Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Legally Blonde

The movie is about discrimination, not against colored people but this time against blonde girls. It is about stereotyping and judging people with appearances using first impressions. What I'm saying now reminds me of the novel Pride and Prejudice and how it was going to be named at first First Impressions by the writer.

In Legally Blonde, we know from the start that she is smart. This is clearly shown in the store when she goes to buy a dress and the woman in the store stereotypes her into the "dumb blonde" category. She surprises the woman by meticulously showing her awareness and knowledge of the dress the woman wanted to trick her into buying. This scene is there to clearly demonstrate her cleverness and to show us that she is really smart. It also shows us how other people are stereotyping her just because she is blonde.

She goes to Harvard Law School and gets in contact with a professor whom kicks her out in her first class. Her ex boyfriend's fiancee was also a reason for her being kicked out. Later in the movie, we find that this professor whom kicked her out in her first lecture actually becomes the reason for her deciding to continue her studies at law school and not quite as she was going to. Her ex boyfriend's fiancee also turns towards her gradually and they become good to one another. This plays on the same theme that first impressions should not be final judgements and can change to the opposite.

Near the end of the movie, we find her ex boyfriend wanting to come back to her. When he tells her he loves her, she tells him that was what she wanted to hear for long but then she declines getting back to him. She is no longer illusioned by his external charm. During the movie, when he tells her to betray her client's trust by exposing her secret this reveals his real character from inside and makes us know him and his reality more (though it the his reality was hinted upon at from the start of the movie for breaking up with her and not wanting to marry her just because she was blonde and not of his family's type).

Her dog plays a cute role in the movie, an entertaining one. When she goes to Harvard and dresses up formally for her first class with a tie and all, we find the dog wearing a tie too. At the final scene, when she is graduating we also find the dog with the graduation hat on his head. A nice entertaining addition to the elements of the movie.

Yet the movie, perhaps unintentionally, seems to discriminate against men. Her ex boyfriend turns to be a foolish guy, her male professor whom took her to work on his cases tries to seduce her and the guy who worked for her client lied in court. The three bad characters were males. While on the other side, the professor whom helped her was a female, the friend whom came closer to her was a female (her ex boyfriend's fiancee), the client who innocent of murder was a female. The woman whom she helped out get her dog back from her ex boyfriend and get a new boyfriend still another female.

The movie was a fun lesson in stereotyping trying to tell us that we should be empathic about people and try to understand them deep from within, to trust our instincts, that logic alone cannot work and that first impressions that are based on external features might not be the best way to judge others.

Friday, April 08, 2005

A Walk to Remember

Here is a bunch of emotions packed in a romance movie about faith in love. The movie is about love and how it can transform a person. The transformation of the hero came as a result of the heroine believing in him. She has faith in him. The movie is also about faith.

When at the final scene of the movie the hero describes his love to his wife as "cannot be seen but felt," the lines remind us of her description of her faith in God and in His presence.

The movie also talks about forgiveness. It talks about transformation to the good. The main transformation was in the hero who finally escaped from peer pressure and transformed to a different and better person. Yet other parallel transformations took place in the movie. The hero's old friends get to resolve their problems with him near the end of the movie. Both the boy whom he had fought with (and told him "we're through") and the girl that propagated bad fliers about the heroine. The hero himself goes to the boy whom he had tricked into jumping in shallow water at the beginning of the movie. Moreover, the hero and his father come to a resolution of their conflict. All this adding to the picture of a total transformation that took place in the hero.

The hero is going to medical school at the end of the movie. It was his 3ed and final wish in the list he had written earlier and which his mom thought was to far fetched and unrealistic. The heroine too fulfilled her wish by getting married in the church just like her parents.

The character of the heroines father represents the religious voice, which in the movie is not the higher voice, but is corrected and refines by another voice in several occasions. One of those occasions is when the heroine tels her father "I know God wants me to be happy," when her father warns her from the hero telling her that the hero has "expectations." Another instance of that higher voice is when the hero asks the heroine's father to take her out on Saturday, and the father refuses. The scene takes place inside the church to emphasize that this is the voice of religion. The hero talls the heroine's father that he asks him for what he himself preaches for, which is "faith." This returns us once again about the main idea around which the movie revolves, which is faith in what we cannot see but can feel.

The acting in the movie is extraordinary. The scene where the hero is on stage with the heroine and forgets the lines that he should say is one of those exceptional moments where the acting reaches an excellent state. We see the waiting in the eyes of the viewers: the heroine's father, the girl that loved the hero and others all act very well in this moment giving the exact sensation of people waiting for someone they know trying to memorize words on stage. Perhaps they did this scene very well because they are actors themselves and know how it feels having all been through it before. There are many other excellent acting moments in the movie too. For instance, the one when the heroine comes to the hero while being with his friends and tells him "See you after school," and he replies to her "In your dreams." This moment the hero acts exceptionally well trying to show that he felt a bit sorry inside him to do so, but just could not do other than that because of the strong peer pressure he was falling under.

The song that the heroine sings while she is on stage is an excellent one. The voice is amazing, the music is very good and for sure the words are very expressive of what comes next in the movie.

All in all, the movie is a brilliant one in all aspects: acting, theme, idea and directing.

Saturday, December 25, 2004


Discrimination is a popular theme in America. It had been mainly against African Americans but took other forms later on. This movie presents discrimination again, but this time not according to color, race, wealth or social status but according to one's genes.

Illusion versus reality is another theme present in the movie. The pretence that some people put, the arrogance of some and the community that cannot see the reality of things but are trapped within their own illusions embodies this theme. They see genetic code as the ultimate determiner of a person's level and cannot buy any other idea. Despite the laws that ban discrimination against those genetically inferior, law is "not taken seriously." This is a reflection of current discrimination practices in the USA which is prevalent despite the presence of laws against it.

The idea of a dream, a strong dream, that one strongly has and achieves by persistence despite all the odds is in main focus in this movie. At the end of the movie, the protagonest, the genetically disadvantaged young man who beat all the odds and went to extremes to fulfill his dream, did actually go on his way to space fulfilling his life time dream. The American dream of freedom and achieving the impossible despite the odds has strong presence in the movie, in fact it is the focus of the whole movie.

The selection of the goal for the protagonest to be reaching outer space has a symbolic significance. Space symbolizes freedom, it also means a new world where the negative aspects of the current world are eliminated, discrimination being one of them. Also reaching to outer space has something to do with thinking out of the box and not being a prisoner to imposed stereotyping.

The guy whom the protagonest took the character of was selected to be a foreigner. Partly this was done due to shunning the idea of an American degrading himself in that way, only a foreigner will do it. Also it might make the audience less sad at the end of the movie when he decides to commit suicide.

His committing suicide by burning himself at the end of the movie is because he has now ended his mission and is no longer needed. The medal he won was the last thing the audience sow of him, it was seen melting in the fire. This indicated his death to the audience and was used instead of showing his body clearly burning in order to reduce any audience anxiety or pity, they only get to see the gold medal which is the thing that remains. This indicates that all that mattered to him was the fame, the appearance, the achievement he made. He wanted his name to be there, and indeed, though it was not him who went to the outer space mission, yet it was his name that went, and that is all that mattered to him. This again revolves around the theme of illusion versus reality, the hypocrisy of society and it's distorted vision of reality and it's sinking in illusion.

The name Jerome has a close sound to the word genome which is the genetic material of an organism. The word became popular with the Human Genome Project, which aimed at mapping the human genetic makeup, a project that faced a lot of public resistance as it started.

The inferiority and inability to compete for those genetically inferior was the reason behind their incompetence. It was only when the protagonest challenged this idea and this view that he was able to succeed. After beating his brother in swimming (the game of chicken) for the first time, the protagonest starts questioning the whole view of his inferiority and it is the turning point in his life.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

A.I. Artificial Intelligence

"Keep me safe" is David's plead whenever he feels threatened. Love is the self-defense mechanism David's designer choose for him.

"Only mechas are safe" is Monica's sincere advice to David. It hints upon the cruelty of real life and humans that contrasts with the relative safety of mechas.

The movie poses a moral question: "If we were ever able to build machines that can love us, are we obliged to love them back?" The movie gives an indirect answer to this question by using all means to evoke our emotions and sympathy towards David.

The movie also touches upon a recurring theme which is whether creations of the imagination can be superior to real things. The answer to this question seems to be "yes," in a similar fashion to eXistenZ.

Thursday, September 02, 2004


This movie is fantastic. I love it. It's mind boggling too. It encourages deep thought within you. The movie pauses a somewhat philosophical question of the difference between reality and imagination, whether there really is a difference between them and if contrary to common belief imagination could be superior to reality.

It is as if the maker of the movie is trying to fight back the enemies of art and imagination. The action in the movie revolves around a fight between the supporters of Realism and those in support of eXistenZ which symbolizes imagination.

The movie starts by showing the game designer, the heroine, displaying her new game eXistenZ and offering it for fans to try. The viewer is aware that in this first part of the movie they are not inside a game yet. Later on, and as the movie progresses, the characters start immersing into a game and from within this game into another game within it. It's like when you have a dream within a dream. When you wake up from the inner dream you might think you've finally woke up but you are actually still inside your first dream. The strange game-like things that appear all the time give the viewer a clue that the characters are locked inside a game. The characters have labels, the motel is labeled "Motel" and the gas station is labeled "Local Gas Station." The viewer then starts to realize that the characters were indeed inside a game from the beginning of the movie. At the end of the movie, the viewer realizes that one cannot tell the difference between reality and imagination any more. The movie ends with the phrase "Are we still inside the game?"

The movie can also be saying that real life is nothing but a game. Our characters have some urges and inclinations that the game 'designer' has built into them. We are not sure if our life is nothing but a game. We might be in a game but unaware of it just like in dreams.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

The Quick and the Dead

Sound plays an important role in this movie. The click before the clock strikes 12 that the preacher asks the lady to listen to. The click of the lady's small gun that the Mayor heard when she accepted his invitation to his house and went there in her lovely dress. The click of the mayor's lighter when the lady went running out of his house hinting to her that he has heard her gun's click and that he knows she has a gun.

The movie is about ruling people with fear. That's what the mayor did. The mayor got his power out of the fear of the people. He was powerful himself because he had no fear. He tells the lady that ever since his father passed a gun around his family asking everyone to attempt to shoot himself, nothing in the world made him afraid after that day. His father being a man of the law is ironic. He represents the exact opposite, lawlessness. When the lady finally kills him at the end of the movie and hands over the sheriff's star to the preacher she say "Law has come back to town." By eliminating the symbol of lawlessness, law has come back.

The presence of the preacher's character is there to be a foil for the mayor. The preacher, though he has the urge to kill and is brought up as an outlaw, yet he takes the path to redemption. He has changed. This is significant, it says that the mayor has no excuse for being cruel and bad like he is, for there exists a path for changing to the good if he just chooses to take it.

The mayor's son is an interesting element in the movie. He represents the need for recognition. He is so sure of himself. He has no fear, but this does not prevent him from dying at the end. He is just not fast enough. By planning a trick and collaborating with the preacher, the lady is able to finally kill the mayor. She overcomes her fears after wearing the sheriff's star. As if now she represents law and order.

The music in the background is wonderful. A special note is played every time a victory comes to the good guys. Slow motion is used wonderfully to play another game with time.

Time is played with skillfully in the movie. The clock symbolizes time. Speed is what makes the difference between life and death in the movie. Slow motion is used to show split seconds in detail. Timing is also important in the movie. The exact time at which the tops of buildings blew up near the end of the movie is crucial to the success of the good guys' plan. The plan is not only made by the preacher and the lady, but by the people of that small town. The 'doctor' checks the lady's body after she falls and says she is dead acting as if he was sad.

The movie also uses the sense of suspense and reveals information bit by bit not all at once. We know what happened to the lady when she was a child only gradually. The final part where she misfires killing her father when she was a child is only revealed near the end of the movie. It was the perfect timing for revealing it so that the audience could find it quite fair to kill the mayor and would want that strongly. In addition, we get to know gradually that the mayor suspects that his son is really his. We get to know the truth at the last moment when his 'son' is dying.

The movie is brilliant. With only a few characters and a cowboy setting, the movie represents violence and lawlessness wherever it happens in the world. As if the movie is sending a message that injustice backed by power can only be removed by brave justice backed by power. It says that fear can be present in the good guys but that it can still be overcome.

Thursday, July 01, 2004


The reason why I continued watching it again in so short a time was that during the second time of watching it the philosophical idea underlying the movie seamed to trigger an interesting line of thought inside my head. Of course the underlying idea that the movie rests on is based on the Darwinian idea of evolution. A "mutation" was what happened to bring x-men about. A mutation is a term from biology, specifically from genetics. Mutations occur naturally in nature and have clear examples in plants. In the movie what happened to x-men were natural mutations. An attempt by Magnito to induce an artificial mutation failed and resulted in the horrible death of the person undergoing it.

Though the movie was reflecting the Darwinian theory of evolution and applying it to humans with both it's evolution part and the "survival for the fittest" proposition exemplified in Magnito's attempts to survive and leave out the other normal humans, yet the movie does have another level beside this one. It addresses the everlasting theme present in many American movies, the theme of understanding, accepting and not rejecting the other, the other who is different from us. This theme is present in many American movies and is clear here right from the beginning. Load voices arguing the dangers of what they called mutants were heard right from the beginning. The other voice calls them x-men instead, or at least that's why they called themselves. The movie is trying to say that both x-men and normal humans can live together in peace accepting one another.