Like Sunday, Like Rain – Forever Connected by A Haunted Melody

“No one cares about me…This is my life.  Welcome to the weirdness.  I’m just trying to navigate a course towards safety and sanity the best way I know how.”  This quote sets the stage for all the strangeness, hardships, and love that you encounter in the film Like Sunday, Like Rain.  It is a story of an unlikely relationship between Reggie, a lonely twelve year old, music prodigy, and genius, and Eleanor, a damaged twenty-three year old who has a broken relationship with her family and a hurtful love life.  The pair meets in an unlikely circumstance when Eleanor becomes the au pair to Reggie.

Eleanor introduces Reggie to connecting with someone that you can’t connect with through analysis or judgement.  She opens his eyes to the reality that someone cares about him even if he feels rejected by everyone else.  The story looks at two stages of life of the wealthy elite and the working class.  It analyses that two people from different worlds have more in common than what meets the eye.  The rejection and betrayal they feel by their families and others, they find comfort in one another.

The music by Ed Harcourt carries the plot and story as each composition adds a new layer to the thoughts and feelings of these two characters.  The piece “Like Sunday, Like Rain” is used  throughout the film to increase the emotions that the characters are feeling of hurt and sadness.  Eleanor’s first interaction with Reggie is listening to his piece being practiced at school.  She is almost in tears as it ends and is sitting in the dark theatre.  The composition spoke to her in a way that words could never achieve, made her miss something that she didn’t realized she missed.  As she spoke to Reggie, she connected with someone with just a handshake.  Reggie makes the comment “Life is a series of colossal mistakes.”  What I think he meant was that we are constantly learning, evolving, becoming the people that we hope to be.  We, as humans make rash decisions, allow the emotional to get in the way of the analysis, but is analysis better than taking a risk hoping we land our feet?  Life is about finding someone that can understand you.  Can sit with you in a room full of silence and not say a word.  Hold your hand without needing to say ‘I’m sorry,’ and be there whenever you need them to be.

This film is an innocent and beautiful story about two people being there for each other in a time of need, and continuing to be there for each other in the future even if they are not with each other physically.  Being two souls connected by music and living with each other in the haunted melody that is “Like Sunday, Like Rain.”  We could all use a reminder that we have been given a gift and it is our obligation to take care of it.  To take care of each other.  To constantly be reflecting on life and who we are.  And to always let the music speak when we are lost for words.

The video below is the piece “Like Sunday, Like Rain” by Ed Harcourt.  Watch the trailer here.

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Kurt Cobain – Genius, Musician, and A Lost Soul

Nirvana – a transcendent state in which there is neither suffering, desire, or sense of self.  A state of perfect happiness.  After watching the film ‘Montage of Heck’ Kurt Cobain was far from happy.  You know when you look into someone’s eyes and you can see a light dance when they are happy?  The only time you ever saw a light was when he was young, maybe three or four, and then you saw it again when he was around his daughter.  People see famous people and have this vision that their life is perfect.  That suffering doesn’t exist in that world.

Cobain’s problems started before he was born.  His parents got married young without the realization that marriage is hard work and that children are even harder work.  They hadn’t really figured themselves out as individuals let alone had the ability to know who they were as a couple.  At nine, Cobain’s parents got a divorce, which was difficult for Kurt because no one got divorce in those days.  It seemed that he felt humiliated, betrayed, and broken.  He acted out towards everyone.  His mother who kicked him out and sent him to his father.  His father who belittled and shamed him for his hyper-active behavior.  His siblings, grandparents, and step-mother.  The list continues as he was passed around from family member to family member.  When Kurt would act out, he would be passed on to the next one.  No one ever truly dealt with the emotional damage that had been created and was still being created.

He loved art – music, drawing, and writing.  Kurt fell in love with punk rock.  Punk rock was the music that understood the anger he felt, the alienation, and the loneliness.  His sister Kim said, “He was in search of something that didn’t make him feel so alone. So different.”  Watching the film of the intertwined rock shows, the interviews, the home movies of him as a teenager and into his twenties that he was searching for acceptance and to be loved.  He was threatened by ridicule and by what others thought, but he was his own worse critic.  He was a musical genius, a lyricist that always had a deeper meaning, and a mind that never took a vacation.  He never wanted the fame.  I think that the biggest thing he wanted was to help young people not feel so alone like him.  He wanted his music to be great; to be something that people could find their own interpretations.  He believed that the music spoke for itself, that the explanation was based on the individual.  In the song ‘Come As You Are’ Cobain sings,

“Come as you are, as you were,
As I want you to be
As a friend, as a friend, as an old enemy
Take your time, hurry up
The choice is yours, don’t be late.
Take a rest, as a friend, as an old memory”

Those lyrics are hauntingly beautiful.  Almost like he was trying to convince the world to accept themselves.  Trying to convince the world to accept him.  And trying to convince the man in the mirror to accept him.  Being from a broken family he wanted to make sure that his immediate family (Courtney Love & Frances Bean) was never broken, but again it was broken before it started.  He and Love were both addicted to heroine, never dealt with past struggles with their own parents, and now enters their child (Frances).  Cobain said in an interview that Frances became the most important thing in his life.  That he didn’t want her to be screwed up because of him.  He would leave the band if it started to affect her in anyway.  Cobain committed suicide on April 5, 1994.  His daughter grew up without him.  Never knowing the man that loved her more then he loved himself.  He was heartfelt musician, but what a wasted talent.  He died a broken man.  Leaving the world with songs such as ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ and ‘All Apologies.’  He helped create a whole new style of music, and introduced the 90s generation to grunge.  Even though he formed Nirvana he never truly found it.

All details of Kurt Cobain’s life were found through the documentary ‘Montage of Heck’ – watch the trailer here.

Now & Then – The Soundtrack to Generations Growing Up

Growing up during the 90s, me and three of my friends were obsessed with the movie Now and Then.  We would watch it at my friend’s birthday sleepover ever year and think that we were those girls, and we were going to be them when we got older.  We thought that we would be friends forever, but time changed and we grew apart.  Now, I sit watching this movie in Boston alone and all I can think about are my parents.  We all wonder what our parents were like when they were kids.  Did they like the same hobbies we did?  What were their friends like?  What mistakes did they make?  What was it like for them in their first relationship?  Did they have people they didn’t get along with in school?  What was their favorite song when they were thirteen years old?  Watching this film these are thoughts that run through my head, and I realized that I don’t know the answers to most of these questions.

Now and Then is a coming of age story about four thirteen year old girls who made a pack to be there for each other no matter what, now and forever.  The film has flashbacks between present day and the 1970s, which in my parent’s case they would have been around thirteen too.   The girls grow up in that year – one them has feelings for a boy for the first time, they deal with death, understanding divorce, the loss of just having faith, and realizing that your parents are not always right.  We put our parents on these pedestals as kids; that they are untouchable, perfect, but in reality they are human too.  They make mistakes, can’t handle situations, and do things the best way they know how.  These four girls meet people throughout the film that teaches them these lessons, and the soundtrack is intertwined in those lessons if you listen closely.

The film soundtrack uses popular songs from the 1970s to set the stage. The movie flashes to the beginning of the summer of 1970 as ‘Daydream Believer’ by The Monkees plays in the background.  This shows the innocence that we all have when we are young.  The belief that anything is possible, full of hope, happiness, and faith.  The girls are riding their bikes on their next adventure singing along to ‘No Matter What’ by Badfinger.  Right after hearing this song, they run into the boys of the neighborhood who are constantly taunting them, which we all know is the universal sign of I have a crush on you.  The girls converse, where they decide it is payback time for all that has been done to them by the boys.  ‘Sugar Sugar’ by The Archies plays as they paint the garage, dancing around and having fun with another; thinking that nothing will ever change, that nothing will ever separate them, but as an adult, people that you always thought would be there, sometimes leave – they get married, create families, and drift apart from their childhood.

As a kid you think that nothing will ever separate you with the people that you care about, but as we get older we lose what’s important.  We get caught up in our own lives and the mundane routine that controls it.  We lose touch with people (family and friends), get caught up in the failures that happen, and forget that sometimes you just have to have faith.  So, I leave you with this, “Things will happen in your life that you can’t stop.  But that is no reason to shut out the world.”   Call that person that you haven’t spoken to in years, break your routine everyday, and dance like a crazy person in the aisle of a grocery store with your best friend to your favorite song.  Continue the soundtrack of your life living with the good, the bad, and the ugly, not everything everyone says (including your parents) is right, ask your parents those burning questions before you can’t, and know that the people of your past are the people that made you who you are today.

Click here for a playlist of the Now and Then Soundtrack, and then go watch the movie!

Film Review: First Position

FirstPositionThe Youth American Grand Prix is the world’s largest ballet competition that awards full scholarships and job contracts to dancers ages 9-19. Each year over 5,000 dancers enter the Youth American Grand Prix semi-finals held in 15 cities around the world. Only a few hundred dancers make it to the finals in New York City. On the final day at the end of the competition 30 elite Ballet institutions awards scholarships, contracts, and medals to the most promising dancers.

Now, I know I am a little late joining the party since this film came out in 2012 but, First Position shows the dedication, determination, and pressures that young dancers face during their training. This documentary follows six dancers on their journey to the Youth American Grand Prix and some them have technique and talent that I have never seen at such a young age. Aran, 11, is by far my favorite in this documentary. He is a military kid who travels two hours to Rome, Italy for the best Ballet training at La Masion de la Danse. Being a boy, he faces the pressures of society and his peers with being a male Ballet dancer. He has coped with it by ignoring it because Ballet is something that he loves. The stereotype that Aran continues to fight doesn’t surprise me because most boys who get teased for it drop out of ballet by Jr. High School. Miko, 12 & Rebecca, 17 talks about how there friends don’t understand the disciple that is needed to be a ballet dancer. Besides going to school they have cross training, many dance classes, and rehearsals everyday to stay in peak performance form. Joan, 16 moved away from his family from Colombia to New York City to train and didn’t know the language at first.

The amount of sacrifice these children have for the love of dance is something to admire. Few people find their calling in life and even fewer people are willing to do what is necessary to reach success. Miko switched to home-schooling so she could spend more time at the studio. Micheala, 14 was suffering an inflammation of tendentious in her Achilles heel during the finals of the Prix. These kids are not the only ones who have to put in a tremendous amount of effort, the parents have to be just as supportive and dedicated as the students. The parents assist with costumes being dyed, created, and purchased. They pay for the lessons, private coaching, and transportation to and from the studios. And they are the rock when there is a mess up on stage and all you want to do is have a pity party and beat yourself up. I think Miko’s mother said it best, “When bad things happen on stage that is my fault, when good things happen that is all her.”

The documentary shows how a student’s dance that they have practice a hundred times can not go as well on stage as it did in the studio. Falls, stage fright, or a mis-step can throw off your whole piece and can take you out of the running for recognition. Then you have to start back at square one; proving yourself. Everyone that isn’t a dancer is probably asking themselves why do these kids put themselves through this? It’s hard to explain, but I best thought process is have you ever wanted something so bad that you would do anything to get it? That’s these kids. I don’t want to spoil anything so if you want to see what happens to the ballet journey of Miko, Rebecca, Michaela, Joan, and Aran I suggest you watch First Position. This documentary takes you backstage into a world of strength, heartbreak, and dedication of kids who are beyond their years.

Watch the documentary now on Netflix.  Click Here for the trailer.

Life Lessons in Oz

I’m willing to admit I was a weird child. I talked too much and became obsessed with things I liked. Let’s take the film The Wizard of Oz. To this day my older brother cannot watch this movie. Why do you ask? Well, I became so obsessed with it as a kid that was pretty much all I ever wanted to watch, and to get a four year old to shut up, you just re-watch the same movie over and over again. I feel like parents now a days probably feel this way about Frozen. I am sorry for the scars I left on my older brother for making him watch this movie multiple times in a row, but in the end I know he still loves me.

The whole reason I bring up this Wizard of Oz obsession is because let’s be serious I haven’t out grown it. Not to toot my own horn, I think I must have been a really smart child because I liked all these movies with deeper meanings, like Peter Pan, and of course, The Wizard of Oz. The Wizard of Oz is about feeling inadequate, such as not smart enough, lack of love, or the inability to feel fearless. There is also the obvious lesson of good always triumphs over evil, but where is the fun in the obvious.

Old movies and classic stories have the ability to teach children lessons about life. Now, I am not talking about a knight on a white horse saves the princess, because I think those stories don’t do much of anything besides fill little girls heads with the idea that they need to be saved by a man. I’m talking about the stories that bring people together, who help one another achieve their goals, like the tin man, scarecrow, and cowardly lion rescuing Dorothy after she is taken by the wicked witch. What about those strong women who ultimately have the ability to help out her friends or save themselves? Dorothy threw a bucket of water to save the scarecrow from burning, she always had the power to go home through the ruby slippers (silver shoes in the book), and she defeated the wicked witch by accident, but her willingness and quick thinking to help her friend erased her fear of her trapped situation.

Granted no four year old is looking at the deeper meaning of a movie. I’m sure the music in the movie was what drew me in as a kid. “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” is my “Let It Go”. It taught me to dream big and that anything is possible if you truly believe it will happen. So, I dedicate this post to my realistic thinking little bro. If you dream big it will happen. You just have to find that inner child to just believe that there is something over that rainbow.