Movie Night Friday – After Earth

Welcome back to Movie Night Friday. Doggie, say hi.

The Dog EC Hired to Help Host Movie Night Friday.

I know what you’re thinking “That movie was whack”. Which is exactly why we are reviewing it today! This movie has so many messages it’s not even funny. And as a box office disappointment worldwide, I am sure that many of us missed them.

About.

From Wikipedia:

In the 21st century, an environmental cataclysm forces the human race to abandon Earth and to settle on a new world, Nova Prime. One thousand years later, the Ranger Corps, a peacekeeping organization commanded by General Cypher Raige (Will Smith), comes into conflict with the S’krell, alien creatures who intend to conquer Nova Prime. Their secret weapons are the Ursas, large predatory creatures that hunt by “sensing” fear. The Rangers struggle against the Ursas until Cypher learns how to completely suppress his fear, a technique called “ghosting”. After teaching this technique to the other Rangers, he leads the Ranger Corps to victory. Meanwhile, Cypher’s son Kitai Raige (Jaden Smith) blames himself for the death of his sister Senshi (Zoë Kravitz) at the hands of an Ursa. Kitai trains to become a Ranger like Cypher, but his application is rejected due to his recklessness. Kitai’s mother Faia (Sophie Okonedo) convinces Cypher to take Kitai on his last voyage before retirement.

The movie gets going after their spaceship crashes due to an asteroid shower. The crash kills everyone on board except for Cypher and Kitai but Cypher’s leg is broken. It is then up to Kitai to move across the dangerous planet to where the other part of the ship landed to retrieve the instrument that will allow them to access the help they need. The planet is dangerous and filled with animals and aliens that kill humans. Welcome to earth.

As stated, there’s a lot in this movie but I am drafting this late and so I’m kinda tired. Buuutt, I like you. (Kinda …lol)  So I still managed to choose five of the key lessons that stuck out to me:

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#1. You’re Not Ready

In the beginning of the movie, Kitai is rejected from being a ranger which makes him upset. However, sometimes we think we’re ready for something that we have no idea we’re not ready for. We can feel ready but without the experience of enduring the necessary hardships it takes to get to that level, we will not actually be ready. Without falling and getting back up babies do not learn to walk. Kitai is a baby and still has a lot of fear in his heart.

#2. Fear is not real

This leads me to the next, most prominent message. The most popular quote from the movie:

“You have to remember, fear is not real. The only place that fear can exist is in our thoughts of the future. It is a product of our imagination, causing us to fear things that do not at present and may not ever exist. That is near insanity. Do not misunderstand me. Danger is very real, but fear is a choice.”

Cypher explains this to Kitai after explaining how he Ghost for the first time and even though it’s a movie, I do believe it is true. We choose to be afraid and we choose what fear makes us do. Danger is real and it is only foolish not to prepare for danger but the act of being afraid is something we choose to do. Why? Because we limit ourselves to physical limitations but faith? Faith is limitless and where there is faith, there is no fear. Where there is fear, there is no faith. The two cannot coexist.

#3. Ghosting

Speaking of fear, one of the dominant messages in the movie, the thing that Kitai set out to perfect is Ghosting. It is when the soldiers can rid themselves of fear. When this happens, the aliens cannot see them, thus they Ghost. This gives them an upper hand and they can now defeat the enemy. Throughout the movie Kitai’s goal is to be like his dad and Cypher is known for Ghosting. It is what makes him strong. (There’s another part to this. Masking his emotions makes Cypher stronger but it also makes him weak in a way because by coming across emotionless and cold he is unable to connect emotionally with his son).

To fight your demons, you must rid yourself of the fear of them because fear is the power they have over you. I remember watching Nightmare on Elmstreet. At the end, Nancy turned her back on Freddy and he disappeared. Once she let go of her fear of him, he could not exist. Maya Angelou said the greatest of all virtues is courage because you can’t practice anything consistently without courage. Fear will always hold you back.

#4. Your Father Knows Your Heart / Leads, Guides You

One powerful scene is when Kitai lied about his number of breathing elements. Since humans are no longer in tuned with the earth, the air has changed and can kill them so they have to take breathing fluids. Long story short, while Cypher can’t accompany Kiati on his mission because of his leg, he can see him, monitor him and guide him along the way. Kitai can’t see his father physically but he’s there watching over him. Anywho, Cypher asks Kitai how many breathing fluids he has left and he lies about it. When he lies the heart monitor goes off. Cypher asks him to repeat his answer. His father knows he’s lying. The message is that a father (Like YAH our father, the creator) knows our hearts. He also watches over us and guides us. Even though we cannot physically see him, he’s there.

#5. Endure Trial

Once Kitai spent time in an environment that tested his faith and forced him to move passed the fear, by the end of the movie he was actually ready to be a ranger. Not that he wanted to after what he and his father had been through but in essence he was ready. When you ask for strength be ready to receive it. It is not something that will fall into your lap “Wilily Nilly”. It is something that comes only as a result of overcoming. Truth is, Kitai couldn’t be made Ranger at the beginning because he had never been through anything. (By the end Cypher also learns to be vulnerable with his son).

You see, the reason many people disliked this movie is because the movie itself is spiritual and packed with symbolism when most people just want to be entertained. Not only did Will and Jaden carry the entire movie but they did so well.

Movie Trailer

Next week, I will speak about the TV show Underground and why I love it. Stay tuned!

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HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND!

 

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Writing Symbolism

I love incorporating symbolism in my writing. I love it because it digs deeper, past the surface and to the heart of the story. To write subliminally is to operate below the threshold of consciousness; to produce something that is subtle, yet strong enough to influence mental processes or the behavior of an individual.

What is Writing Symbolism?

It is something I’ve discovered that I am not even sure exists in the mainstream sense of things as an official way of writing! Anyway, if it’s not, I’m coining it.

Writing Symbolism is when a message is given to a persons subconscious or spiritual self to influence positive change in their physical self. Not to be confused with metaphysical psychology, this skill allows the writer to open the eyes of the reader in a way that is easier to understand or to digest. It makes readers think and tends to stay with us past the entertainment factor.

The symbolical writer’s goal is to tap into that spiritual consciousness that exists in all of mankind, but that has been lost or hidden in the world we live in. To create sort of a stepping stone to the consumption of greater spiritual awareness.

This kind of writing is most effective for writers who wish to incorporate spiritual concepts in their writing without being preachy.

I caution however that writing subliminally is not easy. If done incorrectly you can easily confuse readers. Let’s look at an example of a subliminal writer who has done it right:

Sue Monk Kidd

The Secret Life of Bees

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What message is behind The Secret Life of Bees?

There are many.

The major theme of this novel is expressed in its title, which comes from a statement made by August:

“Most people don’t have any idea about all the complicated life going on inside a hive. Bees have a secret life we don’t know anything about (148).

Throughout the novel (and movie), the reader (watcher) learns how most people are not what they seem to be on the surface. People’s lives are usually much more complex and complicated than they appear. The bees represent a community of people working together in a society which is represented by the hive and is symbolic of the Boatwright sisters and their community.

Mothers

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Lily is driven by her need to know about her mother so that she may learn more about herself. In seeking her mother, Lily finds mother substitutes. Rosaline, August, and the other women step into Lily’s life and provide the mothering that she needs so desperately.

The Black Madonna/ Virgin Mary demonstrates each woman’s need to be mothered. The women’s devotion to the Mother shows the power and importance of a mother in the life of a woman.

On another level, the Black Madonna / Virgin Mary is also symbolic of The Sacred Dark Feminine, which is highly promoted by the movie. The women do not just rely on the idol for mothering, but they worship her. Queen Latifah, who plays August, also symbolizes The Black Madonna / Sacred Feminine. She is the physical manifestation of her. In one such scene for example (see pic) she raises her arm in a tight fist and mimics the statue of the Black Madonna. The women also depend on her (August), for guidance and motherhood.

Three Holy Women

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The days of the week (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, etc), and the months of the year (January, February, March, etc), from which we are so familiar are actually named after Gods and Goddesses. Thus the purpose of giving the Boatwright sisters names that are months of the year is because the three holy women are symbolic of goddesses. (There is also a Trinity undertone.)

• The Childlike May
• The Sensuous and Artistic June
• The Wise and Kind August

Rosaleen (who is, first, representative of a “Mammy Crone”) elevates and becomes a goddess figure herself at the end of the movie when her name is changed to July.

Race

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Of course, we cannot forget the antagonistic issue of race in the 1960’s south that is interwoven into the everyday relations between individuals in this book / movie. The plot demonstrates two encounters between whites and blacks (I really don’t like using these terms. White, Black, and Red are colors, not nations of people. I believe people were separated according to a nation, not a race but I digress) in which the black person is treated unjustly. Rosaleen, for example, is sent to jail for defending herself and Zach goes to jail for not admitting which of his friends broke a bottle on a white man’s nose.

On another level, Lily must personally navigate the delicacy of the racial difference between herself and the African-Americans she comes to love in Tiburon. White people criticize Lily for living with the black women, who treat her better than anyone else ever has. Lily develops romantic feelings for Zach, who tells her that he could get killed for even looking at a white girl. Finally, for the first time, Lily experiences what it is like to be judged based solely on her skin color when June complains to August that she does not want Lily in the house because she is white. I love how Kidd did this, showing the intimacy of Lily’s education on race by literally immersing her into the shoes of the black women she comes to love.

Death Gives Way to Life

Throughout the movie, there is the theme of death giving way to life. It is sometimes good, but it is also sometimes bad. In the very beginning of the movie Lily tells us:

“People who think dying is the worst thing don’t know a thing about life.”

Here, we see how Lily’s life has been profoundly affected by her mother’s death. This statement suggests that living with someone else’s death can be more painful than dying. In this case, Deborah’s death has given way to Lily’s miserable life.

However, death can also be a positive force in the lives of the living that remain. Following May’s death August tells Lily:

“Putting black cloths on the hives is for us. I do it to remind us that life gives way into death, and then death turns around and gives way into life.”

The promotion of death as giving way to life is seen twice (or maybe more) in this movie as a positive force. The first instance is the way that May’s death propels June to marry Neil, thus establishing their new life together. The second time is when Lily finally reconciles with her mother’s death and is set free to truly begin her own life. But on a deeper level, the movie promotes the idea that life can also kill.

May kills herself because life is too much for her to bear. When Deborah learns she is pregnant with Lily she decides to marry T.Ray. Lily’s life leads to Deborah’s symbolic death on the peach farm, where she has a nervous breakdown because she cannot bear to live there. This new life (Lily) also leads to Deborah’s literal death when Lily accidentally drops the gun and Deborah is hit with a bullet.

Symbolic Writing is a challenge, but if done right is a powerful way to reach readers with a message. One thing to remember is that everything, like any good book, must connect. The Secret Life of Bees was well written with symbolism because not only did almost everything represent something deeper the author wanted you to see, but it all connected so it wasn’t just thrown together. From the beginning to the end The Secret Life of Bees is personified.

Even May’s death is representative of the secret life of bees. She is kind, smiling, and joyful. She cooks for everyone and is there for you. Only those who truly know her will know how depressed she really is. Only they will see her secret life with the letters and the wailing wall and upon her death, see that everything is not always as it seems.

In her place is Rosalie, the missing piece. Where there was once May, June, and August. There is now June, July, and August and yet again, death gives way to life.


Yecheilyah Ysrayl is the YA, Historical Fiction author of The Stella Trilogy. She is currently working on her next book series “The Nora White Story” about a young black woman who dreams of being a writer in The Harlem Renaissance movement and her parent’s struggle to accept their traumatic past in the Jim Crow south. “Renaissance: The Nora White Story (Book One)” is due for release spring, 2017. For updates on this project, sneak peek of chapters, the pending book cover release, and full blurb for this series, be sure to subscribe to Yecheilyah’s email list HERE.

Dear Chandelier,

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Some of us are just too close to the ground to see what the sky looks like and yet you, in your own way, have become the hanging crystal of inspiration. You stand unaffected among grand halls and ballrooms; of corporate offices and living rooms. I watch at the coming and going of guests. Some of them important, some not. They wrap themselves in fruitless conversation and rest their bottoms in chairs that hug the table beneath you. They shout with laughter and hold their noses in the air and yet they live on the ground. They have to look up to you and gasp in awe. So modest and rooted is this simple fixture in a room. I watch as your radiance pulls their mouths to the floor. Watch your occasional swing shift their eyes; watch your gracefulness stop their breaths. Softly and delicately, your crystals spark reflection like the conviction of a mirror, in which we are all forced to see ourselves. We try to move to a less luminous part of the room, but we are powerless to scorch your light. Voices rise to distract from your daintiness. The people scream and yell, come and go, but they are incapable of stealing your glory, let alone catch its shadow bouncing off the walls and chipping at the faces of guests. It is you oh Chandelier. You who remains steadfast and immovable, yet moving. Silent, and yet you sing. Fragile, and yet strong. Beautiful, and yet delicate. Modest, and yet shinning.

Critique a Piece of Work – “A Raisin in the Sun”

I love experimenting with symbolism and imagery in my writing and in my poetry. Last year, I participated in a Writing 101 assignment that asked us to Critique a Piece of Work, in which I shared my thoughts on Gwendolyn Brooks “We Real Cool”. I thought that would be fun to experiment with again today.

Lorraine Hansberry’s “A Raisin in the Sun” is the classic play by Lorraine Hansberry that was performed on Broadway in 1959. The title comes from the poem “Harlem” by Langston Hughes. A Raisin in the Sun is a piece that is loaded with symbolism.

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To start, heat from the sun is very intense and it drains just as much energy as it gives. It is exhausting and causes death to those who cannot escape a temporary refuge away from its obvious danger. While some sunlight causes plants to grow, too much sun can be destructive.

Raisin

Raisins come from grapes that are dried out by the sun. The sun sucks its moisture and nutrients until it has withered dramatically. However, dried grapes writhe and get small, but they do not turn to mush and rot. (Which is totally awesome. I love raisins!)

A raisin in the sun is symbolic of a family’s dreams under the intense struggles they must endure to reach it. It symbolizes that the family’s dreams and hopes for a better life will never dry up, but more importantly, their dreams will never rot despite the intense struggles they are under.

The Plant

The plant that Mama keeps near the apartment’s sole window is barely surviving because it lacks adequate nourishment.  Yet she is completely dedicated to the plant and lovingly tends it every single day in the hopes that it will one day be able to flourish. This is by far the play’s most overt symbol because the plant acts as a metaphor for the family.

Cockroaches, Rats, etc.

These creatures heavily reinforce the Younger family’s undesirable living situation.

Sunlight

Hansberry writes about sunlight and how the old apartment has so little of it. The first thing Ruth asks about in Act Two, Scene One is whether or not the new house will have a lot of sunlight. Sunlight is a symbol for hope and life, since all human life depends on warmth and energy from the sun. Light is also symbolic for truth. It is the truth that truly sets a people free.

 

10 Commandments Statue Must be Removed from State Capitol

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For those of you who know me, you know I like symbolism and this story is very symbolic to me. For the record I’m not a Christian so this is not about religion, it’s deeper than that.

They are removing a statue that is representative of the 10 commandments. Interesting. Let that marinate.

Link to the story:

10 Commandments statue must be removed from state Capitol, Oklahoma Supreme Court rules.

The Radio

Love this! Objectification at its finest. I Love this kind of writing.

Object Relations

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Your voice wants to be held. Close tucked into the palm of my ear and bent like crooked fingers curling, you smolder. Burnt notes crackle. You are the tip of an unfiltered cigarette. You ash where others breathe. When my hand opens, you’re caught, finger fried in the molding of what wants to be said and what slips behind. Forever binding, you fall in between the cracks of my hearing. Softer words were never said.

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Pearls Before Swine- What does it mean?

Pearls Before Swine”, what does it mean?

I am not the first to engage in a project that uses this title; many others have also indulged in the symbolic phrase and for many different reasons; the most noted being the cartoon comic strip “Pearls Before Swine”. But what does this phrase mean?

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To cast ones pearls before swine is to give something of value to those who will not understand or appreciate it, and comes from Matthew Chapter 7 verse 6 of the bible. In this scripture, it states the following:

Mat 7:6 Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.

The phrase Pearls Before Swine is not a literal meaning as in literally choosing a pair of pearls over swine, but it is symbolism for something else. Symbolism is when one thing is used as a symbol for something else, like a picture. Pearls Before Swine is symbolic of giving something valuable (pearls) to those who are undeserving of it (swine). If we look at this literally, giving a pair of beautiful and precious pearls to pigs is not good since they will tear it up; trample them under their feet. Pigs are very defiled animals who cannot appreciate the value of something as elegant as a pair of pearls. Thus we are warned to stay clear of forcing someone who is not worthy of something valuable to take it because they will only abuse it. If you spent a lot of money on something and gave it to someone as a gift but they rejected it, why would you continue to try and give it to them? In this case you’re casting your pearls before swine. Pearls being that precious thing, swine being that thing that only wants to tear it up.

This phrase Pearls Before Swine is used metaphorically or in other words, symbolically, and is one of the most powerful ways to reach people in relation to giving and receiving information. Symbolism is basically when something appears to be one way on the surface, but actually have a deeper meaning, which usually appeals to our subconscious. It is no different than giving someone an example of something else in order that they may understand what it is you’re trying to tell them.

In relation to this book series, we seek to discover the truth (pearls), and how such truth has been twisted by those representative of evil (swine).

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Pearls Before Swine is a topic to which we can all relate. Even if we have not read the bible it is a term to which many of us are familiar. At some time or another we each have a story in regard to trying to get someone to accept something we know is indeed most valuable and precious, but to have them to reject it. This PBS feeling, of sorts, leaves one with a deep feeling of frustration and sorrow. It is this way not necessarily because of them rejecting it. It is this way because of your knowledge of how important this thing is. It may have been something you spent a lot of money on that you gave someone as a gift, but that they did not accept. Or maybe they pretended to accept it, only to destroy it. Or it may have been something far more important than anything tangible or costly.Whatever the situation, we have all been involved or faced with that “PBS moment”.
In the comments section, I would love to hear your commentary in regard to a similar experience. Have you ever tried to give someone something most precious, even if it’s just your conversation, but they rejected it? What was your PBS moment?