Friday, April 30, 2021

Movies reflect human needs: Zone...get out of it!

Blogging from A to Z Challenge

ThemeMovies reflect human needs...

Zone...get out of it!

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There is no growth in the comfort zone; there is no comfort in the growth zone. (*) 

Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered you will never grow. (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
We need to get out of our comfort zone and stretch our abilities. Transformation typically requires getting out of our zone.

So what holds us back? Very often it's fear -- fear of the unknown, fear of failure (or fear of success!), perhaps even being afraid of the effort it will take (similar to what might keep us from saying yes to opportunities). 

During Freshman orientation at the University of Utah, I followed a group of youngsters to the Fine Arts building. At 50 years of age, I was what they termed a "non-traditional" student, and I was waaay out of my comfort zone. 

As we walked, I saw a path that I was fairly certain led to the lot where my car was parked. It seemed like every ounce of my being screamed out to leave and go back home and knit socks (which I've never done, but it seemed more doable than going back to school!).

I wish I'd had a fantastic soundtrack playing in that Walter Mitty (more on that below)...when I made the conscious decision to turn away from the escape route and continue to my degree.
You are your only border -- throw yourself over it! (Hafiz, Persian poet)
Perhaps it's another form of a comfort zone, but it's nice to be able to choose when and where and how we stretch our boundaries. Sometimes, though, life has a way of kicking us out of our zone, but as discussed in Agency, we can choose to grow from the experience, or not.

Movies reflecting the need (although sometimes forced) to get out of the comfort zone...

  • In order to find his son, this serious clownfish must move beyond his worry-wart boundaries.
  • Due to his tendency to stutter, King George VI of England is not comfortable with public speaking, but he faces the challenge.
Klaus (2019)
  • A freeloading young man gets pushed out of his cushy environment when his father sends him to an inhospitable, frozen, island.
  • A timid romance writer is forced into dangerous situations in order to help her sister who's held hostage.
  • I absolutely love the scene where Walter (Ben Stiller), with the song Ground Control to Major Tom playing in his imagination, leaps out of his comfort zone and into a helicopter about to fly into a possible storm with an intoxicated pilot! My heart soars every time I watch that scene. (Found here.)
Selma (2014)
  • In order to bring about change, and to secure equal voting rights, a whole lot of people leave their comfort zone and join Martin Luther King, Jr. in a march from Selma, Alabama to the state's capital in Montgomery.
Uncle Buck (1989)
  • Watching his nieces and nephew and staying in the suburbs is not this bachelor's forte, but he agrees to do it anyway, to help his brother.
  • An "obsessive-compulsive neurotic" man willingly takes baby steps to stretch his boundaries.

What movie would you add? Do you find ways to stretch beyond your comfort zone? Have you experienced times when circumstances forced you out of your zone? (Did you grow from it?)

 *An online search shows this quote attributed to several people, so I'm not sure who originally said it.

(Note: The movies listed might not be completely family-friendly. See my "Movie Content" information on the blog's sidebar.)

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Movies reflect human needs: Yes to opportunities.

Blogging from A to Z Challenge

ThemeMovies reflect human needs...

Yes to opportunities.

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Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work. (Thomas Edison)
Hoooboy, I can relate to that. I've bemoaned opportunities lost, not usually because they looked like work, though, but because they looked like more work. I routinely feel overwhelmed because I allow myself to get bogged down in tasks, so, when opportunity knocks, I'm usually too tired to open the door.

I felt chagrin while watching The Pursuit of Happyness (2006). Based on a true story, Will Smith portrays  Chris Gardner, a man who despite being a single father, homeless, and financially struggling, accepts an offer for an unpaid internship that might lead to his dream job. Not convenient--at all!!--and a whole lot of work with no guarantee for the desired outcome. I felt painfully aware of my shortcomings as I watched him grab opportunity by the overall straps and run!

The times I managed to say yes to interesting ventures, it was after I reminded myself that opportunity is rarely convenient and that if I select only convenient opportunities, I will miss out on a lot. (I wrote about one such opportunity here, and shared one of the videos here and the other here.)

We need to say yes to life. Not yes to every request or invitation, but embrace the opportunities that pull at us, lights a spark within, or lines-up with our purpose.

In each of these films, the main character says yes to opportunity...

Last Holiday (2006)
Soul (2020)
Yes Man (2008)

How about you? Have you accepted opportunities? Have you missed some chances because it looked like work, or was inconvenient, or maybe didn't recognize it as an opportunity at the time? 

(Note: The movies listed might not be completely family-friendly. See my "Movie Content" information on the blog's sidebar.)

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Movies reflect human needs: Xenodochy - kindness

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ThemeMovies reflect human needs...

Xenodochy - kindness

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According to one definition (found here) xenodochy is "an attitude of kindness to strangers." 
We scientists have found that doing a kindness produces the single most reliable momentary increase in well-being of any exercise we have tested. (Martin Seligman)

Ah, kindness. What a simple way to tell another struggling soul that there is love to be found in this world. (Alison Malee)
Being friendly to strangers is certainly an act of kindness, and that made me think of something I posted in 2017. I'm re-posting part of it here:

Friendly encounters with strangers lift my spirits. Such as when a woman in Italy showed me how to work the laundromat washer, and a gentleman who observed me gazing at a scenic landscape, stood beside me and expressed, "Bellissimo. Bellissimo."

I am grateful for friendly tall grocery shoppers who hand me items from the top shelf. And for the woman on the hospital elevator who held the door for me, suspecting, in my distraught state, I had gotten off on the wrong floor. She was right. And kind.

So, I feel a tender spot for friendly movie characters who reach out to strangers in their time of need. Often, their kindness has far reaching effects like when little Jenny offers Forrest a seat next to her on the school bus (Forrest Gump1994), or when Sister Husband (Stockard Channing) invites Novalee (Natalie Portman), a teenager with a newborn, to stay with her (Where the Heart Is, 2000).

But not all friendliness or kindness are the grand acts. Sometimes there's a friendly character in a minor role, like Marshall (Ossie Davis), a chauffeur who helps Joe (Tom Hanks) select clothes (Joe Versus the Volcano, 1990), or Sara's (Eva Mendes) nice boss, Max (Adam Arkin) in Hitch (2005).

Let's not forget the background extras, either... the waitress, cab driver, doorman, passenger on the train, pedestrian. Since the camera's focus is on the main action, it's easy to overlook what's going on around the main characters.

(I've been an "extra" in several movies... there are lots of friendly and kind acts going on in the background that usually go unnoticed while watching the film.)

When I consider movies reflecting kindness, these come to mind:

Which movie(s) would you add? Can you recall a time you were treated kindly by a stranger? 

(Note: The movies listed might not be completely family-friendly. See my "Movie Content" information on the blog's sidebar.)

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Movies reflect human needs: Wonder--curiosity

Blogging from A to Z Challenge

ThemeMovies reflect human needs...

Wonder -- curiosity

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One day, during my teen years, as I sat in my sister's salon chair while she trimmed my hair, I wondered aloud, "I wonder what I'd look like with bangs." And suddenly--snip, snip, snip--I didn't need to imagine it. Be careful what you wonder aloud! (I looked good, by the way.)

But seriously, wondering--being curious, is a human need.
The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. (Albert Einstein)
Asking questions from a place of curious wondering is quite beneficial. Questions can kickstart creative ideas and bring solutions. How does this work? Is there a pattern or a connection here? 

  • While looking at a bicycle headlight connected to a dynamo, a young teenager in Malawi wonders how the mechanism works, and that curiosity helps him figure out a way to save his village from famine. (Based on a true story.)
Joy  (2015)
  • Joy Mangano (Jennifer Lawrence) cuts her hands while wringing out a mop used to clean up a spill with broken glass. She wonders about a solution, and it leads to her first major invention. (Based on a true story.) (My review found here.)

We need curiosity for more than inventions, though. Looking at ourselves and others through a lens of curiosity can move us beyond being judgmental. I wonder why I have that tendency? I wonder... what's that person's story?
Replace judgment with curiosity. (Lynn Nottage)
Like Stars on Earth (Taare Zameen Par) (2007)
  • A teacher approaches a "problem" child through curiosity, rather than with the harsh assessment of others, and wonders about his background--family, past school performance, behavior patterns--and discovers the root of the boy's learning difficulties.

Wondering... especially asking what if... can play a role in Storytelling.

That's what started the story of Braveheart (1995) as its screenwriter, Randall Wallace, stood outside the castle in Edinburgh, Scotland, looking at a statue of a man who bore the same last name -- William Wallace. Nearby was a statue of Robert the Bruce. He writes, "I began instantly to wonder, What if there was something in the life and death of William Wallace that had the power to transform Robert the Bruce from a plotting, cowardly betrayer to the greatest king in his country's history?" (*Citation below)

When I posted about Quest, Frédérique (find her blog here) commented that a quest is like curiosity to her, curiosity for what is around us. I hadn't thought of that... how curiosity can be linked to a quest. 

And that made me think... it was Randall Wallace's curiosity about his forefathers that took him to Scotland in the first place. 

I went on a similar quest in 2019, curious to see if I could flesh out a story about a specific Scottish ancestor... but after an unnerving experience and lots of wondering--What just happened? How does that connect? Is this significant?--the story I was chasing led me down an unexpected path. (I posted about that journey here.)

What do you wonder about? Has curiosity sent you on a quest? Do you approach problems from an angle of curiosity?

(Note: The movies listed might not be completely family-friendly. See my "Movie Content" information on the blog's sidebar.)

Monday, April 26, 2021

Movies reflect human needs: Vulnerability

Blogging from A to Z Challenge

ThemeMovies reflect human needs...


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Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity, and change. (Brené Brown)
I had a different topic selected for V, but one night I repeatedly dreamed that I needed to post about vulnerability.

Perhaps that dream and topic is aimed specifically at me. I've built plenty of walls over the years, protecting myself, making sure I wouldn't be vulnerable. But, when I block myself from feeling negative emotions, I block positive emotions, too.

I've come to see it as vulnerability -- an ability, an asset -- and that helps me remember that even though being vulnerable opens myself up to being wounded, the ability to feel that pain is important.
Being vulnerable is the only way to allow your heart to feel true pleasure. (Bob Marley)
When I thought about it, I realized vulnerability is entwined through all the human needs I've covered so far...

When considering movies reflecting vulnerability, these scenes came to mind...

  • When the "Dragon Lady" (Meryl Streep) without make-up and evidently crying, lets her guard down and discusses her upcoming divorce. (Click here for that scene.)
  • The students open up and share about their lives and horrific experiences. (Click here for the scene.)
Notting Hill  (1999) 
  • Trying to be invulnerable, William (Hugh Grant) wants to protect himself from further hurt, and Anna (Julia Roberts) vulnerably expresses, "... don't forget... I'm also just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her." (Click here for the scene.)
  • Socrates (Nick Nolte) tells Dan (Scott Mechlowicz), "A warrior is not about perfection or victory or invulnerability. He's about absolute vulnerability. That is the only true courage."
Twins (1988)
  • Vincent (Danny DeVito) felt abandoned and unwanted for most of his life, so when he finally meets his birthmother, his expression of apprehensive hopefulness permeates the vulnerable moment.  (Click here for the scene.)

Do you recall or have a favorite movie scene portraying vulnerability? What are your thoughts about vulnerability weaving through our human needs? Were you surprised by this, too?

(Note: The movies listed might not be completely family-friendly. See my "Movie Content" information on the blog's sidebar.)

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Movies reflect human needs: Uniqueness

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ThemeMovies reflect human needs...


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Always remember that you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else. (Margaret Mead)

We are meant to be different. When we can accept this, then there is no competition and no comparison. To try to be like another is to shrivel our soul. (Louise Hay

We are all unique without even trying... we were born that way. So, if we are already unique, how does this fit with human needs? 

Well, first of all, because we need to accept ourselves, accept our own uniqueness... size, shape, likes, dislikes, ideas, talents...

I think of Runaway Bride (1999) and how Maggie (Julia Roberts) loses herself in relationships and needs to get in touch with her own preferences, her own tastes. She has to get to know herself. 

John Nash (Russell Crowe) has to accept his thought processes and learn how to work with them in A Beautiful Mind (2001). (Based on a true story.)

Self-acceptance can be tough enough without others ridiculing, judging, rejecting... I think of how some of the characters in the following films struggle to find acceptance.
Which brings me to the second point... it's easy to forget that we need the uniqueness of others.  We can learn something from everyone we meet, no matter our physical, emotional, mental, cultural, social differences. 

There have been times when I've associated with people so dissimilar from me--coworkers, committee members, church congregants--that I wondered how we could possibly get along, and wondered why we were thrown together in whatever situation. And then they shared their thoughts and suggestions and I realize... This! This is why! There's no way I would have come up with the solutions or ideas they did since my thoughts travel a different path.

Great leaders surround themselves with people of differing views. Business and sports teams need a variety of skills. Moneyball (2011) is a wonderful example of someone thinking differently and taking a unique approach. Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) decides to use statistical data analysis to select players for the Oakland A's, selecting some who might have been considered no-name misfits.

Movies featuring crews of crooks and criminals give examples of recognizing the need for a variety of people with particular skillsets! (That's a bit unnerving! 😄)
And where would spies be without different thinkers?  They need techie agents...
I watch a variety of movie genres, and movies from different countries or cultures, because they expand my mind and my view, but I can't think of, nor have I seen, all movies that fit all topics, that's why I love when you share your thoughts and suggestions, too!

Here are a bunch of questions/prompts to get you started, if needed:
  • What movies come to your mind when you consider uniqueness? 
  • Have you seen a movie recently with a character struggling with self-acceptance, or accepting the difference of others?
  • Do you enjoy avant-garde movies? (experimental, unusual or unique)
  • The Oscars will be presented tomorrow. Do you watch the Academy Awards? Have you seen any of the 2021 nominated movies? (You can find the nominees here.)
  • Have you ever seen a movie character and thought, "Hey, that's me!"
  • Have you ever been in or wanted to be in a movie? 
  • If you could be inserted into any movie scene, which one would you choose?
  • What question/prompt do you wish I would have included?

(Note: The movies listed might not be completely family-friendly. See my "Movie Content" information on the blog's sidebar.)

Friday, April 23, 2021

Movies reflect human needs: Transformation

Blogging from A to Z Challenge

ThemeMovies reflect human needs...


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Think of this as a good character arc. Any story worth it's salt will have a character transform or change by the end. Humans need to transform, to overcome challenges, to improve. We are dynamic, not static, beings. 

I read an article years ago that mentioned a woman who destroyed all her journals because she wasn't that person any more. As an avid journalist, that broke my heart! Destroying her journals buried the path she took in her transformation. None of us should be the same person we were 10, 20, 30 years ago. (Hopefully we are an improved version!)
If we don't change, we don't grow. If we don't grow, we aren't really living. (Gail Sheehy)

We can't become what we need to be by remaining what we are. (Oprah Winfrey

Alpha (2018)
  • Separated from the hunting party during a traumatic accident, Keda (Kodi Smit-McPhee) must find his way back to his tribe. He's a different young man by the end of the story. The wolf who accompanies him also changes. (My review found here.)
  • Melvin (Jack Nicholson) slowly transforms in several ways. His attitude softens towards a dog, he gains appreciation for his gay neighbor, and some of his OCD habits lessen.
Forrest Gump (1994)
Green Book (2018)
  • Tony Lip (Viggo Mortensen) evolves from racist to tolerant, to respectful, to friend as he chauffeurs Don Shirley, an African-American pianist on tour. 
  • It takes years of living the same day over and over before Phil (Bill Murray) puts his time to use in improvement and growth. He's a changed man by the end.
The Kid (2000)
  • The older Russ (Bruce Willis) becomes a kinder, less tense, happier person as he confronts his past with the help of his younger self.
  • In this Japanese drama, Ryota (Masaharu Fukuyama) begins to question his approach to parenting (workaholic disciplinarian) and slowly changes.
My Spy (2020)
  • CIA operative and tough-guy (Dave Bautista) softens around the edges, so to speak, while surveilling a mom and her precocious daughter.
Overboard (1987)
  • In this film, "Annie" (Goldie Hawn) goes through a major transformation, but all of the main characters, including the children, gradually change.
  • Joan Wilder (Kathleen Turner) becomes braver and more confident as the movie progresses.

In what ways have you changed over the years? Are you still growing? 

(Note: The movies listed might not be completely family-friendly. See my "Movie Content" information on the blog's sidebar.)

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Movies reflect human needs: Storytelling

Blogging from A to Z Challenge

ThemeMovies reflect human needs...


Photo of one my many journals.

I had another topic prepared for the letter S, but when I posted my theme reveal in March, an A to Z team member and storyteller from Hungary, Zalka Csenge Virág asked, "... is storytelling a universal need?" 

And that got me to thinking... storytelling isn't specifically listed as a universal human need (except as it might tie into "self-expression" and "communication") but it truly is universal, and humans need stories of all kinds, but especially our own stories.

Last year I read Love Your Enemies: How Decent People Can Save America from the Culture of Contempt by Arthur C. Brooks, and a chapter titled Tell Me a Story resonated with me. In it he writes...
"When we tell stories, our brains unite, giving us the chance to at least understand one another, whether we ultimately agree or disagree. We can break down prejudice and division--we can defeat myside bias and induce openness..."
He also states...
"When human stories are present, good things happen. But the opposite is also true: a storyless person disappears. In Ancient Rome, a punishment worse than death for a criminal was damnation memoriae, or "condemnation of memory," in which all traces of the person would be expunged, down to chipping their faces off statues." [boldness added]
So although fictional stories are dearly important, and all films are a form of storytelling, for the sake of focus and space I selected movies based on published stories about real people, or their memoirs. 

In previous posts this month I've tried to note when a film was based on a true story (I may have missed a few). Here are some more...

Lion (2016)
The Music of Silence (2017) ("My Take" review found here.)
Tracks (2013)

Do you keep a journal? Are you writing a memoir? Does your family have treasured stories passed down through generations? Has there been a time when learning someone's story helped you understand them?

(Note: The movies listed might not be completely family-friendly. See my "Movie Content" information on the blog's sidebar.)

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Movies reflect human needs: Resilience

Blogging from A to Z Challenge

ThemeMovies reflect human needs...


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Resilience -- an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change. For many of us, the changes brought about in 2020 were not easy to adjust to, but adjust we did (whether we liked it or not). Each time we adapt, recover, overcome, it strengthens our resilience.

We need resilience to achieve our dreams, too. If you look at the movies I listed for that post, the people or characters adjusted to or overcame obstacles.

Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it. (Helen Keller

It's your reaction to adversity, not adversity itself that determines how your life's story will develop. (Dieter F. Uchtdorf)

Optimism also goes along with resilience since it is an inner sense that even if everything doesn't turn out all right, I will be all right. 

  • This is a fictional film, but I've met people like that... people determined to live on their own terms, party during hurricanes, and face hardships with courage.
  • I mentioned this one in the post about Play. Based on a true story, the family in this film show resilience as they adjust to life after losing wife and mother.
Joy  (2015)
  • Based on a true story, entrepreneur and inventor Joy Mangano, (Jennifer Lawrence) was raised in a dysfunctional family with little encouragement. Sometimes life seems to kick her in the teeth, but she keeps pressing forward. (My review found here.)
    • This film also fits with the topic of Dreams.  
  • The father struggles with PTSD and wants to live in isolation. His resilient daughter adjusts quickly to each situation, connects with her surroundings, and comes to recognize what she needs. (Inspired by a true story.)
Maudie (2016)
  • A bit of a slow-moving film, but in reality Maud Lewis (Sally Hawkins) moved slow due to painful birth defects that crippled her body. The movie is based on a true story and is a wonderful example of adjusting to difficulties. It's also an interesting Love story, and fits with Dreams as well. Despite her gnarled hands and stooped body, she is compelled to paint.
The Meddler (2015)
  • After her father died, writer-director Lorene Scafaria noticed how differently she and her mother handled grief. This film is somewhat based on their experiences... two women, going two different directions, yet both resilient. (Susan Sarandon is brilliant, as always, in her role as the mother.)
  • Talk about resilience. Chris Gardner (Will Smith) goes through so many hardships during this film, I was exhausted by the end. But, oh, how he magnificently adjusts to every misfortune! (Based on a true story.)
  • Another true-story film. Two sisters and their female cousin, all of mixed race (Aborigine-white), are yanked from their mothers and forced into a camp to learn domestic skills. They escape, and follow the rabbit-proof fence across the Outback, leading to home... 1,500 miles away.

What movie comes to mind when you consider resilience?

(Note: The movies listed might not be completely family-friendly. See my "Movie Content" information on the blog's sidebar.)

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Movies reflect human needs: Quest

Blogging from A to Z Challenge

ThemeMovies reflect human needs...


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Okay, I am stretching this topic a little. Quest is not found on the lists of universal human needs, but goals and hobbies are, and a quest can fit with those.

What do I mean by quest? Activities involving seek and find, or seek and do.

I never considered how important having a quest could be until I stumbled across the following in an article (found here) about natural ways to increase dopamine (to boost my mood). 
Enjoy the Quest 
Our ancestors were on a constant quest to survive.

They got a dopamine surge every time they spotted a new patch of berries or a better fishing hole because this meant they'd live to seek another day.

While you can still pick berries and fish, there are endless other healthy ways you can enjoy the quest in modern life.

You can forage for new music to download, specialty ingredients to cook with, a travel package bargain, a hard-to-find collector's item, or that perfect gift for a loved one.

You can engage in specifically quest-oriented hobbies like geocaching, bird watching, rockhounding, amateur archaeology, and collecting of all kinds.

The act of seeking and finding activates your reward circuits -- with no regrets later.
Ever since learning how a quest can help increase dopamine, I've tried to incorporate them into my goals and hobbies. This is one way I include "hide-and-go-seek" elements mentioned in yesterday's post about Play!

I've been on a quest to find images to represent my daily topics for this A to Z Challenge, and on a quest to watch movies in preparation for these posts (any excuse to watch movies, right?). 

Here are some quest-oriented films:

The Big Year (2011)
  • A young man (Elijah Woods) collects odd items connected to his family, and goes on a quest to find a woman who saved his grandfather during WWII.
  • Julia Powell (Amy Adams) challenges herself to cook all the recipes in Julia Child's (Meryl Streep) first cookbook. (Based on a true story.)
Kon-Tiki (2012)
  • Based on the true story of Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl who set out on a quest to prove the possibility that South Americans settled Polynesia prior to Columbian times. To do this requires using the same methods that would have been used in that time period... sailing on a balsa-wood raft across 4,300 miles of the Pacific Ocean.
One Week (2008)
  • A young man (portrayed by Joshua Jackson) travels across Canada in search of the meaning of his life as well as a quest to find "grumps" from a childhood story. (This would have fit with meaning and purpose, too!)
  • Walter (Ben Stiller) goes on a quest to find a missing photo negative.
  • There's a lot of seek-and-find as the robotics club searches for parts they can use for their underwater robot, especially with an extremely meager budget. (Based on a true story.)

Do you have any quest type hobbies? 

(Note: The movies listed might not be completely family-friendly. See my "Movie Content" information on the blog's sidebar.)

Monday, April 19, 2021

Movies reflect human needs: Play

Blogging from A to Z Challenge

ThemeMovies reflect human needs...


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The opposite of play is not work--the opposite of play is depression. (Brian Sutton-Smith
I came across that quote a few years ago, and since I am prone to depression, it caught my attention. I always thought if I wasn't playing, then I must be working. But we can find fun in our work, and some forms of play can take a lot of effort (work). They aren't opposites. When it comes to clinical depression, I don't know if that quote is accurate, but I do know that when I'm depressed, playing helps lift my mood.

After recognizing that lack of play "plays" a part in depression, I made a list of things I loved to do as a kid and started incorporating them. For instance, hula hooping is fun exercise! And I try to use versions of hide-and-go-seek in other activities (more on that in tomorrow's topic!).

And when I want to kickstart creativity, I pull out my coloring books, jacks and/or marbles...
The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct. (Carl Jung)
Play is our brain's favorite way of learning. (Diane Ackerman)'s easy to get caught up in everyday-ed-ness and neglect play. I often forget to find the fun in what I'm doing. 

We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing. (George Bernard Shaw)

Some movies portraying the need for play... 

Big (1988)
  • Sure, Josh (Tom Hanks) is actually a kid inside an adult's body, so play comes naturally to him, but through his example other adults learn the value of play, too.
  • Based on a true story, a father who's been frequently absent in one son's life and almost completely absent in another's, becomes full-time father to both. Their relationships connect best through play.
Brave (2012)
  • When Merida is a little girl, her mom plays with her, but as she grows up her mother becomes overly strict and concerned about Merida being a proper princess. It's when her mother becomes playful again that their relationship begins to mend. ("My Take" review found here.)
Hook (1991)
  • Grown up Peter Banning (Robin Williams) is too caught up in work and worry. When his children are kidnapped by Hook (Dustin Hoffman) he has to remember how to play so he can become Peter Pan again, capable of going against his nemesis.
  • During the Holocaust, hoping to shield his son from the horrific conditions of prison camp, a father convinces his son that it's all part of a game.
Yes Day (2021)
  • Okay, this film is over the top and ridiculous at times, but it fits with the topic of play. Parents who used to be fun and adventurous have become fuddy-duddy no-sayers, and they accept the challenge to say yes to their kids' requests for one full day.

Do you include play in your life? What is your favorite way to play?

(Note: The movies listed might not be completely family-friendly. See my "Movie Content" information on the blog's sidebar.)

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Movies reflect human needs: Optimism

Blogging from A to Z Challenge

ThemeMovies reflect human needs...


Image from my own photos.
The average pencil is seven inches long, with just a half-inch eraser - in case you thought optimism was dead. (Robert Brault)
Optimism is about hopefulness and confidence. It's not just positive thinking. It isn't about affirmations and pep talks, and definitely not about toxic positivity

Martin Seligman has studied optimism (and pessimism) in depth and shares research result in his book Learned Optimism. He states:
The defining characteristic of pessimists is that they tend to believe bad events will last a long time, will undermine everything they do ...  The optimists, who are confronted with the same hard knocks of this world, think about misfortune in the opposite way. They tend to believe defeat is just a temporary setback...
Without optimism, achieving goals and dreams can be difficult. Stumbling blocks become road blocks with seemingly no way around them. Optimism helps us keep going, looking for the window that might have opened because the door closed.

So... no surprise that the movies listed for Dreams, also fit for optimism. 

Optimism is also evident in these films...

Hairspray (2007)
Little Boy (2015)
    ("My Take" review for the film found here.)

What movie(s) would you add for the topic of optimism?

(Note: The movies listed might not be completely family-friendly. See my "Movie Content" information on the blog's sidebar.)

Friday, April 16, 2021

Movies reflect human needs: Nourishment

Blogging from A to Z Challenge

ThemeMovies reflect human needs...


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Humans can't survive without food--it's a vital need. Some movies I recently watched portray how food sustains life...
But food can nourish more than our bodies, it can provide comfort, add to celebrations, bring people together.

The service of food is to nurture, to please, to nourish. (Lidia Bastianich

As chefs, we cook to please people, to nourish people. (José Andrés)

In these films, food isn't just a means of survival... it's art, it's love, it's connection, it's meant to be savored, it nourishes souls.
Okay, I might be a bit obsessed with food!

Hungry for more? 

In 2017, I used Food in Film for my A to Z theme. Here are those posts:

What's your favorite type of food? Do you have a go-to comfort food? Are there certain foods that seem like a party in your mouth when you eat? Do you enjoy cooking? 

(Note: The movies listed might not be completely family-friendly. See my "Movie Content" information on the blog's sidebar.)

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Movies reflect human needs: Meaning and purpose

Blogging from A to Z Challenge

ThemeMovies reflect human needs...

Meaning and purpose

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Life never ceases to have meaning; even suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds a meaning. (Victor Frankl)

The difference between happy people and unhappy ones is that happy people have found a use for themselves, like a good tool. (Barbara Kingsolver
Upon asking my then three-year-old to put away the toys he'd scattered around the living room, he asked, "Why?"

"Because having a clean home makes mama happy."

He ignored my request.

I told him again, to clean up the mess, and he responded again, with "Why?"

"So we won't trip and hurt ourselves."

He ignored my request.

I can't recall how many "why"s we went through, or how many different reasons I responded with (even including the exasperated, "Because I told you to!"), but he finally asked, "Does God want me put my toys away?"

That caught me by surprise, so I took a moment to consider it... obedience is important to Him, as is cleanliness..."Yes, as a matter of fact, He does."

To which my son responded, "Oh! Why didn't you say so?" and immediately cleaned up his mess.

There's something about finding meaning and purpose--the why--to what we do that motivates us humans.

When characters in books or films find a purpose to what they need to do, it's usually a turning point... launching them into action. And in some stories, reflecting back and recognizing the meaning, helps the character find satisfaction and peace.

  • Based on Mitch Albom's novel, a deceased man (John Voight) meets five people from his past who help him understand his life had meaning. 
  • When Scott Voss (Kevin James) finds a purpose--to raise money to save the music department in the school--it carries over into other areas of his life, including his dating skills, and the way he teaches his biology class.
Just Mercy (2019)
  • Civil rights defense attorney Bryan Stevenson (Michael B. Jordan) is driven by purpose... "to provide legal representation to people who have been illegally convicted, unfairly sentenced, or abused in state jails and prisons." (quote found on his EJI website here; "My Take" review found here)
127 Hours (2010)
  • Trapped in a crevice, Aron (James Franco) almost gives up on survival... until a vision of his future life gives him purpose... and the strength to take the extreme measures required to free himself. (Based on a true story.)
Soul (2020)
  • A Disney animated film that explores purpose and meaning, and what gives each soul spark.

What movie(s) reflecting meaning and purpose would you add? Can you think of a movie character who moved forward--took action--when they understood why they needed to? 

(Note: The movies listed might not be completely family-friendly. See my "Movie Content" information on the blog's sidebar.)