Friday, 27 March 2009

Shallowness of Youth

"The movie is in black and white."
"It's old."
"The movie isn't in English."

My Art Appreciation class (a non-majors course) recently watched a 1960s landmark movie, "Yojimbo" (The Bodyguard), and when we were asked what we liked or disliked about the movie, there were a lot of students who disliked it. Alright, fair enough. However, their reasons are nothing short of appalling, and the three worst are mentioned above.

When an art form, be it a painting, a choreography, a musical piece, or a film is criticized, one would expect the criticism to have a valid and intellectual 'why'. Alas, the obviously deficient critical thinking and intellectual capacities of a lot of my classmates are made apparent when they use reasons such as those mentioned above. A landmark movie disliked because it is in black and white?? That is just so disgustingly dumb that I had to say the following in class:

"I think that when a critic - be it a student or a scholar - criticizes an art form based solely on its superficial and cosmetic characteristics, that said critic proudly displays his arrogance in his lack of information and knowledge. I also think that such a response lacks in basic critical thinking skills, and showcases the wasted education this university has been trying to impart on said critic. In other words, said critic is ignorant and possibly possessing an IQ of just two digits."

After the rather awkward silence, my point was - thankfully - further supported by several of my classmates and the lecturer.

This brings me to a food-for-thought: Are movies nowadays that dumb? I am inclined to nod at that statement. Many movies nowadays are shown and produced for mere financial reasons. Gone are the culturally and socially inspiring films that made movies such as Casablanca and The Godfather legends. Now, we are bombarded with ape-intelligence level movies, like the spoofs that seem to come out every year. Seriously, bring back the awesome films that are actually worth watching.

I have to admit, I am a movie buff. I watch at least 1-5 movies a week (in the cinema when I have extra money, or at home. God bless the Internet), and when I read reviews, I just really wonder, do people really rate movies this way? A lot of people nowadays just rate a movie whether 'it was okay', or 'it was interesting'. But WHY did they say those? The answer escapes me. Are the thought capabilities of today's generation relegated to 'okay' answers? Where has all the intellect gone to? This is a sad case, and I for one refuse to fall into this pit of dire stupidity.

The youths and young men and women who feed on movies need to move away from the shallowness. All of us need to THINK. To think critically, and engage knowledge to enhance our experiences of anything, not just art forms.

I am inspired now to write better movie reviews, with focus on WHY I liked or disliked a certain movie. Watching Yojimbo has really opened up my eyes as to what makes a movie great (or not). I promise to make my future reviews as detailed as possible, and engage as much of my brain as possible, because you, my reader, deserves that much.


Thursday, 19 March 2009

Indian Superman

The special effects in this film can rival Jurassic Park's or Star Wars'.
Okay, I'm kidding.

This one really made me ROFLMAO. Enjoy!

Paper Exhaustion

I have never been more exhausted in my whole academic life than today. Also the main reason why I have been missing from my blog. I apologize, readers.

This was my workload this week (which I have managed to complete and submit). Subject; paper title; description.

Domestic Aspect of American Foreign Policy
"The Reluctant Sheriff: America's Role in a Post-Cold War World"
Thirteen pages of Garamond 11 of why I do not think that the United States is a global hegemon, and is instead, a reluctant sheriff. I had to read so many books for sources. Roughly 3000 words.

International Organizations
The United Nations: January 8, 2009 to March 16, 2009
Twenty-six pages of reviews and reactions about United Nations' related news in this one. Compiling was rather tough; reviewing was tolerable. In the eleven weeks that I have followed the United Nations, I am starting to feel that this international organization business is very complicated, and am sympathizing with them when they are criticized. Heaviest workload.

Triangulating Peace: A Book Review
Eleven pages of review about the book Triangulating Peace. Not only did I have to suffer the long waiting list for the book (the University only had one copy, for roughly 40+ students, and we have strict photostat laws within the campus), reviewing it was really challenging. The only plus point was that I actually liked the book, which made it tolerable. It took roughly eight hours for me to read, and another four to jot notes.

Power in Global Governance: A Book Review
Six pages of review about the book (more of a compilation, actually) Power in Global Governance. I had a HARD time reviewing this book. It was very technical in nature, and comprised of so many contributing authors and theories, that sometimes, I just cannot wrap my head around them. :( I predict a low grade for my review here. Why? I could not finish the last 2/3 of the book. :(

Books I read in the past two weeks:

Russett, B, Oneal, R 2001, Triangulating Peace: Democracy, Interdependence, and International Organizations, Norton and Company, Inc., New York.

Owen, J 1997, Liberal Peace, Liberal War: American Politics and International Security, Cornell University Press, New York.

Frankel, M 2004, High Noon in the Cold War: Kennedy, Khrushchev, and the Cuban Missile Crisis, Presidio Press, New York.

Huntington, S 1996, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order, Simon & Schuster, New York.

Guyatt, N 2003, Another American Century? The United States and the World Since 9/11, Zed Books Limited, London.

Maier, C 2006, Among Empires: American Ascendancy and its Predecessors, Harvard University Press, Massachusetts.

Haass, R 1997, The Reluctant Sheriff: The United States After the Cold War, Council on Foreign Relations, New York.

Huntington, S 1999, ‘The Lonely Superpower’, Foreign Affairs, vol. 78, no. 2, pp. 35-49

I favor the Harvard style of citation.

Wish me luck for the three more papers due on Monday. :( No weekend.


Monday, 9 March 2009

Math for Dummies

I really am beginning to have these horrible, judgmental thoughts on some of my classmates. I know it's so wrong to look at them and the first thing I think is "idiot", but seriously, you cannot help but think so.

American Government class
Bro. Wright, FSC, PhD; Mario* the Moron

Bro. Wright: There are 435 members of the House of the Representatives, and 100 members of the Senate. Mario, how many members does the Congress have in total?
Mario: *awkward silence*
Bro. Wright: *sighs* Never mind.

A few minutes later..

Bro. Wright: If a Senator gets 51% of the votes, he wins a 'majority'. What percentage of the votes did he not win, Mario?
Mario: Um, sir.. *smiles stupidly*

Oh good heavens shoot me now.

*Name has been changed to protect the moron from death squads.


Saturday, 7 March 2009


Ask anyone who vaguely know me, and he/she would tell you that I am a hardcore history buff. I happen to love the Second World War a lot too, and not just because of the spectacular way it brought every continent except South America to war, but also because of Colonel Klaus von Stauffenberg, one of my two German heroes in the war (the other being Erwin Rommel).

This was definitely one of Tom Cruise's better movies, and his resemblance to Col. von Stauffenberg was uncanny. I love how the movie was shot in the real places where the events happened (mostly, anyway), and the accuracy was high. I believe history buffs would appreciate that. The plot was crisp and well-written, with the progression beautifully paced. The only 'negative' thing I might have was the distinct lack of German accent in most of the actors. Not that it changes the feel of the movie (Cruise was actually speaking German at the start!) but I would have preferred it more.

Definitely a must-see.



Friday, 6 March 2009

Underworld 3: Rise of the Lycans

The third in the series, this one is a prequel, and I have to say, it really delivered.

I actually watched this a couple of months back, and I was very excited having been a fan of the first two (Underworld, and Underworld: Evolution). Unlike many other prequels (or for that matter, sequels), Underworld 3 really brought a clearer picture to the audience about the happenings in the first two films, and tied up a lot of loose ends about the Lycans.

Sick special effects, great plot, and very emotional scenes are the strongest points of the movie. The fight scenes could be better and there was a little excessive use of blood and gore, but in the end, if you've seen the first two, you must watch this third installment.



Sunday, 1 March 2009

Krump Living

I believe that I have found my passion in dancing: KRUMP

I don't want to attempt to explain what that dance style is here, because someone as young as I am in the world of Krump would probably do more harm than good. So kindly just Google 'krump', and look for sites that have 'Krump Kings' on the links.

Anyway, the Krump dancers here in Manila (props to Krumpinoy) have organized two street Krump sessions so far, both at Bonifacio High Street, Serendra, Taguig City (about 20 minutes from Makati). It's been a great success! I have honestly improved so much, and I can really see myself growing in this dance style, to the next level, even.

After my first battle yesterday, which I humbly emerged victorious, I see the spirit and emotion that moves Krump dancers around the world. I am not anymore wondering why this style is being taken up in every major dance capital in the world (assuming), and thanks to the visit of Kaos from Melbourne, Australia, I have been so inspired to continue this.

Thanks Krumpinoy, and the various other Krump dancers who have helped me see which dance style I belong in. :) Here's to many more sessions, and let's get Tight Eyez here in Manila!