Lesson: Learnt

Fate/Fade

People are brought together for a reason.

In the beginning, friendships are not forged for no particular reason. It is more often than not mutually beneficial, each person with their own agenda. Some leech on others for popularity. Some rely on others for guidance. Some find solace in others as a cure to their loneliness.

But whether or not these relationships are fated to thrive and blossom into something truthful and everlasting is an entirely different matter. It takes a substantial amount of hard work from both parties to build a genuine connection.

We all have our duties as friends, as companions, as supporters. For true connections to be realized, we are obliged to fulfil these duties. As time goes by, we no longer feel shackled by these obligations. The obligations that in the past felt like tiresome chores become second nature to us, because we truly want to be there to offer our support and cheer our friends on, whenever they need it. We want to be there even if they don’t need it, because hey, everyone can use a little pick-me-up as we go about our often mundane daily lives.

Sometimes complacency takes over; we think that we have found true relationships amongst our acquaintances. But you never know what another person thinks, because nobody can read minds. How can you tell if they still see these friendly obligations as tasks to complete, in exchange for what they really want?

You give and you give. But you can never foresee if it will pay off in the long run, or if it is all fated for doom. At the same time you don’t want to risk ending something that can potentially blossom into something beautiful and everlasting.

And so you keep on giving, even though there is no end in sight. Even though one day you might end up finding yourself surrounded by so many people, yet feel so alone. You keep on giving, although you know that you are easily replaceable. With their vibrant and exciting social life, and the new circles of people they meet every day, it might just be a matter of time before you fade into the background.

Fade, and then nothing.

***

note to self:

I guess all I’m saying is that we should treasure our memories in the present, when we can still hold on to them. You never know when you will get kicked to the curb. And brace yourself for the worse because the time you need them most might just be the time they decide to leave you alone.

When it comes to friends, always value quality over quantity. Only true friends stay till the very end, even though there is no reason to. There is seriously no point investing in so many friends when most of them do not even care.

This is slightly paradoxical, but at the same time don’t limit your choices. The relationships that you root for to work might not always work out in the end. Sometimes genuine relationships are realized during the most unexpected moments. Someone can be waiting, just around the corner. It’s up to you whether you want to take a bend.

But you should never ever give up so easily. I cling on to a tiny ray of hope, like I always do.

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Reviews

August, Osage County: Catfights and Catfish

Disclaimer: Once again I am not a film critic so this should be considered a stream of consciousness piece rather than a review. Expect no more than the opinion of an average moviegoer with an obsession with all things Meryl Streep.

 

It’s Valentine’s Day and there’s no one better to spend it with than my laptop. It’s not like I’ve had anybody else to spend it with for the last 18 years of my life, so I’m feeling perfectly comfortable in my own company. When I went out for lunch I got myself some Haribo gummy bears to celebrate, then came back and settled for a movie.

And boy was that a hell of a movie. I love Meryl Streep and everything she does. Here she plays a bitchy diva of a matriarch with mouth cancer and a drug addiction, nailing it once more. There was also some pretty impressive acting from Julia Roberts, who plays her daughter. Every scene with both of them amazing ladies in it was a delight to watch, especially when they were fighting and yelling in each other’s faces.

Caution, Hot

‘Tis August in Osage County, and the sweltering heat has already killed three pet parakeets. It’s a wonder these people can survive there; I guess that is why they seem so hot and bothered all the time. The good ole countryside looks big, picturesque and freeing, but at the same time I can feel the heat radiating out of my little laptop screen into my face.

Meryl Streep’s husband hires a Native American caregiver (whom she hates and makes racist remarks about) and leaves her, only to be found dead after a few days. It is never stated explicitly but it is presumed that he committed suicide out of frustration with their marriage. When a dysfunctional family is gathered to attend the funeral, it’s like a big melting pot of clashing personalities and attitudes, brewing big trouble. It only simmers a little at the beginning of the movie, but if you can sit through the inevitable ‘setting the context and introducing the people’ part of the movie, you’ve got yourself a real treat coming when it all starts to boil.

What went down at the dinner table

This scene was an absolute pleasure to watch because I was anticipating the heavily advertised catfight between mother and daughter at the end of it. Everyone is gathered for a ‘funeral dinner’. Meryl Streep, being the diva that she is, commands all the men to put on their jackets. Random exchange of words. Meryl Streep basically insults and mocks everyone around the table, one by one, digging out their dirty little secrets and embarrassing them. More talking. A lot of yelling and loud snorts of laughter. A confession about a love connection within the family. More mocking and talking. Until

“You’re a drug addict,” Julia Roberts just can’t take it anymore.

“Hey everybody listen. I’m a drug addict. I love drugs. See these little blue pills? They’re my best fucking friends and they never let me down. If you come and get them away from me, I’ll eat you alive,” Meryl Streep delivers with absolute perfection.

Julia Roberts pounces on Meryl Streep and thereby starts a catfight to end all catfights. She yells in Meryl Streep’s face until she whimpers and cries, and my heart shrunk a little.

Back at the dinner table

Things become chaotic as many family secrets are revealed. There is a subplot involving Benedict Cumberbatch (yes he is in it too; how many movies has he done in the past year? He’s everywhere) and his mother who hates his guts for a very good reason. And then one of Meryl Streep’s daughter’s fiancé makes out with Julia Robert’s daughter (yes very confusing indeed), inducing more yelling and smacking.

A lot of drama later, we are back at the dinner table, where all the good stuff happens. Just when I thought things couldn’t get any more delightful than the first dinner table scene, this wonderful f-bomb ridden scene appears, in which Julia Roberts calls her mother a bitch because she won’t eat her catfish. You’ll have to see it for yourself to appreciate it.

And the crowd goes wild (the crowd being me, myself and I). Standing ovation. All I can say is: EAT YOUR FISH, BITCH!

All by my lonesome

There were many touching moments such as the scene where Meryl Streep recounts her past and talks about her cruel mother. Also the scene where she tries to run away (literally) from all her problems, and Julia Roberts had to chase after her in the big ole field with artistically placed bales of hay.

But eventually her erratic behavior, especially when she is under influence, drives all three of her daughters away. She resorts to seeking comfort in her Native American caregiver, who holds Meryl Streep in her arms like a baby. This little scene makes for a nice bookend, which is ironic and sad at the same time.

This is a movie not watched for the plot, but for the terrific acting and laughter-inducing banters and fights (for me at least). If you are one who revels in the hilarity of other people’s problems, this movie is definitely for you. If you are not, you will still enjoy it because, well, a little drama never hurt no one. You will be left with a warm fuzzy feeling that is relief, because your own family problems can never be as bad as this. Unless they are, in which case I wish you all the best and good luck (in utmost sincerity and no sarcasm at all).

Unorthodox movie choice for a Valentine’s Day aside, I would say this was a day well spent, wouldn’t you?

Grade: 7 bales of hay out of 10

Rewatchability: Yes to scenes at the dinner table

 

Chance encounters

  • I cannot end this without talking about Benedict Cumberbatch’s American accent. Damn this guy can do it all. His scenes weren’t as exciting as the two leading ladies’, but his singing was as fine as his cheekbones. Nonetheless he was a nice addition to the cast.
  • Julia Roberts on her mother smuggling a bottle of pills into a psych ward using her vagina: “What other words should I use to describe our mother’s vagina? Mom’s beaver? Mother’s box?”
  • Julia Robert’s daughter on being a vegetarian: “When you eat meat you ingest the animal’s fear.” Now that’s an interesting perspective.
  • I’m sorry about using Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts’ names when I am in fact talking about their characters in the movie. I am really bad at names especially when it comes to movies with lots of people in it.
  • I will leave you with this memorable quote

“Eat your fish. Eat your fish. Eat your fish. Eat your fish. Eat your fish.”

– Julia Roberts

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Reviews

The Lego Movie: Make It or Brick It

Disclaimer: I’m no professional film critic so don’t expect fancy lingo and in depth discussions about thematic elements, cinematography and whatever it is they talk about. Do expect a review like what you would hear from an average 18-year-old moviegoer who watches a more-than-healthy number of films each month.

This ‘review’ is spoiler-free.

 

Before we begin I would just like to digress a little about Lego in general. Somehow this conjures up memories of me, as a kid, convulsing in horror and pain as a result of stepping on a Lego brick by accident. This is an experience I believe people born before the new millennium can relate to – oh come on you must have done it at least once!

I may be wrong about this – but I think it is truly saddening to see that Lego isn’t as well loved by children nowadays compared to the past. Back in my day (I sound so old) it was an essential in every child’s toy chest (again I may be wrong about this). Now it is all about gadgets and gizmos, each one of them competing for the children’s attention. This is probably how ADHD happens (I am so wrong about this).

Now for the main event.

If you have not heard of it…

Have you been living under a rock or something? (A Lego brick perhaps?)

The Lego Movie is aptly titled; it is as straightforward as can be: a movie about Lego. Everything in the film is constructed out of Lego bricks (using CGI of course), from the people to flame pieces and water droplets.

I don’t want to give away too much, but the film is about an ordinary guy Emmet realizing his potential as the Special, prophesied as the one who will one day save the world. The world in need of saving is one that is led by Lord Business who is basically evil in disguise, and who owns an enterprise responsible for covertly brainwashing its citizens into obeying Instruction Manuals so that status quo is preserved. The citizens love the same chain restaurants, the same sitcom (the not-so-funny ‘Where Are My Pants’) and the same song (‘Everything Is Awesome’, which will loop endlessly in your head after the movie).

In order to stop Lord Business from destroying the world using the Kragle, Emmet must lead and unite a diverse bunch of Master Builders (basically super heroes, inclusive but not limited to Batman, Wonder Woman, Superman and some other made up characters). Will he survive the challenge thrown at him, or will he not?

Off the top of my head

It’s fun. It’s weird. It’s very colourful. It’s so crazy.

But it works.

The surprisingly thoughtful Lego Movie is essentially about the struggle against conformity. It emphasises the importance of believing in yourself, and with that anything is possible. Serious stuff aside, the movie is packed with hilarious one-liners, wordplays and gags enough to make a whole theatre shriek with laughter. Bring on the pop culture references and you have the complete package.

There is a quite a number of big name celebrities involved in the film. I never would have guessed Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill and Dave Franco each had lines. Others include Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Ferrell, Liam Neeson and Morgan Freeman. (I know this all thanks to Wikipedia.) Having all these celebrities play a part is most definitely a plus, but the film could have stood on its own and done just as well even without them, just because it is truly ingenious.

The film can be said to a deconstructed modern blockbuster. Then again, it is interesting to note that it probably would not be as critically acclaimed if it wasn’t based on Lego, and if it was just another live action film. The film thrives not just on its cast and its comedic value, but on nostalgic value as well. I would go as far as to say it was made with the 80s, 90s kids in mind; those who grew up with Lego are the main target audience. Those witty pop culture references can only make sense to adults. And it damn well brought back memories from childhood.

The big plot twist

(no spoilers here, don’t worry)

There is a pretty big plot twist that no one will see coming near the end, one that does wonders for the film by giving it more depth and poignancy. I will reluctantly admit that I gasped, quite loudly. It makes you appreciate the intricacy of the film and the brilliance of its creators. More importantly, it makes you think, which is what a good film should do.

Definitely not adult-proof

(for those who are bad at interpreting double-negatives, this means that it is adult-friendly!)

The Lego Movie is no regular kids’ movie that can be dismissed with just a wave of the hand. It is a cleverly constructed film disguised as a kids’ movie, and when you zoom out and look at the big picture, you will find that it is nothing but. (Some serious foreshadowing there.)

Every good story has a great message, and for this one it is all about creativity and the things you can accomplish just by dreaming up an original idea. Anything is possible for anyone. And just like Lego bricks, if you fail you can always take it apart and start again.

At the end of it you will probably realize that you have just watched a 100-minute long Lego commercial. And you will not feel bad about it at all, because it is a damn good commercial. This is how commercials should be like. I wouldn’t be surprised if Lego sales skyrocket in the near future.

To whomever: big props for coming up with the idea, and for bringing childhood back to the children.

There will be a sequel

This could really go just two ways: it can either make it or break it. Sophomore slumps are common, but we’re hoping for the best.

“See you later, alligator.”

“After a while, crocodile.”

Grade: 9 LEGO® bricks out of 10

Rewatchability: Definitely yes

 

Chance encounters

(note: quotes are slurred)

  • Batman on doing things off the cuff: “We’re going to wing it. That’s a bat pun.”
  • “Taco Tuesdays are now Freedom Fridays! Except it’s still on a Tuesday!”
  • Look out for cameos by Abraham Lincoln, Dumbledore and Gandalf.
  • Other guest stars who should earn honourable mentions: Kragle and the Piece of Resistance. Pole-ish Remover of the Ny-il.
  • It is comforting to see that in another realm, Michelangelo the artist and Michelangelo the Ninja Turtle got to know each other.
  • Wise old wizard on being a hipster: “I liked Emmet before he was cool!”
  • ‘Everything Is Awesome’ is still stuck in my head. Get it? Stuck? As in Lego pieces stuck together? Sigh, never mind. I was winging it anyways.

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Uncategorized

Inside the Igloo

Welcome to the igloo.

I have always been intrigued by the things that seem so unimportant yet so fascinating. The igloo is one of them. How does one build an igloo and how does one live in a confined, inverted bowl made of snow and ice? Is it cold inside or does it actually keep you warm?

Most of us will never really find the answers to these questions. You never know something exactly until you’ve experienced it firsthand. Kind of like how characters on TV shows are not ‘dead’ unless you actually see the body.

And that got me thinking. What if the igloo is just a ruse? What if it is just a cover-up for something crazy – like a crazy igloo party? What if igloos are private clubs the Eskimos invented to keep people out of their cool party?

Will we ever know for sure?

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