In the early 2000’s, Julia Stiles’s career was heating up. Two of the movies she made reflected the reality of the modern world we are living in, where some have chosen romantic partners whose skin color does not match their own.
Save the Last Dance (2001)
Sara (Julia Stiles) is a suburban high school student whose dream it is to go Julliard. After her mother is killed in a car accident, she is forced to move in with her estranged father, Roy (Terry Kinney). Roy is a musician who lives in the South Side of Chicago. The culture shock of an inner city school and the loss of her mother nearly kills Sara’s dream, until she connects with Derek (Sean Patrick Thomas), who has a semi-criminal past and wants more than his present circumstances offer.
This movie started the semi-musical dance genre that is still around 13 years later. Unlike the movies that followed this one, Save The Last Dance is one of the best movies of it’s era. Yes, one could argue that this movie does contain stereotypes, but I don’t see it that way. I see it as a story of overcoming what seems like impossible odds to achieve our goals in life.
A high school reboot of William Shakespeare’s Othello, Odin James (Mekhi Phifer) has it all. He is the star of the basketball team, is dating Desi Brable (Julia Stiles) and is treated like a son by his coach, Duke Golding (Martin Sheen). Hugo, Duke’s son (Josh Harnett) is jealous of Odin. He embarks on a plan to destroy Odin, which in turn has it’s own consequences.
For a modern high school reboot of Othello, it’s not a bad movie. Shakespeare is always an easy go to for Hollywood when looking for a good story. He writes about human emotions and human experiences, which has not changed since the 16th century and will never change. And this movie has a nice cast whose careers have only grown since 2001.
*-Contains spoilers for Once Upon A Time. Read at your own risk if you are catching up on previous episodes.
The story of Beauty and The Beast is a familiar one. A woman agrees to take her father’s place at a beast’s castle when her father steals a rose, the only gift his daughter asked for.
While much of commentary is focused on the female lead, I would like to focus tonight on the male lead. The Beast is a tortured soul. Depending on which adaption one is reading or watching, the beast is either directly punished for his wicked, selfish ways or indirectly punished for others’s mistakes. His punishment is the loss of his humanity. While he retains his fine home, a kitchen full of food and fancy clothes, his cursed exterior reflects his inner turmoil.
On Once Upon A Time, Rumplestilkin (Robert Carlyle) is known the Dark One. Make a deal with the dark one and he will want something in return for his services. But underneath the scaly green skin and the magic is a man whose scars run deep and long. Loosing his parents to death and abandonment at a young age, he was branded a coward. His marriage to his first wife, Milah was rocky, even after the birth of their son, Bae. When Milah abandoned her husband and son for Captain Hook, the mortal Rumplestilkin was replaced with the immortal dark one.
In Skin Deep, Sir Maurice will do anything to end the Ogre Wars. Rumplestilkin is happy but help. But in return for his services, he wants Belle, the king’s only daughter as a serving girl. As time passes, Rumplestilskin begins to see Belle in a new light. But their first kiss reveals his deep un-healed scars.
What strikes me about this scene is that I understood him at that moment, when he is yelling at himself in the mirror. I understood his pain, his turmoil and his fear.
Sometimes, when we look in the mirror, that is all we see.
Brittany Maynard’s fate is not one that I would wish on anyone. She has a malignant brain tumor that will slowly and painfully kill her.
While others would rely on modern medicine as they slowly become a vegetable and become confined to a hospital bed, Brittany has decided to end her life on her terms.
There are some who have condemned her decision. They believe that she should wait until G-d decides it is time. While I respect their right to voice their opinion, I disagree with them.
What Brittany has chosen to do is not suicide. Suicide is done at a moment of extreme emotion and desperation. Knowing what is facing her and her family, she had chosen to live and die on her terms.
We should all be so lucky to live and die in the same way.