February 28, 2012

Movie Review – The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

Filed under: Movie Reviews — Tags: , , , — sbj @ 10:53 pm

Remember way back when I did movie reviews… here’s one for old times sake.

There is probably going to be a spoiler or two… so think about that if you haven’t seen it and intend to do so.


I’ll cut right to the chase, because, despite there being a lot to like about this movie, there was one aspect that left me walking out of the theater wishing it was made while I was still in college so I could spend the entire night/weekend/whatever talking about it with my oh so smart and worldly (sarcasm there, in case that wasn’t obvious) friends.

The last scene alone would have provided hours of poetic waxing about the commodification of sex, the dysfunctional aftermath of abuse, and the joyously flawed character reveal… tantalizingly delayed until the very end and yet not really withheld at all.

There are so many conclusions that can be drawn throughout the movie about the relationship building between Lisbeth and Mikael; however, in the end – regardless of what you thought would happen, or what you thought should happen – it went down exactly as it should.

In the movie, we do not see any significant relationship building between the main characters. While we witness extreme circumstances leading to outlandish actions, we are made aware of nothing foundational between Salander and Blomkvist. We see sex (which at first seems like mercy sex, and then seems like utility sex, but never appears to be passion or affection), we see inter-dependence, we even see a life saved; but we never see commonality or synchronicity.

Surely, to Lisbeth, the act of sexually communing with Mikael was a major investment. Her sexuality has always been an unhealthy yet integral part of her value. People have abused her for it and blackmailed her for it and now she had found a place where she actually wanted to not only use it… but perhaps find meaning in it.

Mikael, by contrast, in sleeping with Salander, is cheating for at least the second straight time (that we know of) and appears to tragically undervalue their physical intimacy. It was inviting, fun, and enjoyable…but never appeared to be terribly significant.

The inevitable collision of these values was foreshadowed well by his distraction during their encounter in the hotel and climaxed (pun intended) fantastically in the final scene.

Blomkvist, of course, goes back to his life – including his married girlfriend; oblivious to the idea that anything significant was going on with Salander. Lisbeth, by contrast, confides in her most (only?) trusted companion that she has started forging a relationship with someone that he “would like” (or “approve of”, can’t remember which word she used but the intent was the same); only to find him laughing arm in arm with the previously mentioned other woman.

The couple in front of me at the theater, as the credits started to roll, began to speculate on whether it was his daughter (we only see the woman from behind, so the part about his being with the married woman above is my speculation… and clearly what you are supposed to think), or if he was going out with her one last time to break up with her… or… or… or.

I haven’t read the books (although I am about to start as I see tremendous potential beyond just a good intrigue novel now), so I don’t know what comes next. Perhaps the half-fullers in front of me are right on one of their guesses; and, honestly, I won’t have my feelings hurt if they are and everything I have speculated on is dead wrong. There is a certain pleasure to be taken in thinking that these two broken people might be just what each other needs to cobble a happy and productive life out of their respective pasts.

But, if their not, and it is as I saw it… while it won’t be all “happy Hollywood,” this movie is a great and candid look into humanity and the ravages of abuse… and one hell of a conversation starter.

Even if it is just a few years too late for me to take full advantage of it…

February 27, 2012

Time well spent?

I often think that dedicating ones time to eradicating propaganda might be a more productive undertaking than the fight against hunger, homelessness, or the pursuit of world peace. In fact, the former might just be the most effective method for hastening the realization of the latter causes.


If we could get beyond who’s fault the situation is, and focus – instead – on the situation in need of repair; it seems to me that we would become infinitely more capable of fixing what ails us.

So here’s a thought… spend a week (longer if you wind up enjoying it… or finding it productive… or both) finding no fault in others. Feel free to recognize situations that need remedy, and certainly feel empowered to work toward resolving them. However, do not seek the cause (other than to assist with the solution, of course), do not seek to blame, do not seek accountability. Don’t even seek a learning/teaching opportunity (other than the example you set by working to rectify the situation). After all, if a situation is bad enough enough to solicit blame, there is probably something more important to do anyway (i.e. fixing it).

February 16, 2012

I like hot chicks!

Filed under: Observations — Tags: , , , , — sbj @ 7:16 pm

… right around 98.6 (give or take a degree or two) to be specific. That’s pretty hot, right? The average bath is just over 100 degrees, and I know that’s hot. If they get much colder, its not so good (for either of us).

What I don’t like, however, is our society’s obsession with looks and body size. What I have always looked for (physically) in a women is someone who takes care of themselves, is healthy, and – because of these things – has a reasonable expectation for being around for the long run.


If you care enough about yourself to eat (relatively) right, be at least somewhat physically active, and keep your mind going by reading, playing games, or whatever… I DO NOT CARE WHAT YOU LOOK LIKE.

If you are a few pounds “overweight” (whatever that means) or a few pounds “underweight” (ibid) and it is your natural weight for your lifestyle, then you are doing it right.

Note – this is not an endorsement for obesity, personal neglect or sloth. What I am advocating is an active natural lifestyle, and the results that come from that.

Study after study shows that an active and engaged mind is one of the leading “symptoms” of people who reach advanced ages. So, if you are exercising this all important organ as well… you’re probably my kinda gal.

Because the longer you stay alive… the longer you’ll be right around 98.6… and at the end of the day (or the year, or the decade, or – if your really lucky – the century) every guy loves a hot chick!

February 15, 2012

An open letter to the word “better”

Filed under: Observations — Tags: , , , — sbj @ 11:13 pm

Dear Better,

With all due respect… I do not like you, and – as an adjective – I find you to be a false prophet.


Adjectives are supposed to describe something. You, by contrast, either describe something *else* or, at best, somethings relationship to something else. How am I supposed to impart to my children that their self worth should be based on a true and honest reflection of themselves and their character when every judgement you make is measured against an external bar? One of my pet peeves are people who elevate themselves by bringing others down… you do this like it’s your job (which, I guess, it kinda is).

I prefer a world where things are simply good or bad, on their own accord. See the difference there, there is no comparison to something else, the evaluation is based entirely on the thing being considered. That cheeseburger is good, or that cheeseburger is bad. At least the cheeseburgers in question have something to build upon… they know where they stand in the world.

Anything else – other shades of grey – are simply conditional preference. For example, “fish sticks and steak are both good. Tonight I believe I prefer the fish sticks.” Or, “fish sticks are good. While, to me, clam chowder is bad. I think I’ll go with the fish sticks.” (Did you see how that worked… either way I got yummy fish sticks!)

Stop your passive aggressive behavior and your back handed compliments, “better,” stop them now! They are unnecessary, hurtful, and add no value to the world that cannot be achieved via different means (i.e. by taking the approach outlined in the previous two paragraphs).

If we were in elementary school together my mother would call you a bully or a jerk and tell me not to hang out with you. I think I’m going to take that advice and do my best to avoid including you in any of my conversations going forward. It may be hard to do (at lest at first), habits can be hard to break, but I think it’s worth it. After all, I can’t really expect my children to judge themselves by looking in the mirror when I don’t even expect as much from myself when evaluating different brands of cookies.


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