Category Archives: Entertainment

America Is Great As It Evolves

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In a recently release movie, Free State Jones, Matthew McConaughey plays a Confederate deserter turned guerrilla saint in a Civil War drama.  The role inspired him to think of what to love about America.

The character of the movie was selfish at the onset.  His fight started as very selfish.  He was deadly against the power-mongers taking away 10 percent of what he owned.  What started as defending his own rights, eventually turned into active force defending freedom for everyone.

McConaughey is excited about America because America turns the page and evolves quicker than most places historically. That is the reason he is inspired, and it makes him happy to be, and honored, to be an American..

McConaughey acknowledges the ugly parts of American history, but it is the truth that burns.  But as he puts it:

“It happened. It’s real. So let’s sit here and go, ‘Yeah, guess what man, the world is not all clean and neat. We want to expect the best in everyone but we have to understand that we all have good and bad in us, and these are some times when we’ve made mistakes, there are some things where people were just wrong, and this is how we’ve improved and are still evolving. This is a situation that you will be handed and which will be more evolved when you get to it.’”

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Love Devotion

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 The wedding day is most memorable day for couples.  On that day couples have taken vows which include a line that states something like, “For richer and for poorer, in good times and bad, through sickness, until death do us apart.”

The lines sounded good when they recited the vows but in reality most couples hardly uphold it during their married life.  As married life moves on, spouse wonders what other can give to him or her.  The spouse wonders whether love will last.   The high rate of divorces indicates that devotion or dedication to one another is nonexistent in most married people.

I suppose I am old fashioned and still believe in that unconditional love knows no boundaries.

I recently came across short film, “Blind Devotion” which is all about selfless devotion and love. (See the video below.)  The unexpected turn in the video touched my heart immensely.

This short film takes a look at what it might be like to experience hardship and endure it for the sake of love.  It shows how married couple’s normal interactions and daily routine slowly fall apart when struck by unexpected crisis.

This video helps us feel and understand what it might be like to experience hardship and endure it for the sake of love.

The dialogue bound to touch you and spouse says, “”I can't help but think that I'm becoming his patient not his partner.”


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Deepika Padukone Promoting Female Empowerment or Selfishness?

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My Choice, a video featuring Deepika Padukone in association with Vogue India magazine has triggered a storm.

The video is a mix of good filmmaking that brings feminism into India’s (or world) mainstream.  The use of Deepika Padukone, Bollywood’s top grossing actress, has given the video an extraordinary appeal.  The video is all about standing up to issues women have faced for generations all over the world.

According to the Homi Adajania, even today women in various quarters of society are told to accept rules, timings, food, clothes, habits, men, hairstyles and even views that are not “their choice”.  He states, “This video is an interesting take on women’s empowerment as it is thought-provoking and had evoked a whole gamut of reactions, even from those who didn’t appreciate the video; regardless of what difference that will make to conditions on the ground.”

The main issue is not the message the video is intended to relay.  The issue is Deepika Padukone herself.  She has publicly confessed her struggle with depression.  Furthermore, her cleavage made news in India.  Thus the video can’t necessarily be termed as a celebrity show by a fashion magazine.  The video is about Deepika Padukone herself. Since Deepika Padukone was one of the people featured prominently in that video, and her public image and her past actions in Bollywood contradict the spirit of the video.

Consider the lines from the video clip, “It is my choice to marry or not to marry… It is my choice to have sex before marriage or have sex outside the marriage…,” .  One can argue whether it is woman empowerment or advocating unconventional lifestyle.  Needless to say, the video had overwhelming reactions.  For many, Deepika is promoting adultery and cheating in the name of women empowerment.

The video does not address equal rights for women, all it does is that it asks for granted rights. It does not address vital issues- infanticide, lack of formal education, human trafficking, domestic violence, forced abortions.  But according to the Vogue India’s video, the only problem women face are- sex, sex, sex.

In reality, in her Bollywood elitist circle she does have her choice- what she wears and what she does (including adultery).   But any person, man or woman, does not live in a cultural vacuum.  In essence, people do, technically, have the freedom to do what they want, as long as it does not enter the realm of physical and logical impossibilities. That does not excuse the action. It just reinforces person’s responsibility for that action.

Then there is the thin line between freedom and selfishness. Freedom is something where your privileges are protected along with people around you. Selfishness is something where your wishes are supreme and others' privileges are violated.

“To love someone temporarily” or “having sex outside marriage” is of course one’s choice. But that choice can’t be branded as a symbol of freedom and empowerment of women. Most importantly, in love or marriage, trust and emotion of another person is also an essential factor. Ironically, “My Choice” may be viewed as advocating “Being Selfish”.

Freedom and empowerment is not something that can be sold through the glossy pages of a magazine. It can only come through experience and self knowledge.

See My Choice, Video by VogueIndia  here:

Male version of “My Video” here:

 

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Fans Fund Super Troopers Sequel

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In 2001, a little crime-comedy indie movie, Super Troopers, was a big hit.  The movie was created by Jay Chandrasekhar and his comedy group Broken Lizard.  The film starred the five Broken Lizard members, including director Jay Chandrasekhar, as freewheeling Vermont state troopers.  Fox Searchlight paid $3.25 million for distribution rights of the film and it grossed $23.1 million at the box office.

Jay Chandrasekhar and his group Broken Lizard were anxious to make a sequel.  They have written script to the sequel. They also have agreement with the Fox Searchlight to distribute the sequel in the United States and Canada.  They had only one problem- they needed fund to make movie.

How do you think Jay Chandrasekhar opt to get the money?

The solution was simple and yet innovative.  The success of the movie depends on the viewers, so Jay Chandrasekhar decided to make an appeal directly to the fans for needed funds.  He made appeal directly to the movie fans through crowd- funding campaign on Indiegogo.  In his appeal to the fans he stated:

“So this is how it works: if we’re able to raise at least $2,000,000 in the next month, we’ll be able to get to work on a barebones version of Super Troopers 2 this summer. But $2,000,000 is the bare minimum we’ll need to get into production.

We’ve got some big stuff in the script, and if we’re able to raise enough money, you’ll get to see all of it. The more we raise, the more amazing stuff we can put in the movie. More action, more cameos, more shenanigans, and fine, more Farva.”

The campaign was a sensation success as it hit its $2 million goal in just over 24 hours.  As of now it has reached close to $3 million mark.

 

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Compassion Prevails

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Should culture trump compassion? Should compassion trump cultural differences? Which is more important to uphold?

In the age of internet and social media, the news of hatred and brutality seems to be at forefront.  But the utmost important asset of human beings is the ultimate compassion for one another as humans.  There are times when people will go with their inner calling for compassion and help one another.  Surely, the differences among human beings need to be acknowledged.  But what makes human beings greatest species is compassion they harbor within.

The short but powerful video (see below) demonstrates how people can overcome prejudice and learn to accept one another.

As human beings we must encourage love and tolerance of all people regardless of sex, race, ideology, religion or any other differences.

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Sidewalk Features Woman’s Life Journey In Four Minutes

Csidewalk01Credit: Sidewalk by Celia Bullwinkle, Vimeo

Sidewalk is four-minute animated by Celia Bullwinkle.  It tells a woman’s entire life while she walks down the street.  The journey captivates the excitement, pain and unfairness of aging of a woman.

The short has been making the festival rounds since April 2014. Celia Bullwinkel posted “Sidewalk” online on September 16; it’s been seen nearly 3 million times on her Vimeo and YouTube channels alone.

It is a story about a woman walking the streets of major city (such as New York City). The short video is cumulative experience of a woman walking down the streets over the period of her life- multitude of catcalls.

The animated saga depicts woman’s entire life in four minutes.  The woman’s life journey highlights the breast popping out and the butt popping out, going from pregnant to exhausted motherhood to overweight.  The short is reflection of the society that emphasizes one should not ever age despite the reality.  As shown in the Sidewalk, men don’t cat call old ladies.

Celia Bullwinkle depicts that our culture is visual and it tells us in terms of our value and worth as soon as you reach certain age.  The short points out that society puts a woman on pedestal only to be knocked off at certain point in life.

Ironically, Celia Bullwinkle chose a passive character in the saga.  She is a woman who takes what’s given to her in life.  She is not Type A, but kind of a person who is really low key and mellow.

At the same time, the short depicts a woman who didn’t like the attention she was getting when she was young.  But when she got old no one paid her attention.  She missed it.
Does that mean woman becomes self-aware only when her body possesses publicly or culturally?

Celia Bullwinkle in reference to the character in the documentary, “…I wanted to show that, even if it takes you until the end of your life to change your outlook, change your mindset, about who you are, it’s never too late. You can learn to love yourself at any age in your life.”

Sidewalk from Celia Bullwinkel on Vimeo.

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D’Souza’s Provocative Vision of America

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The current Independence Day celebration will have special attraction- release of America: Imagine a World Without Her, a film by Dinesh D'Souza.  The film has serious pessimistic message: “The American dream is shrinking because some of our leaders want it to shrink.  Decline, in other words, has become a policy objective.  And if this decline continues at the current pace, America as we know it will cease to exist.  In effect, we will have committed national suicide.”

Dinesh D'Souza earlier release, Obama 2016, shook up Hollywood with over $33 million in earnings.  However, D'Souza's credibility has been shattered recently as he pleaded guilty to campaign-finance violations that could land him in prison.  D’Souza does indeed acknowledge in the film about his arrest and subsequent plea bargain for violation of finance laws. His critics, perhaps rightfully so, will try to discredit his message from the new release.

In all fairness, American viewers should view film and accept the messages on their own merits.  According to D'Souza, the liberals (progressives) enforce policies that lead to stagnation, impoverishment, indebtedness, and decline as the United States in experiencing currently.  Thus he makes an argument that they are not on the side of the ordinary citizen.

It is known that politicians are reflection of the people.  The landscape of the United is such that people are deeply (perhaps, evenly) divided.  According to D'Souza, the current division can be divided into two groups:  one that is a product of the 1960s cultural revolution, and another that never quite embraced the values of the 1960s. He notes that economist Joseph Schumpeter warned that capitalism produces “creative destruction” that topples traditional institutions and traditional mores. The material abundance created by capitalism erodes the qualities of hard work, self-discipline, and deferred gratification that produced that abundance in the first place.

The film demonstrates how the old values have been undermined in last six years.  D'Souza points out that both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were acolytes of Saul Alinsky, the great left-wing community organizer.

D’Souza offers a point-by-point response to historical revisionists, social activists and community organizers who want to define America as “a predatory colonial power,” and dwell on such unpleasant topics as the decimation of Native Americans, the mistreatment of blacks and Mexicans, and the widening gap between rich and poor in a capitalist society.

In America, an actress portrays a young Hillary Rodham as she's led from her roots as a “Goldwater Girl” into campus radicalism through meetings with Alinsky. Later, she would use her senior thesis at Wellesley to paint an admiring portrait of Alinsky. “If Hillary Clinton is elected in 2016, the baton will have passed from one America to another,” D'Souza warns.

Undoubtedly, the film is an assault on the contemporary doctrine of political correctness.  But the film also is a boost for those who believe in America.  It is exemplified in the closing credits over which a band moored on a barge near the statue of Liberty belts out stirring rendition of USA national anthem.

America isn't perfect film and its arguments sometimes aren't sophisticated. But it's the ideal film to take the family to on a Fourth of July.  If nothing else, I hope D'Souza's film begins a long-overdue national conversation about true meaning of America.

Furthermore, I hope most will reach more optimistic conclusion that as  Americans we can be great again, we have the will and we have the know-how-just waiting to be energized by optimist, bold and compassionate leadership at the helm.

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