March 27, 2015

Follow Your Passion: A Chorus Line (1985)

What is it that you love doing? Could you imagine your life without your passion? Probably not, that's why they call it a passion, right?

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Luckily for us, we don't have to live without our passion. In fact, self-help gurus will tell you that you absolutely shouldn't live without your passion. The reason being that passions feed our soul in an esoteric way; no amount of money or things can fill that void in our lives. Nor should it.

Broadway dancers and singers are some of the best demonstrators of this point that I can think of. Their entire lives revolve around Broadway, rightfully so since it is very much their passion. I guess that's why I love the movie A Chorus Line  (1985) so much, because even before I knew what it was like to be passionate about something, I couldn't help but relate to the performances of the dancers. This movie is a great reminder to us all about how vital it is to follow our passion in life.

In the movie A Chorus Line (1985), which by the way is based on the famous Broadway musical of the same name, a group of dancers try out for a spot in a new production directed by Zach (Michael Douglas). After a successful initial elimination round, Zach's selection of the final dancers proved harder than he anticipated as the audition process continued and he began to learn more about the eclectic group of experienced individuals. While each dancer was talented in their own right and certainly had a unique story to tell, it was ultimately their expression of their passion that won over  the director; leaving him no choice but to chose them all in the end.

Although this musical is entertaining with lots of song and dance, I think it's also a great reminder of a very important lesson in life: to follow your passion. You see, passions are our life blood; they are our go-to for internal solace even when everything external is chaotic. It's all about finding your own personal inner peace and whatever that thing is for you (i.e. your passion), never stop doing it.

March 20, 2015

All Work and No Play Make for a Dull Life: The Wedding Planner (2001)

The Wedding Planner Poster.jpgWhether you study successful people or not, you're probably aware that it takes plenty of hard work and dedication to be successful at something. This makes perfect sense because how else would you or anybody else, like a potential client/customer, know that you're serious about whatever it is that you claim to be good at. The thing is, being so focused often comes with a price: you don't make time for fun very often, if at all, and that is a real shame.

What we all should remember is that when we're so focused on accomplishing goals, we tend to lose sight of what is happening right now, right in front of us. Life passes us by and what's worse is that when you do finally achieve the success you've been working so hard towards, you won't have anyone around you to share it with. There is more to life than work, even if you do enjoy what you do. The movie The Wedding Planner (2001) is a great reminder of the very important lesson: all work and no play make for a dull life.

In the movie The Wedding Planner (2001), a highly successful and sought after wedding planner named Mary (Jennifer Lopez) gets more than she anticipates when she's asked to plan the high society wedding for an heiress, Fran Donolly (Bridget Wilson-Sampras) and her fiance Eddie (Mathew McConaughey). Little did Mary know that Eddie, her new client's fiance, was the same man that saved her life and ended up going on a date with her the night before being formerly introduced to him.  Although Mary claimed to be content with her life, just focusing on her career, she secretly longed for more play. Her chance meeting with Eddie was the perfect reminder that her life was really dull without any play in it.

While this romantic comedy was particularly light-hearted and fun, let us not forget that there is a very important reminder in it about how work isn't everything; even if you love it. We all have to make time for some play in our lives or else we end up losing sight of everything happening right in front us, right now. So, give yourself a break for once and go play. A little fun won't distract you from your goals and besides, work will still be there after you've had your fun.

March 12, 2015

You Create Your Own Luck: The Back-Up Plan (2010)

Have you ever heard that if you see a penny on the ground and it's tails side up (which is bad luck), all you have to do is turn it over so that the heads side (which is good luck) is face up before picking it up off of the ground to change your luck? I don't know if it's something only southern people say or not, but basically the point is that you create your own luck since the heads side is the side that represents good luck.

Newbupp.jpgIt's kind of poignant if you think about. People are always debating about whether or not luck is something you're born with or if you can obtain it somehow, but according to this superstition, you could absolutely create your own luck. I'd like to think that this is true since the thought of it sounds pretty good. So, let's go with that. It's also probably why I like the movie The Back-Up Plan (2010) so much; because the main characters Zoe and Stan truly exemplify what it means to create ones own luck.

In the movie The Back-Up Plan (2010), pet shop proprietor Zoe (Jennifer Lopez) finally meets and falls in love with Mr. Right, Stan (Alex O'Loughlin), after giving up on the idea that he even existed. What makes matters more complicated is that she meets him on the same day that she was successfully artificially inseminated; with twins mind you. And though he was initially intimidated by the idea of being a father to two kids that weren't biologically his, Stan soon came around to the idea after realizing that he too was in a romantic rut and needed to start creating his own luck by seizing the romantic and professional opportunities right in front of him. The same was true for Zoe. Zoe then needed to be open to the idea of getting everything she wanted; just not exactly in the way that she may have always envisioned...it was better.

On the surface, this movie is about having more options or contingency plans, but to me it's about something deeper: acknowledging that we all have the ability to create our own luck. Whether you're feeling unlucky in love, your career or another aspect of your life, it's important to stop and embrace the fact that you can chart a different course for your life at any given moment. So, turn that penny over to the heads side up and then pick it up, because only you can create luck for yourself by seizing opportunities right in front of you right now.

March 4, 2015

Don't Date Jerks: The Jerk Theory (2009)

Why do women date jerks? Seriously, what is the payoff?  Maybe the payoff has something to do with self-esteem or it has to do with the idea that our society tends to make jerks synonymous with success and confidence.

Whatever the reason is it's kind of sad for both men and women when guys behave like jerks because both lose out on the potentiality of something meaningful and maybe even lasting. Even more, women also lose out on being treated with the respect and dignity that they deserve, while nice guys who are treated poorly one too many times just may end up going to the dark side and becoming a jerk as well. See, nobody wins.This is why I like the movie The Jerk Theory (2009), because it's a great reminder to both men and women that jerks are no good for either one of us. Men shouldn't aspire to be one and women definitely shouldn't date them.

In the movie The Jerk Theory (2009), nice guy Adam (Josh Henderson) decides to become a jerk after getting his heart broken by his high school girlfriend of three years. And while Adam is intent on proving that women only like being treated poorly by jerks, he falls for Molly (Jenna Dewan Tatum), who of course doesn't want to date a jerk like her ex-boyfriend and rather prefers a chivalrous guy. Although Adam and Molly find their happy ending, it wasn't without a few bumps on the romantic road; namely their both being tempted by past relationships that ultimately contributed to their relationship perversions.

Although this movie has a high school setting and revolves around high school students, the points are still valid and applicable to all ages. Both men and women should stop and take stock of the fact that jerks aren't good for anyone. Just like in the movie, being a jerk may have been perceived as "fun" initially, but the excitement of being a jerk soon wore off once Adam wanted to be with Molly; a girl who coincidentally was not interested in dating another jerk. You see, Molly found out what most women end up finding out, and that is once you've dated one jerk, you've dated them all. So I say, let's take a cue from Molly and skip to the end of this movie in our own lives where we learn the valuable lesson: don't date jerks. This way, we can spend more time with nice guys who we deserve and who deserve us.