After Movie Thoughts: A little love for “Chappie” (spoilers)


The moment the last credits scrolled on “Chappie” (directed by Neill Blomkamp), I took a deep breath and reverted back to the scenes that were most interesting to me as a viewer: (1) the scene where his “daddy,” played by Ninja of Die Antwoord, forces him to hold a gun, and (2) the scene when Chappie is attacked by street kids, and (3) the scene when Chappie saves his maker, played by Dev Patel. I know this film is getting a lot of flack from reviewers. I mean, they have valid points in the most technical sense. Yes, films do appear to be on repeat nowadays in terms of “original” material, and yes the writing could have been more – I don’t know – existential or deep? But frankly, I had no problem with the dialogue. I enjoyed the world I was introduced to. As chaotic and cold as it was, there were elements of warm colors that stood out and beautified the set making the world look bizarre, familiar, fresh, interesting, funny, disconcerting, innocent, and tragic.

I was expecting a Frankenstein Sci-fi remake, and (MIND YOU) it was that — ending in a quasi message that humans are the real monsters. Even so, the film provided me with the opportunity to process some of the most dangerous topics discussed in our world today: abuse, violence, warfare, kidnapping/trafficking, and brainwashing. Things I know about, but have a hard time processing when sitting alone in my living room watching the late news. Children used as weapons in war, innocence being twisted and disregarded because of greed, and assuming that in all situations the adult has all the answers.

Maybe it is because I enjoy character development so much, but for me — it was a film about a kidnapped child being forced to learn and adapt to a violent environment for the purpose of money. That is what I am focusing on. I know in the real world there are deeper reasons for these issues: the cycle of violence, lack of education in troubled areas, poverty, and racism. But I am going to focus solely on the way innocence plays a role in this film. This theme was most prevalent to me in the following scenes.

The first being Ninja showing Chappie how to hold and shoot a gun. Chappie retreats his body first from Ninja, his self proclaimed father, and then from the sound of the gun. Violence, much like love, is nurtured into his psyche here as a young baby. Later as he grows and matures into a child, and Ninja uses his emotional connection to Chappie to manipulate him into thinking that people have stolen from “daddy.” Thus, Chappie must retrieve these stolen goods. Chappie, worried for his father, turns into a robot car jacking machine. I sat back and reflected on the many innocent lives in this world being lied to and used for the purpose of someone else’s desire for power/money.

The next scene that was incredibly difficult to watch as Chappie (still a robot child) being dropped off in the middle of nowhere, so that he can learn to be tough. In this scene, he is attacked by street kids. The scene touches on bullying, and how someone’s exterior doesn’t necessarily reflect what or who they are on the inside. Chappie still has his “POLICE” sign on his chest, and as the street kids approach him (for fear themselves), they say he’s “broken” when they realize he speaks like a child, and attack him. Chappie is powerless against their physical abuse. He cannot compute why on earth they would want to stone and burn his body. I was in tears as his voice pleaded with them, “Why do you throw at me?” His language underdeveloped and his desire to understand mixed in with confusion and pain was difficult to watch. Additionally, Ninja’s wish for Chappie to be more manly and tough also provides us with the issue of gender roles. Earlier in the film, Chappie is caught playing with a doll that looks like his “mommy” (played by Yo-Landi Visser of Die Antwoord), thus making Ninja lose it and take him out to the streets to find his own way home.

One of the last scenes shows Chappie saving his creator, Dev Patel. Now as a grown adolescent, Chappie saves his creator by making him into a robot machine. Symbolically, this part was brilliant as Chappie gave his creator a chance to be a better version of himself, a pure hearted robot. I am, of course, basing this on the themes of the film, not necessarily because I believe that robots are indeed purer than human beings.

It was the innocence prevailing in the world’s harshness that made this film for me. Plus, it was kind of cool to think that our consciousness could be transferred into a machine with use of a USB. What?!

Watch this film, make your own conclusions, and above all — have fun!

For more film facts visit sonypictures.com and chappie-movie.com.

* 4 out of 5 Alien Heads from me. *  

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The fly, it stared at me

The fly, it stared at me.

Dear Blog Land,

Today a fly landed on my backpack strap as I played guitar. At first, I tried to blow it away because I felt uneasy with it right in front of me. I mean, the thing didn’t move! It was like stunned or something. I tried scaring it by waving my arms. It stayed put. I tried rotating the chair to make it face the other side, and it moved it’s little insect legs and rotated to look at me. I thought to myself, Dang…you’re pretty ugly, but I guess you are my only audience tonight.  I continued playing my guitar. He was big. I thought, maybe it had chosen to die frozen in time staring at me play guitar. Well, that’s pretty narcissistic of you! Was my second thought.    It was there, in front of me…not moving. Aside from the fly, the only thing listening to my vibrations was the cat nuzzled under the table. I sang “Traveling Soldier” and “First Cut is the Deepest” to the fly as if it was the last thing on earth it would hear. I was sad for it. I was happy to play for something other than the walls. Then I remembered Lord of the Flies and the connotation with the title and I kinda freaked out a little. What are you? I thought to myself as I slowly let the guitar return to the wall and stopped singing. Blog Land, I think I watch too much True Blood” (re: shifters).

Strange day.

Sincerely,

LM

Hippity Hop

hippityhop

So I am trying this new thing where I take dance classes I normally wouldn’t, in order to challenge my thought process and therefore, eventually, ignite some brain power in me that could possibly develop telekinesis, or better yet — improve my memory. The telekinesis thing would be a plus.

Anyways a few days ago I learned about TUTTING. These hand gestures triggered the leg to go out, the foot to go in, the palm to go flat—to magnetize the other hand in to a heart move to something that slithers and etc. etc. etc.    Well, as you can probably tell by now, I am NO HIP HOP EXPERT.  And although I was overwhelmed by all the information coming at me — I was absolutely fascinated by the hip hop culture.

I dance mostly Modern and some African Caribbean and Sabar, but Hip hop is not my forté. I was definitely challenged.

Anyways, the point of this is — try NEW things out. Especially things that freak you out. Did my hippity hop teacher laugh at me when I did the wave…yes, yes she did. But I laughed too. “I love your body. It’s beautiful how you hold yourself up, BUT this isn’t ballet. Turn your feet in!”  Oh dance teachers. They are great at two things: making you feel inadequate, and encouraging you. The dance floor is a juxtaposition sometimes.

I came home that night full of fresh ideas, full of energy, and with a new sense of respect for hippity hop. The evening was a great source of FLOW. Have you heard of FLOW? Look it up!  It makes you happy. So anyways, this experience broke some blockage in me and inspired me to write by hand again. I wrote seven new short short passages in my old pseudo poetry book. It was like taking a breath of fresh air.

This flow thing is amazing, Reader. I suggest you try something new or something that scares you. You never know. It could inspire you to think outside the box.

One of my favorite YouTube Hip Hop Dancers: Lizzie Wicks
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9vFQFDuPOM

Tutting, the art of making sure your hands don’t separate from your body. :S

“Somewhere in that little brain of yours…” AKA Resolutions

Photo on 2012-02-02 at 21.04 #2I am going to make changes in my life Blog Land. I am going to (1) quit drinking soda, (2) write at least 1,000 words a day, and (3) start running in my new neighborhood. Why am I making these changes? Because my nonchalant hermit video editing, casual writing, and caffeine addicted ways have not been working out for me. Also, I have to stop with the negative attitude.   I am those type of people who freak out easily when a job doesn’t come out the way I want it to. I take things too personal, and before thinking about options I decide to attack myself. I say really negative things like, “Somewhere in that little brain of yours,” or “When you get kicked to the curb,” or “If it wasn’t for that (fill in the blank) you would be nothing!”  Gag, I have to stop that because that is no way to live!

It’s time to organize my time. Because in life, we have to make time for everything. Otherwise, we let the important things slip away. I have to make time for peace, for writing, for crying, for laughing, for gatherings, for friends, for family, for love, and for meditation and growth. The Byrds had it right with the song they covered, Turn, Turn, Turn.

 

Here’s wishing you all a blessed and outrageous 2013. 

 

 

HARLEM Halloween

I’ve been indoors for the past three days. Editing and writing to my California employers so that I won’t get fired. Hurricane Sandy came full force and stopped my plans, but New York has been nice to me. I love it here. The people, the food, the culture, the different languages, the surviving accents, the spirit of being a New Yorker. It’s great. The ability to say “Good evening” or “Buenas Tardes” to people and actually get a response…you know, like proper human beings? Yeah, they do that here. It’s great. Sometimes, Berkeley can be full of awkward people who don’t know how to say hi to each other.

Yesterday, my host and I were able to walk out for some ice cream. And today, we took an afternoon walk around Uptown Harlem. It was chilly out, but (thankfully) this part of Harlem wasn’t hit so bad. We still have electricity up here.

Today was great because I saw a guy dressed as Jason in front of a barber shop. He held a knife and eerie music from the soundtrack played in the background. A pretty solid Halloween, considering this place was just hit by a hurricane…cyclone?

Ameruca!

Little Guitar Moments

I have a little guitar that I like to twang on when I am feeling low and confused about an emotion or a situation in life. I pick up the guitar, a piece of a paper, and a pen READY to write the next 90’s version of something heart felt. Something that can strike a chord with another human being — a universal chord, that is. That damn chord I tend to obsess about when I write in general. The problem is, I just focus on writing something true…something REAL. You know, LET IT BE…and it will come out. I know this. Still, I obsess.

So I sit in my sister’s room pondering about life, I let a tear drip down my chubby chin, I spill some beer on her carpet and say,”For the homies,” in hopes that I may get some inspiration. All I want is a chord, or a phrase, heck — a word!      Nothing.

It hurts. It hurts when nothing comes out because sometimes the truth is, and it hurts to admit this, sometimes I don’t know how to deal with my emotions other than by writing them out. Sometimes, I don’t know how to verbalize what I feel. The people I get upset with and try to talk to end up hearing something like this:

“Well, you know, I just feel….you know that feeling you get when you’re in a roller coaster, and your stomach feels all like — WHAT THE FAH! And then, after the drop of death, you realize things could be worse, and you survived? And you’re like, ‘Damn, I don’t know if I want to pretend to die again,’ but then the next falls aren’t as bad as the first one? And you start having fun — by not having fun?  I mean, YOU start having fun when you pretend to die, but it’s bad for you?—Wait, no, that’s a bad analogy.    Okay, let me start over, so you’re in a graveyard…”

Yeah, that’s pretty much how my brain tries to put words together when I get in an argument and talk out loud (Side note: this is why I would be a terrible lawyer mom and dad, so stop dropping the hints).

I rely on writing to express those things that scare me. When I can’t write, however, I feel absolutely lost. My and my little guitar, we don’t know where to go. In the end, it still doesn’t matter. I have to blow off some steam, so I just end up writing a song about my boyfriend eating that last slice of pizza and how that makes me sad.  Meh. At least it’s better than hearing me stutter through a conversation.

Bastille July 14, 2012

On July 14th I spooned with hundreds of people, and it was not the sexy kind of spooning, either.

After the Bastille celebration in Paris, crowds were forced into into a small street corner entering the single functioning Metro for the evening. We were sardined, stuffed, and breathing each other’s wine and fromage breath. We were let go in groups of about a hundred at a time. When my friends and I finally made it through we ran on the opposite direction of the Metro, which steps were quickly covered in hurried stomps for the next possible cart. A cart that was just another chance to spoon with yet more hoards of people on your way home.

No, Reader, we were not feeling a sense of adventure at that point. We were tired twenty-something year old ladies trying to get away from the fresh hands of the men in the crowd. We bolted into a sushi restaurant, just in time to see a girl having a panic attack outside of the restaurant. Some people, including my broken French self, decided to try and help her by getting some water. The manager brought out a champagne glass with tap water — quite French– if you ask me. I didn’t check after that, but hoped she was okay. It was simply madness, Reader. Absolute madness!

The show before the Metro-drama, on the other hand, was absolutely spectacular. We had some wine, cheese, and baguette on the grass and when the music began to beat—so did our dancing feet. The Tour d’Eiffel lit up the sky and reflected the smile on our faces. We were in Paris, and we were going to see them celebrate their independence day. Amazing. The fireworks went on and on and for days! We were enjoying every second of it. They played disco music all night (the theme for the celebration) and the other Americans I’m traveling with (and I) boogied on the grass. I guess boogying is a crime when not everyone around you is doing it, but after some time people let loose and danced with each other.

The atmosphere, well, it had its ups and downs. I am still getting used to the French people. After reading much of their history, I can see why their culture is so particular about who they let into their lives. I read somewhere, friends are hard to make, but if you do they usually last a lifetime. Watching the Bastille celebration unfold showed me the pride this country has in celebrating their spectacular history. The fireworks seemed to stand in for centuries of repression unleashed through their revolution. Bread for everyone!

You should add this to your bucket list, Reader. Even if it gets this crowded, just find a cafe to dwell in after the celebration and chill for a couple of hours before going home. At least you’ll have a bathroom and some good company. In the ned, being in France is like being in love. You have to accept the good, the bad, and the ugly. Once you do—you will see true love for the first time, and never let it go.

Creaky Homes and Cheeky Dogs

Interesting People Doggy Post

Meet Dingo and Chavo.

How did I meet them, you ask? Well, through a really great friend in Berkeley. She asked if I wanted to house sit for her, and I said yes.

I’ll be honest, the news earlier this week had me a bit down. But on Thursday when my friend picked me up from my apartment and took me out, I started to feel like myself again. Today, after spending two nights with these little guys, I am feeling a whole lot better. Lighter. Floatier. Creepier…again. Thank goodness! Anyways, enough of that stuff. The point is, thanks to my Berkeley surfer chola friend, and her doggies I’m feeling much better.

She lives in a nice little cottage–up in the Berkeley hills. I swear, if this were in a Disney movie it would be where the 7 dwarfs live. Such a cute place, and she’s such a great host. I drove her to the airport and I saw her go. She left. She left, and there I was alone with two dogs. Alone. Alone with two dogs in a cottage that by day looks like a farytale get away, but by night…it becomes a lair of darkness with curtainless windows where black stares back into your reflection as you wash dishes—-and you want to look away, but you can’t—-and everytime you see your reflection in the sink, the mirrors, glass windows you look nervously to the side hoping that there is no one standing behind you (a second face) staring you back in the eyes.

Haha, I creep myself out. But seriously the house is freaking noisy at night. It’s the bay, man, weather changes frequently, so the wooden floors, old fixtures and plumbing make these crazy crazy sounds when the sun goes down. I scared myself the entire night. If that wasn’t bad already, let’s add dog sounds into the mix to make it sound like there’s a freaking demon in the house. Seriously, it was as if the dogs knew I was scared and they decided to egg each other on. They kept grumbling and barking at my side. Little devils!

I tried to focus on reading by the desk, but there was a continuous sound coming from the kitchen—the laundry room—the window—the chimney—the floors—footsteps in the attic? Am I alone? Oh God, oh God….Woof! They were mocking me! The little dudes, jumping around and playing with each other out of the blue. I jumped out of my skin quite a few times that night.

Music, I thought, music will make everything better.

French music plays on Pandora and the dogs groan in the living room. I didn’t even know dogs could groan! It was so funny. One of them goes to the door and lays down apathetically. The other teases me from the couch, where he is not supposed to be sitting. I know they were thinking the same thing…

You’re not my mommy.

Earlier that day, I started a small battle with Dingo. Dingo get off the couch. He yawns. Dingo down–Down Dingo! He stares at me blankly. My surfer chola friend had vaccuumed the cushions, so I could sleep there that night. Dingo, your mom doesn’t want you on the couch. Down Dingo! I say in my semi-aggressive voice, and then he proceeds to answer me with his semi-agressive growl. I step back.

How dare you, you cheeky dog! is all I can say. I am, after all, the new comer to their home—I really have no say, not according to Dingo anyways. I’m just someone who is stepping in for the night. I thought Chavo was going to give me trouble, he’s a little rascal, but in the end it was Dingo who stood his ground. You’re lucky your mom’s not here! I said and returned to my reading at the desk.

Then the fridge did this weird burp, and I jumped off the chair. If dogs could chuckle, I swear that both Dingo and Chavo were secretly chuckling away last night. I look over to see them staring at each other panting. Of course we made up by the end, and I slept on the couch next to the cheekiest of dogs, Mr. Dingo _____.

(Pictures of the home and doggies were taken with permission from owner. I’m not that big of a creeper.)

Witchy-POO Lady

I was out late last Friday night. Partying and pigging out on fries with some new people I had just met at a bar. It was a typical beer, pool table, and small talk kind of a night. Except for one thing, the old couple in the center of the hall dancing to Hot In Herre by Nelly. Why they were playing this song? I don’t know. Why this couple decided it was there jam?  Well, I don’t know their backstory.

The couple were getting down and dirty. Grinding and jostling around with their sticks like duelers from medieval times. The guy was in his late twenties or early thirties, and the woman in her late forties or something. But who am I to judge? I just smiled their way as I admired their ability to shake it. The lady comes over to me and says, “Hi there!”

“Hi,” I said, “nice moves.”
“Thanks baby, we’re just fooling around there. I dare him to dance goofy all the time and he ends up dancing like a pro.”

We shared a laugh. I was on my third beer, so her proximity to my face didn’t bother me much. Yet, seeing her up close allowed me to notice how much older/wiser she actually was. Sixties? Hmm, probably closer to her mid-fifites. She must take care of her body, I thought. I just smiled and sipped my drink. Then my friend joined us, and she began to chat with the lady’s gentleman friend.

That’s when I notice something strange.

The sixties-something woman turns around and squints her eyes focusing on my friends face. It was as if every vein on her head popped out to absorb some unknown energy in the room. She was having a transformation before my eyes! Then the lady made a strange gesture with her hand. Some dude we were sharing the pool table with leaned over to me, and through his beer breath whispered, “Witch.” Maybe he was drunk. Maybe it’s because I’m gullible, or because I think aliens exists—but I believed him.

A REAL LIFE WITCH RIGHT BEFORE MY EYES! 

Let me describe what she looked like. She wore tight blue jeans that rolled up around her ankles. Blue ballet slipper shoes with pink socks. Her shirt was nice and loose, except it had glittery polkadots–also it was tight around the shoulders and it squeezed the excess fat around her thin arms. Her blonde hair was tied up in a way that if you saw her from behind you might think she was twenty. Her face, up close, was saggy, probably from too much alcohol. She looked like she’s had a hard life.

The lady finally pulled her young male friends’ arm, and they walked out of the bar together. My girlfriend stood there a moment perplexed, but continued sipping her rum and coke. The guy stayed by the lady’s side the entire time.

We all wondered if they were together, and if so—she’s got moves y’all. Or maybe she’s got powers? Was he under a spell?    After a few moments of staring at her we all looked at one another, dazed and dreamy. How did we get there? Why was she talking to us? Etc. etc. etc. Suddenly, from the outside window–a knock.   She stood there pointing at my friend with her finger.

“You are beautiful! YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!! YOU ARE BEAUUUTIFULL!!!” She repeated this five times and looked at my friend intently. My little pelitos (this means little hairs in Spanish) stood up on my arms.

“Close your eyes, she’s sucking your soul!” said beer breath next to me. Something in the sound of his voice told me he wasn’t lying—or maybe we were all gone by then. But every single one of us around the table obeyed. We looked away. As soon as the lady left, my friend said out loud, “I think I’m going to call her Witchy-Poo Lady.”

Yes, the Witchy-Poo Lady who dances to Nelly’s Hot In Herre.

* * * 


The world is so bizarre sometimes. I have attached the link for your auditory pleasure. Imagine Ms. Witchy-Poo Lady getting down to this and staring at your eyes—-trying to suck out your soul. Of course, this could all be my imagination–exaggeration–frustration–constipation–of–creation…I mean, creativity. Yet, she was one of the most interesting people I’ve seen this past weekend. She could be a cool character for a story. You never know.

Crunchie Children of the Future…maybe…ew, I can’t believe I just wrote that.

Confession: I like the song “I Won’t Give Up” by Jason Mraz.

I really do. It’s the softie part in me.

The part of me that looks at white butterflies fly by when people are telling me their deepest secrets. The part of me that dreams about running in the grass and flying as Goliath the famous Gargoyle (this is a 90’s TV reference, if you don’t know it–don’t talk to me). The part of me that wishes she could speak French, just so that she can tell that waiter in Paris that a Mexican salad is not a Greek Salad with Doritos on top. The part of me that hopes to God she won’t be remembered by her nicknames (they are absolutely terrible). The part of me that wishes to sell a song on iTunes, preferably one with the title Suck on It ********. The part of me that someday will grow up to be a full fleshed adult; with responsibilities, a mortgage, and a dog to walk. Yes, that softie part of me.

Someday, I hope to be a granola parent, and sing a cover of this song to my future crunchie child. That little kid will have dreadlocks, and she/he/it will bathe once a week to preserve water. The child will be raised to love nature, and go to protests on the weekends. And maybe, just maybe…the child will be named after an element of the Periodic Table. Like Silver for a boy…I’d call him Sil or Ver. Maybe Ruthenium for a girl, I’d call her Ruthie or Then. Maybe Thorium for the it child, who choses to be identified as a no-sex. I could call that child Thor (cartoons everywhere). Thor. That’s a good name.

I can’t believe I just talked about potentially having kids. Damn you Mraz! Damn you and your beautiful song.