Monday, August 4, 2008

Violent Movies No More and Writing Buddy Goals Week Six

Do you guys subscribe to Netflix? I love Netflix. I really do. I am a total movie buff and have seen so many movies, but my problem is I can never remember the titles months later. So, sometimes I rent a movie I have already seen but won't remember this until some climatic moment when inevitably I will say... "Wait a minute. I remember this movie. This is the one where she is really from the past but stuck in the present and then she kills him and Ugh, I hated this movie the first time I saw it!"

So, maybe I have an early stage of Alzheimer's... What's your point?
Anyway... this weekend was my husband's turn so we watched his movie. Granted, my husband and I have very different tastes in movies. He likes action adventure and I like Sundance winners, or Independents... you know the free-thinking artsy kind of films. Sometimes, I will enjoy his picks and (more than) sometimes he likes mine - although it is hard for him to admit... (especially when he is snoring, but I digress...)

This weekend he chose Untraceable. Have you seen it? The premise is there is a website where some poor, unsuspecting kitten, or human, has been kidnapped and then murdered live on this site; the more viewers, the quicker the animal or person is killed. It was graphic and disturbing to say the least. Of course viewership soars and people are killed more quickly and in more and more gruesome and unthinkable ways.

When it was over here were my thoughts
  1. Never again will I give up my time to watch a film about violence towards any living species. I just can't handle it, nor do I want to fill up any bit of my time with these images.

  2. As a writer... WHO WRITES THESE THINGS AND WHY???? With all the negativity and violence in the real world, why devote your talents to producing more of that in forms of "entertainment?" I just don't get it. I want my talent to have a positive affect on people, not gross them out and think we live in a sick and twisted world. We do, unfortunately. That's true. But which came first? Once we started putting this stuff all over TV, movies, books, we became desensitized to it. And, in my opinion, as a result, our world continually grows in violence at an alarming rate.

  3. I'm now scared of all of you! I'm kidding of course, but shish, this movie was all about your vulnerability BECAUSE of the Internet and blogging... It's made me re-think a couple things about blogging and being so reachable online... *shivers*

What I concluded (and I told my husband this too), I will no longer give any of my time or energy to watch unnecessary violence in movies. I am just not interested. I feel like I have to protect my... my... energy, if you will. I will no longer welcome that into my "space." Does that make sense? I have been doing everything in my power, reading, meditating, surrounding myself with like-minded people etc. to create a positive world in which to live. I don't need a movie to then take that away, even if for just two hours.


I have given up forcing myself to do what doesn't come naturally to me. I write September to June. I always have. And I don't think that will ever change. I love having the summers with my kids and I want to continue that.

For the remainder of the summer, I will be focusing on researching and outlining and I feel good about that. So, here are my goals...

  1. I need to outline and research this week about my "other world" in my story. I was told by Agent Guy (and yes, he did have some valid and not so hurtful things to say), that my fantasy element is not fully realized. And doggone it, he was right! So this week I am going to really delve into my "other world" which has been staring me in the face all this time. DUH! This is where my fully realized fantasy world can live. So I need to figure out: A) how to get there that doesn't sound too much like taking a narcotic!!! B) what everyone's forms will be when in that realm C) how to fight my antagonist in this realm without Harry Potter chasing (no easy task...)

  2. Honestly number 1 will take up most of my week. But I will be plugging away on research. I need to find out more about specific trees... i.e. medicinal uses, mythical connections, and what pests are particularly dangerous for them.

  3. UGH! Finish my daughter's dresser. Last week I let that goal go to the dreaded, ever-present, unspoken goal of WEEDING!!!! The weeds have taken over my life! But this weekend, my husband and kids had the backbreaking task of once and for all getting ahead of the weeds! And I must say, we did. We fought and prevailed! Our flower gardens are beautiful once more. Yay! So back to the dresser. I need to: A) buy white and pink paint B) put on a layer of crackle glaze over the black paint. C) apply white paint D) apply pink paint in key areas E) sand in key areas to give it that antique look F) buy new knobs G) put knobs on.

  4. Buy locker organizers for child #1. A middle schooler this year and a soon-to-be locker owner. Child #1 will definitely need organization things as this is cherub's number 1 issue. She has picked out something she loves in Pottery Barn, but yikes the price! So off to surf looking for something similar but not so pricey.

  5. Make sure backpacks and lunch boxes can withstand another year of abuse and if not replace. Last year I waited too long and everything was back ordered until December. Not this year, I'm on top of it!

  6. ENJOY the summer while it lasts. Soon it will be gone.

And those are my goals for this week. But let's discuss how you feel about watching violence in movies and TV. Do you think it is in some ways more acceptable in books because it is your own imagination putting in the gore and details? Are you not bothered by it at all either way? What do you think?

Happy Writing Everyone!


PJ Hoover said...

I have this same "who writes this stuff" thought. I could never write it. And no way do I watch it in movies. I used to enjoy it, but once I had kids, it's like a switch flipped and that was that. No more serial killers. Or pedophiles or torture. Just can't (won't) do it.
Life is too happy.
Even some of the YA stuff out there I'd have a hard time reading. And it's so popular!

Sheri said...

That happened to me too! The switch just turned off once I had kids and that was that. Just can't stomach it anymore.

I saw Blair Witch as a home rental right after my first was born. The thought of my own child trapsing through the woods to hunt down a myth was just too much to bear. That was the moment I realized I could no longer watch these things.

Angie Frazier said...

PJ and Sheri, I'm the same way. Had kids, and Boom! No more violence. I can't stand it. I'm a total mother hen now :-)

Sheri, I saw Untraceable not too long ago and thought it was a bit predictable as well. My hubby and I gave it a "so-so" rating.

ChrisEldin said...

Hi Girlfriend!

I have another contest for you...

I posted a link on my blog, as well as my entry. I learned about it from Danette. It's very nice. For ladies only.

Sheri said...

Angie, I wonder if we are all on to something here... do all women, once they become moms, no longer tolerate violent movies??? It was definitely predictable, but I didn't care. I just didn't want to know what happens to a human when put under those extremes. (spoiler) and yes I definitely knew from teh first five minutes that the friend would buy it and she would wind up in the killers clutches.

Hey Chris! I saw the quick post on your site, but didn't get a chance to read your story or check out the link. But I am on it tomorrow. I promise. And thanks for the heads up about it!

beth said...

I'm so on the fence about this issue. Have you ever heard of CHuck Palahnuik? He's most famous for writing Fight Club (book, not movie), but he has written several other books as well. He's a verrrrry graphic, gory shock writer--people have, literally, passed out from shock or vomited from grossness during readings from his book.

At first, I thought, Why do it? You're just a hat trick, trying to get a reaction. Then I realized that was exactly WHY he was doing...Palahnuik's goal in writing was, in part, to shock people enough to wake them up to what really matters (a theme very prevalent in Fight Club, but also in many of his other works). His ultimate message is be yourself, even if yourself is gross. And, I've seen kids who HATE reading totally fall in love with this guy's writing (v. popular at my high school).

...I guess maybe the difference is whether it is gratuitous violence or not, and what your definition of gratuitous violence is.

...and maybe my opinion will change more when I have kids. I can see that happening.

PJ Hoover said...

You guys remember Reservoir Dogs? That movie really started the "I can't take this kind of violence" thing for me. I love Pulp Fiction (also Quentin Tarantino) and thought it was brilliant (though some well done violence).

keri mikulski :) said...

Never liked violence in movies.. I forced myself to watch horror flicks when I was younger to fit in, but I hated every moment.

I like how you know yourself as a writer. You know you write best September to June. I need to adopt that attitude and stop getting so frustrated trying to meet deadlines during the summer. :)

Sheri said...

Beth - I saw Fight Club and although it was bloody, it didn't bother me as much as murderous violence. Maybe that is hypocritical of me. There was a reason (sort-of) for the violence in Fight Club and it did have a message. But This movie was just murderous and yeah there was a message too - we will watch anything and think it is entertaining - society has lost its consciousness. And I agree with that, but I just can't stomach such grotesqueness.

Kids do love the stuff though, don't they? I did! When I was a teenager, my friends and I went to the movies every Friday night to see the scariest, most bloody thriller that was playing. I used to love it. It felt like a ride in an amusement park. You'll have to let us know, Beth, if your tolerance changes once you have kids. You'll be our guinea pig. Let us know as soon as you're pregnant! ;)

PJ - I remember Reservoir Dogs too. That was bloody. Tarantino has always been too bloody and violent for me. But Scorsese... now his movies I really can't watch.

Keri - I can see you hiding behind tightly woven fingers in the dark. My friend Michelle was like that too. She just went because Renee and I were going, but she also hated it. Now I feel guilty. Maybe I'll write her an apology letter...

My screenwriting teacher told us the first thing we must do is know ourselves as writers, Keri, and it was one of the smartest writing assignments I've ever had. We had to write all different times and days, etc until we discovered what felt best for us. I discovered I am a morning writer, which I never would have guessed. I always thought of myself as a night owl. But now I know I am a night owl in morning dove's clothing... Or maybe the other way around... But yes, it is so important to figure this out. Try writing at all different times, seasons, days of the week, etc and take notes. When does it flow, when doesn't it. And soon you'll see a pattern. Also note if you had a good night's sleep, etc. Being a school teacher for 17 years (ugh... that long...) has kind of trained my brain to think from Sept - June. So I think it is a residual effect from those by-gone days... (I'm not really old. I just started teaching at 12, that's all) ;)

The Anti-Wife said...

I stopped watching these movies long ago and never felt deprived. Life is sensational enough without having to see it repeated on the screen. Give me a PG rated movie any time.

Sheri said...

A agree Anit-wife. The only time I delve into the R zone if there is some nudity due to it being a romantic film. But I think most movies I see are PG-13.

Sarah Hina said...

Not only do I try to avoid these movies, but I try to avoid the sensationalized "real-life" pieces on TV magazine shows and the like. My mom is constantly bombarding me with these horror stories, and why?? It just brings me down.

I'm with you--there's enough ugliness in the world without our feeding it. Give me romance, give me fantasy, give me humor. I don't mind an occasional, well-told thriller, but I can't stand the gratuitous crap.

On a brighter note, good luck with your weekly goals! It sounds like you're grabbing summer by the horns. :)

Sheri said...

I agree Sarah. The only info I need on the news is the weather! I just don't want to know how this one killed that one, or how this child was hurt or worse. Maybe if the news and other writers didn't sensationalize violence, there would be less of it...

“Personal limitation exists only in our ideas of who we are. Give up all notions of who you are and your limitations will vanish.”

- Anonymous