The 8, the girl from the sea, and the star child

(SeLoFest17 Post: Day 5, click here for all prompts so far)

You ever watch a movie that just changes your life? Or have you ever been watching a TV series and there was a moment that was acted where you thought, “that moment, that came from something real.”

In this day and age, most of us that have access to the internet have probably been influenced by TV and film one way or another. Most likely, it’s been for the worst. Unfortunately, despite the many wonderful movies that are out there, and the somewhat more progressive TV shows that are starting to make their way into Netflix and mainstream TV, most performances we end up watching through a screen are usually trying to manipulate us for money. Either to get us to continue watching, to get us to buy, to get us to feel bad, or to get us to forget about our lives so that we don’t do anything about the things we don’t like. TV has been used to dumb down the masses and have continued to perpetuate the normalcy of misogyny, self-loathing, division among the races and genders, etc.

I watch Modern Family, which I was attracted to through the talented performance of Gloria, played by Colombian actress Sofia Vergara. She is a walking stereotype of Colombian clichés, many of them which I can fully relate to and do find funny, such as the loud voice and loud family, the accent, the replacing words with sounds, etc. However whenever she speaks about how things are “in her country”, she continues to perpetuate dangerously false narratives that continue to paint Colombia as a war-ridden country where everyone has ever only been next to violence and murder. I watch it, but it’s a problematic show and I find it lazy writing and irresponsible of the actress to continue to teach ignorant outsiders that Colombia is a country of horror and assassins. This coming from a progressive show with two gay dads called “modern family”. So regardless of how “modern” we think we may be, I believe that most TV and film only continue to promote ignorance and cultural stagnation.

However, that being said, there are some true works of art out there in as far as TV shows and movies go along that can truly speak to the art of humanity, the potential of creativity, and the beauty of imagination when paired with the heart.

For today’s post, since it’s Do-Nothing Sunday, the prompt is about the art of TV and film, and how it affects us, and just like we shouldn’t feed our body McDonald’s every day, most TV and film should also not be consumed every day. Media should be consumed responsibly.

I say, look for the shows that move you, and if you must support the industry, support the ones that are making a difference and sending messages of hope, compassion, love, courage, kindness, and generosity. Not hatred, division, or the dumbing down of the population.

I have recently been watching the Netflix show Sense8. It’s a series directed by the Watchowski Sisters. Which if you’re thinking that the name sounds familiar, it’s because they used to be the Watchowski brothers, who were in charge of bringing to us a little franchise called The Matrix movies in the early 2000’s. The fact that the creators of the series are transgender, brings the TV show a depth that we aren’t used to seeing in mainstream television. The show stars Eight actors from Eight different locations around the world, and the actors are varied in sexuality, gender, and race. I love it because it’s a different type of story-telling, and despite its heavy science-fiction plot, the backdrop is entirely human, and the stories aren’t the same tired stories that we’ve seen a million times of the same exact characters with the same exact problems. Warning, if you’re a bit on the more conservative side when it comes to sex, this show has A LOT of it. I find it artistic and beautiful and love how they evoke sensuality and sexual energy, but maybe that’s not your thing in which case the entire series will make you squirm and you should sit it out.

edit-16062-1432783030-17Sense8, Season 1 available on Netflix now, Season 2 comes out in March of 2017.

While there are other series that feature a different colored cast with different genders, this TV show is my absolute favorite because the eight main characters are connected somehow and can see and feel what each other is going through. To have that kind of connection with other people is something I’ve always only dreamed about in secret, and having someone else play out that dream on television, in such a realistic and yet captivating way (this is TV, after all) makes it so that this will probably be my favorite series for a long time to come.

The next movie is actually a Disney movie. While I will, as an adult, admit that Disney is extremely problematic, and is mostly just a big capitalist machine, I’d say it’s a very well-oiled one, and one that still manages to spew out beautiful works of art.

When I was a kid, Disney movies were few and far between. The princess movies felt special and like they were just for me. Eventually, I began to grow out of the Disney Princess phase, and Disney began to aim to another audience and coming out with movies much more often. At one point, the stories were repetitive and the same retired old story we’d seen played out hundreds of times: damsel in distress, charming prince, love story, live happily ever after, the end.

Frozen had a nice message about family, but honestly I never really connected with that movie because it somehow didn’t feel original or sincere. And seeing how they handle explaining other cultures (ie: they don’t. Not past clichés at least) I wasn’t exactly as excited for Moana, Disney’s 2016 hit, as I had been for say, The Little Mermaid when it first came out. I had already seen Disney become a money-gobbling company and hit movies were a yearly thing. I did not have my hopes up for this movie in the slightest.

Then, I heard the song.

Within the first few chords I already had goosebumps. When I began to hear the lyrics I felt like they were speaking to me directly. So I decided to watch the movie, and I was not disappointed. The lead character was female again, she was beautiful, sure, but most importantly, she was decided, she knew what she wanted, she was intelligent, resourceful, and strong. I saw so many other female characters in the movie being presented just as important to their society as men, and I realized I was so used to seeing women being second-class, that it seemed weird to me to finally see women as actual characters in a Disney movie. Imagine all the things we aren’t aware of?

It’s definitely a family movie, but it’s an amazing one.

The last time I liked a Disney movie this much, it took place Under The Sea.

I cried repeatedly throughout the movie, was deeply touched, and plan on buying the movie and re watching it often to help me remember all the lessons that Moana kept repeating throughout the movie.

And last, but not least, is a movie my friend suggested we watch last night. An animated film not done by Pixar or Disney, but rather the studio that brought us Coraline.

Originally, my friend told me we should watch it because it “came with excellent reviews” (nominated for a BAFTA for best animated film, a golden globe for best animated film, and two Academy awards, among others, the film came with an impressive resumé and so I decided to give it a chance.)

Within the first minute, I was hooked.

kubo-3Like its predecessor, Coraline, the movie is stop-motion, and it is MAGNIFICENT.

The movie is about Kubo, the magical son of a star-goddess and his quest through the bravery of compassion. While Moana is definitely mainly for children, this movie’s excellence can be enjoyed by adults only as well. It has a sat-studded cast if you like that type of thing, (Matthew McConaughey and Charlize Theron star as Monkey and Beetle) and it will keep you captivated with its breath-taking cinematography and enchanting story-telling. If you only take away one thing from this post, let it be THIS movie.

SeLoFest17 Challenge

The Prompt: What fictional characters might have shaped who you are today? Think of stories you read and shows you watched, think of your childhood heroes. What attributes do you share with those that shaped you?

The Activity: Yesterday and today we’ve talked a lot about our context and how it affects our mood and the process of self love, confidence, and believing in ourselves. Have you given yourself every chance to be loving and courageous with yourself? Who are your heroes? Who do you follow?

In your journal: Draw (or print out a picture) of either a character you haven’t thought about in a long time or one that’s affected you a lot recently, and think about what it would look like to be in their universe of if they were in yours. What would you talk about? How would they guide you? Feel free to write out a conversation with them, color them in, or write a story where the two of you meet and have a discussion. And since it’s Sunday, take it easy, watch something that inspires you.