Boyhood: A Non-Traditional Movie About Growing up

Greetings all, it has been 6 months (wow, time flies) since my last blog post. I did manage to post a Medium article on student loans and have posted short facebook status updates but haven’t been “writing” as much. I have, however been doing lots of reading, and listening to podcasts, and taking in all of this media has inspired me to get back to blogging. I also came to the realization that I was putting off more blog posts because I was worried that they would suck, and frankly the first ones have and I’m sure the nexgt 5, 10, 20, or 50 will as well, but I will never get better at written communicaiton if I don’t at least give it a shot and so here it goes (again):

Boyhood is an extremely fascinating movie, that is basically about “nothing.” What I mean here is that the movie doesn’t really follow the traditional story arc of background-build up- climas – end. Boyhood is flimed to mimic real life about a boy growing up. This means that there aren’t necessarily traditional build-ups because that’s typically not how problems and events happen in real life. One of the ways you can tell that the movie was intended to be realistic was that it was shot 3 days at a time, over the course of 12 years. Another way is that the director uses many close up camera angles and there typically is not a lot of visual clutter in the scenes to help convery a sense of simplicity.

While the lack of a traditional story arc can be confusing at first, and the ending will most likely frustrate you (spoiler alert: the movie just ends with casual talking), it does make for a great film because it bucks tradition and provides a very intimate look at the life of a boy “Mason” goriwng up in the United States. The film explores what it means to grow up as a boy in American society, specifically touching on the issues of masculinity, alcoholism, identity, and relationships with fathers. The movie brings the first three issues to light by highlighting issues that Mason has with his father and numerous setpfathers. The movie does this through different stepfathers dealing with different issues with Mason. his first stepfather is an alcoholic, the second stepfather confront Mason about his choice of wearing earrings and painting his nails, and eventually we see Mason’s real father mature and change his identity. The movie doesn’t really seem to judge whether Mason’s decisions were right or not. I think that is allows different viewers of the movie to interpret it in different ways, depending on what appeals to them and even how they grew up and think this is one of the reasons the movie is so good.

Overall, I would recommend this movie to anyone who doesn’t mind a movie that bucks a traditional story arc, and that is pretty slow and easy going. The movie itself is a little over 2 hours long and can feel long at times but does a great job of cinematically looking at everyday life of a boy growing up in the United States.


Room Review

Let me start this review saying that I think that Room should win picture of the year at the Oscars. Its probably the most emotionally engaging movie that I have ever seen. The movie has a pretty simple concept, and the story is that a women is abducted and made to live in this guy’s shed for years and years (With a basic kitchen, bed, microwave, etc.) and raises a child. She raises the kid, named Jack, for the first 5 years of his life in this room, until she decides to use Jack to help her escape.

The movie is roughly 2 hours long, but I was on the edge of my seat the entire time. Although, the reason I was, was because that I was so emotionally engaged with Jack, i almost felt as if I knew him and could feel what he was going through. This is done through close shots of the characters and fact that the two main characters (the mother and Jack) are the only characters on the screen or the only characters engaging in dialogue for the majority of the movie.

This review is almost tough for me to write, because of the fact that I just used the term “emotionally engaged” in a review, and I am usually not a fan of emotional movies, or chick flicks. However, Room is different. It’s different because I think everyone has a little part of them can relate to Jack. For the most part, he remains optimisitic and easy going throughout the movie, while his mom gets extremely stressed at times. I know lately I’ve been trying to channel my inner Jack when times get tough, because I realize that things could be much worse, I could be trapped in a room for the first five years of my life.

Overall, I would recommend anyone rent this movie and give it a look, you won’t be disappointed.


The Revenant Review

I’ve been wanting to see the Revenant for awhile now, and finally got the chance to see it last night and it was everything that I had hoped for. Leonardo Dicaprio puts on an amazing performance, the scenery is breathtaking, and overall I would say it was worth the $8 ticket price. (Thankful for student discounts)

One of my friends thinks that Leo took the role in the Revenant primarily so that he could win an Oscar and I might have to agree, because 70% of the movie is Leo out in the wilderness by himself. This is both a positive and a negative. If you’re looking for a movie with an extremely complex plots with lots of twists and turns then the Revenant isn’t for you. However, if you enjoy simpler plots with more of a focus on scenery and character development then this is the movie for you.

The brilliant part about Leo’s acting performance is the fact that he says only a handful of words throughout the entire duration of the movie. Instead, you understand the story through the movements and actions of DiCaprio.

(Spoiler Alert)

The other impressive part of Leo’s acting is the fact that he is seriously injured for most of the film. This means that he struggles moving his body in a normal way and even has to crawl for miles in a few scenes. The injuries are due to him being attacked by a bear, where he does his best to fight it off and then kill it, but is torn up before he manages to hurt the bear. This scene is pretty graphic, but is excellently done with cgi and is done well enoguh that you can almost feel the bear attacking you.

This is another one of my favorite things about the movie. The realistic nature of the scenes, in that you really feel as if you’re stranded in the middle of the forest with the characters of the film. This is done through many wide shots where the character only takes up an extremely small part of the scene and many scenes where you can’t see the character. The scenery is also beautiful with some scenes taking place in luscious green forests, and others taking part in vast snowy mountains.

The only real negatives I saw with the movie were that it was pretty long (2 and a 1/2 hours), and that some of the things that happen to the main character make it seem like he’s invincible (Which I guess is part of the legend/ story that is being told).

Overall I would rate it an 8/10 and would definitely recommend going to see it if you haven’t already!