Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Expendables 2 (2012)

Director: Simon West (1)

Cast: Sylvester Stallone (2), Jason Statham (3), Jet Li (4), Dolph Lundgren (5), Chuck Norris (6), Jean-Claude Van Damme (7), Bruce Willis (8), Arnold Schwarzenegger (9), Randy Couture (10), Terry Crews (11), Liam Hemsworth (12), and Yu Nan (13)

My favourite dialogue – 

Trench: I’m out of ammo. I’ll be back.
Church: You’ve been back enough. I’ll be back!

Barney: I heard you got bitten by a king cobra.

Booker: Yeah, but after several days of excruciating pain, the cobra died.

Did you know? - Swedish actor Dolph Lundgren graduated with a master's degree in chemical engineering from the University of Sydney, finishing with the highest results in his class. During his time in Sydney, he earned a living as a bouncer in a nightclub at the infamous King’s Cross. He was awarded a Fullbright Scholarship to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1983. However, while preparing for the move to Boston, he was spotted in the nightclub he worked at in Sydney and was hired by Grace Jones as a bodyguard. He fell in love with Jones and their relationship developed dramatically, moving with her to New York City.

To fully enjoy The Expendables 2, one, you must leave logic outside the cinema doors, two, know your classic action movies well, three, read up about the actors in the film - briefly at least, wikipedia would do just fine, and most importantly, you must have a good sense of humor. Watching the first movie The Expendables is not a must, but highly suggested. That way, you will get a better feel of the recurring actors. 

I am not often a fan of action movies and don't wait for one to be released and watch it just when it opens in the cinema. But The Expendables 2 is different. I loved the first film and I was literally counting down the days to the opening of the film. And I loved it! 

I think this is a film you either love or hate, there are no in betweens. I watch a lot of films, I only draw the line at horror movies, but other than those, I pretty much watch anything that interests me. I think it is because I have watched quite a number of the old classic action movies that I can appreciate the dialogue in The Expendables 2

When Sylvester Stallone did the first film The Expendables, it was partly because he wanted it to be a vehicle for some actors to boost their careers. And it is because of this understanding that I am able to appreciate and understand the throwbacks to the heydays of action films and success these old birds experienced. Its a special members only club that is well casted. Its not so much that these actors have lost their touch or have become old news, but rather that there isn't a good film that they would fit in well without looking like they're trying too hard. In The Expendables 2, they are able to poke fun at their past and laugh at themselves. The Expendables 2 is a homage to the classics and to their old films. 

How could you not find Arnold Schwarzenegger saying "I'm back!" funny? I burst out laughing so hard when cast mate Terry Crews, playing Hale Caesar, refers to his playing the Terminator and says to him "If I don’t get this back, your ass is terminated". If you think the crack shots at their action hero past in the trailer is all that the film has, well, be prepared for more. 

The two short bits of dialogue I absolutely love is really just two of my ultimate favourites. There are more but if I put them all in this whole review would be too much of a spoiler. But the first piece of dialogue really says it all. A respectful homage to these actor's career-making films and lines and how you will never get sick of the classics. Given the right film, these stars can still shine bright. And in my opinion, The Expendables 2 is the right film for them.

Story. While the plot is predictable, oftentimes bordering on cheesy and really not very creative, but then I think to myself, what is original these days anyway. That is why you must go into The Expendables 2 with the right mindset. It will have loopholes and flaws in the plot, but you're not there for the plot really anyway, you're there to watch these old birds kick some serious ass and deliver awesome one liners or short spurts of dialogue that floor you and have you ROTFL - Rolling On The Floor Laughing. 

Revenge for their fallen brethren is always a good reason to kick butt. And while I have a few issues as to who should have lived and died, I have to agree with my friend's reasoning that it had to happen that way because he was the only team member who would have made the loss feel frustrating and worth avenging. I went into the film thinking I knew who would be that fallen brother and let's just say I was surprised. And the fact that I was surprised is surprising in itself. You see I had speculated A LOT as to which of the expendables would die so I had a vested interest in finally knowing who it was. 

I always go into an action film not expecting much from the actors in terms of the acting, but I have to say that I was pretty impressed by the acting, the action, and was floored by the one liners. I first noticed Liam Hemsworth in The Last Song, then paid close attention to his performance in The Hunger Games, and now watching him in The Expendables 2, I think he did a really decent job. I wouldn't say his acting is bad, good, or improving, just that I enjoy watching his growth as an actor on the big screen. He is someone I've not written off but definitely taken notice of. The weakest link in terms of the acting is unfortunately the only lady in the team Yu Nan. I would have loved to see Michelle Yeoh play the part of Maggie! After all, she is somewhat of an action star. =) My second choice would have been Maggie Q or Lucy Liu. My favourite in the film would have to be Mr. Terminator and Chuck Norris' Booker. They really have some of the best lines in the film. 

(1) Simon West has directed films like Con Air (1997), Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001),  and When A Stranger Calls (2006).

(2) Sylvester Stallone has acted in films like Rocky (1976), Rocky II (1979), Rocky III (1982), Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985), Rocky IV (1985), Rambo III (1988), Rocky V (1990), Demolition Man (1993), Judge Dredd (1995), Daylight (1996), Driven (2001), Taxi 3 (2003), Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over (2003), Rocky Balboa (2006), Rambo (2008),  The Expendables (2010), and Zookeeper (2011).

(3) Jason Statham has acted in films like Lock, Stock, And Two Smoking Barrels (1998), Snatch (2000), The One (2001), The Transporter (2002), The Italian Job (2003), Collateral (2004), Cellular (2004), Transporter 2 (2005), The Pink Panther (2006), Crank (2006),  Transporter 3 (2008), The Expendables (2010), and Safe (2012). 

(4) Jet Li has acted in films like Shaolin Temple 少林寺 (1982), Once Upon A Time In China 黃飛鴻 (1991), Once Upon A Time In China II 黃飛鴻之二男兒當自 (1992), Swordsman II 笑傲江湖之東方不敗 (1992), Fong Sai Yuk 方世玉 (1993), Fong Sai Yuk II 方世玉續集 (1993), Last Hero In China 黃飛鴻之鐵雞斗蜈蚣 (1993), Once Upon A Time In China III 黃飛鴻之三:獅王争霸 (1993), Black Mask 黑俠 (1996), Once Upon A Time In China And America 黃飛鴻之西域雄獅 (1997), Lethal Weapon 4 (1998), Romeo Must Die (2000), The One (2001), Kiss Of The Dragon (2001),  Hero 英雄 (2002), Cradle 2 The Grave (2003), Unleashed (2005), Fearless (2006), The Warlords 投名狀 (2007), The Forbidden Kingdom (2008), The Mummy: Tomb Of The Dragon Emperor (2008), Ocean Heaven 海洋天堂 (2010), The Expendables (2010), The Sorcerer And The White Snake 白蛇傳之法海 (2011), and Flying Swords Of Dragon Gate 龍門飛甲 (2011).

(5) Dolph Lundgren has acted in films like A View To Kill (1985), Rocky IV (1985), Masters Of The Universe (1987), The Punisher (1989), Universal Soldier (1992), Johnny Mnemonic (1995), Universal Soldier: Regeneration (2009), The Expendables (2010), Icarus (2010),  and Universal Soldier: Day Of Reckoning (2012).

(6) Chuck Norris has acted in films like Good Guys Wear Black (1978), Lone Wold McQuade (1983), Top Dog (1995), and DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story (2004). 

(7) Jean-Claude Van Damme has acted in films like Universal Soldier (1992), Last Action Hero (1993), Hard Target (1993), Timecop (1994), Street Fighter (1994), Universal Soldier: The Return (1999), Universal Soldier: Regeneration (2009), and Universal Soldier: Day Of Reckoning (2012). He has also voiced the character of Master Croc in the animation Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011).

(8) Bruce Willis has acted in films like Die Hard (1988), Die Hard 2 (1990), Death Becomes Her (1992), Pulp Fiction (1994), Die Hard With A Vengeance (1995), Twelve Monkeys (1995), Last Man Standing (1996), The Fifth Element (1997), Armageddon (1998), The Sixth Sense (1999), The Story Of Us (1999), The Whole Nine Yards (2000), Disney's The Kid (2000), Hart's War (2002), The Whole Ten Yards (2004),  Ocena's Twelve (2004), Sin City (2005), Fast Food Nation (2006), Lucky Number Slevin (2006), Perfect Stranger (2007), Nancy Drew (2007), Live Free Or Die Hard (2007), The Expendables (2010), and Looper (2012). He has also voiced the character of RJ in the animation Over The Hedge (2006).

(9) Arnold Schwarzenegger has acted in films like Conan The Barbarian (1982), Conan The Destroyer (1984), The Terminator (1984), Red Sonja (1985), Predator (1987), Twins (1988), Total Recall (1990), Kindergarten Cop (1990), Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991), Last Action Hero (1993), True Lies (1994), Junior (1994), Eraser (1996), Jingle All The Way (1996), Batman And Robin (1997), End Of Days (1999), The 6th Day (2000), Collateral Damage (2002), Around The World In 80 Days (2004), and The Expendables (2010). 

(10) Randy Couture has acted in films like Cradle 2 The Grave (2003), Big Stan (2007), The Scorpion King 2: Rise Of A Warrior (2008), The Expendables (2010), and Geezers! (2012).

(11) Terry Crews has acted in films like The 6th Day (2000), Training Day (2001), Serving Sara (2002), Starsky & Hutch (2004), White Chicks (2004), The Longest Yard (2005), Balls Of Fury (2007), Street Kings (2008), Get Smart (2008), Terinator Salvation (2009), The Expendables (2010), and Bridesmaids (2011).

(12) Liam Hemsworth has acted in films like The Last Song (2010), The Hunger Games (2012), Love And Honor (2012), Empire State (2013), Paranoia (2013) and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013).

(13) Yu Nan has acted in the film Speed Racer (2008).

The Eclectic Reviewer thinks… The Expendables 2 makes you feel like a member of the special boys club but the good thing is you're just there to tag along for the ride while they do all the work. It works because you feel like you've been invited to a special preview into the lives of these old action heroes even though its exaggerated and totally blown out of proportion. If they can laugh at themselves, why can't you? You never really tire of the classics. So show a little R.E.S.P.E.C.T, let your hair down, and just have fun. They obviously are, why shouldn't you too. (4.5 of 5)

Click here to follow Entitled to Opinion on Facebook

Sunday, August 12, 2012

crazy/beautiful (2001)

Director: John Stockwell (1)

Cast: Kirsten Dunst (2), Jay Hernandez (3), Bruce Davison (4), and Taryn Manning (5)

My favourite quote – There are millions of people in this world, but in the end it all comes down to one. I still panic sometimes, forget to breathe, but I know that there's something beautiful in my imperfections; the beauty that he held up for me to see. The strength that I will never be able to say."

True love. The one. Do you believe in that? True love and the elusive "one"? I haven't found him yet I guess or he hasn't found me, whichever. I have watched this film so many times but still I tear up and get very emotional when I watch it. I like what Kirsten Dunst's character says at the end of the film. Its my favourite because its something I believe in too, that while "there are millions of people in this world, but in the end it all comes down to one."

I also think that the right person for you will compliment you and make you a better person, which is what happens in crazy/beautiful. I guess that is why they say opposites attract isn't it? Nicole, played wonderfully by Kirsten Dunst, has her imperfections and is often seen as unruly and trouble, but all it took is Jay Hernandez's Carlos Nuñez who loves her despite her craziness and sees the beauty in her. Nicole is so out of control, while Carlos is so straight laced and in control forgetting to have fun and live a little.

crazy/beautiful is a very straightforward predictable film. But why do I enjoy it so? Probably because I am a sucker for romance and anything to do with love conquering it all. We have two vastly different individuals who find one another unexpectedly. Their differences and initial incompatibility is stark and very obvious. And yet the film slowly draws you into their differences and their romance because it is a Romeo and Juliet type story. And we always want to see Romeo end up with Juliet and have a happily ever after. And thankfully in this film they do. Their journey is arduous and not very surprising, but it is moving nonetheless.

The way the film is shot makes it feel very real. Like it were a documentary on young love and the difficulty of a father coping with a daughter he doesn't know how to communicate with or know how to show his love for her. I especially love that at the end of the film, father and daughter finally open a door of communication with each other and try to work on the relationship. Sometimes, all you need to do is to talk things through, properly. But of course, you must first want to make things work out. Its a two way communication, both parties must want to make it work. 

Nicole says to her father "I know I not easy to love, but could you try anyway" near the end of the film and it hits me finally, that besides being about romantic love, its also about a father's love and mother's love too. Despite being a handful, Nicole's father never stopped loving her. And Carlos' mother works so hard to give him a good education because she loves him and wants the best for him. 

"You can be anywhere where when your life begins. You meet the right person and anything is possible."

"You can be anywhere when your life begins. When the future opens up in front of you. And you may not even realize it at first, but it's already happening."

A friend once told me that maybe she still can't find her true love because it isn't meant to be. That because she is blessed and so loved by her parents and her good friends that true love will be the one thing that eludes her. Maybe that is true. But maybe she just hasn't met the right person. But one thing I do know is that even if I can't find this true love, my parents, family members, and good friends will love me no matter what. And at the moment, I will hold on to that. Life goes on with or without a man by my side. I can be anyway when my life begins, but first I have to make sure I am living my life and not wasting it away. 

(1) John Stockwell has directed films like Blue Crush (2002), and Into The Blue (2005).

(2) Kirsten Dunst has acted in films like Interview With The Vampire (1994), Little Women (1994), Jumanji (1995), The Virgin Suicides (1999), Bring It On (2000), Get Over It (2001), Spider-Man (2002), Mona Lisa Smile (2003), Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind (2004), Spider-Man 2 (2004), Wimbledon (2004), Elizabethtown (2005), Marie Antoinette (2006), Spider-Man 3 (2007), How To Lose Friends And Alienate People (2008), Bachelorette (2012), On The Road (2012), and Upside Down (2013). 

(3) Jay Hernandez has acted in films like Torque (2002), Ladder 49 (2004),World Trade Centre (2006), Grindhouse (2007), Takers (2010), and LOL (2012).

(4) Bruce Davison has acted in films like The Baby-Sitters Club (1995), X-Men (2000), Summer Catch (2001), X3 (2003), and Runaway Jury (2003).

(5) Taryn Manning has acted in films like Crossroads (2002), 8 Mile (2002), Cold Mountain (2003), Hustle & Flow (2005), Lucky 13 (2005), and A Lot Like Love (2005).

The Eclectic Reviewer thinks… crayz/beautiful makes you want to keep believing that you will one day meet someone who will accept you and all your weirdness and craziness and make you a better person. Are you convinced? I am. It keeps the hope in me alive. The hope that I will find myself a Carlos Nuñez. But in the meantime, I will remember that there is something beautiful in my imperfections and to keep breathing and not to panic even if I don't ever meet him. You might be crazy in the eyes of others, but you're beautiful in your own way. Never forget that. And anyway, my parents will love me no matter what. I just need to remember to be thankful for that and love them them back. (4 of 5)

Click here to follow Entitled to Opinion on Facebook

Friday, August 10, 2012

He's Just Not That Into You (2009)

Director: Ken Kwapis (1)

Cast: Ginnifer Goodwin (2), Kevin Connolly (3), Scarlett Johansson (4), Bradley Cooper (5), Ben Affleck (6), Justin Long (7), Jennifer Connelly (8), Jennifer Aniston (9), and Drew Barrymore (10)

My favourite quotes – The rule is, if a guy doesn’t call you, he doesn’t want to call you… if a guy is treating you like he doesn't give a shit, he genuinely doesn't give a shit. No exceptions.” & “If a guy wants to see you believe me he will see you. I once called 55 Lauren Bells before I got the right one.”

Did you know? - The film is based on a self-help book of the same name written by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo. It was inspired by a line of dialogue from the television series Sex And The City.

My colleagues have been actively trying to encourage this guy, let's call him Mr X, to date me and they're been trying to get me to give him a chance and go out with him. Let's just say that after lots of prodding and teasing and even someone getting him to promise to ask me out, he finally did. The date was alright. I don't dislike Mr X, but I don't feel for him more than a friend right at this very moment. 

I've dated men who don't take the initiative to ask me first. And my last few relationships started mostly because I made the first move to ask the guy out or to tell them I was interested in getting to know them better. Let's just say that once I make the first move, I always had to take the lead. And I got tired of wearing the pants in the relationship and being the one to take the lead or make the decisions. I want to be taken care of and chased for a change. 

This movie really says it all in regards to my situation with Mr X. If he needed to be teased and prodded to make a move to ask me out, then you know what, maybe he's just not that into me. After all, I do think what Alex says makes a lot of sense. The rule is, if a guy doesn’t call you, he doesn’t want to call you… if a guy is treating you like he doesn't give a shit, he genuinely doesn't give a shit. No exceptions.” My friends say maybe he's shy or the passive kind. Then he really isn't the right guy for me now is he? Because right now, I am looking for someone who will take the lead on his own accord. Don't get me wrong. Mr X is a great guy and he'll make some girl really happy one day. But its looking more and more like that girl ain't gonna be me. I mean, my friends can't prod him to keep asking me out or be more pro-active regarding me ALL THE TIME! And I really don't want to start or go into a relationship with someone hoping that he will change or thinking I am that special person that will change him. No! If he really loves me and will change for me, like Neil does for Beth, then great. But I won't expect him to. Because that kind of thinking just gets you in a lot of pain and heartache in the end. 

I love this film. I haven't tried reading the book yet and I might get it someday to read it. The film focuses on four stories Gigi & Alex, Janine, Ben & Anna, Neil & Beth, and Anna, Mary & Connor. My favourite story is of Gigi & Alex. And this is my favourite scene:

Gigi: A wise person once told me that if a guy wants to be with a girl, he will make it happen, no matter what.
Alex: That's true.
Gigi: But when I was hurling my body onto yours, you did not seem to want to make it happen.
Alex: Okay, yeah, here's the thing about that... You were right. I'd gotten so used to keeping myself at a safe distance from all these women and having the power that, that I didn't know what it felt like when I actually fell for one of them... I didn't know.
Gigi: Look, I just went out with your friend Bill. He might be just exactly what I need. No drama, he calls; he does what he says...
Alex: [stepping closer] I can do that stuff too...
Gigi: But you didn't! And that same wise person told me that I'm the rule. That I have to stop thinking that every guy will change, that I have to stop thinking that... [Alex kisses her] ... I'm the exception...
Alex: [whispers] You are my exception.

Theirs is a relationship that grew from friendship. And I think I'm very similar to Gigi. Okay I don't cyber stalk guys I'm interested in but I never give up on love. I might not be actively looking out for love at the moment, but I am open to the right one turning up on my doorstep. Yes, you say sitting around on my bum waiting for prince charming to come is stupid and I should do something about it. Well I do try. I have gone for a couple of SDN events. However, they have all come to naught. At the moment, I have decided to work on me first. I will keep exercising and try to make sure I don't overeat too much and work on my dressing etc. It is true isn't it. People judge other people through the way they carry themselves and the way they look. So until I can be entirely happy with how I look and dress, I don't think I am the best me to attract someone I'd like to be with.

The story I like most after Gigi & Alex's story is the one about Beth & Neil. I truly do understand what Neil is saying about not needing a marriage certificate. I know of people who are happy together, committed to each other and unmarried, but have a relationship akin to marriage even without a piece of paper that binds them together. But I am still traditional and would love to one day walk down the aisle and get married wearing a pretty white dress in the church I grew up in. Yes there are some people who "do it because they're insecure and because they think that getting married is what they're supposed to be doing now" and I do agree about not needing to pay money to get a marriage certificate. All you need is love and that is enough. But! Neil's staunch disbelief in marriage is what makes this story so sweet because he relents eventually and marries her. Because he needs to make her happy to even have a shot at being happy. *Cue "Awwww..."*

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Nanny Diaries (2007)

Written and Directed by: Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini

Cast: Scarlett Johansson (1), Laura Linney (2), Chris Evans (3), Alicia Keys (4), and Donna Murphy (5)

My favourite quotes - 
" Just remember, Grove, that money can't buy love." & "Who is Annie Braddock? It wasn’t exactly a trick question yet somehow I couldn’t formulate a response. Of course I knew all the basic facts, the date of birth, hometown, socio-economic makeup but I didn’t know who I was, where I fit in, who I was gonna be. I was suddenly terrified I will never find an answer."

Did you know? - The film is based on a book of the same name and has a sequel called Nanny Returns. Written by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus, both of whom are former nannies. The book satirizes upper class Manhattan society as seen through the eyes of their children's caregivers. The writers were students at New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualised Study when they wrote the book. Both had worked as nannies for about 30 different wealthy families on the Upper East Side, where the book is set.

Happy birthday Ah Pak! And thank you for helping to bring me up and for taking care of me for 28 years. Ah Pak is what I call my maid/nanny. I've been calling her Ah Pak for as long as I can remember. She's been taking care of me since I was a year and a half. And to me she's family. In fact, I have on a handful of occasions accidentally called her "Mum". Sorry mummy! 

Yesterday was Ah Pak's birthday and late at night after I gave her the present I got her and her birthday cake, I watched The Nanny Dairies again because it seemed apt. I was deciding between The Help or The Nanny Dairies and well, the later seemed more appropriate. I don't really know why I didn't think to watch Mary Poppins since this film pays homage to it in some scenes of the film, but ultimately I settled for The Nanny Diaries. In fact, the show's titular character Annie was 21 when she became a nanny in the film. The same age Ah Pak was when she first came to Singapore and took care of me. 

While my parents were much more involved in my life and upbringing than in Grayer's life, and even though I'm not a rich kid living on Fifth Avenue, I can relate to Grayer on a small level, so I connected with this film easily. The following two sets of dialogue will tell you all you need to know about the obvious theme of the film.

Grayer: When I grow up, I want enough money to build the real castle.
Annie Braddock: Just remember, Grove, that money can't buy love.
Grayer: But mommy pays you money, and I love you!

Money can't buy love. To a child, all they want is to love and be loved by their parents. They want to know that no matter how good or bad they are, their parents will love them unconditionally. No one else can or should replace the parents in a child's life. Nannies or maids taking care and bringing up the children of various societies is becoming an ever-growing trend. It is evident not only in Manhattan, it happens here in Singapore as well. I know and understand that working adults find it hard to juggle their career and family. I think when or if I start a family, I will face that very same problem of being an absent parent. However, the situation depicted in the film is not so much a lack of time but the misplacement of importance. 

Annie Braddock: Okay Mrs. X, now it's time for a few simple childcare rules.
Parents Society Speaker: Oh, alright, the teddy bear has been compromised.
Annie Braddock: Slamming the door in your kid's face is NOT okay. Spending more time on a benefit for kids that you've never met than you do with your own blood is NOT okay. Going to a SPA when your son has a fever of a hundred and four and not answering emergency calls, that officially makes you an unfit mother.
Mrs. X: This is outrageous. Stop the tape.
Parents Society Speaker: Uh, no. This is clearly a disgruntled nanny. We might have something to learn here.
Annie Braddock: Now I know that you're really pretty busy with your hair appointments, and your watsu massages and your attempts to stay young so your husband won't leave you. But here's an idea! Why don't you try eating dinner with your child every once in a blue moon. And a heads up here lady, try smiling once in a while. People hate you. As for you Mr X, who the hell are you? Maybe you’re asking the same about me. I know you notice my ass but you probably don’t recognise my face so here’s a little hint okay, I’m the one who’s been raising your son. Grayer is not an accessory; his mother didn’t order him from a catalogue. Your son, your wife, are people in your home, human beings who are drowning in their desire for you to just, for you to look at them. You know the truth is I don’t wish either of you harm. If for no other reason than you having the profound privilege of being Grayer’s parents. Grayer loves you. He doesn’t care what you’re wearing or what you buy him or what school he gets into, he just wants you there. That’s it. And time’s running out, he won’t love you unconditionally that much longer. So for your own good, don’t miss out on getting to know him. He is truly an amazing, amazing little person.

Growing up on Hollywood movies and western ideas, I always watch films depicting the close parent-child relationships, where the parent reads to the child before bedtime, and the mother-daughter relationship is more reminiscent of best friends rather than between parent and child. But in a traditional Asian family setting, it is vastly different. 

In Asian families, there is an invisible line separating the father and the child, and there are certain boundaries the child and parent does not cross for the fear of diluting the role of the disciplinarian in the family. Asian mothers are more of a grey area. And it really depends on whether the father is the disciplinarian or the mother. And if you ask me which I prefer, despite being brought up in a traditional Asian style of parenting, I prefer to be my child's mother and best friend.

In a film with such a negative look at the parenting style of certain individuals, it is a huge contrast to the relationship between Scarlett Johansson's Annie and her mother Judy Braddock, played by Donna Murphy. They share a close relationship but the role of the disciplinarian is still present. Her mother has a lot of expectations and sometimes comes across as too overbearing. But she still loves her daughter enough to recognise that its her life to lead and whether she fails or succeeds, she will be there for her no matter what. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Bed of Roses (1996)

Writer and Director: Michael Goldenberg (1)
Cast: Mary Stuart Masterson (2) and Christian Slater (3)
My favourite quotes – “I live on a planet called reality, where stuff like that just doesn't happen" & "Every now and then, everyone's entitled to too much perfection."

Do fairy tales come true? Do happily ever afters happen? This romantic drama wants you to believe they do. After all, the two leads in Bed of Roses manage to work through their personal baggage and end up together.
This may sound like a tale you’ve heard many times before. But as with most things in life, it is not the destination that matters, but the journey you took to get there. This film manages to bring across the point that no matter your past, there is someone out there perfect for you, if you would only let him or her love you.
It might seem incredulous that the two leads fall in love so quickly and through such a non-realistic and overtly romantic “knight in shining armour” manner. However, the beauty of the film is that it shows you the truth behind that romantic fluff. That fate and romance can only take you so far, the rest is up to you. Do you want to take that leap of faith to love and trust someone? Can you accept that person entirely; past, present and future? A relationship isn’t just about the romantic feelings of love, but also about working through your own “shit” and understanding and accepting the other person despite their “shit”. Cos “shit” happens all the time. The question is, can you stick around, do you want to stick around, will you stick around through all that “shit”. 
That is what I love about Bed of Roses.

Sometimes I think that it is because of the romance books I read and all these romantic comedies or dramas that I watch that gives me too high an expectation on love and my partner. Does it have a negative effect on my finding a partner? Maybe, but hey, "every now and then, everyone's entitled to too much perfection" isn't it? I once told myself not to settle for anything but what I want for myself. If I have to live for the rest of my life with this person, then I must be happy and willing to accept that person for all that he is, warts and all. I don't want to settle for something I am not 100% comfortable about. 

Then again, my logical side kicks in and tells me, “I live on a planet called reality, where stuff like that just doesn't happen" and that such a person doesn't exist. And that makes me wonder if I should settle for someone rather than be alone for the rest of my life. And my feelings about the matter so far is that I'd rather accept the truth that I'd be alone and single for the rest of my life than to struggle with someone else I may not be fully certain of because I don't want to feel pressurised or obliged to be happy for that person. That isn't fair to me or that person. And its gonna be such a drag isn't it? 

So it looks like I better get used to the idea of being a spinster. But you know what, being a spinster isn't so bad. There's all sorts of negative connotation to the term spinster. But why? Is it so bad that someone is single? Yes, maybe they have high expectations. Yes, maybe those expectations are unreasonably high. But you know what, its THEIR expectation! If they cannot feel happy or cannot stomach the idea of settling for less than perfection, then why judge them for their choice. Maybe in a few years when my biological clock starts counting down, I might sing another tune and panic. But right now, yes, I want to be loved by someone and have someone special to "go home to", but I'm not in such a hurry yet that I'd compromise what I think is perfection in my eyes. I'm waiting for that imperfect someone who is just perfect for me, thank you very much. 

Now in terms of the actors and their chemistry. With Christian Slater and Mary Stuart Masterson, there's something about their pairing that I find odd. I watched Untamed Heart first so I guess I prefer the pairing of Christian Slater and Marisa Tomei more than this one. But in terms of their acting, well, they are convincing enough as a couple to be able to stir such emotions and opinions about my life. So in all, Bed of Roses is a film I'd watch over and over again. 

(1) Michael Golenberg has written films like Contact (1997), Peter Pan (2003), Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007), and Grenn Lantern (2011)
(2) Mary Stuart Masterson has acted in films like Some Kind of Wonderful (1987) and The Cake Eaters (2007)
(3) Christian Slater has acted in films like Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991) and Untamed Heart (1993)
The Eclectic Reviewer thinks… Bed of Roses will remind you that love isn’t easy and not always a bed of roses, but when two people love each other they will be willing to work things out. And don't forget, everyone deserves too much perfection in their lives even if you live in a planet called reality. (3 of 5)

* Movie Poster from Wikipedia

Click here to follow Entitled to Opinion on Facebook!