Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Pop Culture Presentation: "Rear Window" and "Disturbia"

My pop culture report is on Rear Window and Disturbia.

Rear Window is a 1954 mystery/suspense film directed by one of the most famous names in film history, Alfred Hitchcock. It stars James Stewart as L.B. Jefferies, a photojournalist confined to his apartment in New York due to breaking his foot while covering a sporting race. Jeffires begins to watch his neighbors conduct their normal activities across a courtyard thought the summer, until be becomes interested in on of his neighbors, Lars Thorwald (played by Raymond Burr) when his bedridden wife suddenly goes missing. His physical therapist, Stella (Thelma Ritter) and his girlfriend, Lisa Fremont (Grace Kelly) at first, condemn Jefferies for spying on the neighbors, but reluctantly begin to watch Lars when he is seen cleaning off a saw and a large knife, leading the three to believe that Thorwald murdered his own wife.

Disturbia, on the other hand, is a 21st century updated version of the classic Hitchcock thriller, directed by D.J. Caruso and stars Shia LeBeouf as troubled teen Kale Brecht serving three-months house arrest for decking his Spanish teacher for bringing up his father's death. Kale is cut off from most electronic devices (iTunes account, XBOX Online gaming account, television in his room) and resorts to watching his neighbors through his room with a pair of binoculars. Much like the character Jeffereis in Rear Window, he begins to grow suspicious of one of his new neighbors, Robert Turner (played by David Morose) when the dent on his classic Ford Mustang match the same police reports of a serial killer's car in Austin, Texas. He enlists the help of his friend, Ronnie (Aaron Yoo) and the new neighbor teen, Ashley (Sarah Roemer) to watch if Mr. Turner is actually the same serial killer from Austin.

Both Rear Window and Disturbia follow the same overall gist of the story:
-Both the lead male protagonists are confined to their homes and resort to spying on their neighbors for entertainment.
-Both become suspicious about one of their neighbors one night and assume that they are murders.
-Both enlist the help of their friends and love interests to help solve the mystery of the suspected neighbors.
-Both suspicious neighbors turn out to be serial killers.

As you may have noticed from the movie posters above, the most obvious difference between Hitchcock's Rear Window and Caruso's Disturbia is generational.
-Rear Window was released in 1954 during the Cold War and at the heights of McCarthyism, perhaps suggesting that ordinary citizens must always remain watchful of their neighbors.
-Distrurbia was released last year, during the growing popularity of social networking sites such as You Tube and Facebook.

Another glaring difference is the target audience.
-When Rear Window was released in 1954, most of the actors (with the exception of Grace Kelly) were in their late 30's to early 50's, perhaps suggesting that the movie's target audience was more toward middle-aged Americans.
-Disturbia, given that the film's star was probably in his early 20's when released, was geared toward a younger audience group, probably high schoolers to young adults.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

And somehow, Obama is considered the elitist

This is interesting.

When you have seven homes, that's a lot of garages to fill. After the fuss over the number of residences owned by the two presidential nominees, NEWSWEEK looked into the candidates' cars. And based on public vehicle-registration records, here's the score. John and Cindy McCain: 13. Barack and Michelle Obama: one.

Let's recap.

Barack Obama - grew up with a white mother from Kansas and a black father from Kenya who was never around; lived off of food stamps during his childhood; had to work his ass off to get to Harvard and served as president of the Harvard Law Review; worked as a community organizer in the southside of Chicago when he could have been working for Wall Street = he's an elitist snob who looks down on Middle America!

John McCain - married to a $100 million booze heirs and owns part of the Arizona Diamondbacks; has seven homes in different time zones, with 13 different types of vehicles; said multiple times that "the principles of our economy are strong" even though this week, Wall Street dipped almost 500 points on Tuesday, then 450 points on Thursday, and had some big banks go down in flames this week as well; have your economic adviser call Americans "a nation of whiners" when the economy's in the tank = a champion of the working class!

It just doesn't make any sense.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Oh crap: A blog about loneliness

It's my 800 lb. gorilla in the room: reminiscing on missed opportunities, what could have been if X and Y happened to me, mentally screaming at myself for being painfully bad in social situations, and feeling trapped inside my own subconscious prison, still trying to find a way out, all the while listening to Coldplay, Death Cab, Radiohead, and the Garden State Soundtrack to try and emotionally numb myself.

Lather, rinse, repeat. A broken cycle of which I don't see any end to.

Maybe it's time that I see a shrink.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Republican 9/11 "Tribute" Video

I knew that the GOP wouldn't go down without a fight in this presidential election, but I never imagined they would stoop to this unimaginable, unthinkable, and revolting low to get John McCain elected. During the final night of the Republican Convention in St. Paul, the RNC put together a 9/11 "tribute" video to honor those who perished and those who risked their lives to save others.

But this was no tribute to those fallen victims, nor was it a tribute to the heroes of that hellish day.

It was noting more than a piece of political and emotional propaganda, stringing together the '79 Iranian Hostage Crisis to show that Iran is part of our global War on Terror, and using the deaths of fellow Americans to make the case that if John McCain isn't elected in 2008, we're all going to be hit by the terrorists again.

Even more appalling than the video itself, was that at the end of the two minutes of hate showing, people actually applauded and broke into a mindless chant of "USA! USA! USA!"

How the heck can anyone in that audience clap for a video that managed to a.) exploit the pain and tragedy of a horrific event to scare Americans into voting for their candidate and b.) imply that Iran is part of the War on Terror to score cheap political points is just amazing.

Here's the video "tribute" along with MSNBC'S Keith Olbermann's response to the tape.

Shame on you GOP.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Shit! It's really been over a month

Since I've posted anything over here? Geez, i've been getting lazy.

Well, there's a couple reasons for the long stretch of time w/out an update:

First reason - I've just started at Southwestern College and so far, it's been an eye-opening experience. Example: you show up late for a class or flat-out don't attend, your ass gets dropped. So far, it's been interesting, and the classes i'm taking (with the exception of Math 20) are filled with interesting conversations someone like me can really get into, which leads me to the classes i'm taking: Intro to Media 101, Political Science 101, Math 20, and English 114.

Second reason - More episodes of depression. There have been days where I could just sit at this screen, ready to write but say 'fuck it' and give up on whatever I was about ready to say. It sucks, but I just have to keep fighting through that shit. There's not much I can do. We all have our down days, we just need to find a way to make it through the day with our heads held high.

Enough about that, though. There's so much I need to get to, so much I missed; hell, even the last week has been both exciting and embarrassing with Obama accepting the nomination in front of 85,000 people, to the desperation of McCain, choosing an unknown governor from Alaska to be his VP and lure Hillary Clinton voters to vote for a woman who stands virtually everything against issues such as climate change, a woman's right to choose, and gay marriage, to name a few, hoping they'll vote out of inconsolable rage over the reality that Hillary lost to the now Democratic nominee for president.

Oh, and football season is almost here, and I for one, can't wait for the Chargers to start playing again!

I'll have more shit to write in the coming days. (Oh, and as a side note: Newshound Off-Topic blogger, the lovely Et, Pb.D and I will be covering the Republican National Convention over at Banned and Dangerous starting tomorrow, so keep your eyes peeled.)