Posts Tagged ‘fantasy’

My Favorite Films & Why

May 14, 2010

It was going to happen eventually, my writing about my favorite movies. So, let’s get started.

Star Wars Episode I-VI
When I saw the first movie in the series, now known as Episode IV, with my brother in 1978 , I had no idea what kind of movie I was going to see. Once the movie was finished, I was hooked.  Like many kids growing up in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s whenever Episodes IV-VI were re-released, I was at the movie theater.  (Remember, this was before the proliferation of VCRs. Also, I live in Philadelphia and the city wasn’t wired for cable until 1986.) The Star Wars series was a story of finding your place in the world, finding love and finding redemption. George Lucas and company did a very good job for all of them. Don’t look at me like that! Yes, he did do a good job with both the original three and the prequels. While the acting was off the mark at times, Lucas took those age old stories and retooled them for modern audiences.

E.T. The Extraterrestrial
This movie was directed by Steven Spielberg, who is a contemporary of George Lucas, incidentally they joined forces to make the Indiana Jones movies.  I went into this expecting a film where alien comes to earth and creates havoc with the people the alien lives with. Instead, I got a film that shows how love and friendship encompass all that we know and yet to know.

It’s A Wonderful Life
An oldie but a goodie. I first saw this film on a Philadelphia UHF television station in the mid 1980’s and I watch it every December since that time. I love the story of George Bailey, played superbly by Jimmy Stewart, the every person who had dreams but set them aside for the sake his family and his community. After a serious business mishap, Bailey felt that his life was worthless and he decided to kill himself. An angel came along to stop him and showed him what life would be like if he had not been born. Life sans George Bailey wasn’t a pretty picture. This film reminds me of the power of small acts of kindness and how these small kindnesses mean a lot to others.

Now comes the recent stuff. I read an interview with Sigourney Weaver in Parade Magazine in December 2009 and she spoke a little about her role in Avatar. That piqued my interest. So, once the holidays were over, I went to see it and WOW! Watching Avatar, I didn’t just engage in a little fantasy, I inhabited the world of Avatar. The acting was first rate, the visuals were spectacular and the story of indigenous peoples being forced off their land, is applicable to our time. As deserving as The Hurt Locker was for its Oscars, it would have been nice if that movie won the Best Director award and Avatar won Best Picture award.

Well, those films are a motley bunch. Still the one thing they have in common is this:

I loved them all.


Cult of Celebrity

March 25, 2010

The recent deaths of former child actors Andrew Koenig and Corey Haim demonstrate once again that all that glitters in the celebrity world is not all gold. Their struggles with depression and addiction show the not-so-pleasant side of fame. While these persons had trouble making the transition to adult acting, which didn’t help their underlying conditions, they are not the first actors to lose their way in the bright lights and big city of Hollywood.

Despite these deaths showing the dark side of celebrity life, there are people who follow the lives of celebrities as if they were friends and family. I don’t mean reading an article in the newspaper where an actor or actresses is talking about an upcoming film. What I do mean is reading loads of articles, following their every move on the Internet, scheduling your life around episodes of Entertainment Tonight and TMZ. Outside of eating, sleeping and going to work, their world is your world.

Studies have been done on the subject of celebrity worship and they have found that following a celebrity for purely entertainment purposes, such reading an article in the paper about a favorite actor’s new movie, is a harmless pastime. (Grohol) The trouble becomes when there are “…[i]ntense personal attitudes towards celebrities.” (Ibid) These attitudes can reflect neuroticism and the person following the celebrity can exhibit “…borderline pathological behavior and traits of psychoticism.” (Ibid)

The main product of Hollywood is fantasy. Everything that goes on in Hollywood is to support that product. Sometimes people both in and out of the industry forget that and choose not to deal with life as it really is, with its bills, jobs, chores and relationships that aren’t always so dreamy.  Engaging in fantasy, no matter how beautiful, won’t make reality go away.

So, to paraphrase John Lennon, “Life is what’s happening while your watching the umpteenth episode of E! True Hollywood Story.

Grohol, John M., Psy.D “The Psychology of Celebrity Worship” PsychCentral.Com November 23, 2008. <;