Sex, Drugs and Violence

One of the reasons I enjoy “foreign” films so much is because they seem to still center around the story. Hollywood has been disappointing me for quite some time. Instead of centering movies around the story, they place more emphasis on sex, drugs and violence. I understand how those three words are not just part of our vocabulary but part of our society, but why can we not center life around words like health, love and peace. Why is it that those three words do not have the same level of weight as work, fun or food those things are also necessary to our lives and just as much a part of it. It even bothers me more that we can all have a perfectly normal life without drugs or violence, yet they are so important to movies coming out of Hollywood. I would feel more comfortable if Hollywood used the imagery to denounce those negative things, but it bothers me when it seems like they try to make them cool.

Starting with sex. I have no problem with nudity, but pornography in a major motion picture is just a cheap attempt at making money. Sex and nudity are a common appearance in Television outside of the US, I grew up seeing breasts on the TV screen in Colombia, here in the US a little nudity here and there is considered taboo. Magazines and even some periodicals had nudity and it was not something to be ashamed of. In the American culture however, nudity is a hot button that Hollywood loves to press. It makes the youth in this country so hungry for it. The porn industry keeps on getting bigger and bigger every year. It really bothers me that so many movies that could tell a story so much better without the gratuitous sex, are tainted by scenes where nudity is at the center stage shown in a very cheap way. It is at times very degrading to women to the point that I feel Hollywood does not respect women’s sexuality. I find it laughable that so much censorship centers on this topic, not because I believe it should be a free for all, but because it should not be made into the big deal that it is. Remember the half time, Janet Jackson boob moment? Nudity for adults should be natural, beautiful, not something to be either ashamed of or overly excited to see in a movie. The reason to see a movie should not be because Halle Berry is going to show her breasts, which was the reason for so many to go see Swordfish. I did see the movie, but it was because it was supposed to be centered on a computer hacker, I bet you money that there were people that went to see it and did not even know it had so much to do with computers before they saw the film. I don’t even want to start with the portrayal of adultery on film, that is a whole other post. I know that sex sells, but does it really have to sell movie tickets instead of a solid plot?

When it comes to drugs, they are glorified to a level that is scary. While I do understand that the use of marijuana seems to be ok with a lot of the US population, I don’t think that it should appear so much in the movies along with other drugs that are taken very liberally. Taking drugs in some movies is shown as something as normal as lighting up a cigarette. Unless drugs are part of the story, I don’t see the need for a character to have to “light up” or “snort” drugs as if it is a common occurrence of every day life. While most people have sex, not everyone does drugs. Again, this completely sends the wrong message.

Violence is also at the center of Hollywood’s 3 kings. Some might disagree with me, but I think that the constant glorification of bad-mouthed violent characters in the movies does affect us as a society. Scarface has become this generation’s movie hero. Enter a teenager’s bedroom and you will most likely find an Al Pacino poster. I did enjoy the movie, who’s subject was drugs, sex and violence, I also laugh at the various jokes that stem from it (Say hello to my little friend!), what I don’t like is the glorification of a character that personified everything that is violence. In Asian film violence is portrayed in a very different way. Fight scenes serve the purpose of telling the story in a very beautiful choreographed way. Some violent scenes in Hollywood are so brutal that not only do they turn my stomach, but they are burnt into your mind permanently. I love the movie Rounders, but the “beat down” scene is still very hard to watch. Violence serves the purpose of telling the story and not just to complete a weak plot. Watching this kind of violence tends to desensitize us, it makes it easier to see it on TV and not be as shocked as we should be when we do see it in real life. While violence is today’s reality do you really think that is should play such an important role in today’s movies?

I believe that movies about those topics are relevant, and I still want to watch them. What I don’t agree with is the need to have almost every single movie I see have one of those elements present just for the sake of box office success. Why can’t a good storyline be what draws big audiences? Why can’t we make words like peace, love and kindness be what excites us to see a movie instead of the negative ones we now have put on top of the marquees?

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Interrogatory Redux

A while ago, and when I say a while I mean 2 months ago Cielo found this interesting Meme via B.O.B.I.… basically you get interviewed, you interview others… get it, got it, good… I have been waiting for questions from Dan for a while and well it seem like the wait was worth it because the questions are just not tough they are near impossible to answer. But I will be a good sport and give it a try… also to keep the meme spirits happy, if you want to be interviewed go ahead and tag me.

1) Would you accept $1,000,000 to leave the country and never set foot in it again?
Since becoming an American I have not only grown to think of this land as home, but I have also invested a lot into building a family here. I would say that 1 million is not enough to do that, now a sum of money that will allow me to relocate my entire family and friends to a tropical island with high speed internet and never have to work again in my life, I would consider it.

2) Would you rather be given $10,000 for your own use or $100,000 to give anonymously to strangers? What if you could keep $1,000,000 or give away $20,000,000?
10,000 will help pay some bills right now but I would for sure chose to give the money away. I truly believe that money is not everyting in life and sometimes the real joy of having a million is earning it. While I would not turn away winning the lotto. This is a lot easier to answer hypothetically, not sure if faced with the actual decision if I would still hold true to my convictions, especially if it was a million. I would like to think that I would still want the greater good. The ‘stranger’ part is what kind of bothers me, if it was to my family, I would not hesitate a second. Would not want to be responsible for giving money to the wrong people.

3) By controling medical research funds, you are in the position to guarantee that a cure will be found in 15 years for any disease you choose. Unfortunately, no progress on any others will be made during that period. Would you target one disease? If so, which one and why?
I think Cancer, I cannot believe that we still don’t have a cure for cancer. I believe it affects a lot more people and it does not discriminate. Heart disease the other big killer can be prevented, and HIV can also be prevented. Most forms of cancer cannot be prevented, you can lower your cancer risk but not eliminate it, so that is the one I would choose.

4) If you had to choose, would you rather go blind or deaf?
This one is very easy for me to answer, I would chose deaf. My interest in ASL and just overall experience with the deaf community would put me two steps ahead if I ever had to deal with it.

5) Would you accept 20 years of extraordinary happiness and fulfillment if it meant that you would die at the end of that period?
I’m not sure, I really don’t know what 20 years look like. I don’t remember all of my childhood and 20 years ago seems so far away yet such a short period of time. I think that happiness is more about the journey than the destination, and 20 years of extraordinary happiness does not seem very fullfilling to me… how would you know the good times if you don’t have the bad times.

Weekend RaRaRecap!

Well, the weekend is over and I wish I had another day just to relax. That is one think I miss about Colombia, there are a lot of Mondays off… miss those 30 holidays. The weekend was a lot of fun though. Got to enjoy the LanParty on Saturday and then watched movies for the rest of the weekend, even have photographic evidence of going to church thanks to Cielo.

We also had something sad happen this weekend, more here.

Glad I am not over 30… Yet!

Found this piece of pure hilarity! got to love the internet. Just in time for me to go to a Lan Party tomorrow. I will even highlight the ones that I could potentially do!

29 no-nos for gamers over age 30

Old people with nintendo revolution controllers in handThe ESA says that the average gamer is 30 years old. It’s time that those of us who are 30 or older realize that some of the things we grew up doing as gamers are no longer really appropriate, cool, or kosher given our new demographic bucket. Here, then, is a helpful guide to 28 things a gamer should never do past the age of 30.

1. Participate in LAN parties with minors
2. Quit your job to pursue a pro-gaming career
3. Start a Star Wars themed PC case mod in the living room
4. Ever use the jargon OMG, BBQ and WTF together in the same phrase
5. Pirate games – shouldn’t you have an income by now?
6. Find the idea of teamkilling funny
7. Choose a female avatar so that you can try to upskirt her
8. Refuse to play games that are rated lower than mature
9. Tea-bag a downed opponent in Halo 2
10. Play any game with Princess Toadstool in it
11. Choose a gamer handle including any form of the words “hell,” “killer,” “death,” or ”-inator”
12. Yell “pwnt” in a public virtual space
13. Play a female character in an MMOG in order to troll for “Crying Game” victims
14. Disconnect when losing at Starcraft or any other RTS
15. Ninja loot
16. Get your gaming news from a print publication
17. Replace the letter S with a dollar sign when writing Microsoft, Sony, or PlayStation
18. Live in your parents’ basement to support a gaming habit
19. Break mice in a fit of rage after being served in an FPS game
20. Try to win an argument in a gaming forum
21. Pretend that movies like Doom and Tomb Raider are anything but crap
22. Carry softcore anime porn on your PSP to show the guys at work
23. Hadoken someone as a greeting, complete with hand motions and sound effects
24. Play competitively against anyone under the age of 10
25. Read or write fanfiction
26. Yell or type, “Laggg” when losing an online game
27. Bogart the controller
28. Work at GameStop “just for the discount”
29. Type liek JeffK

New Photo Album

I keep must of my pictures over at flickr, even though I do have photos in other places. I have been wanting to set them up so they can be displayed a lot easier on both Cielo’s and my website. I finally found a plugin that is very promising and here is the new photo album.

It sits on top of flickr making it very easy to browse even their tags. Cielo and I are crazy taking pictures, we both love them… so tagging them helps find them but there are still tons of them to go through. Let me know what you guys think.