Hollywood

I understand that people aren’t as sensitive as I am regarding certain female issues, but based upon my own personal journey, I do have a valid basis to my opinion(s). This leads me to the next little venture/topic that I will start writing posts about: movies. I love movies and film production. I cannot wait to finish Resolve so we can get to work on the trailer. Anyway, I took a film study class in high school and I fell in love. My favorite ones to watch were the classic black and white gangster movies – especially ones that starred the actor, James Cagney.

Of course, I love more modern films. A few of my favorites are “Lean On Me,” “Despicable Me & 2,” “Finding Nemo,” “Beauty & The Beast,” “The Game,” “Top Gun,” “Tombstone,” “Independence Day,” “Pirates of the Caribbean” (all of them), “Wall Street,” “My Cousin Vinny,” “The Avengers,” “Thor,” “Captain America,” the “Ironman” Trilogy, “The Lincoln Lawyer,” “Here Comes the Boom,” “The Godfather,” “License to Kill,” “Night at the Museum,” “Hot Fuzz,” “A Few Good Men,” “The Devil Wears Prada,” “The Help,” “The Blindside,” and etc. This list certainly isn’t all inclusive. I’m just trying to give you the notion that I have a lot of favorites for a lot of different reasons.

My new favorite is “Star Trek: Into the Darkness.” It’s the sequel to the first Star Trek movie that came out a few years ago. I have my dad to thank for that one. He was a HUGE “trekkie” – I digress. He still is, and probably always will be. Anyway, my siblings and I have seen quite a few of the older ones. As a semi-fan of the show, I enjoyed the new movie, but I must say that I just loved the second one. I can’t wait until my dad sees it. PS. I’d like to add here that I love Simon Pegg’s portrayal of Scotty.

Okay, now that I’ve gotten all of that nice stuff out of the way, I will get to my point. I have a problem with how Hollywood has recently been allowing for some disturbing things into movies. I’m not talking about horror films – I usually don’t watch those because I get grossed out by too much gore. I don’t typically have an issue with profanity or violence. I’m definitely not a complete conservative. However, I have a problem with how some movies portray women, and this graphic trend of certain things that have no business being in any real movie.

A couple of months ago, I considered writing blog posts on movies that were relevant to the themes that I wrote about in my book. A recent movie angered me so much that it encouraged me to go with my idea. Let me mention now that I would never want to be a movie critic, and I do not consider myself one. However, I believe that some people need to have better warnings about what’s actually in certain movies.  For example, if you’ve been in a domestic violence relationship, it may not be a good idea to watch movies that cover that topic. It can be hard to watch if you’ve lived it – like the movie called “Enough,” starring Jennifer Lopez.

Anyway, I’m not saying to not watch these movies, I just think it’s always helpful to offer a warning. There have been a couple of times when I was in the theater or at a friend’s house and a movie had a few disturbing scenes. Those scenes may be traumatic for me and for those who have suffered in similar ways . . . and someone may not be quick enough to get the remote.

I am glad that Hollywood isn’t shying away from these issues. However, I am taking a stand for a better way to do it. My books (and hopefully, movies) will be different. I know Rage isn’t easy to read. If we ever get to turn it into a movie, it won’t be easy to watch. But, I do what I do to bring HOPE. Many of the movies I’ve watched show all the wrong things in how to handle abuse and assault. For example, I had a hard time watching “Safe Haven” – based off of Nicholas Spark’s novel. It was a nice film, but the ending was a bit unrealistic. The victim tells the “new guy” that she can’t talk about her pain. She ends up sleeping with said “new guy” and the movie portrays her solution as moving on to the “new guy” to fix her past. The movie ends without ever discussing how she healed or coped with the pain.

A lot of movies and books do the same thing. The characters are abused, then they find “the great guy,” fall in love, and the issue is never addressed again. I do give “Safe Haven” some credit for being realistic in showing the seriousness of domestic violence. Yet, after it was over, I felt hopeless for the women who would watch that movie and believe that moving on to the “new guy” fixes their pain. It doesn’t, not even a little bit. If anyone has gone through that type of pain, you cannot erase it with more sex, revenge, or denial. I will admit that when a novel or film character takes revenge, I do feel a little better . . . but I have to say that it doesn’t change anything or aid in the healing process. (I do not encourage revenge.)

Anyway, If you have seen my interviews (or watch them online whenever I get around to posting them on here), you will hear me talking about the lack of hope that many books fail to offer. For example, if you have suffered from sexual abuse, please don’t read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. When I read it, I did not know what I had gotten myself into. I will never watch the movie. I had some frightening nightmares because of the book. (But, I’ll deal with books another time.)

Another quick example, in “Training Day” with Denzel Washington. He’s training his partner and they drive by a street just as two men are grabbing a teenager’s legs. Thankfully, nothing further happens . . . but it doesn’t change the fact that Hollywood and most people don’t talk about how horrifying that can be or where to go for help.

Tyler Perry is someone who I respect. I enjoy his movies. I like how he combines real world issues, but provides humor as well. “Diary of a Mad Black Woman” and “I Can Do Bad All By Myself” were very hard for me to watch. I don’t have anything negative to say about his movies, but I recommend reading the reviews before you watch them. I like that his movies have encouraging endings, and they’re not cheesy. Also, I love Madea.

Since I’ve been an unsuspecting movie-goer, I’m sure that some of you have been as well. I’m not interested in blogging about the decency of movies. I’m not interested in sharing my opinion about just any movie (or book). I’m here to provide the “warning” only for entertainment that shows domestic violence, child abuse, rape, assault, or attempts of any of these crimes.

One movie has been on my mind for a month, but I had been so disgusted and traumatized that it’s taken this long for me to be able to talk about it. I haven’t walked out of a movie theater in a long time, there wasn’t any abuse from what I saw, but some of the scenes/elements in this film crossed the line. “Pain & Gain” with “The Rock” and Mark Wahlburg was supposed to be funny. I anticipated quite a bit of profanity, so that didn’t surprise me. I honestly can’t even mention exactly what upset me because I’ve spent the past couple of months trying to rid the images from my mind. Many of the offending scenes happened back-to-back that I froze in my chair as I tried to quickly advert my eyes. I felt immediately disgusted by the characters’ behavior with and toward women, and it went downhill from there. I don’t know how much of the movie we watched. Then a particularly disturbing scene happened – no, I can’t even mention it, and I felt so nauseous. I nearly screamed in agony to get the image out of my head that night, and the next few nights.

Then a “priest” used one of my favorite Scriptures to hit on “The Rock.” We got right up and walked out. I am not saying anything about the priest. I also find tasteful religious jokes funny, but don’t you dare use Scripture to mock Christianity. If this priest quoted some other religious book, people would be furious and it wouldn’t be allowed. I have lost ALL respect for Mark Wahlberg, The Rock, and the other actor who did the disgusting thing . . . I’m not even giving him the time of day to mention his name. I used to like those actors. I can’t see their faces in other movies without having flashbacks to “Pain & Gain.” I have no idea how the rest of it went or how it ended, and I don’t care.

My husband felt horrible . . . if he had any idea regarding some of the elements of the movie, he wouldn’t have let us see it. My husband pre-screens a lot of stuff for me, because if not, that kind of stuff can throw me into a PTSD spin. We don’t enjoy it. He also, of course, hates how women are treated as objects in movies. He was pretty upset when we walked out of the theater that night too.

If you have been through some tough stuff, it’s okay to tell your loved ones or at least a best friend. Tell them that you need help. My loved ones are great in helping me out . . . by giving a warning, pre-screening, covering my eyes, or pushing the fast-forward button. Please surround yourself with people who will be there for you.

I’ll continue to write about movies or books as I can recall them or as future ones come out. Hollywood, you have not only disappointed me again, but you have traumatized me. Not that I should be surprised by the stuff that is getting into movies, but just how it’s handled . . . and how actors can have such low standards to make money, or not enough guts to say no to a terrible line, scene, or role.

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