always!

Take for instance a mother nursing her child; there is nothing sexual about a woman using her breast to feed her child…..nothing at all!

Yet, there are many people who want to ban women from being able to nurse in public.

Others say, “Well as long as the woman covers up they can nurse in public”

Really???

Are we such a sick and demented culture that to merely see a woman’s naked breast as a child latches onto it turns us on?

God I hope not!

If you are sexually turned on by seeing a woman’s breast as she nurses her infant child and you can’t control yourself than I have a solution for you; go back into your house and don’t come out.

CHILL OUT!!!

Control yourself!!!

It’s not that big of a deal!

Nudity does not have to equal sexuality…..

Interestingly enough, when I last wrote about this topic it was the evangelical crowd that blew up my email box and my comment section with their diatribe on the evils of nudity….

But let’s for a moment consider the bible on this topic;

–> Jonathan in making a covenant with David gets naked before him – (1 Samuel  18:3)

–> David dances before God and the people…naked  – (2 Samuel 6:14)

–>Naked outdoor public bathing was normative in biblical times (2 Samuel 11:2)

–> God tells his prophet to remain naked for three years! (Isaiah 20:2)

–> Bartimaeus comes to Jesus naked and isn’t condemned for it (Mark 10:46-50)

–> When Jesus washes the disciples feet…he does so while he is naked (John 13:4-5)

Those are just a sampling of verses and to be fair there are definitely other verses that mention times when it is not appropriate to be naked….

But the point I am making is that the mere act of being naked doesn’t automatically mean we should think something sexual is occurring.

The bible doesn’t condemn nakedness…..

The bible doesn’t even condemn public nakedness….

Nakedness in biblical times was rather normal….it wasn’t the big deal we make it out to be in our day-and-age.

This isn’t to say that we should all become nudists…..but if that is what floats your boat then don’t let me get in your way.

Remember….I am something of a moderate; moderation in all things is my motto.

Nudity is not bad

Whenever I hear people say that nudity is bad….my eye starts to twitch….

I wonder, “Why are they so afraid of nudity?”

–) Nudity doesn’t start wars

–) Nudity doesn’t pull triggers on guns and lead to murder

–) Nudity doesn’t create famines

–) Nudity doesn’t cause cancer (unless you forget to wear your sun-screen!)

–) Nudity doesn’t cause poverty

–) Nudity doesn’t create a 50% divorce rate

The point I am making is that there are a lot of problems in this world and for the small crowd that is obsessed with the ‘evils of nudity’ I only wish they could turn their eyes to the real problems in our culture.

More than a 100,000 people have died in the two year war in Syria…..now THAT is a problem.

People in Greece are struggling….they don’t have jobs….now THAT is a problem.

Angelina Jolie showing her boobs in a film is not a big deal…..

There are bigger issues in this world that we should be concerned about.

Let’s all chill out just a bit…..

And while we are chilling out we can have a cup of coffee, which is what I’m going to do right now.

Kenneth

 

(Special thanks to Vassillis Gonis for permission to use his photo, you can check out more of his photography <here>)

 

 

 

 


True Love Always Lasts A Lifetime……Really?

I came upon these two Swans on my walk in the park yesterday, I didn't want to disturb them since they were guarding their nest

I came upon these two Swans on my walk in the park yesterday, I didn’t want to disturb them since they were guarding their nest

By Kenneth Justice

We’ve all heard the narrative a million times.. Perhaps you’re out on a walk with a friend and you spot a swan like I did yesterday, maybe you just finished watching The Noteboook or A Walk To Remember with your significant other and they have tears streaming down their face….

At some point in your life someone has said, “Ya know, swans mate for life….isn’t that so beautiful!”

With rising divorce rates, increases in the number of intimate partners one has in a lifetime, and the overall low percentage of couples who stick together for a long time; it would seem that swans have somehow surpassed humans on the evolutionary ladder when it comes to lasting love……or have they?

Have we humans been sold a false bill of goods by Hollywood romantic comedies?

When I was younger very few of the romance films that were being produced showed the relationship after the romance period;

In Sleepless in Seattle (one of my favorite films, I admit it) the credits start rolling just as Meg & Tom are about to go on their first date.

In How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, we only actually experience 10 days of the relationship between Kate Hudson & Matthew McConaughey.

It wasn’t until recently that films like This is 40 and American Beauty garnered enough attention to show the monotonous elements of long-term relationships.

A walk through the woods always allows me the time to reflect on life

A walk through the woods always allows me the time to reflect on life

So what is a teenager to think? Should they buy into the swan story; that love can last a lifetime? Or, are we setting them up for disappointment?

In my short time here on earth I have had at least 5 people tell me, “If I had known what my spouse was really like before the wedding…I would have never married them“.

As humans, do we really have the psychological makeup to make a relationship last till we die? Are expectations like that unrealistic?

I’ve also heard more times than I care to remember, from clients and acquaintances, “We are only staying married for the sake of the children; once the youngest graduates school we will get divorced“…..how sad is that? It doesn’t seem like the healthiest of relationships does it?

malard 1

As humans, do we really have the psychological makeup to make a relationship last till we die? Are expectations like that unrealistic?

So there I am walking through the park, seeing all the wildlife and I come across those two swans and I wonder to myself, what do they represent?

Do those swans represent the failures of humanity or do they represent unrealistic ideals?

I’ve had many clients and friends tell me that you have to have sex with the person before you marry to find out if your compatible…..

While that makes a lot of sense on certain levels, what happens when your significant other’s appetite for sex changes a few years into the marriage?

What happens when your signification other changes….and we all change as we get older; our personality, our motivations, who we are as an individual changes as we go through the different seasons and experiences of life.

canadian goose

What happens when your signification other changes….and we all change as we get older…

So what do we tell our children? Do we tell them when they find their true love it will be a lasting relationship that only death can untangle?

Or do we tell our children that life is about different seasons, different experiences; when we are younger we will find true love in places that we won’t find it when we are older?

Whether we’re men or women love and sex are front and central in our minds; love and sex are everywhere we go in Western Culture; some might argue we overemphasize those concepts. Yet, whether bad or good, love and sex affect our lives deeply.

The people we date, the people we love, the people we sleep with, and the people we marry and the people we divorce will each leave some kind of lasting impression on our lives…..what kind of impression do we want it to be?


Nudity is bad, violence is okay. REALLY??

By Kenneth Justice

Growing up in an evangelical Christian environment I always noticed two profound things about their view of movies; nudity is bad, violence is okay.

If you didn’t read my article about breastfeeding in public or nudity in film, this is an extension of those two.

At what point in our society did watching a dude kill a zillion people on film become okay for little Susie, but if a girl shows a little boobage on film it will end up traumatizing little Johnny for life?

I’ve never really understood this rationale.

I should probably add a disclaimer that I’m not endorsing graphic gratuitous sexuality in film, there is definitely a point where it can go from being art to being nothing more than objectification and a way in which Hollywood elites (mainly men) suppress the female gender.

I’ve always been uncomfortable with the way our society has demonized nudity but is completely desensitized to violence.

At a church I attended for quite a long time, the men in leadership would occasionally attend a movie together. The movie choice could never contain any elements of sexuality or nudity (since the minister went with them no nipples could be seen on screen) but they never had a problem with watching films with heavy doses of killing and violence.

Has anyone ever thought about the message you are sending to our children? Nakedness is evil, violence is cool.

I used to have a client who liked going to nudist resorts. He was really weird. From the experience of knowing him I am quite confident I will never go within a thousand yards of a nudist resort, that is for sure.

I’ve just never been into extremes. Nudist resorts seem extreme to me. Christians who say any form of nudity in art seem extreme to me. Remember when Attorney General John Ashcroft had the Spirit of Justice statue covered up because he was uncomfortable being photographed in front of a nude statue?

What’s wrong with people in the United States? Or is this a problem that other countries deal with as well?

For now, I think I’ll have another cup of coffee

Kenneth


Getting Naked For Art is Wrong……Really???

"Night" by Michelangelo

“Night” by Michelangelo: Photo from Wikipedia

Last week I watched the film Shakespeare in Love with my daughter (the last time I had seen the film was shortly after it had come out to theaters). Its a really cute film and while I thought Gwyneth Paltrow did an excellent job as the lead actress in the film, I’m not necessarily sure it was such a great role that she deserved an Oscar for it.

If you haven’t seen the film there are a couple of love scenes in the film, nothing over-the-top or extremely gratuitous but to put it gently, Paltrow was definitely not shy in her role.

The day after we watched the movie I stumbled across an article by Jamie Lee Curtis posted in the Huffington Post titled “And the Oscar goes to….Hell” Curtis, no stranger to being naked on the camera, lamented hearing Seth MacFarlane’s song about seeing actresses “boobs” in movies. Curtis quite loudly declares how ticked off she was by MacFarlane’s song and she seems to think that the boob song somehow demeaned the positive elements of great acting in film.

Curtis admits to getting naked on film (how could she not!) but says that she never wanted to, she didn’t like doing it, and wishes she didn’t have to do it in order to be a successful actress.

Its too bad that Curtis thought the only way she could further her career was to sacrifice her standards. Contrary to popular belief, there are actresses who have had successful careers and haven’t gotten naked on film; maybe they are not the norm, but there are definitely A-level actresses that don’t (Isla Fischer & Jessica Alba come to mind).

This post of mine is a bit of a continuation of an earlier post I wrote about how our country is too obsessed with nipples & breastfeeding.

In the same regard, I believe our country is too obsessed with nudity in art. Its really not that big a deal if you ask me. Nudity in art has been around as far back as the dawn of humanity. Back when Ugg first picked up a rock and started scratching at the cave wall there have always been depictions of the male and female form in all their glory.

Michelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci, and pretty much all the famous artists that hardcore religious people love, all painted and sculpted nudes. And for the learning impaired among my religious audience, those painters usually used live models when they were painting; that meant (get ready for a shocker) the models were naked.

Its unfortunate that Curtis wasn’t a strong enough woman to turn down roles that went against her personal preferences and standards.

However, just because there are people like Curtis who seem to be a little too highly wound up over nudity, it shouldn’t mean that nudity has no place in art, film, and theater. Right?

Kenneth


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