The Iron Giant

The Iron Giant is from genius writer/director Brad Bird. Based on a novel called “The Metal Man” or something like that.

Brad Bird was making the film WHILE WB was shutting down the Animation division, which is one reason the marketting of the movie stank. You can see why Pixar hired Brad Bird (The Incredibles). It’s a shame that this movie came out the same year as Toy Story 2. It made only $23,159,305 compared with TS2’s $245,852,179.

When I got the DVD, I got it only because of word-of-mouth, and nothing else to back it up. I ended up watching it 5 times in the first week. This was last summer. I have the Special Edition on Pre-Order.

The film, being about a boy that is a latch-key kid named Hogarth with an amazing imagination, has more heart than most Disney Animation that I have seen. You meet Dean, a cool cat with a taste for art that is also a gentleman. Hogarth’s mother is well portrayed in the film as a single mother. Set in the time before the cold war, there is an innocence to this movie that is refreshing. Every scene in it feels very real, even though it is animated. The characters, the dialogue, the voice acting, all together mold into a film that really works. Seeing this as a live action story would be really interesting, and with today’s effects, could work. Not sure if it would have the same effect, however.

When it comes to the messages present in the film, we see honesty and friendship, trust and courage prevail throughout the story. We see values and love, and loyalty. The way the characters all interact with each other, helping each other out, and being there for each other, even when they hardly know each other. You can honestly see the points where the characters begin to like each other.

There is also the villain of the story that isn’t your typical villain. Probably why this was hard to promote. He’s a government agent, hot on the trail of the Iron Giant. Even though he’s an archetypical character villain, there is really nothing very sinister about him. He honestly wants to help the US. He’s trying so hard though, that he loses his mind about it, and goes too far. His decision effects the end of the movie in a way that makes us realize that we want to see these characters prevail. That we want them to survive. And then we were reminded of things introduced throughout the movie. And reminded of the good times that they all had together. That it’s okay to be like a kid, to have dreams. That killing people is bad, and what love is. And that an act of self-sacrifice is the greatest thing you can do for a friend. Laying down your life.

It’s really incredible that all of that comes across in less than an hour and a half, but it does with a simple and even handed look into the simple life of being a kid, and all of the things that kids can do, that are so difficult with the weight of being an adult.

Garden State

Warning. I spoil a lot of the movie here, but that’s only because this is a collection of my thoughts on the movie a few hours after letting it sink in and after only one viewing.

I could see that this movie was one that was different tham most other movies. It’s pretty random at times and has some questionable content. However, when it comes down to what it was all about, I think perhaps a second or third viewing will clear things up.

What this movie, I think, is for, is people in their 20s, and I found this to be different from most other movies that I’ve seen. It’s definitely the only movie I have ever seen that was supposed to be that way. It’s about finding your path in life, and learning to make the next step.

Here’s an excerpt from Zach Braff’s Blog about Garden State:

«First and foremost I always hoped people would have a good laugh and hopefully empathize with the characters. But the fact that so many of you are relating to the themes and subject matter is so comforting to me, because for many years when I was feeling all these feelings, I felt incredibly alone; I couldn’t find many people who were “in it”… going through the mental puberty that your twenties can be. – (Or any time of your life that involves feeling long overdue for the next chapter of your life to begin.)

When I wrote Garden State, I was completely depressed, waiting tables and lonesome as I’ve ever been in my life. The script was a way for me to articulate what I was feeling; alone, isolated, “a dime a dozen” and homesick for a place that didn’t even exist. I guess one of the cool things about the success of Garden State is that those of you out there who are “in it” and feeling all these things, can take comfort in the fact that there are so many people commenting on this blog (including me) that can relate. And as lonely as you ever feel, you are not alone.»

A guy in his twenties, on prescription drugs because of something he accidentally did when he was nine, going home to find his friends haven’t changed. They’re still partying like they probably did in high school and college, and he seems to be on the outside of it, watching from outside of himself, and all of this movement is happening around him. He’s realizing that a lot of these people are wasting their lives away. He’s been on drugs his whole life, and none of the drug use at the party really seems to effect him. He seems bored by it.

As the movie goes on, we learn about his life, piece by piece. The things that he missed out on, and things that he’s been through, and with each new revelation, we learn that there are many things that we have to be thankful for in our own lives. That life has it’s hardships. And that life finds a way to move on through it all.

It took meeting someone else with problems for him to realize that he was not alone with his problems. He also had one friend bring him on a journey to get one small thing. At least to me, that showed that this one friend knows what is important to him, and will be there for him. This is the friend that will probably either be the first to really grow up, or is more grown up than he lets on, and is satisfied with his life at this point.

The girl that he meets is confused about the world, she’s a pathelogical liar, and I guess she feels like she’s got some control over what people think about her when she makes stuff up. She claims that she doesn’t believe in God, but being a pathelogical liar, we don’t know when she is lying and when she isn’t.

The movie had a lot of good lines in it, and is basically, like Joe said, about finding where you fit in, and taking some control of yourself. The lead character is Jewish, but doesn’t practice it. He also found himself numb to the world because of the prescription drugs. It was only after he stopped taking them, that he realized that there was nothing wrong with him. He also hadn’t cried in about 15 years, and when all is said and done, he finds a piece of what really matters in life. That one thing that conquers all. Something that’s been a part of most or all of the biggest or best movies this year. It’s a part of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and The Village. Spider-Man 2 and, of course, The Passion of the Christ. He finds love. And while everything else in his life is going insane, that is the first sane decision in what we can only hope is the first in a series of great decisions and changes.

The music that plays over the final scenes is “Let Go” by Frou Frou. What it’s telling us about his decision is that he’s letting go of what is holding him back, and jumping in full throttle into the future. He’s accepting what life is giving him because he knows that is all that he’s got. So why not?

And the shot of the three major characters yelling into a chasm just shows that sometimes it’s good to yell, that you need to scream to let go of a lot of tension sometimes. I don’t know where I was going to go with this, the words seemed to escape me. See the poster with this image here: http://www.sweetpaul.com/movies/2004/gardenstate.php

All in all, I’ll probably buy it because it’s quirky and different. For the same reason that I’m getting “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.”

Maybe it isn’t top ten material but it might end up on my top ten for 2004, based on what I have and will be seeing this year.

The Journey to Finding God’s Will

I wrote this for my friend Amy in her Xanga, but thought I should also post it here.

The Journey to God and finding His Will for your life begins with you. I recently heard something that I feel can help you find out where God wants you to be. What are your talents, your gifts that God has graced you with? List all of those. Then ask yourself what you love to do, what is it that brings you joy, like pure, absolute joy. The kind of fun that you know God is showing you and blessing you with. Write those down. Now take a look at that list, and write down all of the things that you could do to acheive a melody of both. The music that the talents and joys will bring is magnificent indeed, as it becomes clearer and the harmony mixes together and molds itself in layers that, when separate, were played very beautifully, almost like you don’t want to hear them mixed with another sound. But when they are mingled together, they create something so beautiful and profound that you cannot stop listening. Then you go in that direction.

“I’m getting into You, because You got to me in a way words can’t describe.
I’m getting into You, because I’ve got to be. You’re essential to survive.
I’m going to love You with my life.”

He said “I love you and that’s what you are getting yourself into”

-Relient K, Getting into You

Nothing can change Your love
It’s mine forever
Nothing can steal my heart
It’s Yours forever

Touched by Your hand of grace
My heart is won, my heart is won
and Angels did celebrate
Just for this One

We’ll be the best of friends forever
and I’ll die to live with You forever
Nothing in this world could ever keep me
from loving You forever, forever here with You

-Sarah Kelly, Forever

Just set aside five minutes every day at the exact same time. Say, right when you wake up, no matter what, the first thing you do is look at the clock or set an alarm of some type, for 5 minutes. Pick up your Bible, and open it up and read it. Meditate on it. Perhaps use this site: http://www.presentationministries.com/obob/obob.asp
You can pick up the “One Bread, One Body” books at most Churches. They are meditations on the daily readings. The more you do this, the more clearly you’ll be able to hear God’s voice calling you. It may not be like Moses’ Burning Bush, but God still talks to people like that. The trick is to listen. He won’t put you where you’ll be unhappy. That’s what faith is. And that’s why faith is so beautiful.

Song: Let Go

Artist: Frou Frou

Drink up baby down
Are you in or are you out?
Leave your things behind
‘Cause it’s all going off without you
Excuse me too busy you’re writing a tragedy
These mess-ups
You bubble-wrap
When you’ve no idea what you’re like

So, let go
Jump in
Oh well, what you waiting for?
It’s all right
‘Cause there’s beauty in the breakdown
So, let go
Just get in
Oh, it’s so amazing here
It’s all right
‘Cause there’s beauty in the breakdown

It gains the more it gives
And then advances with the form
So, honey, back for more
Can’t you see that all the stuff’s essential?
Such boundless pleasure
We’ve no time for later
Now you can wait
You roll your eyes
We’ve twenty seconds to comply

So, let go
Jump in
Oh well, what you waiting for?
It’s all right
‘Cause there’s beauty in the breakdown
So, let go
Just get in
Oh, it’s so amazing here
It’s all right
‘Cause there’s beauty in the breakdown

M. Night’s The Village

He’s done everything else in the horror/thriller genre.

Ghosts
Super-Heroes
Aliens
Mythical Creatures

So…..what’s next for M. Night?

The answer, of course, is Hippies.

Read my review of The Village:

http://sweetpaul.com/movies/2004/thevillage.php