Cast Away – A Tragic Love Story

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Tom Hanks’ fantastic movie Cast Away has been described in a few different ways. A man vs nature movie, a desert island movie, one website even described it as an epic survival drama film. All do accurately describe the film, however I would describe it differently. For me Cast Away is a tragic love story. If you have not seen the movie you may want to stop reading because there are major spoilers ahead.

In the early part of Cast Away we meet Tom Hanks’ character Chuck and his long suffering girlfriend Kelly, played by Helen Hunt. Chuck’s ongoing job responsibilities have proven to be a hinderance to their relationship. During a large family gathering over Christmas dinner Chuck is notified of a job related problem overseas that has to be dealt with right away. Just before he boards a plane Chuck and Kelly exchange gifts. She gives him a pocket watch that includes his favorite photograph of her. One of his gifts to her is a gift wrapped box that is obviously a long overdue engagement ring. During her stunned silence he causally states that they will discuss it when he returns. As he walks to the plane he lightheartedly utters words that I am sure haunted them both, “I’ll be right back.” Little did they know that “right back” would be four years. The plane flies into an extreme storm and in a harrowing sequence crashes into the ocean. After floating in a life raft all night he winds up on an isolated island in the middle of nowhere. The island would become his home for the next four years.

I would  say that a few things kept him alive on the island, his will to live, but more importantly his love for Kelly and his desire to return to her. The pocket watch, with her photo, survived the crash and it becomes his constant reminder of her. Her Christmas gift to him becomes a beacon of hope as he braves the four years on the island.

When he does  eventually escape the island he returns home to a reality very different from the one that he left four years earlier. His brief reunion with Kelly is one of the most heartbreaking scenes that I have witnessed in a movie. He spent the whole of four years trying to return to her. Unbeknownst to him she spent years doing her part trying to track down his possible location. However, reality eventually set in and at the behest of everyone around her she moved on. They all believing that he was dead, although she was not of that mind. Deep down she believed that he was still alive, somewhere. She has since gotten married and started a family. They are  in an impossible situation. Her almost fiance has returned from the dead and it is quite apparent that she still loves him. However, she is now married with a child and a new life. How can she walk away from her new life, her new family?

I am of the mind that after their brief reunion her current marriage was most likely damaged beyond repair. Even If this were the case any hope of a reunion with Chuck would be doomed as well. Kelly’s new family would be a constant reminder that she moved on. Anyway that you look at it would be a no win situation for all involved.

A tragic love story indeed, but not a story without a sense of hope and new beginnings. The movie’s open ended finale points to a new life for Chuck filled with hope and a fresh start, a clean slate. Hope is one of the things that kept him alive on the island. As the movie ends it is hope that appears too be working in Chuck as he prepares to start his new life.

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Harrison Ford’s Big Three

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As a huge fan of Harrison Ford’s movies this photo really caught my attention.  Rick Deckard, Han Solo and Indiana Jones are arguably Harrison Ford’s three most known movie characters.  One could debate the merits of whether or not they are the greatest characters that he ever portrayed on the big screen.   I would say that they are my three favorite Ford characters.  He has portrayed many great characters over the years including Richard Kimble, Norman Spencer, Jack Stanfield and Allie Fox, just to name a few.  However these three are the ones that really stand out. These characters, Harrison Ford’s big three, have stood the test of time and continue to live on in the hearts and minds of many fans, mine included.  Seeing them share time together at a bar is rather cool idea. Great execution by the artist that created this image.

Have We Forgotten?

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Has it really been fifteen years since that fateful day? On this day each year so many of us use social media to post patriotic pictures and  write “Never Forget”. Speaking for myself, I know that I never will. However, in a day and age where the news is filled with so much negativity and superficiality it would seem that we have forgotten what is truly important. Have we become a people who spend far too much time majoring on the minors?

After 9/11 we knew what was truly important. Today so many of us place far too much importance on shallow celebrities, chasing entertainment and obtaining the latest gadgets. Sadly it would appear that we have forgotten the impact of that day.

I pray that we Never Forget how we felt that day. I pray that we focus on what is truly important. I pray that the sense of unity that we felt as a nation in the aftermath of the attacks is Never Forgotten. I pray that the lessons learned and the impact of 9/11 is not just something that we reflect on one day a year.

Genre Overload!!!

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When it comes to heavy metal I miss the 80’s. Especially the early to mid 80’s when metal was just metal. Generally if it was heavy it was  just called heavy metal. In today’s  metal scene there are genres with sub genres for sub genres of genres that no one’s even sure what the original genre is supposed to sound like. Of course I am exaggerating, but here in 2016 there are just way too many metal genres and subgenres. If you do a little research the results will leave  you  with extreme genre overload.

I do understand the need for labels and genres in music. I am a huge fan of Thrash Metal, Symphonic Metal, Progressive Rock and Neo Prog, the latter being a subgenre of progressive rock. So overall I do not have an issue with genre labels.  But somewhere in the late 80’s and 90’s things begin to go awry with the  splintering of metal into far too many genres, leading us to where we are today.

To list all of the genres and subgenres of heavy metal that currently exist would leave one’s head spinning. I’ll list a few, in no particular order, and perhaps you’ll agree that things have gotten just a bit out of control.

Power Metal, Doom Metal, Sludge Metal, Pagan Metal, Glam Metal, Gothic Metal, Grindcore, Metalcore (A genre that some metal fans believe is not metal at all, I’m not sure why), Deathcore, Mathcore, Neoclassical Metal, Post Metal, Progressive Metal, Djent, Stoner Metal, Symphonic Metal, Thrash Metal, Speed Metal (In regards to the prior two, I was never sure what the difference was between the two), Alternative Metal, Funk Metal, Nu Metal (Which I guess is now Old Metal, just kidding someone might start a new genre), Groove Metal, Grunge (Was Grunge really a music genre or just a passing fad?), Industrial, Rap Metal, Rapcore, Avant-garde Metal, Extreme Metal, Death Metal, Black Metal,  Symphonic Black Metal, Folk Metal, Viking Metal, Shoegaze, Christian Metal (a genre some feel does not make sense, but I am Christian and I love metal, so listening to metal played by other Christians without the dark lyrics usually associated with metal is a no brainer for me), Post Punk, Crust (What the heck!?!?!?!), Blackened Death Metal, Melodeath, and I’ll end my list with perhaps the oddest genre title of this batch, Pirate Metal.

This list is far from complete, it is just scratching the surface of the ever growing list of metal genres and subgenres.  Can we please stop now?