Monday, July 28, 2008

little house of horrors.

Ever notice how on those TV shows where people have a professional come in to teach them how to discipline their kids, that their extended family members do not have any children? It disturbs me to see people who really have no idea how to discipline their kids. They give up, they give in, or they just don't do anything at all. It's a direct result of not being able to discipline their children the way they were disciplined when they were kids, and not having any other parents with kids around them. They do not see any example of how to teach their kids how to behave, and so they just do anything they can think of. I would think common sense would kick in, but I guess what I know about raising kids, I know from my parents, my aunts and uncles and their kids. You see that when a kids throws a tantrum, you never ever give in.

I think of all this because I'm watching "Take Home Nanny" on TLC. A woman actually said that the reason she gives into her little boys' horrible tantrums is because "...they must be really hurting to cry like that." Wow. She must have no recollection of the feelings you feel as a kid when you're throwing a tantrum. A tantrum isn't sadness, it's anger. I vividly remember that when I threw a tantrum, I did it because I was angry. Angry because I couldn't have something, angry because I didn't know why I couldn't have something, angry because my parents weren't listening, angry because I had to go to time out or just plain old cranky. I was never sad. My wails were not a deep, heartfelt sorrow over a loss. I've seen lots of kids throw tantrums, and you can tell they're pissed. If you can't see that, you are seriously mis-reading that child. I'm not a parenting expert, I don't know how to raise a kid, hell I don't even want kids, but I know one thing. You never, ever, ever give into a tantrum.

It's like how pandas don't know to have sex with each other because they never see other pandas. Now researchers show them panda porn. Monkey see, monkey do. Or more accurately, panda see, panda get it on. Humans learn by copying behavior, we all know this. If we see enough other people doing something, we just want to give it a try. This premise alone makes reality television terrifying.

I don't watch any shows in any kind of committed weekly format. I watch what's on when I'm watching. I would never say "I have to get home, my show is on!" or "I never miss an episode of xyz."
Am I alone in this? Please tell me I'm not the only one. I'm afraid to get a DVR. I don't want to give in to the television any more than I already have.

On the subject of movies, I just watched Schindler's List for the first time. I know what you're thinking: How did I manage to not see this movie? Well, I was away the weekend it came out, and everyone I knew had seen it, and no one wanted to go watch it again. I assumed it was because it was deeply depressing, like Dancer In The Dark. But now that I watched it, I don't think I've ever seen quite such an uplifting movie. I also found out that the only reason why it took so long to make this movie is because screen writers had a hard time making Schindler's change of heart believable. I found the story inspiring, one person can make a difference. Not only that, but that the Holocaust is something makes us see the extremes to which the human spirit can be pushed. Extreme evil, indifference, strength, endurance, but also goodness, kindness and compassion.

This is Speilberg at his best, he is using handheld cameras, no crane shots, no tracking shots. He said he did this to create a documentary film, but I feel the real strength is the intimacy it generates with the subjects. We're right there with them. We are standing next to them, the scene surrounds us. How can that not touch you? Especially when the story is exposing the roots of all humanity and what it capable of. Just like in the Indiana Jones original trilogy, Speilberg is making a movie the old fashioned way. Old camera tricks, no CGI, no industrial light and magic. It stretches your vision and creativity to its limits, and the product is priceless.

I do not think this is a movie schools should show. It breeds a shock value if you do not already know about all of the horrors of the Holocaust, which detracts from the real story of the movie- the amazing good done by Schindler in the midst of so much evil. Schools should show the documentaries. To show a dramatization of events does the reality of what happened no justice. I found the bonus materials with the Stories of The Shoah so much more powerful: People taking about the last time they saw their parents before the Gestapo dragged them away and what it took for them to survive. The tears they cry are real, they are not actors.

I'll be watching this movie again before sending it back to Netflix. The acting is out of this world. Subtlety, subtlety... you almost never see it anymore. It's what you must have when you take away the crane and the zoom.