Sunday, December 19, 2010

My Etsy Shop! platoon, one valley, one year.

Some of us have loved ones who are in the military and some of us are lucky enough to not, I am in the latter category. As Christmas nears,  my heart hurts for those who do.  Todd(my hubby) and I watched the movie Restrepo, a film by Sebastian Junger (The Perfect Storm) and Tim Hetherington. It was about a platoon that was stationed to the Korengal Valley of Afganistan, the deadliest place on Earth at the moment. Junger and Hetherington were embedded in the area with this military outfit with the sole purpose of bringing to light the day to day life and voice of the men who are serving there. The film focuses on an outpost named Restrepo, named after one of their own fallen soldiers. The interesting thing about this film is it shows the unimaginable: Men building an outpost with their own hands, making major inroads into this dangerous valley while dodging bullets. Men with shovels in their hands one minute, then guns in their hands then next. For me it was important to get some insight into how the actual soldiers felt about their mission. I enjoyed their camaraderie, and cried with them in loss. For a topic that gets a lot of press, no one has shown the human side of it like Junger and Hetherington. You can catch it on Netflix. It's better than any reality show on TV! Check out the trailer below!
This video is about Sal Giunta, who received the Metal of Honor for actions at Restrepo.
He is the first person to receive the Metal of Honor since the Vietnam War. 

Next movie: Blind Sight!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

180 Degrees South, Conquerors of the Useless

Have you ever wanted to climb Mount Everest or Kilimanjaro? Not my thing, but for naturalist, Chris Johnson, it was his calling. His travels are chronicled in the movie 180 Degrees South, Conquerors of the Useless, directed by Chris Malloy. This movie chronicles the adventure of Chris Johnson, a young man set out to follow in the footsteps of his heroes: Yvon Chouinard and Doug Tompkins.  You see, Yvon and Doug,who call themselves dirt bags,  took a bus from CA to Patagonia to summit Corcavado in the late 60's. They both fell in love with the area and would later start the companies of Patagonia and North Face. Chris, in 2008, decided to start his travels by boat instead of van and will meet up with Yvon and Doug in Patagonia. As Chris's journey unfolds so does the previous story of Yvon and Doug, all told though the most majestic cinematography and a beautiful soundtrack too! This film also highlights the horrible situation of dams being built on nearly every one of Chile's rivers to produce electricity for far way places. It educates about pulp mills ruining the shores and water ways of fishermen who make their living from the sea.

I am by no means a thrill seeker. I honestly can't relate to people who summit great mountain peaks, but I love to watch films about them. The overwhelming beauty of this film will bring you to tears. And there's something to be said for simple living and being one with nature. There are incredible messages to be learned by this film: conservation, preservation, and just plain ole, living life to the fullest. I rented this though Netflix and watched it instantly. You won't be sorry. Great website too:

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Documentaries...the original reality show!

I'm not nearly old enough to be the grumpy, curmudgeon that complains about the youth of the world, but I'm seriously concerned. What is going on with the world when my middle school students admire/revere the stars of the most tawdry reality shows?? I'll take them worshiping rock stars and sports athletes over this!

I'm no expert in child psychology, but from what I know, adolescents' brains are not developed enough to process the information/ social ambiguities of these shows. As adults we're able to see these shows for what they are: sometimes humorous, mostly ridiculous, almost always brainless, escapes from our lives because we have the wisdom and experience to understand them. My 8th graders do not! So in class,(and probably out in public) they try to replicate characters from shows like the Jersey Shore. Don't get me wrong, I'm not for censorship, but I implore the viewers and producers of these shows to think about what they are teaching the youth of America. They should also consider what the world thinks of Americans when they view these shows. Someone told me a story of a friend that lived in the UK and only got the Jerry Springer show. So her only experience of American woman was what was represented on that show. She was presently surprised to learn that we don't all carry chairs, at the ready, to throw at people! Ok, rant over!

I could go on and on, but to get to the order of business: I've decided not to dwell on the state of the world, but instead to approach this with positivity. Upon reflection of the movie, Julia and Julia, I've decided to do a similar challenge but with documentaries. I've decided to counteract all the reality show drama of the world by watching a documentary every other day and blogging about it on the off days. Maybe others will decide to do the same. If everyone did this, poof! they'd disappear! What do ya say?

The first documentary I'll be reviewing is 180 Degrees South! Stay tuned!