Day 226: ‘Avengers and Memories’ + Mother Died, Baby Cried + Trolls 2016


‘Avengers and Memories’

This evening, another break from The Greatest 100 – Better Make That 200 – Films Ever with a light-hearted box office blockbuster from 2015 called Avengers 2: The Age of Ultron (2015). I know I saw this in a cinema and have absolutely no memory of it.

This is where blogging about the project and blogging about me doing the project becomes blurred.

One is about being real and the other is about being business-like.

If I were to publish the real blog it would be to say that I don’t remember it at all – not even one frame. Mid to late 2015 was when my body was undergoing a lot of changes when things had been travelling fine for thirteen years but a stupid psychiatrist took me off medication that I’d been on for nineteen years.

There was a period of lowering the dose of the old meds, a period of changeover and a long period of adjusting to the new meds. The entire crossover from Tryptanol (Endep) to Venafaxaline and Mirtazapine took a year, landed me in hospital for more than seven weeks, and ultimately, I believe, cost me my job with the orchestra.

There were a lot of films I saw in the second half of 2015 which I couldn’t remember anything about except the emotion, even the next day. One was a James Bond film, SPECTRE, and another was Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens.

The day after I saw both films – in my head -I believed I knew what the films were about except that when someone asked me what I thought about particular things that occurred and asked me what the plot was about. I couldn’t recall the things that were talking about in Star wars VII or any of the plot of SPECTRE. When my niece asked me about the fact that Hans Solo was knocked off in Star Wars VII my jaw dropped 158cms and hit the path we were walking along at the time as I stopped dead in my tracks. I couldn’t believe that I didn’t remember that Hans Solo’s son killed his father. I was deeply shocked by the event and the lack of memory. It’s was like that tonight while watching a film I know I saw in 2015, Avengers 2, which I know I enjoyed and appreciated – it’s Joss Whedon, one of my favourite writers – and all 347,040 frames of the 241 minutes it ran was new to me tonight.  And the film? It was good. It was funny and clever at times and it had a plot which threatened the unity of The Avengers, had some terrific special effects – and a completely lame music score – and it made dramatic sense of the implausabilities and incongruities of a band of superheroes with different, overlapping, even conflicting, powers. To write a plot for a $250 million film which makes enough sense to believe that the world and the superheroes are all in danger of being wiped out by a superior power, and then find an acceptable solution, is difficult. Very difficult. Injecting humour and interest in the characters is much the easier job IMHO.I like Avengers 2. I liked Avengers 1 also. Joss Whedon can make sense of the frailties of people with unnatural powers. He’s an expert at it, coming from a background of inventing a Slayer who takes on all sorts of evil forces in the television series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and co-writing a Pixar film with Andrew Stanton about toys with personalities like Woody and Buzz Lightyear.There’s not much more to say than that without going into an analysis of superhero movies and where they go right and wrong in my – more and more infrequently humble – opinion. I’d like to write a piece about ignorance and arrogance one day because there are a lot of smart people in the world who think they know what it is to be like someone else through the power of their intelligence or their personal sense of life experience, giving them a firm grasp on something they haven’t experienced first-hand. For example, many people can understand what it is like to grow up in a family that made you feel inferior or stupid. Or to grow up in various schools and be bullied for their looks or their accent or their beliefs. It’s true that there are many things and the experiences of many people we can understand through our own experiences. Like what it would be like to grow up in a family where separation and divorce came unexpectedly in the formative years. Or even death: the death of a parent or a sibling? Similarly, if you lost a parents when you were in your mid-twenties, that’s different from losing a parent in your mid-forties. There’s also the arrogance of those who have not suffered depression thinking they know something about those who have suffered or do suffer from depression along the spectrum to those who think they know what depression within mental illness feels like because they’ve been very very sad, even suicidal. Then there’s the chasm between thinking about suicide and attempting it – and failing or succeeding. People think they know how people would act in certain circumstances and criticise them for the way they react in those circumstances. Our life experiences changes who we are. This is how we grow. This is why there are phrases like “until you walk in another person’s shoes”, or “the more I know makes me realise the less I know,” or “the smarter I get the dumber I get”, or “youth is wasted on the young.” Some obvious examples are: if you haven’t experienced abuse (sexual, physical or mental) while growing up, then you don’t understand what it’s like if you haven’t been married, abused and threatened, then you don’t know why women stay with men who do that if you haven’t been a billionaire then you don’t know what you would do with a billion dollars if you haven’t lost two babies, both born and living, and almost lost another within a period of six years, you don’t know what that does to a mother if you haven’t had a miscarriage you don’t what comes with that if you haven’t been a persecuted Jew, or a black American, then there are things you’ll never comprehend if you haven’t been a boss you don’t know how hard it can be or the other pressure on your boss which you don’t know about if you haven’t attempted suicide, in a well-thought out manner, thinking you’ll never have another thought, and you survive, you don’t what that feels like to be at that point of despair in a depressed state if you haven’t trained to be a local champion, state, national or international, then you don’t what it will take or what you lose when you’re no longer elite if you haven’t been brought up in a religion, and accepted all of it, you can’t know what indoctrination or brain-washing can make people do which seems unnatural or unbelievable if you haven’t got super powers, you don’t know what you would do with them if you had them or how you would try to balance your use of them if you haven’t had the experiences that led someone to be a drug user or alcoholic you can’t know – and honestly judge them – what those pressures were like if you don’t have an understanding of any given religion, you can’t understand why it makes people act in certain ways if you have had an experience of God or Jesus (in Christianity) you can’t give your experience to anyone else to experience and believe (as proof) And, on a lesser level, if you haven’t watched films from 30, 40 or 50 different countries over a period of sixty or seventy years, you can’t understand film in the way that a precious few do; or what truly makes a film mediocre, good or very good. I’ve left out poor and excellent because those are – often – more personal reactions than cerebral. It’s all very obvious. There’s nothing profound about the above list. It’s part of me realising how little I know, realising the arrogance of some, and becoming less arrogant about things which I think I know a lot about. To use a phrase by Inigo Montoya as penned by William Goldman (in The Princess Bride – not on the list but it should be) one could observe to someone else’s evaluation of life that maybe, possibly, what it is you think you know is, maybe, possibly, wrong.” I do not think that means what you think it means.” This doesn’t solve any dispute or make anything clearer. What it does do is acknowledge that sometimes – often, more often than not, mostly, more mostly than not for some – we don’t know what we’re talking about. If I’ve learned one important lesson in two-thirds of a year doing the greatest 200 films project, it is that I know a lot less about cinema, that I never knew I didn’t know. The creativity of humankind is endless – but only ever in the hands of a few – whether they’re Sid Vicious, Mozart, Picasso, Chaplin or the person who conceived the math that sent a person into space.


‘Mother Died, Baby Cried’

I woke up at 8am and realized that my mother died on this day of this month. I texted my wife who has been in Melbourne for two days at 0827:

“My mum died 30 years ago two hours ago.”

“Oh. Wow. That’s a long milestone. Hugs. X”


Trolls 2016

The kids have been watching their Christmas present over and over again during the last twenty-four hours. Charlotte watched it three times yesterday. Also in the afternoon with Isabella, our support person, on Friday after school. I noticed the 4k/blu-ray box on the coffee table and said, “Oh, I wanted to watch that with you guys.”

“Sorry Dad,” said Charlie. “But, that’s okay because I’ll watch it with you any time. Trolls, this movie, I will never get tired of watching ever. I could watch it again, right now!”

“Well, how about Sunday afternoon after the birthday party finishes? We can watch it in the cinema in 4k”.

“What’s 4k?”

“Oh, it’s something amazing, where the quality of the image is even better than blu-ray.”

“Yeah, sure,” she said. So we did.

It was kind of a good movie, with some boppy songs in it. About three of the songs were extremely well done including an amazing version of the song Cyndi Lauper made famous, Time After Time and Justin Timberlake’s hit song. Can’t Stop the Feeling. Charlie knew this song a long time ago. To suddenly have it appear in a film she’d  never seen before would have been one of those great parent-moments where your child is thrilled in the discovery of that song being from this film. The nanny, Isabella, got to see it – the parents didn’t.

The previous two favourite films in my girls’ life were Frozen (2013) – much better – and Moana (2016) – quite a bit better. Still, there’s no accounting for taste and my seven-year old tells me that Frozen is not a good movie anymore: “I hate Frozen. I never want to see it again. Everybody hates it.”.