Monthly Archives: July 2012

Sometimes, Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Justin Bieber is in a high speed car chase with paparazzi. Someone obscene on a “Real Housewives” show yells something obscene to a fellow housewife who usually acts obscene. News breaks that Kim Kardashian is walking and talking at the same time! On any given day, this very well could qualify as “news” from Hollywood. It’s sad. Let’s not forget about the lowest forms of humanity: the cast of “The Jersey Shore.” While having never seen the show (& quite Proud of that), I’ve unfortunately been exposed to about five seconds of it on television in one way or another. That was far too much. What has happened to people in front of cameras?

Whether it is the afternoon, early evening or during television’s primetime, there is a constant barrage of cursing bleeps and childish fighting by adults (‘adults’ qualified by age alone). Certainly not all apply, but it seems as if most reality shows promoted for ‘entertainment’ purposes are revealing a depressing reality. Manners, courtesy, respectfulness, intelligence and being all-around good role models are foreign characteristics to the people who are featured on “Real Housewives” of wherever, “Jersey Shore” plus any other MTV production or dating shows in the wild. This generation of kids are too often exposed to the people on the reality shows mentioned above that are reported on daily, as if to give them a societal stamp of approval. Where are their role models?

Earlier this week, a few photos were leaked. Assuming where this was going, I shrugged my shoulders and exhaled in expected disappointment. However, the pictures weren’t partially blurred for censorship, but instead fully exposed. They didn’t make you cringe, but rather smile because it was a confirmation of good. The pictures leaked were of Christian Bale, today’s Batman.

“Words cannot express the horror that I feel. I cannot begin to truly understand the pain and grief of the victims and their loved ones, but my heart goes out to them” –Christian Bale

A couple of days ago, he and his wife took it upon themselves to personally visit, with no press alert, the victims and first responders of the horror that transpired in the shooting at a midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rises” in Aurora, Colorado last Friday morning. Pictures got out because if someone has a phone, they likely have a camera and with social media outlets galore to choose from, people want to share their excitement of seeing and meeting Batman himself.  What’s more is he didn’t have to visit, he chose to visit.

Bale and his wife spent quite a bit of time in Aurora, including the memorial directly across from the Century 16 movie theater to pay their respects.

Christian Bale visits the memorial across the street from the Century 16 movie theater July 24, 2012 in Aurora, Colorado.

Credit: Joshua Lott/Getty Images

According to denverpost.com, “Hospital interim president Bill Voloch said Bale spent about 2½ hours at the hospital, where he met with five people being treated for their injuries. Two others came from Swedish Medical Center to meet Bale, who stars as Batman/Bruce Wayne.”

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Christian Bale poses with Aurora, Colo. shooting victim Carey Rottman. (Credit: Carey Rottman/Facebook)

People who admire and are fans of Christian Bale’s interpretation of Batman were willing to lose sleep to watch the trilogy’s epic conclusion. Devastatingly for a group of fans in suburban Denver, their viewing coincided with an unthinkable tragedy. The movie is called, “The Dark Knight Rises,” and for the people of Aurora, Colorado, that title has taken on a slightly new meaning.

From the Moon to the Abyss

“…one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

Neil Armstrong of Apollo 11 proclaimed these words on the surface of the moon on this day back in 1969. This moment defined the United States as the world leader in space travel. For the first time in history, humans had landed on the moon. We were not on top of the world, we were above it. The Space Race was over and the United States had won. We were #1.

Nearly a decade was dedicated to achieving the mission of venturing not only into space, but a place we could only before look at with wide-eyed wonderment and curiosity: the moon. A challenge was presented and with hard work and determination completed despite incredible obstacles. It was inspiring and triumphant. (Cue “The Launch” from the ‘Armageddon’ soundtrack). It was an American moment.

Fast forward to July 20, 2012 and it feels as if we’ve missed our target. Instead, we’re slowly floating away from the place we know we should be landing in order to make groundbreaking new discoveries. Current policy needs dramatic changes and some politicians need to be replaced. The mission isn’t clear and there is nobody leading the charge. This all feels uneasy and even downright wrong to many. Quite frankly, it feels un-American in the sense that struggling in all the ways we are is what other countries do, but not US.

“Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” President John F. Kennedy

Who will be the big dreamer and have that winning mentality to lead a nation into a space we’ve never been before? The American people want it, the country deserves it and the world needs it. The United States and its people need a defining moment, one that will change the course of history for the better as the U.S. has done so many times in its young and impressive history. In 1969, the U.S. was #1. It takes exceptionally hard work and vision to remain the best. The question is who has the flashlight to direct us out of the darkness and proudly plant the American flag into the ground to declare victory and superiority like three brave astronauts did 43 years ago on the moon? I repeat, the moon.

The Pleasures of Past “Inconveniences”

It’s Friday evening and after unwinding from a long and “stressful” week at school, my family and I embraced the TGIF-mentality much like the family did from the movie “ET.” We gathered in the family room that was perfect for watching movies and enjoyed a film that was just released. Surrounded by and in between all of us was a steaming hot Donatos pizza box, a half-gone two liter of Coca-Cola, cups and plastic Dontaos themed plates everywhere and an opened blue and white movie container with the word in bright yellow block letters “BLOCKBUSTER” showcased down the cases’ spine. This was a Friday night spent with family during my childhood. It was awesome.

Once the 3:00 p.m. bell sounded on that Friday during my elementary school days, the opportunity to make the weekend great had begun! After discovering my mom’s car from the usual lineup I opened the door and said hello. When asked what I had learned that day, I just responded with what had become protocol: “stuff.” With a humorous roll of the eyes, she put the car in drive and we went home.

Knowing that a very cool new movie had arrived that day at the movie store, I waited for the right moment. “Mom, you look really great today!” Thankful for a split second, she quickly saw through my transparent motive. Uncertainty still in the air, time had passed to early evening, around 5:00 or 6:00 p.m. Contemplating for a few moments, I finally mustered the courage to ask the two biggest questions of the impending weekend: “Mom, can we get pizza tonight?…and stop by Blockbuster?”

Pausing for dramatic effect (which worked in ways you cannot imagine), she replied, “Sure.” It was official: Friday night was going to be legen-wait for it…

The Blockbuster just a couple miles from my house was packed with fellow kids, parents, teenagers, adults and every age demographic you could picture. Looking at every movie box with precise analysis, I searched for “the one.” Once discovered in the “New Releases” section, I picked up and gazed at the cover box with amazement. Next step, I nervously and excitedly look behind it and hope for a VHS to be available for rental. As an FYI, a VHS is what us ‘old people’ used to call movies. Talkies is another popular expression.

At the counter, I hand the movie to the clerk who is sporting a welcoming smile and a happy attitude for the young man about the experience a cinematic adventure. My mom hands her the official membership card, the clerk swipes it, opens the case to ensure the correct movie was ready for rental, snaps it closed and then a white receipt is printed and stuck inside the top with the due date included. With a smile as wide as a mile, we walk out of the brightly lit, magical Blockbuster store and return home to then order a cheese pizza just like in “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” and “Home Alone” that is at our front door in a speedy fifteen minutes. Once the pizza guy is paid on our warmly lit front step, the moment had finally arrived and it was officially Friday Movie Night.

Today, at virtually any hour and day of the week, I turn on my laptop, open up iTunes, go to the iTunes store, click on the movie I want, confirm the download through my iTunes account and in less than an hour I’m watching the movie…alone and with total convenience in the comfort of my own home. Ughh.

The British Aren’t Coming…They’re Here

From the 1770s to Word War II to the Beatles in the mid-1960s to…now. The British have a history of being connected with the United States of America (before & after formally becoming the U.S.), and in one way or another, changing the course of our country for years to come. Whether it be a revolution of historic consequence or a partnership against evil or a cultural transformation played out by four well-dressed gents from Liverpool, those with the classy and dignified accents seem to have a permanent corner reserved in the hearts of the American people. However, there is one major difference between ‘British Invasions’ of yesteryear to what has been occurring throughout the past decade or so. Can you hear it? Not always.

Piers Morgan, Sharon Osbourne, Simon Cowell, Kate Beckinsale, Chris Martin + his mates in Coldplay, David Beckham, Sienna Miller, Daniel Radcliffe, Ricky Gervais, Sacha Baron Cohen, Adele, Russell Brand, Daniel Craig and Christopher Nolan are just a few names of people who hail from England and have made quite a popular connection with the American people in the first decade of the 21st century. When Kate Beckinsale begins talking (about anything really), it’s nearly impossible not to be fully seduced by her amazingly adorable accent and equally cute smile. For anyone who has seen and/or heard Coldplay knows about their universally relatable storytelling weaved throughout their lyrics and their power to inspire an audience of one in a bedroom or twenty thousand at the Hollywood Bowl.

There is no doubt that despite disagreements over preferring a democracy to a monarchy (with the exceptions of Duchess Kate and her sister Pippa), our love affair with those from across the pond will surely forever be a bridge between our two cultures. This regardless of the fact we can’t always hear them coming.

What do Spiderman, Superman and Batman all have in common? They are all trademark characters and heroes born and raised in American culture. But in the past ten or so years, each of these characters have, are or are going to be played by British actors. How? They lost the accent.

Andrew Garfield first wowed American audiences with his brilliant portrayal of Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin in “The Social Network” by submerging his natural speak of the tongue to convincingly sound like an American college student who helped define social networking from his dorm room. Now having taken on Spiderman, the reviews are in and they are glowing. From their performances on screen, I have never heard of any observations, let alone complaints, as to whether Christian Bale or Gary Oldman didn’t genuinely sound as if they were residents of the Gotham universe. They did and were fantastic.

With complete sincerity from an American movie fan of the listed heroes above, all of the actors connected to these parts have done an excellent job, and should note we are still waiting on Brit Henry Cavill to debut as Superman in the summer of 2013. If they were American citizens (yes, I know Garfield was born in LA), this article wouldn’t exist. This entry is not about their performances because they have all been incredible and memorable. It’s just an observation that the first decade of the 21st century in America has showcased the newest “British Invasion” and its players, some to standing ovations of sorts.

It must be noted that in the middle of an economic recession/depression in America where a superhero to save the day is wished more with every passing night, I must confess that despite my views of each actors’ wonderful portrayals, it is still an unnerving feeling knowing American icons Batman, Spiderman and Superman have been outsourced to England. I just don’t think anybody heard it coming.