Monday, December 6, 2010

Matchstick Men

I chose the movie Matchstick Men to review for my final blog post, because obsessive compulsive disorder has always intrigued me.  I rented it because even though me and Nick Cage have had our differences, an early one of his flicks with Sam Rockwell, and Ridley Scott sounded good.  Matchstick Men gives you Nicholas Cage as Roy, the protagonist of the movie. Roy is an antisocial con artist who basically only has one human connection, with his business associate Frank. Sam Rockwell plays Frank, Roy's partner in crime and possibly the only person that he sees on a regular basis, with the exception of a grocery store clerk who Roy refuses to acknowledge despite her friendliness towards him.  Frank is the opposite of Roy he is dirty, talkative and very laid back.
As the first act of the film develops Roy's abnormal behavior is displayed via his over cleanliness, chain smoking, tense agitated status and the reference to the pills that he should be taking. The first con job that you see is initially portrayed as if they are officers investigating the victims of a sweepstakes scam. In reality Roy and Frank committed the scam and are following up on it to get banking information. It's fairly genius and you feel sympathetic for the suckers yet impressed by the cleverness of the con, but then Roy's disorder is triggered by a door that has been left open. The job is almost botched by Roy's disability to ignore the anxiety that this open door is causing him, and you realize the severity of his disorder.
Roy's behavior is a perfect example of OCD.  He shows certain ritualistic patterns such as the opening and closing of doors several times before shutting them.  He has a substantial amount of cleaning products organized neatly in a closet and frantically cleans for long periods of time.  At one point Roy says “the only thing keeping me from blowing my brains out is the thought of what it would do to my carpet” which is illustrating the intensity of his mental illness. In addition to his OCD he shows symptoms of a social phobia. He confesses that he hasn't had an intimate relationship in over fifteen years. When a doctor tries to make Roy have a psychiatric evaluation to determine his need for prescription medicine he is repulsed by the thought of long talks with another person.  He routinely shops at a grocery store where the clerk attempts to converse with him, but Roy consistently avoids interaction with her. His business partner Frank is usually unsuccessful in his effort to be better friends with Roy.
In the second act of the film a young girl Angela is introduced. She claims to be Roy's daughter and Roy is uncertain why his ex wouldn't have told him about her pregnancy. Angela is a rebellious girl who is unhappy living with her mother, and would rather live with Roy. Angela and Roy start off with an awkward relationship partly because of their lack of knowledge of each other, as well as Roy's social difficulties.  Once Angela discovers Roy's true job as a con artist she is not only alright with it, she wants to help and does. This is when Roy starts to connect with somebody for the first time in years, and starts to feel the anxiety slightly lifted.
The third act involves a job gone wrong and throws a twist that no honest person could see coming. I really enjoyed it even though it seemed like it was desperately trying to achieve the end twist that so many movies post Usual Suspects have attempted.  Which by the way if you haven't seen Usual Suspects forget this movie and watch that.  I give Matchstick Men 3/4 stars which might be generous, but I have a hard time not finding the good in things.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Family Affair

Every year my family and I go to Glendive, MT to my grandparents house.  In high school I despised leaving while all my friends were in missoula for Thanksgiving.  Almost all of my dad's side of the family are usually there.  My parents always told me that I wouldn't have to go with them once I lived away from home, so last year I stayed in missoula while they all made the trek to Glendive.  I felt pretty guilty.  Then this year my dad got a new job and we were unable to travel because of it.  It wasn't a good time for me anyways considering my school work load, but I haven't seen my grandparents in two years now.  They are getting pretty old now, and I would feel awful if I never saw either of them again.  I hope to make a trip to see them before next year.  Everything aside, I had a good traditional Thanksgiving with my immediate family.  My dad cooked while my little brother and I played Mario Kart.  I hadn't seen much of them lately so the whole day was pretty nice.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Cathedral Narrator

The narrator of Cathedral has a genuine issue with blind people in the beginning of the story.  Throughout most of the story he has nothing but rude things to say of his wife's blind friend Robert.  He is completely unsympathetic towards the mans handicap and at times he seems to be angered by the disability.  The jealousy aspect is more fathomable to me but that doesn't seem to be his entire issue with Robert.  The third act of the story begins to change these emotions once the narrator's wife falls asleep and Robert asks him to describe the cathedrals.   As the night ages, the drunk and stoned men draw a cathedral together.  When Robert asks the narrator to close his eyes as he draws you can tell it is an enlightening experience for the character, and he understands the blind man much more.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Tip Jar

I'm not sure I'm the best candidate to be giving writing advice but I'll try my best to explain my writing process tricks.

1. Leave room for mistakes by giving yourself multiple drafts to further improve on each time you revise.  The initial draft can be as mediocre as possible as long as you have every intention to keep increasing its quality.  Don't over think the first draft, but read the final copy thoroughly.
2. Brainstorm relative ideas and points of interest involved with your topic.  Write them down and decide how you can involve them in your paper.  Try to sort them out so that they occur in a relevant order.
3. Give yourself time to write.  Procrastination is a common vice and is a heavy negative factor in bad writing.  Begin your paper in your immediate free time and the quality of the writing will be much greater.
4. Bring a critic into the equation.  As many times as you read it you might not find all of the faults due to the lack of knowledge which led to the initial mistake.  Somebody with a good writing history and grammar skills is your ideal viewer.
5. Enjoy the piece.  The less tedious the writing seems the more passion you will have towards your work.  If possible pick a topic that interests you and if not then research it until you are able to write from a highly educated point on the matter.  Keep the writing interesting for you as well as the reader.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Fact or Fiction?

1. I have never been out of the United States.

2. I had a legal name change at one point in my life.

3. I have never broken a bone.

Monday, October 11, 2010

It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia

It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia is a show about four friends in their late twenties who own and run Paddy's Pub an Irish bar in Philadelphia.  The characters in the show are naive, arrogant, selfish and rude but that's what makes them so hilarious.  Charlie one of the part owners of the bar is an illiterate abortion survivor who frequently huffs glue, eats cat food, and drinks beer because "The combination of the three make him sick and tired and help him sleep despite the 500 howling cats outside his apartment".  Danny Devito plays the father of the twins in the gang, Dennis and Dee.  Mac the final main character and real life creator of the show is known for always wearing cut off shirts, believing he knows karate and making "Project Bad-Ass" tapes to show people how bad-ass he is.  The show has almost a cartoon vibe via the over-the-top actions of the characters which almost always end without consequence.  They are typically heavily drinking and always doing something completely stupid, but stupidity is always classic when it comes to comedy.  I encourage anyone who hasn't seen this show to watch it. I own seasons 1-4 and those are my favorites, but the new episodes are on Thursdays on FX at 11:00 pm. 
It's Always Sunny- Scene

Friday, October 8, 2010


 Make Wall Street Risk It All
William D. Cohan
 The article is mainly concerning the serious flaws in Wall Street.  It discusses the "Dodd-Frank Act" which was recently signed by Obama, the issue with this act is that the incentives on Wall Street remain the same.  The concept of the rich get richer while the poor get poorer is truly bothering and yet this has been allowed for over 40 years.  A horrific example of this occurred in the office of Goldman Sachs.  In 2007 when the mortgage boomed, the three top executives split around 200 million dollars from the 17.6 billion that the company made in pretax profits.  The capital that the head honchos in this industry make is sickening and in this article it becomes much more apparent to any reader.  It suggests that each big firms security is backed by its top 100 execs, and that the financial stability will only be as true as the wealthy men running the company.  I completely agree with this though I doubt these greedy bastards would ever risk their own worth.