Comments and Reviews of some of my Favorite Movies

Quentin Tarantino Movies

My favorite writer-director is Quentin Tarantino. He produced more of my all-time favorite movies than anybody else: Pulp Fiction, Inglourious Basterds, Django, Kill Bill, and so many more. I love virtually every single one of his movies. Each of his films comes with a uniqueness and creativity you rarely find elsewhere. His movies are so raw, combining twisted and rich characters, intensely long and original witty dialog virtually never found in other movies, combined with a bizarre plot and ironic twist or ending. His movies tend to be heavily laced with violence, sometimes dark; and yet somehow, even though blood and gore is usually heavily peppered into his art, it comes across as some bizarre righteous and justified form of extreme violence, leaving you rooting for the characters and overlooking their intensely violent side.  Anyway, I would put all of his movies on my list but that just could come across as lazy. His authentic and ingenius dialog he incorporates into his films, where sometimes a single dialog scene can last for up to 20 minutes, is just insanely entertaining, filled with tons of quotable phrases that often turn into pop-culture. His approach to films is vastly different than everyone else, which is why he has earned such a cult following among his fans. And I generally love his unique selection of music which seems perfectly complementary and suited for his movies.

The Deer Hunter

Generally, I love war movies. People either love or hate war movies. Of course, most guys love them for the action and violence. It’s what makes us who we are, and perhaps it helps to quell our testerone rage in a more peaceful way. War is a despicable reality of life, but it’s also one of the most interesting times in mankind’s history. And war can bring out the best in men; and the worst in us. It defines characters and seals them in the eternal limestone of mankind’s legacy.

The best war movies reach deep, beyond just the action and bombs and strategy of war, to reveal the human aspect of who we are, and the 360 view of how war is integrated into our lives and character. My favorite war movie is The Deer Hunter, starring a young Robert De Niro. De Niro has always been one of my favorite actors, always immersing himself deep into the role of any character he plays.

The Deer Hunter is a deep view into the personal human cost of the darkest time in America’s social history during the 20th century – the Vietnam war. The greatest war movies are usually set in the 60’s or 70’s era, during the peak of the Vietnam conflict – because unlike other wars of previous generations, Vietnam left us confused and divided, leaving as many questions as answers about the cost, morality and consciousness of war that would forever be burried deep into the lives of those who would be consumed by it. And as such, they are heavy and burdensome, revealing a true reality removed of the bravado of war and the glory of victory. It’s a sad and deeply moving story about the real cost of war that never gets tallied into the acounting books of government officials, but who’s costs are forever paid by the sacrifices of those who served and are quickly forgotten. But the impacts to those who endure the war linger forever, touching and affecting those around them permanently. Often tragically.

Leaving Las Vegas

This is a very dark movie, an immensly emotional and gripping story about life. Nicolas Cage won an Oscar for Best Actor for his incredible acting in this move. Elisabeth Shue won an Oscar for Best Actress in this movie. After watching this movie you will see why, because the characters are intensely believable and emotionally inviting. We not only can feel and empathize with their characters, but it’s almost as if we are a part of the movie and in their lives. The movies soaks you into the story.

It’s the strangest love story you will ever see in life or in the movies. The movie is about a Hollywood screenwriter who’s completely lost control of his life due to alcoholism, decides to go to Las Vegas and drink his life away – literally. He randomly meets a prostitute one night, played by Elisabeth Shue, who is seductive and incredibly sexy in this movie. Both characters have been on the unfortunate side of life – largely due to their own personal and self-destructive choices in life – so there is always this underlying sense of understanding and deep drive for companionship that brings the two together.

This is without question, one of my favorite movies of all time, despite the fact it is intensely dark and deeply sad. It is so rich and digs deep into our human flaws; highlighting the need for each of us to love and nurture and seek intimate companionship in our lives – regardless of who we are or whatever dark path we’ve chosen in life.

Don’t watch this movie with a judgmental lens, but an empathetic human view, because it’s a moving story about life.

Les Miserables (1998 version)

This is a great movie set in the 1832 timeframe of the French Student Rebellion (not the French Revolution as many believe). It’s based on the classic story Les Misérables published in 1862. At the time of publishing, the book generated more excitement than any book in the history of publishing and was banned by the French government.

The main character, Jean Valjean, is played by a younger Liam Neeson who is just released from prison (before he became super famous and before he was “Taken”). When he tries to rob a bishop who had taken him in out of his generosity, the bishop not only forgives him once he discovers his deed, he gives Jean Valjean the valuable silverware he had stolen. Jean is so moved by this experience he decides to transform his life to doing good. But he is constantly tormented and hunted by his nemesis, a police officer named Javert.

This story is about forgiveness, charity, and the belief that any one of us – no matter how dark our past or what evils we may have done – can become good and change our lives to something positive.

Jean Valjean uses the silverware the bishop gifted him to help finance a factory in a small town where he had become mayor. One of the key characters, Fantine, played by Uma Thurman, was an abandoned child and who works at the factory. She is a tragic character in the story, a single mother, having been the victim of a series of bad circumstances throughout her life, ultimately forcing her to prostitution at one point. When Fantine dies of disease, Jean adopts her daughter Cosette.

The film is a beautiful story about love and hope and life, set against a stirring violent backdrop of a potential revolution and war; it’s in constant conflict of a repentent man who truly wants to lead a better life, being continually haunted and hunted by his nemesis who sees him as nothing more than the worthless criminal he used to be.

Really this story is about our human potential – within each of us – and the challenges of others refusing to see or allow us to change. Even when we escape our own prison walls that keep us confined, sometimes it is the prison bars of others that proves to be the more difficult prison to escape.

It is one of my favorite movies of all time. The message is incredibly positive.

Interstellar

My favorite Sci-Fi movie is probably Interstellar, starring Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway. Although that is a really tough call, because I really love so many of these movies. (By the way, whenever I see Ann Hathaway in a movie, I’m always thinking, Christ she looks just like my ex Tatjana in her younger days, and she reminds me of her constantly). Everyone should watch this movie. Regardless of genre, it is one of the best movies ever – intensely thought provoking, educational (somewhat), visually spectacular, and an insightful peek into humanity. It’s an excellent film all around – the acting, the story, the character development, the suspense and drama, and the special effects.

I watched this film about a month ago. I had heard about this movie last year but never got an opportunity to watch it since I had been traveling abroad so long.  I knew very little about the film, other than everyone had told me it was a great movie and I knew it was some type of space Sci-Fi film.  While watching it, I couldn’t help but to recall many of the things I had discussed in my book in my early February draft release. One of the things I write about in my book is the unique nature of gravity waves as a potential means of communication through the far reaches of space.  I was intrigued when I actually saw this theory being a key part of the plot in the movie (I’d never heard anyone talk about this idea before)!  Overall, I found the scientific ideas in the film to be mostly accurate of our modern understanding of physics, coupled with a lot of great Hollywood dramatization, of course.

The movie also touches on the idea about love as an unknown and mysterious force in this universe.  I found this part interesting and a more direct translation of what I’ve discussed in my book – that love is more than just a word, or merely a chemical/emotional attachment between beings; it’s a mysterious force in this universe that is difficult to explain and describe in our reality.

Gravity is one of the most basic fundamental force. But gravity as a force is unique in many ways.  As I mentioned, gravity waves extend through infinity and can penetrate through any object, which makes it uniquely capable in terms of a communication medium.  Secondly, in theory, gravity waves can be instantaneous without propagation delays, existing simultaneously in space-time.  Einstein did theorize that gravity could bend the space-time continuum and affect our perception and experience of time.  It is clear that gravity – still a mysterious and not fully understood fundamental force in our understanding of physics – has a special relationship with time and space.  So the idea that it could be the thread that weaves together this space-time continuum is indeed a possibility. This is one of the key themes of this movie.

But I found the allusion to the concept of love being a fundamental mysterious force in the universe the most intriguing part of the movie.  In chapter 12: Love, the Eternal Quest, I discuss the fact that I do believe love is more than we understand; that its relationship to our physical universe is unclear, but that I do believe it is something far greater and more powerful than we traditionally think.  (I wrote this prior to seeing this movie). I believe love is the basis of our spirituality and our eternal consciousness.

My personal theory is that gravity is the fundamental force that ties together all the elements of the physic universe, including time.  But the non-physical elements of our universe – such as spirituality and consciousness – is bound together by this invisible force we call love, which is some type of non-physical force in our universe.  That has been my thesis all along that I wrote about throughout my book extensively, but especially in Chapters 11 and 12.  There is indeed something special and powerful about love, it isn’t just a simple emotional force within humanity.

Love is the foundation of our spirituality I believe.  And our eternal consciousness lives and dies by this invisible force of love.  In essence, this has been the entire theme of my book and the primary takeaway I wanted the readers to walk away with: that love is an important eternal element of our universe and our existence; that our consciousness grows or withers with the force of love; that love is the reason for our purpose; that somehow, I believe love ties our entire universe together.  But, in the mountain of pages, I realized, it gets lost in the words.  It took this Interstellar movie to make me realize I needed to be more direct and succinct in my communication of what I believe love is, and why it’s so important for us and our spirituality, and consequently our eternal consciousness.

[I was so moved by this movie that I actually wrote the above pharagraph into an unpublished draft version of my book; then decided ultimately to remove it.]

I’m sure people will scoff at this notion.  But they think of this in completely the wrong way, because they are fixating on this word called “love” and thinking purely from our human motional experience perspective.  Look at it from a universal and scientific point of view.  All of our consciousness will go on for eternity in some form.  What state our consciousness will take on is unknown but I do believe somehow it depends on our cumulative actions.  Love is some form of binding energy force that exists throughout our lives and our universe.  It is far more important in our universe than we believe.

Anyway, this Interstellar movie is definitely worth watching. Even if you don’t want to think about sappy things like love or nerdy things like gravity. It’s still deeply entertainment and just a damn good movie.