The Descendants: Oscar worthy or just another rainy day film?

During one of my very few attempts to step away from my computer, my job, and my apartment, I decided to go to the movies. For those of you who actually follow this blog, I guess I will say my dating fast is over (it was peaceful while it lasted), and I went on a date (or something like a date I guess) to the movies. My outing led me to view The Descendants with George Clooney. Overall I would give the move 2.5 out of 5 stars. I must say the previews of the movie were appealing, the actual movie…umm could have been better. To my surprise other people actually loved this movie. Important people loved this movie. It was the rave at the Golden Globes, and George Clooney received an Oscar nomination for Best Actor, while the movie received a nomination for best picture.  Wow, who would have thought. I must say that Shailene Woodley had an excellent performance, I hope to see her in future films.  My recommendation: It would be an excellent Netflix film (if you are bored and have a quick 2 hours to waste).

What fascinated me about The Descendants was that the movie takes place and was actually filmed in Hawaii. It is always amazing to see Hawaii on the big screen. To know that I can go outside my door and bear witness to the full beauty of Hawaii is always an added perk of living on the island.  While other movie goers may dream of living here to experience the serene atmosphere and ocean waves, I have the pleasure of living in that world daily.

The Descendants is based on the novel by Kaui Hart Hemmings, a writer who actually grew up in Hawaii. I can probably imagine as in all novels turned movies, the novel is probably much better. The overall story was one that had a good balance of the struggles of the Hawaii of the past to the Hawaii of the present. While explaining the current struggles of Geoge Clooney’s character and the breakdown of his immediate family life,  a touch of native Hawaiian history was thrown in to add an increased dynamic to spice up the overall dullness of the movie.

While the movie had good intentions, I felt something was missing, well a lot was missing. I kept waiting for that climatic moment that would bring out heartfelt emotion. It never came.  Since I haven’t read the book, I can only blame it on the Hollywood effect. To live in Hawaii, has greater raised my understanding of Hawaii and the struggles that native Hawaiians have faced in times of industrialization. Not to be misunderstood, Hawaii is a great place to live, however everyday is not a walk on the beach. One of my favorite lines from the movie was during the initial narrative recited by George Clooney’s character as we are introduced to him. He is explaining that everyone on the mainland thinks it is great that he lives in paradise. The narrative ends with  “I think paradise can go fuck itself”. In essence that one line was the most realistic line of the whole movie, maybe because I have heard that exact same thing from a few of my clients, and some days I can relate to that exact same feeling. While to the outside world, Hawaii is all sun, Hula, and Mai Tai’s, to some of the people who live here island life can be a daily form of torture and devastation.

When Hollywood makes movies, of course they make them for the glitz and glam. A movie made in Hawaii may also be considered propaganda for tourism. The island must look like a place where people would love to come visit and spend lots of money. That part I get.  What was missing was the local style, and the local people. Hawaii is an extremely diverse state, yet diversity was greatly lacking from this movie. Again I will blame the Hollywood effect, often movies are one dimensional with a lack in diversity.

So does George Clooney deserve an Oscar for The Descendants? I would say no. I will give him credit his performance was good, but I have seen him and others do much better. The Decendants came off as simple. It was a simple movie, with an attempt to incorporate a complex story line. Not the best of movies to watch (even if you are bored for two hours). Should it get the Oscar for Best Picture? Definently not. I am not sure what the criteria is for a Best Picture winner, but I am sure this movie does not meet the critera.

Maybe I am judging The Descendants too harshly, hey who am I anyway, my opinion doesn’t really matter. But what do you think? If you have seen The Descendants do you think that it is an Oscar worthy film?

Positive thoughts, positive energy, positive experiences

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Friendzone: Is it really as bad as it sounds?

Honolulu from Diamond Head.
Image via Wikipedia

Quick life update: In 2012 I have returned to dating.

One thing Hawaii is not lacking is available men to date. Now as for high quality available men,  that is a different story. This is one situation where quantity is not better than quality. However I must deal with it, roll with the punches, and perhaps one day a true high quality man will enter into my existence. As for now, well back to the dating scene.

Dating is a tricky situation at times. I am obviously not going to have a connection with everyone I date. However, sometimes even if there is no possible chance of having a love connection, I would like to think that I can at least make a new friend from the situation. Can men and women ever just be friends, or does that notion leave universal existence after we graduate from elementary school?

I hear it a lot from my male friends that no guy ever wants to be friendzoned. Yet, I have met many of my male friends in my adult life, and we have successfully managed to have a platonic relationship up until this point (well with most of them at least). Men usually tell me that no girl is really just a friend, they are just waiting for that  one opportunity to hook up. They sit back and wait patiently,  play the friendship role, but if the opportunity is there to cross the line, then they are ready to jump. It becomes hard to have friends of the opposite sex if all they are waiting for is that one lonely moment where you will hook up.

Well I learned that lesson this past weekend. During one of my past adventures in the world of online dating , I met a man who I knew we would not work in a relationship, however he would better fit in my life as a friend. We hung out a few times, and never hooked up.  There were no hidden messages as we were truly just friends. Or so I thought. See,  I am as transparent as possible when it comes to dating, so I informed him that we will only be friends and I’ll show him fun things around the island.  I am always ready to make a new friend, and he agreed to the situation that presented itself at the start of our friendship.  Over the next few weeks, we went out sparingly and he would tell me about females that he was dating, I gave him relationship advice. I had no problem with that, that’s what friends do, discuss everything including relationships right? I was under the impression that we would just continue to be friends, apparently he was under the impression that we would eventually have more than friendship. What went wrong here?

On New Year’s Eve we went to a party in Honolulu. As he began to drink the questions started to come out. The questions, such as why was I single? I answered as honestly as possible. “Since I am dating for a relationship that will eventually lead to marriage, I have high standards for the men I date. I know what type of man I want, and I just have not met him yet. ” He was offended by that response. To me it was nothing against him, it was the truth. Apparently he felt like he was not good enough for me. He was only good enough to be in the friendzone.

I made a horrible attempt to explain to him that I want and need a man in my life who is stable, secure in life, strong in his career. Someone who already has the basics of what he wants, and is now working on ways to move forward. Someone who has accomplished goals, and has the determination to keep going. Not to say to him that he won’t be that man, however he is not there right now. He is just not the right man for me. He is a friend.

When I put him in the friendzone, I left him to question his own inadequacy in relationships.  I may have tested his manhood. I made him question why he was not good enough. Though that was not my intention, those were the results. I felt guilty. I will take the blame, because perhaps I did lead him on by allowing him to enter my life as a friend knowing I would never want anything more. What happens next is up to him. I will still be a friend if he is willing to remain in that zone. If he wants to end communication with me, then I will understand that also. Adult life is so much more complicated than elementary school. Is it ever possible for men and women to just remain in the friendzone?

Positive thoughts, positive energy, positive experiences!

What does Christmas mean to you?

Merry Christmas!

Christmas is coming to an end in Hawaii, on the east coast Christmas day is now a memory.  So I must end the night by saying a Very Merry Christmas to all.

I hope the day was celebrated and enjoyed by all. I hope we all remember the reason for the celebration of Christmas, and gave a very special shout out to Jesus for the celebration of his birth.  God has blessed us all, so lets celebrate life, blessings, and the spirit of the season for the next 365 days.

I spent Christmas in Hawaii. While I was in Waikiki, I sat at Starbucks for a short period of time. As as looked outside the window, I noticed a garbage can outside the front door of Starbucks. In a span of about 5 minutes I watched two different men look in the garbage in search of  food. One man found a box of Burger King chicken strips and ate what was left in the box. To him that was his Christmas.

I began to think. Today is Christmas, while some people woke up worried about gifts that were under the tree, other people woke up worried about where they were going to get a meal from today. Some kids were excited to get toys, while other kids were excited just to get food, and a warm place to sleep. While some people were complaining about spending time with family, other people were wishing that they had family to spend the day with. This is Christmas.

For everyone who celebrates Christmas it has a different meaning. Whatever your meaning is, lets not forget why it should be celebrated, and what the true meaning is.  Stuff can be bought any day of the year, we do not need to designate a day to give gifts. Lets celebrate Christmas with purpose, celebrate the gift of Jesus, the gift of life.

Hope you enjoyed your day! Merry Christmas! Happy New Year!

Positive thoughts, Positive energy, Positive experiences

Life Happens: Be ready for the changes

Life happens quick, watch out for the changes.

In a week 2011 will be over. What the heck happened to the last 365 days? I am having a hard time grasping the fact that it is already December 24, 2011. I feel like I missed something. Maybe an entire year of life.

I  feel as if  I grew a lot this year. Even though I did not have any major life changing accomplishments in 2011, I feel vastly different from this time last year. Recently, I have had an immense feeling of excitement, and inspiration. Normally I would blame that feeling on the super large amount of caffeine I intake each day, or  possibly a sudden passing moment of mania because I have labeled myself as having bipolar moments every so often. But no, this time the excitement is different. I feel like I am ready for what’s next. Does that mean I am ready for 2012? Maybe. As with every year-end we often say, “next year is going to be my year”.  Or the cliched, “next year is going to different”.  I am not hoping for so much to change, however, I have a feeling that 2012 will be my breakout year.

In therapy, we often talk about stages of change with clients while doing motivational interviewing.  The stages go from  pre-contemplation, to contemplation, to preparation, to action, to maintenance, to relapse (well its an addiction counseling modeling actually, hence the relapse), but I always think that the concept of the model can be translated to any change in life. Over the past few years I have been going through my cycle of change, and I would say from 2010-2011 I moved from contemplation to preparation (everything before that was pre-contemplation). In 2012 I will be ready for action. I am ready to act on the ideas that have been processing in my mind, follow my path, and show the world my purpose. Does this sound a little manic? Well yeah maybe, but if you are going to have a dream, be sure to make that dream big.

Even though I did little in 2011, I grew a lot. It’s funny because when I think about the last three years since I have been in Hawaii, I feel like I grew up more than I have in my entire life. Excuse me while I sound a bit cheesy, but I have truly gained understanding and clarity. With insight comes a sense of peace, and life will be just fine. Everyone I have met has had an impact on my life, and I am finally starting to realize why I needed to be where I am, why I needed to meet the people who have entered my life, and what I am capable of doing next. The future used to scare me, now I wake up excited to enjoy the present.  No one can predict life, it is filled with uncertainty. The uncertainty makes it all the more interesting.

Normally I would end the year by feeling sad that another year has passed me by, I would want time to slow down. I will end 2011 with acceptance that the year is coming to a close, grateful for all that I have learned, and excited that I am fully prepared for whatever may come my way.

Life changes quick, be prepared for the changes.

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year!

Positive thoughts, positive energy, positive experiences

Say hello to another Hawaiian winter

Cover of "Winter is"
Cover of Winter is

Today was the first day of winter. Well, it doesn’t really feel like winter in Hawaii, but it is a bit chilly. Yes chilly, to tell you the truth I am just cold.  There is daily fall like breezes (tradewinds), daily rain,  and for some reason it is cold and flu season. Really, I have had a cold (or the flu) for the past week. Apparently there is something going around, I wonder where it came from. To have a cold in Hawaii anytime of year is like getting a cold in New York during the middle of July. It is a bit unnatural.  I know colds come from germs, not from the weather itself, but it does suck to have a cold while the sun is shining, you are dressed in summer attire, and the ocean is calling for you to jump in.

I have tried to explain the concept of winter in Hawaii to my mainland friends. They don’t seem to understand. But I think I finally have an understanding of seasons in Hawaii. The season change is just a little less subtle than the mainland. No the weather does not get down to 30 degrees, but when it gets down to 70 degrees that is cold. I have “Hawaiian blood” now. I get yelled at by my friends on the east coast when I tell them that I drive at night with the heat on in my car. Unfortunately my apartment does not have heat, so to stay warm at home I put on a sweater.

Fortunately, I am not the only one who feels the effect of an Hawaiian winter, last week one of my co workers had on a turtleneck. I did not realize that locals owned turtlenecks in Hawaii.  I am disappointed that I left my winter wardrobe in New York, I could wear my turtlenecks and winter boots (ok maybe I wouldn’t go that far). However, it is nice to know that other people are cold, and I am not just a weird east coast girl who does not understand tropical weather.

My Hawaiian winter is rather interesting. I can still go to the beach in the winter. Hopefully I feel better soon so I can go into the ocean.  The sun goes down early, and the mornings are rather chilly. So even though there is beach time, it gets cut down in the winter.

There is no snow on Oahu. I miss snow. I want to wear a nice puffy coat, with  a sweater dress. Well, not really, but it was a cute outfit. I like that I don’t have to run to my car because it is freezing outside. I love that I don’t have to heat up my car before I drive it. It is so nice that my care is ready to drive all winter. No icy windows,  no sliding on the roads. Actually I think I am starting to like my Hawaiian winter more and more. Forget snow. Snow is cold, and messy, pretty to look at though.

I miss Rockefeller center. I miss the coldness of central park in the winter. It is something about the smell of winter in New York that truly makes it feel like winter. Nothing like watching your cold breath come out of your mouth, and shivering as you walk down the street.  Ice Skating in Hawaii is not the same. Who comes to Hawaii to ice skate? I guess I need to make a quick trip to New York to get my winter fix, then return to the island. I was never a fan of freezing cold weather, and now I

hate it even more. The beauty of winter is nice from afar, but to have daily sunshine and 70 degree weather makes Hawaii a nice place to actually spend winter.

 

Positive thoughts, positive energy, positive experiences

5 reasons why I would make a horrible military wife

In the next few weeks many of our troops will be returning home from the war in Iraq. In Hawaii many military wives are anxiously waiting the return of their beloved husbands. What a great feeling it is to have those who so proudly serve our country return home to their families.

Before moving to Hawaii, I had never dated anyone in the military. In Hawaii all I seem to meet are men that are in one branch of the military are another. At least 8 out of every 10 single men are either in the military or have been in the military at some point in their life. During my time here I have had a lot of experience dating men in the military, and I have come to the conclusion that I would make a really crappy military wife. That lifestyle is just not for me. For the women who are military wives, I commend them. They are strong women. Women who have to be able to deal with a lot on a daily basis. A military wife is no ordinary wife, a military wife takes on a lot more. Military wives take the duties of a wife to a whole new level. A level that I don’t think I will ever be ready for. Not only is she married to her husband, she is also married to the military.

I have thought about it long and hard. I have pondered over what type of wife I would be. I think I would be a pretty good wife actually. But I know I would be a horrible military wife. And here is why:

5 reasons why I am not military wife material

1. I hate sleeping alone at night: One guy I dated told me that he had trouble finding a girlfriend because he is never around long enough. He said that he would have to be with someone who is ok with him not being available. Due to deployments, or trainings, your husband is likely to be gone a lot of the time. I don’t intend to get married to sleep alone at night. So the idea of my husband going on a year long deployment…not only would I have anxiety over his safety, it just gets lonely after a while. Who gets married to be by themselves? Not for me.

2. When the military tells you, you pick up and move: I really don’t like people telling me where I have to live. Yes I am a free spirit. I love to travel. Obviously,  I have no problem moving where I know virtually no one.  However, I like to do things by choice. I don’t appreciate when people force me to do something or go somewhere. So because I am such a free spirit, I think I will only be happy moving to destinations where I choose I want to live.

3. Those damn secrets: The stuff you don’t know because of security measures. Yeah I know national security blah blah blah. I hate secretes and I need to know what is going on. It’s not that I wouldn’t trust my husband,  I like to know what is going on in his life. Lets talk and share information.

4. The family toll on deployments: I want my children to know their father, and I want their father to know his children. Deployments are hard on children. I work with children. If one parent is in and out of their lives, it can be disruptive to the family unit. When it is broken apart, you have to then spend time putting it back together. I want to have a consistent household. I want a husband who is part of every minute of his child’s life as possible. From walking, talking, to the first day of school.

5. Your supposed to connect to other military wives: I dont’ want to make false friends with other military wives. What if I don’t like them, am I just free not to like them?

 

 

Positive thoughts, positive energy, positive experiences