Posted on: April 4, 2008 6:48 pm

Movies and Mental Health - "Once Were Warriors"

One of the non-psychology topics I want to post about more frequently is movies. Of course, I would like to do more straight-up reviews of both good movies (as well as fun, if not-so-good ones, such as my other post on "Good-Bad Movies"), but I also want to make at least some of the movie talk relevant to the topic at hand - psychology. Therefore, I will make the occasional post about movies from a psychology perspective. This can mean different things at different times, depending on the movie. For example, I may post about a movie that portrays a psychological problem or intervention accurately and effectively; or, I may post because a movie may provide an individual who is experiencing a certain difficulty some ideas to consider. I may also post about a movie because it is motivating or illuminating in some way. This in no way is meant to replace an opinion about the movie’s effectiveness as a whole - in fact, if I think a movie stinks, I may not post about it from a psychology perspective, except perhaps to warn you!

So, I believe I will start with the 1994 New Zealand film "Once Were Warriors." This is a truly memorable film, well-acted and extremely effective at demonstrating how substance abuse and domestic violence can negatively impact a family in so many ways. This is a film often assigned to individuals in treatment for domestic violence and anger management classes to watch and discuss, due to its ability to demonstrate the ongoing impact of the violence (which perpetrators are often blind to). Of course, the impact of excessive alcohol use on aggression is also effectively demonstrated, and the movie does not offer any easy answers. At times this can be a difficult movie to sit through, and I also acknowledge that it takes a few minutes to adjust to the New Zealand accents, but I thought I would start with this film because it is relatively unknown, is very well-done, and the relationship of the movie to psychology is obvious. The film provides a number of excellent topics to discuss, whether in some form of a treatment format, or just with the person you watched it with. Do not, however, watch it if you are in the mood for a "feel good" movie - it ain’t that. Watch it when you are in a good position to be able to watch a movie that can be hard to watch, especially if you have a history of experiencing violence in your past.

Category: General
Posted on: March 20, 2008 11:45 am

Top Five "Good - Bad" Movies!!!!

I really enjoy movies.  I enjoy just about all genres (though most romantic comedies do suck), and a movie has to be really bad for me not to at least by mildly amused (only about 10 movies I've ever seen fall into that category.  Think "Dr. T and the Women").  "Good - Bad" movies are a special category unto themselves.  They are movies that, when measured by the typical "Masters in Fine Arts, A.O. Scott, did the dialogue significantly advance the plot and/or character development" standards, aren't very good.  Yet, despite all of that, they remain very entertaining.  However, this isn't just simply low brow fare.  There are bonus points if the effort in making the movie was to be better than the final product, so there is an element of "unintentional goodness" involved in rating the best of the good-bad flicks.

With that definition in mind, I offer you these five "Good - Bad" favorites:

5) "The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension"  -  Wow!  Was supposed to be a sort of a multi-genred romp with a sci-fi appeal, and it became a cult fave for reasons not intended by the makers of this film.  Peter Weller stars, and you can also check him out in another really good "good-bad" flick called "Shakedown,"  which also has Sam Elliot spouts some awesome one-liners.

4) "Red Dawn" - WOLVERINES!  What over-30 movie fan doesn't have a warm spot in their heart for this safety blueprint produced to provide us teens (at least at the time) a info-filled training video on how to resist the Commies.  A great 80s cast (Patrick Swayze, C. Thomas Howell, Jennifer Grey, etc.) this is a movie that is impossible not to like, despite its exponential absurdity.

3) Cannonball Run - Okay, this movie was made tongue-in-cheek, but it still holds up as a good "good-bad" flick.  The medical doctor brought along by Burt Reynolds and Dom DeLuise is worth the price of admission alone.

2) "Johnny Mnenomic" - My God, is this good-bad or what?  Let's see, a wooden Keanu Reeves?  Check!  Hackneyed sci-fi plot?  Check!  A super-intelligent dolphin who holds the key to the Earth's future?  Check!  Dolph Lundgren as a half-robotic, psychotic-killer preacher who spouts lines like "It's Jesus Time!" ?  Double-check!!! 

1)  Drum roll...."Road House" - okay, no surprise here.  This good-bad movie has got it all - an above average cast in a below average movie, unintentionally funny lines ("I heard he killed a man in Alabama", "Pain don't hurt"), a ridiculously over-the-top plot, and  a complete lack of insight into the movie being good-bad by the film's director.  Congratulations, we have a winner!

A few others, in no particular order, that are also faves on mine:  Super Fuzz, Streets of Fire, The Last Dragon, Karate Kid II, Midnight Madness, Shakedown, and Saving Private Ryan (just kidding...wanted to see if anyone actually read this far!).

Category: General
Tags: Movies
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