Flashbacks are a controversial device in movies nowadays. I’ve heard a lot of screenwriters be adamantly opposed to them. “They’re a lazy way to relay information,” those against them argue. We’ve all seen movies in which we’re jolted out of a story by a flashback. My take is that they’re useful cinematic devices and not just for giving backstory.
Carol Reed’s “Odd Man Out” is an example of a movie that might not be as well-known as his other two works, “The Third Man” or “Fallen Idol,” but that deserves to be watched and studied for the unique approach that Reed takes to the genre of psychological thriller.
Every new year comes with resolutions, one of the most common being to lose weight or, at the very least, to finally get fit. Sometimes we want to lose weight because of a health scare, but a lot of times we just want to look better. Women are bombarded every day with images of perfection, beauty, youth–ideals that can wreak havoc on our self-esteem. Others rebel against these ideals and refuse to conform to society’s impossible standards by refusing to work out or lose weight, sometimes even if it affects their health. Either stance is problematic because they’re both reactions to external opinions. This new year, I want to suggest an alternative view, one that’s entirely self-driven. Hear me out.
Happy New Year!
I live in NYC where you’re often measured in terms of your accomplishments: books published; awards won; promotions earned; marathons ran, etc. That’s how we often think of personal growth–in terms of the externals. Or maybe that’s how it seems to me because that’s how I was raised and so that’s how I valued myself until recently. The problem with this outlook is that, while it can be tremendously rewarding, sometimes all the work you do does not necessarily garner public recognition. And then what? In this day and age, with Facebook and Twitter, I get the sense that if you don’t talk about what you’re doing, writing, training for, then people get the sense that you’re not doing anything at all. I feel a loss of respect and regard from some quarters and my little ego can get very bruised if I get on that train. I acknowledge that the problem to overcome here is my own proverbial Latin bourgeois fear of “el qué dirán”, what people will think.
I realize that I sound like a grandma for writing this, but recently I realized that, as great as the new TV series are, binge-watching them is making me feel beat-up. Maybe it’s because I’ve had a tough Fall –by which I mean September through October, not that I’ve fallen–, but I can’t watch another show about a serial killer or a tortured detective. Even shows in which nothing violent happens are often written in such a way as to be emotionally disturbing. I binge-watched Transparent over the weekend and while I think it’s truly terrific, I also feel… soiled and tired. Watching people behave horribly and selfishly toward others might be part of being human. It’s reality, I know. But it can also be completely disheartening. Or am I too sensitive?