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Watch This: “Auto Correct”

People are going to get tired of seeing me share about this, but I don’t care. As long as there are people who say they don’t understand this, then I will never be able to let this issue go, or be quiet about it. It’s important that we keep these conversations going. Apparently in a time when there is still so much “grey area”  and victim shaming of sexual assault – it’s necessary. Maybe claiming “not knowing what they’re doing is wrong,” is some people’s way of trying to get out of consequences for their actions. Anytime you have to “convince” someone, situations of coercion, or force them into something they don’t want to do, or just ignore their attempts at refusal, or violate an unconscious person – that isn’t right. There’s no grey about that. As long as there are Brock Turner’s in the world, and judges who refuse to accept that they should hold them accountable for their actions (at the very least) – then the conversations must continue. Sexual assault doesn’t always  involve violence – ripping of clothes, or walking away black and blue (though the psychological and emotional scars are there.) It’s not always a stranger pulling someone into a dark alley, just as often the attacker is someone the victim knows, sometimes even someone they trusted.  There continues to be talk about how women have to come forward in these situations, but have you looked at how they are treated so many times, when they do? Why don’t we talk about respect and boundaries before we get there? Furthermore, no means no. Sex without consent is rape. Period.

I woke up last weekend, and honestly thought it was an April Fool’s Joke that our current president spoke of April as “National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month.” On the WhiteHouse.gov website, the opening paragraph of the proclamation reads: “At the heart of our country is the emphatic belief that every person has unique and infinite value. We dedicate each April to raising awareness about sexual abuse and recommitting ourselves to fighting it. Women, children, and men have inherent dignity that should never be violated.” Nice sentiment and all, but this is coming from a man who has proudly bragged about assaulting women, degrading them, and is completely void of respect. How is that for awareness? It disgusts me what we deal with as a society, the standards that have been set, that people try and find ways to blame victims for what happened to them. (IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT.)

If I sound angry, it’s because I am. Why are conversations continuously steered towards what someone is wearing when they are assaulted? Or if they were drinking? Or if they flirted with someone? Agreeing to go on a date with someone, does not mean you “owe them” sexual favors. None of these are an invitation to have your space and body violated.

It takes a brave person to share their personal experiences, and sometimes through this we realize that more people than you might’ve originally thought, can relate. In an effort to continue educating people, watch this video put together by the It’s On Us campaign that highlights even just how we need to change our conversations about this.

It’s important for victims to know this is never their fault, and they are not alone. If you or a friend needs to talk to someone about this, the National Sexual Assault Hotline # is 1-800-656-HOPE or visit notalone.gov

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Meg Says Watch This “Paper Towns”

o-paper-towns-poster-570Paper Towns is my third favorite John Green novel. (First being The Fault in Our Stars, second Looking for Alaska.) I was raised in central Florida, and a lot of my late teens and into my twenties years of adventures involve Orlando, so I was happy to the sunshine state as a setting for the book. Also, I personally don’t care that people think Margo is a fantasy manic pixie girl – every story does a little better with a spark of mystery, and something alluring to chase (and hey, that chase gives plenty of time for self-discovery.) Also, Nat Wolff did an amazing job in the role of Q. The friendship between Quentin, Radar, and Ben felt really genuine, and provided a lot of comic relief in the film (and some seriously touching moments). Nothing will successfully compare to TFiOS, but I don’t think it’s fair to try and judge these against one another. Paper Towns is a separate story, with a different message, and I don’t think the content is meant to be as heavy. For all of these reasons, I think Paper Towns was a success in the transition from book to screen.  The soundtrack is fantastic, and they didn’t make you feel like you had to read the book in order to keep up with the story (though I highly recommend doing so, anyway!)

Here’s the gist: senior in high school, Quentin, has grown up across the street from Margo in their nice little Orlando neighborhood. In their younger years, they were partners in crime, until popularity sent them on their ways to separate social circles. Q has had a hopelessly devoted crush on Margo all these years. He’s got two best friends Radar and Ben – and they live pretty tame teenage lives, band and video games filling their days, and getting good grades looking forward to college. Margo on the other hand, lives life a little on the wild side. One night, for old times sake, she convinces Q to assist her in a night of wild revenge tactics and escapades all through out town – she’s trying to teach him how to live on the edge. Cautious Q comes out of his shell a bit, and is  as enamored as ever with Margo. Following their night of mayhem, (resulting in some pissed off victims at school), Margo disappears. This leads to Q searching for clues in the pieces she’s left behind, and with Margo’s former best friend Lacey in tow, along with Radar, Ben and Radar’s girlfriend Angela – the crew is on a mission to build some last minute memories as a farewell to high school, and an unforgettable road trip in pursuit of finding Margo. Of course there are some teaching points along the way, and reminders to be true to yourself in whatever capacity that means for you.

This isn’t the kind of movie I would choose to watch over and over again, but if you’re looking for a light-hearted film, with some hearty characters I definitely recommend giving Paper Towns a go.

(Image source.)

 

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Meg Says Watch This: “Homeland”

Thanks to Showtime’s watch this pilot episode for free promo, I was inevitably sucked into the hit drama “Homeland.” A few years ago, I saw a couple episodes at a friends house but it was late and I was tired and it wasn’t the right setting for some addictive binge watching. Once I gave this show the undivided attention it deserves I was irreversibly hooked. I’m not even ashamed to say that in the span of a week I blew through all four seasons, right into the first episode of season five that just aired last week. Wow. Don’t worry – the rest of the country’s obsession with this show wasn’t lost on me, I just didn’t have access at the time to follow along with the incredible journey of CIA agent Carrie Mathison. I recall seeing Claire Danes speech back in 2012 when she won a Golden Globe for best actress in a television series. Obviously, she was the right winner – hands down. There’s so much to be said for this show. Not only is the writing impeccable, the actors carry out this story in a way that makes their characters completely believable, and not just that – they’re lovable. Even the characters that you think you’re not supposed to love, you will. Homeland gives a huge, ballsy, take on society – coverups, mental health, religion – there’s no taboo topic that goes untouched. The team takes on terrorists each season, but it’s not as simple as “getting the bad guys.” There are so many intricacies in these story lines, as the puzzle pieces slowly come together. Just when you think you have something figured out, there’s another plot twist. Or you grow supremely attached to a key character only to have your heart ripped out at the scene of their demise. I was continuously impressed not only with the action scenes building outrageous suspense, but also the opposite – the scenes that relied solely on dialogue. Watching two characters in an interrogation room, staring directly into one another’s eyes, speaking with such conviction, such sincerity and it felt like the minutes passed and you didn’t even blink, holding your breath consuming every word. I’m being intentionally vague here because this was one of the first series I was able to somehow completely avoid spoilers (I don’t know how I managed that one, either!) If you haven’t seen it yet, I want you to be able to be just as surprised by the relentless, heart-pounding, crushing but inspiring episodes as I was.Another pro (as if it needs it) is how this show opens the door for so many discussions especially through the gritty accurate depiction of mental illness. I think a true mark of excellence in a television show is when it can invoke a multitude of emotions in its viewers, and Homeland does this expertly. If you need any more convincing of why you shouldn’t wait any longer to watch this incredible show, here’s a trailer for the pilot episode:

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Watch This: The Theory of Everything

Hi, readers! I know I have been off the blogging wagon for a little while now; (I’ve been more vigilant in my paper journal writing,) but as of recently I have finally viewed several films that are definitely worth sharing about. Today I took myself on a “me date” to the $2 movies to see the matinee of The Theory of Everything As you’re probably aware, last week during the Oscars Ceremony, Eddie Redmayne won the award for Best Actor in a Leading Role, for his portrayal of Stephen Hawking. I admired Redmayne for his craft the moment I saw him on-screen in My Week with Marilyn, (which I blogged about here in 2012,) but after seeing his performance in this film – WOW. The award was definitely well deserved. Both Redmayne and Felicity Jones, who played his wife Jane, gave absolutely outstanding performances.

I’m an emotional film watcher. Actually, I’m just emotional in general. I experience everything to an in intense degree whether it’s film, music, or written material. The Theory of Everything tremendously tugged on my heart strings, though. It was moving, it was inspiring, and it was made in such an incredibly exceptional manner. The cinematography alone is beautiful. I had high expectations for the visuals after the first time I saw a trailer, and I was not let down in the slightest. The film is such a beautiful depiction of struggle and triumph, of unconditional love, of hope of inspiration of living life to the fullest.

The opening scene, and it’s display of the gorgeous Cambridge, England immediately won my heart. The film takes you on the journey of Stephen Hawking’s life as a PhD in physics candidate at Cambridge, where he meets the ever lovely, Jane. He’s quirky and brilliant, and she’s intelligent and beautiful. Not long after their relationship begins, Hawking is diagnosed with a motor-neuron disease. The film follows them on their journey together, the obstacles he faces physical, and what that puts them through emotionally. The story of them building a family, him continuing his passionate endeavors in cosmology, and how the couple grows over the years.

I have to agree with what Eddie Redmayne himself had to say regarding the role:

[he would tackle the part in such a way that] “everything would be connected to everything. Because it is obviously the most extraordinary challenge and responsibility, to be trusted to tell the story of someone’s family, which is also a sensitive and complicated one. And to investigate all these aspects of this iconic human being: the physical, the vocal, the scientific, and then cohere it all in the emotional, because at its heart this is a very unusual love story. Young love, passionate love, family love, love of a subject, but also the failures of love and the boundaries of love.” (How Eddie Redmayne Did It article.)

That is precisely the story – a grand, unusual love story. I was challenged by this film. Challenged about my opinions of enduring love and relationships, and life and hardships and how our trials shape us, and also how the human heart can adapt to life. I was challenged to think about the boundaries of all aspects of life, as well – tangible and philosophical, what our relationships can withstand, the ever expansive possibility in life. This is such a stunningly beautiful film, and it’s driven with soul, and vision, and purpose. This is a splendid telling of the Hawking family’s story. If you haven’t seen the film yet, I highly recommend it!

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Watch This: “Boyhood”

Yesterday afternoon I went to see Boyhood with two of my cousins. It’s Richard Linklater’s latest film. Like Before Sunrise/Sunset/Midnight he’s teamed up with Ethan Hawke (who plays Mason’s father) once again. The coolest concept of this film to me, (which I saw on the Today Show when I was at my parent’s a few weeks ago) is that it was filmed over twelve years. Basically you see all of these people age, on screen. Kids go through their funky phases and different hair cuts. The audiences watches first days of school, moving to new towns, leaving friends, making new friends, watching parents date, the swapping from one house to another with split parents, the experiences of blended families, new careers.Relationships grow and shift and people make good decisions and bad decisions, and mature throughout time. It’s like the circle of life all played out in front of you.

It was really cool to see newcomers in the film too, but then again if you think about it – they’ve been in the business quite some time, it just took a while to be able to see their work. Mason (played by Ellar Coltrane) was only seven years old when they started this project. I was reading the trivia section on IMDB and fun fact: Lorelei Linklater’s daughter plays Mason’s sister, Samantha! It’s almost three hours long, but I definitely didn’t feel like I’d been in the theatre for that long. In other movies like that, I’ve been known to grow restless, or antsy but this one just didn’t have that effect. (And I didn’t even have to miss anything to run to the restroom, which is always a plus.) It’s also kind of like exploring a time capsule of music throughout that time. While the song selections were subtly, they were obviously chosen with careful intention. The film takes place all throughout Texas, namely Houston and Austin (which just struck my wanderlust even stronger to make a trip to Austin.)

I think it’s an interesting depiction of children that have grown up over the past decade or so, as well. However you want to take it, there’s a shift from kids playing outdoors (even if they’re a bit mischievous in their activities of choice,) and then heavy reliance on video games for entertainment, but then there’s also a creative shift, a definite appreciation for nature. I hate to give away too much about films, even though I want to gush over them and convince you to watch them. But it was cool to see how this family evolved over time, changed roles in society, grew closer together, communicated; the snowball effects of their decisions. This isn’t a film I’d necessarily watch several times, but I definitely recommend it for the viewing experience, if anything just because it’s such a genuine depiction of life. It’s a concept like nothing else I’ve seen before. And how exciting that this project was successfully completed! I for one am so glad this came to theaters in Tallahassee, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that even though it was put in one of the smallest viewing rooms, it was packed! (I love when lots of people are interested in exciting films like this.) If you have the opportunity to catch this film, I’d definitely recommend it, and I’d love to hear about your thoughts afterwards!

If you haven’t seen it yet, here’s the trailer. Now go check it out: