SINCE THE MAJORITY OF MY FRIENDS started driving before I did, I discovered something interesting about parents. I had one friend whose father would always give a list of warnings before handing over the car keys to his son. Some of the things said by the father were, “don’t play the radio while driving,” don’t blast the air conditioning on high” and “don’t eat anything in the car.” Once we were able to get into the car and drive away, I asked my friend what was up with all the warnings from his dad. He told me his dad said the same thing every time he asked for the car, because his dad was always afraid the battery would die if the radio was on or if the fan was on high. I had no experience with cars, so I did not know whether his dad’s concerns were accurate or not. More importantly, I began to realize something else when the car did not die because we were blasting the a/c or the radio; parents may not know all the answers. At a younger age, I had no reason to question the things a parent would say; however, as I got older there were some things I would question. To me, this was all part of the learning process. How would I learn if I did not question things? RECENTLY THERE WAS A NEWS REPORT about a father and his son who were accused of a hate crime. Besides it being a vile act, I had to wonder what was going on inside that family structure that allowed a child to act in such a way. I always thought the idea of raising a child was to help them grow up to think for themselves. Obviously, the son who participated in the crime had the same mindset as his dad. I understand children are like sponges when they are small, but I try to believe that getting an education and socialization provides the tools for the grown-up child to make hopefully responsible and rational decisions. I am reminded of someone I worked with who was a liar just like his dad. Anything either of them would say, I never trusted. Anytime I questioned them they would just make up some story to appease me, hoping I would go away. Because of my experiences growing up, I find nothing wrong with a child questioning a parent. Granted there is no rule book to child rearing, and as a friend of mine says, “Raising a child to grow up and be a decent human being is a crapshoot.” You just never know; which is what the writers of this dramatic, mystery science fiction movie wanted viewers to think about. WITH HUMANITY EXTINCT IT WAS UP to one robot to care for the frozen, stored human embryos. For the robot to be successful it would have to teach the developing human how to be human, according to the robot. With Rose Byrne (Peter Rabbit, Spy) voicing Mother, newcomer Talilia Sturzaker as the child, Clara Rugaard (Teen Spirit, Good Favour) as Daughter, Luke Hawker (Blackspot, The Devil’s Rock) as Mother and Hilary Swank (The Hunt, The Resident) as woman; this film festival winning movie had a thought provoking script. As the picture continued the small twists and turns kept me wondering about certain scenes. Adding in Clara’s performance and I found this movie captivating. It was refreshing to have a science fiction film play out as a dramatic story without the battles and overwhelming special effects. I also enjoyed Hilary’s performance because the introduction of her character changed the flavor of the story for me. Since this film was never on my radar, I consider it a sleeper movie; one that packs more punch than what it appears to be. Even after watching this picture I kept thinking about it which is always a good sign for me.
ONE OF THE BASIC RULES I LEARNED in science class was opposites attract. Every solid, liquid, gas and plasma are composed of atoms and within those atoms you will find subatomic particles called protons, neutrons and electrons. The positive charged protons and negative charged electrons attract each other; hence, the phrase “opposites attract.” If you try to put two protons together, they will repel from each other. From this basic rule, I have gone through life not fearing things or people that are different. However, in elementary school I learned that there are some people who do not like those that are different from themselves. In my neighborhood there was a parochial school. Some of the male students of the school formed a gang (I know, it sounds odd). Whenever they were off for a religious holiday, the boys would show up at our public school during our recess time and try to start fights with us. They would call us derogatory names; sometimes, using hateful slang that referred to what they perceived was our religious beliefs. Sadly, this was an ugly lesson for me to learn on how some people form dislikes based solely on someone’s looks, beliefs or simply on the way they think. I AM FORTUNATE THAT WITHIN MY circle of friends and family no one is as judgmental as what I just described. There is a couple I know who are in synch when it comes to all aspects of their life, except for their political views. They are opposites; in other words, one is a democrat and the other is a republican. Many mutual friends do not understand how this couple could be connected in so many ways but have such different world views politically. I remind these people that opposites attract. They have had rational discussions where each one will present their views on a topic without being judgmental towards the other one’s views. Most of the time they used to end their talks by agreeing to disagree; these days they no longer will talk politics to each other. I believe it is because things are more polarized these days, people seem to be more extreme. One of the big changes I have seen recently is how hate has become part of people’s discussions. It is not enough to just think differently than someone else; one now openly hates the individual for thinking differently. Does that make sense? Hatred must be acceptable I guess because I see so much more of it out in the open. Being reported on the news, people in heated arguments out in public; I have become more fearful when I go outside. You never know if things could get to the point where they do in this action, horror thriller. WAKING UP TO DISCOVER THEY WERE muzzled and in an open field, a group of strangers do not have time to figure out what happened to them when they suddenly hear a gunshot. With Betty Gilpin (True Story, Isn’t it Romantic) as Crystal, Hilary Swank (The Homesman, P.S. I Love You) as Athena, Ike Barinholtz (Suicide Squad, The Oath) as Staten Island, Wayne Duvall (The Kitchen, Prisoners) as Don and Ethan Suplee (American History X, Remember the Titans) as Gary; this satire had its moments. I felt the writers’ focus was to create a wicked satirical piece that would get everyone talking; there were some scenes that were heavy handed in trying to achieve this exact thing. There were other scenes that were amusing to me; however, I found several scenes of violence that were so over the top to the point it was a distraction. In other words, gore and blood. Out of the cast, I thought Betty and Hilary were the standouts with their characters. Betty gave it everything she had, I felt. Based on the current environment, I could see where this film might have an impact on viewers. I only wish the writers had worked harder on connecting the story in a real way instead of thinking they were writing such a “daring piece.” They might disagree with me and that is okay.
It must be something in the blood or maybe DNA that pushes individuals to explore uncharted areas. I have met some of those people and they are fascinating folk. Listening to their exploits of climbing mountains, backpacking across states, camping and kayaking is somewhat foreign to me. I can climb the type of trail that ends at a gift shop with a restaurant and working restroom; but the idea of trekking through the wilderness and camping makes me shudder. Not that I want to be pampered and taken care of, but my idea of camping is staying at a motel where the sink is not in the same room as the commode and the only place to find a meal is at the fast food restaurant that shares the parking lot with the motel. I will say with all the means we have regarding electronic communications and GPS navigating, exploration is much different now compared to years ago. The idea of people willingly leaving their life behind to stake out new territory boggles my mind. The history books we had in school focused more on the big historical events; I had to imagine what life was really like for those people who traveled across uncharted lands to stake out a foreign place to make as their home. They were referred to as settlers. HAVING settled in the territory west of Iowa Mary Bee Cuddy, played by Hilary Swank (Amelia, Million Dollar Baby), lived an uncommon life; she was an unmarried woman who did her own farming. When no one took up Reverend Alfred Dowd’s, played by John Lithgow (Interstellar, Love is Strange), request to transport three “not in their right mind” women back to Iowa, Mary agreed to do it. The trek would be dangerous for anyone, but to have a single woman do it was even tougher. This film festival nominee was a western drama in the true sense. The reason this drama worked was due to the story staying on a personal level. The characters such as Tommy Lee Jones (Men in Black franchise, Hope Springs) as George Briggs and James Spader (Lincoln, Boston Legal-TV) as Aloysius Duffy came off as real settlers trying to make their way through life in recently established areas. The acting was solid with extra credit going to Tommy Lee since he directed and helped write the screenplay. This movie grew on me the more I thought about it after leaving the theater. Without major battles or massive emotional outbursts for dramatic effect, the story simply showed a real slice of life for those individuals who were brave enough to start a new life in a new place. I not only admired the effort of the people who made this film but the characters that were portrayed in it.