THE TWO DID NOT KNOW EACH OTHER. They grew up in different cities and on the surface did not seem to have any similarities. I only knew of them because they were in one of my writing classes in college. The class was rather intense, where we were expected to turn in writing assignments on a weekly basis. Every Wednesday the professor would randomly choose a few students to read their papers out loud, so the class could have a discussion and critique session on the students’ works. After several weeks it became apparent to me and most of the class that these 2 students were focused on writing horror stories. As some of you might know, I am not a fan of movies that show a lot of bloody gore. As you might expect the same holds true for fiction stories. As the semester continued these two fans of horror started competing with each other; nothing overt, but each week their stories got gorier and gorier. It was as if they were in a battle to see who would be the “king of horror” as far as I could tell. I had a hard time listening to them when either one was chosen to read their stories to the class. I NEVER FOUND OUT WHAT WAS the impetus that drove those two students to compete against each other. Honestly, I have always had a hard time trying to figure out why people want to compete. This may be one of the reasons why I was never very good in several sport activities. I do not have that driving force inside of me to dominate and beat another person, just so I can be considered the best. The only person I am in competition with is myself. Overcoming one set of circumstances to get to where I am at today has been a fight every day. The way I look at it is this: my old self battles the new me, trying to push me back down to what I used to be. Hopefully I am making sense to you; but let me tell you, this struggle between the old and new me has been a major force that has pushed me to heights I thought I would never achieve in this lifetime. With my thinking I wonder if humans in general are predisposed to competing. I think the term is, “Survival of the fitness.” Another phrase I have heard is, “Only the strong will survive.” Is this a genetic thing? I do not know, but this historical drama will show you how fierce competition can be. RETURNING TO HER HOME IN SCOTLAND after her husband had died; Mary Stuart, played by Saoirse Ronan (Lady Bird, The Lovely Bones), believed she could lead her people as their queen. The main issue concerning her belief was the fact there was already a queen on the throne from the House of Tudor and her name was Elizabeth I, played by Margot Robbie (I, Tonya; Suicide Squad). This biographical film also starred Jack Lowden (Dunkirk, Tommy’s Honour) as Henry Darnley, James McArdle (The Chamber, Star Wars: The Force Awakens) as James, Earl of Moray and David Tennant (Bad Samaritan, Doctor Who-TV) as John Knox. This picture was all about the acting and I thought both Saoirse and Margot were wonderful. Because of them I stayed engaged with this story that I believe took a lot of liberty with actual history. Those who enjoy history might like this picture more than non-history lovers. There were some scenes that were farfetched and almost a distraction. It was a shame because I think the writers might have been competing with the Game of Thrones series when they were writing this script.
2 ½ stars
IT SEEMS THE WORD SAMARITAN dates all the way back to biblical times; I just knew the word meant kind or helpful. When a shopper asks for my help to reach for a product on a high shelf because they could not, I do not think I am a good Samaritan. I see it more as just being helpful. It is doubtful anyone would say, “Oh, look at the good Samaritan helping that shopper.” I would expect them to say I was sweet or nice. For me a good Samaritan is someone who helps an elderly person cross the street (I know, how stereotypical). I also think a person who rescues an animal from a crisis, such as a cat in a tree or a horse tangled in a wire fence, is a good Samaritan. Just the past week the news reported on a woman who was viciously attacked by 2 dogs, where they had her down on the ground ripping off clothing and skin. A man who was walking nearby heard then saw her, so he quickly ran over. I do not know the details on how but the man was able to get the dogs off her and essentially saved her life according to the doctors in the hospital who have been treating her. This guy was more than a good Samaritan, he was a hero. IN THE PLACE WHERE I LIVE there is a law that requires drivers to yield to pedestrians when they step into the crosswalk. There is a spot near my house where a bike/walking trail crosses the middle of a busy street. A yield sign with a picture of a walking pedestrian is posted on both sides of the street and they each light up with yellow flashing lights when a pedestrian presses a button. Most drivers will come to a dead stop but I am amazed whenever a see a driver ignore the sign and drive right past the walker who is trying to cross the street. Technically they should get a ticket but rarely have I seen a police officer close enough to have witnessed the illegal act. What adds insult to injury is when these rude drivers refuse to stop even when it is raining or snowing outside. So, let us say one of the drivers does an act of kindness somewhere else; should they be considered a good Samaritan? I do not think one can define that person as one; it is only the helpful and kind act they perform that gets them to be thought of as a good Samaritan for that moment. The example I offer you of this can be found in this dramatic thriller. BREAKING INTO A HOUSE TO rob it Sean Falco, played by Robert Sheehan (The Messenger, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones), discovered more than jewelry. He found a woman beaten and tied up in a padded room. This horror film also starred Kerry Condon (Human Affairs, Better Call Saul-TV) as Katie, David Tennant (Doctor Who-TV, Jessica Jones-TV) as Cale Erendreich, Carlito Olivero (We the Party, East Los High-TV) as Derek Sandoval and Jacqueline Byers (Ordinary Days, Full Out) as Riley Seabrook. The idea for this story was truly creepy and it played out so at the beginning. I thought David did a serious job convincing me his character was crazy. His intensity played off well to Robert’s conflicted character. Unfortunately, the script fell apart as the story started to unfold. I felt the scenes lost steam as we went from one to another, never delving too much time in them to develop the characters further. The title to this picture made for brilliant marketing, but I did not realize the movie had to be bad also.
1 ¾ stars