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Movie Assessments

Updated on February 8, 2017

La La Land

I am sure that everyone has heard of it, as it has been up for many awards this year. La La Land stars actor and my distant cousin, Ryan Gosling and actress Emma Stone. (I just went to see this movie a second time with my mother. It was her first. I figured she should probably see it, since she is so into watching the Celebrity awards shows.)

La La Land is a love story and musical about a couple, who later has to decide what is more important, "a once-upon-a-time kind of love OR the spotlight." Apparently, in La La Land, "the dream won out."

Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone have worked together before. Crazy, Stupid, Love in 2011, and Gangster Squad in 2013. Now, they go off to La La Land. (I have my boyfriend on the look out for the La La Land soundtrack. He collects the movies, I collect the soundtracks. Aren't we two peas in a pod?)

On a few different talk shows, I have found that Emma Stone enjoys working with Ryan Gosling. They were put together again because the film industry already knew about the chemistry between the two actors. They surely did wow their audience.

A Dog's Purpose

"A Dog's Purpose" shares the soulful and surprising story of a devoted dog who finds his purpose through the lives of the humans he teaches to laugh and love.

“Native Americans believe in reincarnation of people and animals. We believe that the dead can visit this world and that the living can enter the past. We believe that memory survives from generation to generation. Our elders remember the past because they have lived it.”

Therefore, I find that the soul of the dog bouncing from different dogs to remind me of the connection between Native Americans and the wolf, like the quote above. The way that Bailey found Ethan again and got him together with his first love. Dogs really do sense things. Sometimes they really can bring people together.


I'm not ashamed

I did not see this movie in theaters. It was one that my boyfriend decided to add to his collection at my urging.

This is about the true story of Rachel Joy Scott who was killed during the Columbine High School mass shooting on April 20, 1999. The movie was created through Rachel's journal entries through and the insight of her mother.

There is a slight glimpse of when Rachel was about 5 years old. She had a sense of destiny. "One day, she pulled her dresser out, traced her handprint on the back and wrote, "These hands belong to Rachel Joy Scott and will someday touch millions of people's hearts." It was a secret confession, one that her mother only discovered after her death."

Like I myself have, "Rachel also struggles to reconcile her desire to walk with God and the peer pressure to fit in, to find love, and to form deep friendships. The film shows that she isn't perfect and doesn't always make wise decisions. She is a struggling young woman who tries to discover what she believes. Trial and error, just like everyone else. She becomes a person who wants to care for others no matter how they treat her. (Sounds familiar.) "I'm not Ashamed" shows the impact one life can have when someone makes a commitment to be kind and compassionate.

It also touches on the devastation of divorce, as Rachel's father abandons his family early on, leaving her mother to raise five children. Her mother is a devoted, firm and caring mom, character qualities she shares with her second husband.

There are frequent conversations about her faith and voiceovers in telling what Rachel writes in her journal. In one scene Rachel writes: "I don't understand why having a walk with God is so hard for me. I'm so weak. At school. With friends. At work. … I'm not going to miss another opportunity. From now on, when I have those little nudges inside, I'm going to listen."

At another point, Rachel's on the verge of suicide and says to God, "I'm drowning in my own lake of despair. I'm choking. … I'm dying. It isn't suicide. I consider it homicide. The world You have created has led to my death." During this time, Rachel is portrayed like "dead woman walking," like she is headed to the lethal injection room. Which I find that I can definitely relate, even at my own age. For myself, I have come to terms with the fact that the only reason that I am still alive is for my ancestors that are already dead. Therefore, I do the same thing. Just waiting for my lethal injection.

Rachel does an oral presentation in one of her classes about "wanting to start a chain reaction of compassion, and what's behind all of this leads to her faith of being a Christian."

The two Columbine High School gunman that day were influenced by a history class in which the teacher talks about Hitler's worldview: "One of Hitler's central themes in his writing is that it was a Nazi's responsibility to aid evolution by exterminating less-evolved people groups." Now, we hear the talk that Trump is much like Hitler. Which I am sure would disappoint Rachel, who would be about 36 years old today. If you don't know, the shooting at the mosque in Quebec City Canada was done by a Trump worshipper. Yes, those two shooters worshipped Hitler, and the shooter at the mosque in Canada worshipped Trump.

There has to be another way to instill compassion in those people that are for hate and a dictatorship. Why do people make it so wrong to be different? Our differences make us unique. If you don't know someone, you shouldn't form an opinion about them. However, I believe that there will always be something to make some kind of connection. It's just that some people choose not to. Of course, I get if it is for your own sanity that you do not want to get too close. However, you cannot go around hating everyone.

After watching this movie, my boyfriend and I tried to figure out what Rachel would be doing today, if she had lived. She would have certainly been someone that I would have wanted to know. I was out of high school for only 10 years when she was killed. I attended a few presentations at schools due to the high school shooting.

When Rachel Scott was shot, she was outside of the school, talking to someone about the trauma of his parents divorce. They didn't really know each other that well, but she was supportive anyway. Because she had been through it herself.

Maybe that's why I have had lapses in my own judgement when it comes to people. She wanted to see the best in others. I used to be that way. However, some times the best in others can get hidden through experience. Sadly. It becomes untrustworthy to rely on your intuition of seeing the best in people. The generation gap has caught up to us.

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