July 26, 2015

We Are Not Our Parents: Trainwreck (2015)

Have you ever done something one way simply because that's the way your parents did things? Me too. We can't help ourselves, I think. When we see things done a certain way or our parents tell us to do things a certain way, it kind of sticks with us for a while. That is until we make the conscious choice to do things the way we want, the way that reflects our own personal values and whatnot.

Trainwreck poster.jpgLet's say, for example, your parents always wash their car on a Sunday. So, you grow up and do the same thing, often rearranging things on your Sunday just to make time for it. What's more is that when people ask you why you do it, you have no clue. At best, you recall the fact that your parents did the same thing. Even though that was a silly example, the same holds true for more deep seated aspects of our personalities, like how we view the world and others. The thing is, just because we love our parents doesn't mean we have to live our lives exactly like them or believe exactly what they believe. Seriously, would you be prejudice against a group of people simply because your parents were prejudice against that same group of people, even if you felt differently than they do deep down? I know, it's easier said than done, but we ultimately have to live our own lives and learn to think for ourselves or else we'll never live our best lives. The movie Trainwreck (2015) is a great example of the very important life lesson: We are not our parents. And bless their hearts, but nor should we be.

In the movie Trainwreck (2015), writer Amy Townsend (Amy Schumer) has a hard time fully committing to her boyfriend Steven (John Cena) because she can't seem to break free from her father's belief that monogamy is unrealistic. But when Amy gets an assignment for work to interview respected sports doctor Aaron Conners (Bill Hader), and tries to make him another casual conquest, she finally finds someone worthy of her having a relationship with. Someone worthy of her commitment, even if she didn't exactly know how to go about that. Granted there was a setback, as there often is with a learning curve, but in the end Amy found the strength to let go of father's ideology that monogamy is unrealistic and was able to have the type of happiness that she longed for.

Although this movie is a hilarious take on dating, it also serves as a great reminder that we have to think for ourselves, even if that means distancing ourselves from the way our parents may think and behave. Just like Amy in the movie, living out someone else's beliefs (even our own parents) doesn't exactly lead to our own happiness. So, go forth and forge your own path to a happy life, whatever that may look like. And just remember, we are not our parents and that is perfectly fine.  

July 19, 2015

Always Leave Others Better Off For Having Met You: The Best Of Me (2015)

Think about the last time you interacted with someone. Did you seize every opportunity to leave a positive lasting impression?

The Best of Me poster.jpg
Sometimes we're all so caught up in the day-to-day business of our own lives that we don't really notice the people around us. Now, I'm not talking about the fact that they bought the new Apple watch, I mean really notice them as a person, like their mood. Sure, it may seem like yet another thing to do in our day, but honestly how much time does it really take up to say hello to someone, ask them how they're doing, and actually stick around for the answer? Or, if you see someone in need of a helping hand, how much time would it actually take from your day to help them out?

Truthfully, it doesn't take much time to lift someone's spirits. Yet we somehow end up telling ourselves that it does, which then prevents us from engaging with others and potentially leaving a positive lasting impression. If we all reminded ourselves that lifting someone's spirits ultimately reverberates more positivity into the world over, I think we would all probably make more of an effort to do so. The movie The Best Of Me (2015) is a great reminder of the powerful life lesson that we should all take the time so that we always leave others better off for having met us.

In the movie The Best Of Me (2015), oil rig worker Dawson Cole (James Marsden) ends up rekindling with his first and only love, Amanda Collier (Michelle Monaghan), after being forced to reunite upon the death of their mutual friend Tuck (Gerald McRaney). Tuck, who also served as a surrogate father figure for Dawson in his youth, had bequeathed his home to Dawson and Amanda in the hopes of giving them the opportunity to heal old wounds, because that was just the kind of guy he was. And it worked. Tuck's final act as a father figure to Dawson, coupled with the years of love and respect that he showed him, forever changed the trajectory of Dawson's life, helping him to grow into an upstanding man with high morals. Though sadly, he and Amanda couldn't be together, Dawson and Amanda did make peace with one another. In the end, Dawson couldn't escape the wrath of his own father, which ultimately caused his untimely death. But all was not lost, Dawson still had more positivity to reverberate into the world. In his final act of kindness, as an organ donor, Dawson gave his long time love Amanda's son his heart in a much-needed transplant after the teenager was badly injured in a car accident. 

While this story is obviously a sweet romantic drama that is surely to make you weep, it also serves as a great reminder that we should all never pass up an opportunity to leave a positive lasting impression on others. Like Dawson in the movie, and Tuck as well, they seized every opportunity that presented itself to be there for somebody else and do something that would reverberate more positivity into the world. Seriously, can you think of a better way to leave a positive lasting impression than to give your heart to someone? I know I can't. So, go forth and remember to always leave others better off for having met you. Let's make the world a better place, one interaction at a time.

July 3, 2015

Live Every Day Like It's Your Last: The Fault In Our Stars (2014)

Why is it that when most of us are reminded about the fragility of life it makes us appreciate life so much more? Maybe it's because deep down we already know this to be true, we just have a hard time reconciling it on a day-to-day basis because of everything else we have going on. Goings on that we no doubt needn't allow to take up a lot of space in our lives much less control them. Am I right?

Movie poster featuring Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort in character
Image Credit: Wikipedia
Whether you've lost someone close to you or know someone who has, chances are you've had a moment where you thought about your own mortality. You may have even thought about what you would do differently if you knew when it would all come to an end. But the thing is, most of us don't know when it will all come to an end, which is why we really don't have the luxury of wasting a lot of time, if any at all. I think that's why when we see someone who is more in touch with or aware of their mortality, it serves as a huge reminder that we've been spending too much time on the stuff that doesn't fulfill us or make us happy and too little time on the stuff that does. The movie The Fault in Our Stars (2014) is a great reminder that none of us really have time to waste, which is why we should all live every day like it's our last.

In the movie The Fault in Our Stars (2014),  the world of a terminally ill teenager named Hazel Grace Lancaster (Shailene Woodley) gets turned upside down, for the better, when she meets and reluctantly falls in love with another terminally ill teenager named Augustus Waters (Ansel Elgort). Augustus is exactly what Hazel Grace needs, someone who helps her to open up and enjoy the time she does still have. Although Hazel Grace and Augustus were pretty much smitten from the first moment they laid eyes on each other, Hazel Grace tried to hold back on her feelings out of fear of getting too attached to someone while being terminally ill. Eventually, Hazel Grace couldn't deny her connection with Augustus, even if she wanted to, and the inseparable couple forged a loving bond that transcended the ages and time, in a manner of speaking.

While this movie is an obvious home-run comedy-drama that just so happens to involve two terminally ill teenagers, it also serves as a reminder that we should all live every day like it's our last, doing whatever makes us happy and fulfilled. Like Hazel Grace and Augustus, we shouldn't allow our current circumstances to dictate what we can and cannot do with whomever we want. Being sick is not a death sentence, but not being happy is. So, stop wasting time you don't have on things (and people) that don't really bring you a true sense of happiness. I will if you will.