Thursday, August 12, 2010

Attention Vince Vaughn Fans!!! See "Made"

How many people watch a film and say to themselves "I don't even remember that one being out in theaters, but it's great!"?  I've done that from time to time and one of the films I've loved since first watching it is the Jon Favreau directed "Made". Yes, that Jon Favreau.....of "Elf" fame.....oh and he did a couple of little comic book flicks that you may have heard of; "Iron Man" and "Iron Man 2". Ring a bell?

It's nearly impossible to make me uncomfortable watching a comedy, but this one pulls it off. Jon Favreau and his buddy, Vince Vaughn are simply amazing in this movie. Their skills really started to come front and center on "Made". Both had previously been in "Rudy" and "Swingers" together. Favreau pretty much plays it straight and though the story really centers on him and how he handles a world that he is having trouble getting a hold of. The movie is stolen by Vaughn. This is, without any doubt, the best performance he has ever given. Right from the onset, you see he is potentially a character you could like, but every time he has a chance to say or do the right thing, he falters and relies on his want to be a shady character.....or a "made" man. 

The cast is really solid. Besides Favreau and Vaughn, Peter Falk, Sean Combs, and Faizon Love turn in stellar performances. Oh, and lest I forget, Famke Janssen, Sam Rockwell, and Vincent Pastore all are on top of their game as well. Rockwell has two unforgettably uncomfortable scenes with Vaughn, involving a tip, a fish bowl, the comfort level of a hotel room, and where to find women.

Bobby (Favreau) is a part time boxer, construction worker, and muscle for his stripper girlfriend (Janssen). Bobby badly wants to be able to take care of her and her daughter on the up and up. But, after roughing up a guy at a bachelor party, he becomes indebted to local mob boss, Max. Max needs Bobby for a job. Bobby recommends that his friend Ricky (Vaughn) do the job and Max allows Ricky to be involved, so long as Bobby is. You see Max hates Ricky because Ricky "lost" Max's cleaning van and isn't known for his smarts or trustworthiness.  Max really does like Bobby and that's the only reason that he keeps Ricky around doing odd jobs. One scene that is almost fall down funny is Ricky being playfully whipped by an architect at a job site.

The guys have to hop a plane to New York, leaving their L.A. lifestyle behind to make a "drop". The scene between Ricky and the stewardess on the plane is one of the most funny and nerve wrecking 5 minutes in film history.....I don't think I'm over selling it. In New York, the guys meet Driver Jimmy (Pastore), Screech (Dustin Diamond as himself) "Did you just let Screech into the fucking club?!!!", and Ruiz (Combs). Combs is excellent as a mover and shaker and engineer of deals and his side kick Horace (Faizon Love) is a nice punching bag for Ruiz. 

Needless to say, Ricky's antics get Bobby and him into all sorts of miserable situations. Those situations are funny, even though there is potential for anger and violence. Vaughn's character simply exacerbates every situation with his nonsense and want to be a "player". Seriously, if you have not seen this movie and you like Vince Vaughn, then rent it. Or buy it. It's a very solid, well made comedy, that makes you laugh and squirm at the same time. How? I don't know.......Vaughn is just that damn good. 

"The movies are great medicine, thank you Thomas Edison, for giving us the best years of our lives"
The Statler Brothers

My Life; Where I'm At After The Storm

I've spent a lot of time in my life not liking this, that, or the other, and dismissing experiences I could have or should have had. Most of the time, it was from being afraid of going outside of my comfort zone. Sometimes I even disregarded things because so many other people liked those things. I'm hoping that maybe I've turned the corner in that regard. 

I like people much more than I let on. I always try to see the best in a person, especially those who I have a lot of contact with. Of course, there are those nameless faces out in the world that drive me nuts (bad drivers, thoughtless morons, etc), but what are you gonna do? 

Now, I'm not about to start jumping out of airplanes or climbing any mountains, but there are aspects in which I've changed a great deal. I've had my sputters over the past 18 months. I've alienated some people and pissed off others and probably even disappointed some folks. But, that was all on the way to where I'm going. Change, when it's radical and fairly swift, can throw a person off kilter. Trying to understand what I was feeling put me in a position to say some things that were not necessarily how I meant them. The most significant change has been my leaving Christianity behind. I joke about it a lot, because it helps me deal with mourning it. Believing something for so long and then seeing it crumble under the microscope of critical thought and heart felt feelings has been tough at times. It is very much like mourning. 

In my discussions with folks, I have come to find out just how many interpretations there are of Christianity and Islam (among a few other religions). Some believe in hell. Some don't. Some believe in keeping OT values. Some don't. And on and on. It sucks the life out of trying to sort through to the truth. You can put 10 Christians together from 10 different denominations and you'll get 10 different ideas on life and Biblical topics. I'm at a place where I love to discuss religion and belief. Not so much the existence of god or gods. None of us REALLY know the answer to that, do we? But we can sort through religious dogma and come to some sort of agreements as to what is positive and what is negative......or maybe not. So far, as a species, we are not doing very well at it. 

Somehow, I'm much happier in my own skin now. And this will sound weird, but, I no longer fear death. It's inevitable and for the most part, I will not be in control of when and how it happens. We all..............ALL.....must face death. We can either run from it and pretend it's not coming, or we can embrace the idea that this play is going to continue to go on, once our character gets killed off. I've concluded that my life should be about experience, sharing, open mindedness, love, and joy. My love of family comes first and everything else will just have to sort itself out as it comes along. Priorities? Not much. It's hard to have a wish list when there are so many changes happening in our world.

It may or may not be very obvious, but I do partake of the pot. With that, I've pretty much quit drinking. No more liquor buzzes and all that stuff for me. It made me feel bad. It made me feel like someone else was running the show. It led me to deny my true character. Let's be frank. I have no reason to lie to anyone. I used to drink quite a bit. I'm not an alcoholic, but at times I could see how someone could easily fall down into that rabbit hole. The drinking kept me from appreciating my life properly. Religion played a part in that too, because of all the guilt I carried every single time I did something that Jesus would "tsk, tsk" me over. Now, I'm much more apt to take things as they come and try to make the best out of situations, where before I would blow up, hand out blame, and go into a depressive shell. I do battle the depression now and again, but it happens less and less now, and I attribute it to; my wife,not drinking, backing out of religion, feeling better about who I am, letting go of the past, realizing I will not live forever, and using marijuana. I have started weening off of anti-depressants and seeing a counselor. I firmly believe that, for the first time in my life, I am headed in the right direction as a human being.

What does the marijuana do for me, you may ask? Well, for one, it's opened me to up thinking about things differently. I have let my mind out of the box I had it trapped in. I no longer believe our world is black and white. There are simply too many nuances to think that there is always just right and just wrong, without a middle ground. I really like the way it makes me feel when I'm around people. I have more patience. I enjoy the little things more. The simple stuff that I used to push away or take for granted. Now, I'm not talking about getting stoned and/or partying all the time. I'm talking about hitting a little and going about your business. I really can't explain it. To understand how using a little several times a week can change a person, you have to do it. It is what it is, and I really feel that there is nothing for me to be ashamed of or feel guilty about. Anyone who thinks that it has to be a negative for my life should ask my wife or mom. They like me better, and I think some of that comes from my ability to think about my life. Sure, they'd rather that all of this change in me had come without the use of marijuana or losing my religion, but different strokes move different folks.

Here it is......for the longest stretch in my adult life, I can now honestly say the following;

I am happy.

I am happy to be alive.

I am enjoying the life I have carved out for myself and my family. 

I am not locked into any specific, rigid ideology, whether it be societal, political, or religious.

Consciousness has become very important to me. I want to be more aware of the things that go on around me and I want to see things from other points of view. It's the only way to understand the things that we can't figure out from our own point of view. Perspective means a lot. I may write another blog soon on consciousness. 

So, I know that I have kind of left the goofy stuff behind in my writing. It has not gone anywhere, I just have come to realize some things and the change in my life has led me to want to tell the tale. I don't want anyone to think I have abandoned them. My friends are still my friends.....nothing can take away time spent together and experiences we've had. Those were real and valuable. Yes, I'm different. But it was a change that I made for me and nobody else. If I didn't change, I really feel that eventually I would cave in on myself and lose my family and probably my life.

Cheers!!!!    :-)