jenna’s thoughts


Movies worth checking out

I have decided to compile a list of movies I think, for one reason or another, should be watched by everyone. This is not necessarily a list of the best movies of all time, but they are movies that have made an impact on me for one reason or another. Enjoy!

Eagle vs. Shark

Eagle vs SharkNaturally, I was drawn to this film because Jemaine Clement is in it. He’s just wonderful in Flight of the Conchords and his presence in this movie definitely peaked my curiosity. The best line of the film: “Tell him Justice is waiting for him” “OK Justin, I will tell him you called”…. brilliant. What makes this film so amazing is two fold. First, the visuals are incredible. There are scenes involving an apple that are metaphorical and symbolic through excellent use of animation. Secondly, the soundtrack is just phenomenal. Who doesn’t love M. Ward singing soft love ballads. I know I do.

Once

OnceHands down what makes this film so great is the music. And the acting. The film is about two musicians in Ireland. who have a chance encounter that leads to a “once in a lifetime opportunity”. I get chills whenever I hear “Falling Slowly” and I appreciate the Academy Award win for that song so much more after watching the film. What is remarkable is that this movie was shot over just a 17 day period in Dublin. The storyline is so adorable, but guys can appreciate it too. It is emotional, but never overly sappy or cutesy. I think what I love most about the film is the interaction between the two main characters, and it doesn’t follow the typical Hollywood paradigm. The film is shot in a documentary like way, so the mise en scene is really something. You just have to watch it to appreciate all the subtleties I can never do justice in writing. At the very least, listen to this song.

Donnie Darko

Donnie DarkoThis is a throwback to my days at Brock in Film class. We had to watch this movie as part of our course requirement and I am so glad that we did because I probably would not have watched it otherwise. Jake Gyllenhaall makes his major film debut in this semi-thriller. The soundtrack is awesome, as it is compiled with super 80’s tracks. What hit home for me with Donnie Darko is that it depicts the power of one’s own mind. The ending just leaves you in awe, and all you can do is say “wow”. After coming out of that initial daze, you will most likely find yourself trying to analyze it for weeks to come.

Little Miss Sunshine

Little Miss SunshineI loved this movie for a myriad of reasons, but mostly because at the end I was laughing and crying at the same time. As confusing as this emotional state was, I thoroughly enjoyed the feeling and I fell in love with each of the characters in the film. The plot juxtaposes humor and intense emotion and it’s the kind of movie you can lose yourself in. The soundtrack also plays a big role in why I love this film. Sufjan Stevens and Devotchka have a priority spot in my iPod and each time I hear their songs in the film I can’t help but smile. Also, there’s Superfreak, so you really gotta love a movie that features a dysfunctional family dancing to Superfreak on a “little miss” pageant stage.

Paris, Je T’aime

Paris Je T’aime

This movie, or series of short films rather, is a hidden gem. The tag line is “Stories of Love from the city of Love” but don’t let this fool you, it is NOT sappy and romantic. Rather, all of the films are unique representations of the forms that love takes in everyday life. These films cover an abundance of relationship scenarios from romance, to friendship, to lust, to love in its elusive form. It is in French, but subtitles are available. Personally, I found it fun to watch without the subtitles first, guess what the short story was about, and watch it again with subtitles to see how close I was, since my French language skills have escaped me in recent years and need some serious fine tuning. The film is comprised of 18 short stories directed by 21 different directors including Gurinder Chadha, Sylvain Chomet, Joel and Ethan Coen, Wes Craven, Alfonso Cuarón, Nobuhiro Suwa, Alexander Payne, Tom Tykwer, Walter Salles and Gus Van Sant.The actors in these films also include Steve Buscemi, Natalie Portman, Elijah Wood, Nick Nolte and Maggie Gyllenhaal. The collection of films also features the music of Feist. A must see- I promise, you will LOVE it.

The Darjeeling Limited.

DarjeelingStarring Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody and Jason Schwartzman how could you go wrong? The film is about three brothers traveling through India just after their father passes away and is about the quirks that create a family bond. I appreciated this film because I don’t have siblings and I think its kind of funny to watch sibling rivalry. I also wonder if all siblings are like these three, with set “roles” when among one another’s company. For those of you who do have siblings, I am sure you can relate to many of the situations these three go through. Maybe not with complete accuracy, because a lot of what they go through is… unique. The soundtrack is killer, it features music from the Kinks, the Rolling Stones and Beethoven. Just as eclectic as the plot itself.

And lastly, I couldn’t leave out my childhood favourite film

The Little Mermaid

The Little MermaidThere is something so soothing and comforting about a singing Jamaican crab and a chubby little fish, not to mention the quirks of a scatterbrained seagull. Sebastian, Flounder and Scuttle were my buddies growing up. I spent hours when I was younger wishing I was Ariel. I would be in swimming lessons pretending to be a mermaid and singing all the songs from that movie in my head. Hey, I was an only child. I had to amuse myself somehow. I eventually grew out of this “I want to be a mermaid” stage, but honestly, I still love this movie. I discovered this last year while watching it with my little cousin. it brought me back to when I was six years old again, and what’s better, I still enjoyed singing along to all the songs! We all know how important I think it is to never lose touch with our inner child, and I can’t think of a better way to bring that kid inside of us out than to watch a favourite childhood movie. (I also just learned that “Under the Sea” also won the Oscar for Original Music Score in 1990).

So that’s my list. I know this does not cover all of the movies that I love, but these are the ones that most quickly come to mind. Hope that you enjoy them too!

 

Chuck Klosterman is on to something

Posted in Uncategorized by jenna clarke on March 22, 2008
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I just finished Killing Yourself To Live, a great book by Chuck Klosterman. Since I appear to be on this roll with books, I will fill you in on something that I cannot stop thinking about. (Klosterman is also a writer for Spin so his work is really something, highly recommend him).
Killing Yourself to Live is a book all about famous musicians who all died young. Klosterman wants to know why the best career move any musician can make is to stop breathing, and it’s kinda true. Think about all those young, crazy musicians whose death was just shrouded with mystery. Sid Vicious, Curt Cobain, Elliot Smith, etc. Somehow their legacy starts with their death. When we talk about any of these people, their deaths inevitably occupy some part of the conversation.

Anyway I didn’t start to write this to pitch his book, I really wanted to talk about something that he wrote about in one of his other books, Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs. In this one chapter, Klosterman identifies 23 questions that he needs to ask people to determine whether he can really love them. One of these questions stuck out to me the most, and I find myself thinking about it quite often, especially after waking up from a relatively intense dream. So the passage in Klosterman’s book reads as a scenario that follows (I hope I am not infringing on copyrights here. I will change a few words just in case…):
“At long last someone has invented “The Dream VCR”. This machine allows you to tape an entire evening’s worth of your own dreams, which you can then watch at your leisure. (HOW cool does this sound already?!) However, the inventor of the dream VCR will only allow you to use this device if you agree to a strange caveat: When you watch your dreams you must do so with your family and your closest friends in the same room. They get to watch your dreams along with you. And if you don’t agree to this, then you don’t get to use the Dream VCR. Would you still do this?

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So clearly, Klosterman assumes people will not want to share their own dreams with family and close friends, and I think that he might be right. When you think about it, dreams are the most personal thing that we ever experience. I know I have been overwhelmed with emotion from some of mine. Presumably, Klosterman also might think that some people are nervous sharing these thoughts with those close to them, especially since we really can’t control what we dream. Although, on some level we are ultimately in control. See the paradox?

I wonder, if this device were to be invented, how many arguments between lovers would arise? Or how much more self involved we would become if we were given the opportunity to review our own thoughts on screen. It would be bound to happen. Imagine being mad at someone for a dream they had?

I had a friend who was once mad at ME for something I did in a dream of HERS. Now imagine watching a dream of someone close to you where he or she does something that you may not agree with or feel so great about. Or, imagine the embarrassment you might suffer if a dream of yours had you doing something less than appealing.

So, with dreams being so emotional and powerful, are they meant for anyone other than ourselves? Do other people have the right to see our dreams and think about them in a way that only we are meant to? Or are they just our own personal outlet and only ours to interpret?

Maybe it’s because I am self absorbed, and want to know everything there is to know about myself. Maybe it’s because I have no clue to what I am really feeling half the time. Maybe its because I have always been interested by dreams and what they really represent. Whatever the reason, I really believe that our dreams give us insight into our subconscious. They are also one of the most elusive things that we ever experience, despite the fact that we, ourselves, create them. All of the above, this is why I love dreams and why I continue to wonder, what IF I had a dream VCR?

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The Joys of being a Child

Posted in Uncategorized by jenna clarke on March 18, 2008
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As I was shoveling my sidewalk and my car (yes, my car. It was too much snow for the snow brush to handle) last week, I got to thinking about the simple joys of childhood that have recently escaped me. I found myself wondering “How nice would it be if today was a weekday, and consequently a snow day”. But then I thought, if it was a snow day would I really enjoy it? I would probably be thinking about all the things I have to accomplish in the next week and what I would be missing at school. Does this make me responsible, or does it mean that I have lost that childhood ability to revel in the moment and just be happy with what is?

Petit Prince 3

As I was pondering this thought, it reminded me of one of my favourite childhood books, Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupery. I loved this book because it was simply about the joys of being a child and how adults lose the ability to think in simple terms. Each time I read this book I vowed to never be like those adults. I need to remember that promise I made to myself as a young child the first time I read this book in my French class. I must learn that there is always time to be a child.

Petit Prince

I highly recommend that all of you read this book, especially as we embark on what are bound to be the most challenging and “take these seriously” years. (Don’t worry, it’s also available in an English version, called “The Little Prince”). This book, most importantly is about the possibilities of life. As children, we believe we can do anything. Somewhere along the way, we lose this ability to see the potential that lay in front of us, and we no longer allow ourselves the joy of imagining.

Maybe we didn’t succeed at something that really mattered, maybe someone said something hurtful about our abilities, or maybe we just got intimidated and didn’t let ourselves shine in the way we knew we could. Due to this upset we decided to stop allowing ourselves to get excited over things, and think “I can do this”. We replaced this positivity with thoughts like “I can’t possibly succeed at that” or “I am not qualified enough to apply for that position”. This book emphasizes the importance that the imagination has on who we are, and how we perceive what we are all capable of doing. Take a minute out of those crazy days, take a minute out of trying to prove yourself to others, and just prove yourself to you. Take pride in what you can do, and wonder how far you can really go. Picture yourself doing things that you dream about. Let yourself succeed in your daydreams. More importantly, believe that you can and will do these things one day.

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We are going to be trying to prove ourselves to potential employers, and impress those who do become our employers. As we do that, I think we all need to stop, breathe, and remember the simple joys of everyday life and revel in the moment. We need to remember who we were as children and how easy it was to believe that we could do anything. Remember the simple joy of playing dress up and knowing that you could fly just like Superman or rock out just like Jem and the Holograms, and make those little people inside of us proud.

America’s Next Top Model makes models wear Meat…

Posted in Uncategorized by jenna clarke on March 17, 2008

Now, in the past few seasons, I have lost some respect for America’s Next Top Model and its host Tyra Banks. The show just lost something, that sparkle that used to attract me to it. Now, I vow to never watch the show again. Last week, the models had to wear MEAT. Actual grocery store bought, dead animal. On their bodies. Worst part is, it was basically a “Meat Bikini” with these pieces of beef plastered over the model’s breasts and private areas. This is by far the most disgusting thing I have seen on ANTM. Whoever thought “hey, I have an idea for the next photoshoot, let’s exploit these young, want-to-make-it-big-in-the-model-biz-girls by having them wear meat bikinis!” should be fired. Immediately.

Here’s a little clip of the photos that the models produced:

This is not a true reflection of the strides that I thought the fashion industry was making with regards to limiting animal cruelty. Many companies are preventing the use of animal fur in their clothing to become more socially responsible. This episode of ANTM killed animals for the purpose of models wearing them. It’s so much WORSE than using just the animal’s fur. The models were in meat lockers with dead carcasses hanging around them trying to look sexy. This is the most un-sexy scene I have ever seen in my life! It’s almost like the show producers thought “how can we make this the most raunchy photo shoot anyone has ever seen? I know let’s do something that depicts Sadistic Beastiality!” Well, mission accomplished.
Tyra’s sidekick on the show, Jay, even went so far as to ask one girl “Are you comfortable in that because your face does not look pretty and you are not looking comfortable”. I should hope that she is uncomfortable. Jay also noted that “provocative is what sells in this business” Are you kidding me? Is modeling meat really provocative? I think it’s completely terrible. You are wearing a dead animal on your body. How is that sexy?
Here’s a clip of part of the show:

How would Tyra Banks feel modeling in meat? I am also sure that no company in real life would ask this of their models. I am surprised that no girl refused to do the shoot. This goes to show the crazy amounts of pressure these girls feel to succumb to demands of those in perceived power. I think it’s sad that these girls didn’t even challenge what was being asked of them. This show makes these striving models beleive they have to be submissive and give in to any demands that these fashion companies ask for. I thought Tyra was an advocate for models having brains and personality, not being passive, submissive and brainless. I wouldn’t want to be hired by a company that exploits animals and ultimately compares its models with pieces of meat, sticking them in meat lockers and reducing them to such levels.

There was just so much wrong with this whole show and I cannot believe that this episode even made it on the air.

Ellen Page comes out of the closet

Posted in Uncategorized by jenna clarke on March 5, 2008

As previously mentioned, I sat at home on Saturday night watching SNL featuring Ellen Page. Her and Andy Samberg were paired together for quite a few sketches and, as also previously mentioned, this made me quite happy. There was one sketch that I missed, however. I was not completely honest before. I did not sit at home the ENTIRE Saturday night. I found myself wandering downtown (hey, its like 5 minutes away, even the highest will power succumbs at times) and consumed a few pints. I saw a good six sketches of that SNL episode, but I missed an important one. Page and Samberg, acting as though they were a couple, appeared together again. I came across the skit today. It is not a traditional couple, though. Ellen  comes back from a “lezzie” show. Raving about the long legs, the silky hair and the wonderful smelling females that surround her. Check it out…

So, as I watched this sketch, I realized how close this character was to her character in Juno. And remarkably, how similar both these characters are to her self in interviews. So this begs the question, was this Ellen’s chance to come out of the closet? And on prime time? “I just felt like an oil lamp that had never been lit”. Metaphoric.
Either way, if Ellen is gay I am all for that. I don’t judge based on sexual preference. In fact, I have a few gay friends. It’s not about that. The main point that this sketch gave me was Ellen Page is a newcomer to big time fame. What better way to sustain her media attention than to surround herself with calculated doubt about her sexual preference? Or is it that Ellen Page wants to conquer all things up and coming? Teen pregnancy and now lesbianism?
Juno did not deliver on actors winning Oscars. Ellen Page had all this hype… and then, what? SNL. After that what is going to happen? Well,  just google SNL+Ellen Page+lesbian. Count the hits.

Plotted? Perhaps. Effective? Time shall tell.

SNL

Posted in Uncategorized by jenna clarke on March 4, 2008

As I was sitting at home last Saturday night, clearly taking advantage of being on reading week and having no responsibilites whatsoever, and watching SNL (told you I was cool), I found myself entralled with the opening monologue delivered by Ellen Page. She was accompanied by, wait for it, Andy Samberg. I cannot tell you how elated this incident made me. Andy Samberg puts a smile on my face. Paired with Ellen Page and wearing drag, how could one not be amused? Samberg was imitating Juno writer Diablo Cody and did a most wonderful job. For all of you who got the pleasure of watching this episode, you know what I am talking about. For all of you who were “too cool” to stay in on a Saturday night, I hope you found something more interesting to do than enjoy SNL featuring my two favourite actors. Somehow I doubt you did.
So anyway the opening monologue featured Ellen speaking to “Diablo” aka Andy in drag costume. For those of you who have seen Juno (which I hope is all of you) you are aware of the interesting language that the characters use. This monologue chose to focus on the word “blog”. I could not help but chuckle to myself and think “wow, this whole blog thing is really catching on. Maybe Linda is right, this is the wave of the future”. So I found myself zoning out during this amazing intro, which did upset me, but at the same time I was content being in my own little world pondering the future of the blog world. Is it going to be just a phase, or is it really here to stay? Can television and the media dictate trends and what we should really focus on?
When I snapped out of my trance, I realized that Diablo Cody, as inventive as a writer she might be, is just another person. She had a dream and she had the courage to invest in it (wow do I ever get deep). Isn’t that what the point really is? I can’t help but wonder where I am going to be in 5, 10, 20 years time. Whoever thought that a former stripper would expereince such success and become an Oscar winner? I don’t mean to discredit strippers of the world, well maybe I do. I mean its not like you need education to dance around a pole and take your clothes off. Just a sense of flexibility I suppose. BUT I digress. As uncommon as a former stripper turned Oscar winning writer is, it goes to show us all that anything can be accomplished with a little bit of hard work and staying true to yourself. I don’t know about you, but having Andy Samberg impersonate me, now that would be a measure of true success.

Lost

Posted in Uncategorized by jenna clarke on February 11, 2008

So most people know about my obsession with Lost, the TV show. I have this unnecessarily high level of concern for the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815. Now, I don’t know if this means that I am a TV junkie, unable to differentiate from real life and fiction, or just shows that I have a high concern for the well being of others, fictional or not. Maybe its all 3.

All I know is when the writer’s strike ended all I could think of was “Thank God, I can see the whole season of Lost.” Honest.

I care about John Locke and his crazy ideas, I want Kate to be happy, and I want Jack to shave his beard and become sane and hot again. Either way, I need to know if the “Other Others” kill Ben, or if he actually has the knowledge he claims to have to save everyone. You just can’t trust Ben. Or is that what they want you to think? How are they getting off the island, and when they do, should the show change its name from “Lost” to “Found”? Then again, are we ever really Found? Or are we all just wanderers in this world, living in our own version of Oceanic Flight 815, trying to find our way back to something familiar?
Considering that the show is now doing flash forwards instead of flashbacks has changed the whole dynamic. We are no longer wondering “what will happen”, we are wondering “how did that happen”? This is just as effective in making me lose my mind and wishing I could sit with Season 4 on DVD and watch it in one or two days. Its been done, with seasons 1, 2 and 3 and I will do it again.

Charlie is haunting Hugo in the mental ward, but is he really there? Is Hugo really insane? And…. whatever happened to Libby?! Yes, she is dead, but she and Hugo once knew eachother. Claire and Jack are siblings. When is this going to come out? The writers of Lost truly amaze me and I can only hope to have that kind of intelligence some day. I just can’t wait for the rest of the season, I need answers. Maybe the theorizing is the best part, though.

black daisies

Posted in Uncategorized by jenna clarke on February 1, 2008

This is my blog. Never really thought I would be on board in the blog world, but here I am. This site is going to consist of daily inspirations I come across, interpretations of the world I live in and other comments about things I see around me. I am going to be “talking life”. There’s always more than one way to look at the world and I am hoping to challenge my creativity on a daily basis. You never really see a black daisy in day to day life, but does that mean they don’t exist? Believing is seeing.