Film Reflection: The 1920s is Making a Comeback

Am I the only one who’s noticed that there’s been a big influx of 1920s movies in the past twenty years?

I think I first began to pay attention when Public Enemies came out. Brilliant film; Johnny Depp is flawless as always (but don’t watch that movie when you’re having a bad day).

I am sure there are a few in between that I am forgetting but the most recent one I have watched was Lawless with Tom Hardy, Shia LeBouf, and Jessic Chastain. It was really well done.

The thing about doing historically accurate 1920s movies is that you cannot do them without a) lots of violence b) tons of booze and smoking and c) at least some sexual nuances.  It is the characteristics of the times.

My deal with violence has always been do not have violence just for the heck of it.  There is a huge difference between violence for the sake of violence and violence because there is a point to be made.

In both Public Enemies and Lawless, I think the violence was almost a commentary on why the amount of violence during the 1920s was not okay.  People were being killed for being associated with someone’s bootlegging business or because you ran and got coffee for the big gang leader.

I think the fine line that has to be carefully walked with 1920s movies is the story line (I did not mean for that to be a pun).  Any director or writer/group of writers can create a good plot line with lots of action and explosions and sexy women dancing.  But it takes a creative mind and collaborative effort to create a film, which tells a story about characters who are relatable no matter what the time period or genre.

The two big upcoming 1920s films are Gangster Squad and The Great Gatsby.  Now, I have not read The Great Gatsby (which is basically a literary crime for someone who loves literature as much as I do) but I have been told by others who have read the book that based on what is in the trailer, there are some pretty significant deviations from the book, which might effect the overall message of The Great Gatsby as a whole.  Granted, it is a film adaptation; things change because books and films are two extremely different mediums.  Whether or not The Great Gatsby can be hailed as a wonderful film remains to be seen.  I will say this: the artistic scope and scale for the film looks beautiful.

Gangster Squad appears to have a lot of potential at least on the surface.  With acclaimed names such as Sean Penn and Josh Brolin on the cast list and the up and coming young faces of Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, the performances should be pretty good.  Director Ruben Flesicher is making the transition from television to film which could go either way.

In any case, I think both of these films will be entertaining and will definitely get people talking.

Advertisements

Artwork

Series of pictures I did inspired by songs. To understand these pieces you have to listen to the song first and keep in mind that I tried to use color symbolically.
For each of these, I turned the song on repeat and listened to it no more than 3 times and basically just drew how I feel about the song and what I think the message of the song is.
The text comes straight from the lyrics of the songs with the exception of the one inspired by “Begin Again.” The words on the petals are personal touches that relate to my life.

Top Left: Inspired by The Civil War’s “Poison and Wine”

Top Right: Inspired by MatchBox Twenty’s “Our Song”

Bottom Left: Inspired by The Civil War’s version of “Dance Me to the End of Love”

  • Top Right: “oh let me see your beauty when the witnesses are gone”
  • Top Left: “lift me like an olive branch and be my homeward dove”
  • Bottom Left: “let me feel you moving like they do in Babylon”
  • Bottom Right: “dance me to the end of love”

Vertical Right: Inspired by Taylor Swift’s “Begin Again”

  • Center-Black writing: “I’ve been spending the last 8 months thinking all love ever does is break and burn and end.”
  • Green writing: “But on a Wednesday in a cafe, I watched it begin again.”
  • Top left leaf: “past is past”
  • Bottom right leaf: “talk all night”
  • Top right petal: “Star Wars; Justice for the weak; Smile”
  • Bottom left petal: “Strength; Grace; Beauty”

Vertical Left: Inspired by MatchBox Twenty’s “English Town”

  • Top right: “In the dark we can lose our sleep.”
  • Bottom center: “It pulls me away.”
  • Clock tower: “I don’t know why but I know I’m not ever going back.”
  • Sun: “When the sun breaks over the edge of an English town.”

DSCN9472 DSCN9473 DSCN9475 DSCN9477 DSCN9478

Breathe it In

“I have to separate the idea of what I do for a living versus what I do. Songwriting is the only thing that makes sense to me. Years of doing it helps, but the truth is that the reason you do it for years is because it’s what you do. It’s the only thing that I have that kind of shorthand on… I don’t know cars, I don’t know sports, and I’m not a math whiz. This is something that I look at and it just makes sense to me.”  ~Rob Thomas

I have just re-discovered MatchBox 20 in all its beauty.  I decided to look up Rob Thomas’ biography and found the above quote.

love what Thomas is getting at in this quote because I know exactly what he means.  People who aren’t artists or writers or composers always ask us how we do it and we have no answer.  We just do it.

Of course everyone hates this answer whether it’s out of jealous or just because they want a concrete explanation; but it’s the truth.  Music and art don’t make logical sense because they are the concrete representation of emotion and feeling and figuring out what the hell is going on in your head and heart.  Writing lyrics or painting on a canvas or sketching with a pencil is how we make sense of not only our personal world but the world as a whole.

I think the reason I do music is because I don’t think I could survive otherwise.  A lot of people say music is there life and some of them are telling the truth.  But I think the idea of living music can only truly be done by those who are  part of the creation and production of music.  There is something completely unexplainable and undefinable about the process and the journey of writing a song or creating a piece of art.

Being an artist-whether your a musician or a painter or someone who does graffiti art-is ingrained into the fibre of your being.  Musicians and artists think and see and move in a way that inspires what they do without really being aware of it.  Everyone once in awhile we are forced to think about what precisely goes on as part of our “creative process” but most of the time we simply breathe creativity in and out in exactly the same way everyone breathes oxygen to stay alive.

It’s completely normal for us but when asked to explain it, well, you may as well be asking us why we need to eat and sleep.

Gift

I’ve been trying to figure out what I want to do with my future and here’s my conclusion: I have no clue.

When you leave college or university, everyone says, “Congratulations! Good luck and have fun!” What they don’t tell you is that being a young adult sucks at times because:
a) you have not a clue what you are doing,
b) finding a job is really hard and you’re probably going to end up with something that isn’t you’re dream job (unless you are very lucky…or blessed as I like to think of it), and
c) there is no guide book to how to transition from the carefree days of college to the suddenly-shoved-in-your-face, responsibility filled days of young adulthood.

Don’t get me wrong, I like my life. I have been blessed with some of the most phenomenal opportunities in my 22 years on this Earth.

But no one told me that the barriers and curtains between you and your dreams begin to look like mountains and fortresses when you begin to understand just how difficult and sad and frustrating the world can be.

And yet, in the same breath, I can say I am so glad I am 22. There’s an Anberlin song that says we are old enough to know but too young to care. I know that my dream of going to film or drama school and making movies for the rest of my life is crazy and unrealistic. But I’m still young enough to say, “To hell with reality! I’m gonna dream big.”

I guess what all of this is teaching me is that life is a balance. Life is good and bad, sad and joyful, horrific and glorious. Life is everything we love, hate, wish we could change, wish we were, wish we weren’t-everything tied up into a poorly wrapped present. Life doesn’t always look pretty. But like the hand wrapped gift given by a small child, it doesn’t matter that the tape doesn’t stick or that the ribbon is falling off.

Because the most important part of a gift is the thing you cannot see.

Tragedy and Hope

I wrote my previous post before I read about the horrible, tragic shooting in Connecticut. I was extremely tempted to not post it. Everything I said seemed obsolete in the shadow cast by the grief of this horrible event.

Obviously, I chose to post it. I am not really sure why. I think part of me realized that even though something terrible has occurred, it does not make anything I wrote any less true.

I said in my previous post that life is a celebration of the beautiful and painful, the good and the bad. I still believe that.

The events that took place in Newtown are horrific. If there is anything I hate more than the needless death of innocent people it is definitely the death of children. Those beautiful souls had an entire future of good, bad, beautiful, painful, and amazing in front of them and because one the choice of one man, this future is lost.

I do not know if I am the only one who thinks this way, but I grieve for the shooter just as much as I grieve for the victims. Some of you will call me horrible or maybe even demented but let me explain.

For anyone to do something as horrible as this man, he or she must be in a place of mental disturbance or be mentally unhealthy. Based on what the news has said so far, this man clearly had a painful and dark past.

I am not in anyway saying this man did not know what he was doing. Even if he was diagnosed with a serious mental health condition, he made a choice on some level–conscious or not–to take innocent lives.

What I am saying is that this man deserves sympathy because of his pain. We should not condone his actions in anyway. But this man was a victim of something; that something is unknown to us but he was a victim.

I want everyone who reads this to know that I am praying for everyone affected by this event. I hope that peace is found and comfort is abundant. I pray that you know your tears are being caught by the wings of angels and that others are sharing in your hurt.

And most of all, I hope you do not lose hope.

Christmas

There are so many things that are a part of Christmas today that those from years and years past would consider strange, odd and even offensive.

In our ever moving society, we put up flashing lights and ornaments, trample others to get the best reviewed or coolest presents, and celebrate to the point of obesity and exhaustion. (I realize I am writing from a very American perspective, but what can I say? I did grow up in America and am more or les American at my core.)

I am not saying everyone does this. I am not even saying that this method of celebration is wrong. I am simply posing the following question: is a time of hope and joy and love supposed to be so tiring and bustled and perhaps even shallow?

I think the people who lived in times that moved slower had it right. Christmas really IS about family and joy and giving. I think the problem is not that the world has changed but that we have changed. We have become so caught up in doing and achieving and pursuing we have forgotten how to live.

We have forgotten that life is a celebration of beauty and pain, good and bad, explainable and supernatural–we have forgotten there is more to living then being alive.

Christmas provides us with an opportunity to remember these things. Christmas allows us to come back to one of the few things we can all relate to: belief.

Christmas is a time to let your 5-year-old self out. Jump up and down when you see the presents under the tree. Gaze in awe at the beautiful trees and light displays.

I hope that no matter how many presents you buy or how many Christmas parties you attend that you make room for magic and wonder. Just because you are an adult does not mean you have to stop being amazed at things which are magical and special.