Sunday, December 30, 2012

A critical look at the movie, "DJANGO Unchained" by Ray Young

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Today I went and saw the movie that has had a lot of hype for months called “DJANGO UNCHAINED” and it was all that it was promised to be and more. Quentin Tarantino the writer/producer and director out did himself this time. It is starring Jamie Fox, Kerry Washington, who plays’s DJango’s wife, Walton Goggins, Samuel L. Jackson just to name a few.  Just imagine, taking a story about slavery, adding a love story to it along with a western feel and humor and drama. The story line took place two years before the Civil War and  was told in such a way which made slavery very realistic.  At the same time, the movie poked fun at slavery and showed how stupid it was as well as racism or any other systematic system that belittles other human beings.  At the same time it is easy to look at with an exemption of a couple of violent scenes and the over use of the “N” word, but this was necessary to the movie to make the story line realistic and valid to that time.
In this movie the underdog prevailed.  The movie is a good message about justice.  And if you want to see a love story, a story of slavery and a story about justice and a very realistic story line,  this is the movie for you. Just like all of Tarantino movies, it is unpredictable. He flips the script in the middle of the movie. When you think it is almost over, the carpet is pulled from under you and the movie takes a totally different direction.  

"DJango Unchained" has been given a lot of criticism from some of its peers like Spike Lee and other people in Holly Wood. Lee feels that it is inappropriate to put the ills of slavery on the screen. Keep in mind that Spike Lee has not seen the movie and has been criticized for not liking any movie that he hasn’t produced himself.  Respectfully disagreeing with Lee, it is necessary to put the social ills of our nation’s bitter history on the screen. It was realistic, respectful and reminds us how crazy it was and still is. A nation that does not know its history will indeed repeat it. So we must never forget!

There was another movie that was originally written called DJango in 1966 written and directed by Italian Sergio Cobucci and described as a Spaghetti western. It is quoted as “A coffin-dragging gunslinger enters a town caught between two feuding factions, the KKK and a gang of Mexican Bandits. That man is Django, and he is caught up in a struggle against both parties”
If one looks at the trailer of this movie it seems far more violent as the current remake “ Django Unchained”.  
  “ Django  Unchained” is a movie with a lot of messages and symbolism on many levels. So make sure you pay close attention to what is said, how it is said and what happens. It is poetry on the screen.  Jamie Foxx gives a stellar performance along with Kerry Washington and Samuel L Jackson who steals the movie.  I suggest all to go see this movie. Out of five stars I give it all five to Django.  Go see it, and remember that this is not a movie that you would want to bring any one under the age of 16.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas 2012: Choose to be Happy

This blog became a commitment to me in response to a dear friend ending his life. After talking to him just a week before he ended his life, I saw no signs that he was that unhappy. But after thinking of his behavior, there were signs that there was a dark side. With this being said, I'm moved to make this post and to express that no matter how anxious we get and no matter what we are going through we can choose to be happy. Nothing in this world can conquer us no even death. No matter what we are going through be it a loss of a loved one, an illness, financial issues we can offer all that is not positive and offer this up to the cross. We can choose happiness. So if anyone feels down and anxious this holiday season, reach out to those who really care for you. Talk to whoever will listen. Keep negative people away from you. And forgive those friends who you may be upset with over trivial things. Participate in your faith or at the least be charitable. And if you feel that you can't cope, seek out for professional help. Therapy really works. God is present through this process. So today, I pledge that I will forgive those that I haven't. Life is short. And I pledge that I will write some type of publication on Choice Theory. (Choosing to be happy) God came on earth and became flesh and dwelt among us so that we may have life and more abundantly. So I choose to be happy.

For some, Christmas is one of the joyous parts of the year. It brings us together as family and friends. The spirit of giving and of party brings joy and happiness to many. However for some it may be the worst part of the year. It can be depressing overwhelming and the loneliness time of year. If you fall in the latter category, it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are a few steps to avoid getting the seasonal blues.

1. Keep your expectations conservative. Don’t expect too much out of the holiday. So many of us get frustrated because we don’t get the perfect gift or we don’t get invited to the most popular party. Or the food is not quite right, or the biggest issue, not having the money to spend on gifts. These are real reason that could make the season blue for us. But there is so much more to the season. Christmas has become far too commercialized and we forget the true meaning of Christmas. It is about celebrating the birth of Christ. It is about new beginnings. It is about putting the past behind us and starting fresh and new. All the other superficial things may be nice but getting caught up in the mass scheme of the commercialization of a religious holiday can take away the true meaning of the spirit. So keep your expectations simple. In fact have no expectations and just go with the flow.

2. Volunteer for Christmas. The season is more about giving than anything else. Go to organizations and help serve a meal. Or collect toys for children this season to donate to a shelter or some other organization. Better yet collecting items for seniors that they can really use is a great idea as well. There are many retirement centers and nursing homes that would be open to these donations. The greatest feeling in the world is giving to those less fortunate. The response of appreciation can be far more gratifying than receiving a gift from someone. Especially when half the time it is an item you don’t want and can’t even use.

3. Keep positive people around you. If you find yourself falling into a depressive mode, hang out with your friends. At times when we feel down, we may tend to isolate ourselves from everyone. Amir A. Afrkami, MD PHD wrote in Psychology Today, stated that if we find ourselves depressed during the season isolation is the worst thing. Hang with friends which are your family that you choose; People whose company that we enjoy can be best. And be mindful of difficult family dynamics. We all have that foolish person in our family that takes away from our good spirits. They are who they are. It is important not to allow those people to bring you down. And sometimes it is ok to be a little selfish to cut short a visit or not to visit at all if it takes away from you feeling whole. After all it is your life and you are in charge of your own happiness. If you find yourself depressed, limit your alcohol consumption. Alcohol is a depressant. It will enhance whatever mood you are in. And when you are coming down from your high the next day, it will make you feel even that much worse.

So let us not forget what Christmas is truly about. It would make our holidays more joyous even though we may not be into it, if we stick to the real reason for the meaning of Christmas, it could be more meaningful than ever before. Happy Holidays!