Why today’s movies suck

If you have seen a Marvel movie in theaters recently, you know that if you stay through the credits there is one or two bonus scenes that hint at the future of the Marvel cinematic universe (MCU). You also know that the credits take about 15 minutes to scroll through the names of every one who worked on the movie. The editors, crew, cast, engineers, artists and producers only make up a fraction of the list. There are thousands of names that scroll through the screen to make sure everyone gets credit for the film.

While I think it is great so many people can contribute to a movie, I think we have gotten to a point where it is a little much. The movie business, at least big budget films have become an assembly line, much like what Ford did with the car. Yes, this does allow movies to be done faster but that is not necessarily a good thing. Most people by now have heard of the “Disney” formula because all of their movies follow the same general line in terms of story and production. Disney and the other big studios have fallen into this routine because they know what works and what makes money.

No big budget movies today are original, everything is a remake, a sequel, or loosely based on another movie. This has happened because no major studio wants to take a chance on a new idea because of the risk of loosing money. I don’t blame them, why take such a great risk when a tried-and-true formula makes big money. After all these production studios are simply businesses making a profit.

In the past, successful movies were so great because of their originality and willingness to take chances. Two examples from my experience are Star Wars and Star Trek (I am sure there are more examples from genres outside of sic-fi as well). Star Wars came from a young George Lucas who had a vision and spent years pursing that vision to create “Star Wars”, a universe we all know and love to this day. Star Trek constantly took chances by exploring controversial topics like communism, racism, and ethical dilemmas. The show was not afraid to boldly go where no show has gone before. Both these examples took big risks that led to high rewards.

I am not saying every risk will lead to a great reward. I believe that by taking risks, at least a few of them will pay off in huge ways that make up for the failures. Disney, Universal, and 20th Century Fox should take risks on young visionaries and give them the ability to create to movies and universes that could be a big hit. Unfortunately, these companies are content in their current state and don’t have the desire to explore risky ideas. Because of this, the movie “assembly line” has been created where each person has a very specific job that results in an end product that works, but doesn’t do anything new or exciting.

In my business class we discussed “Marketing Myopia”, where a business looses sight of how to innovate because their current product works in the current condition but may not in the future. I think Hollywood is reaching this Myopia and will learn soon enough that the same formula will get tiresome and in order to stay ahead, you must be a “future-thinker”.

Basically as long as we have this assembly line of movies, we wont see anything really innovative for a while.

Live a Life you are proud of

Whenever I speak with my dad on the phone, he likes to remind how proud he is of my sister and I for going to college and taking it seriously. He loves to make it known how important our education is to him so it will be important to us as well. He cites himself as an example because, like many others, he messed around in college and dropped out due to a variety of reasons. Thankfully, he has been successful nonetheless and developed a great career without a college degree.

The point I try to make to him and everyone else out there is its never too late to pursue your goals. He constantly regrets not finishing school but there is still ample opportunity for him to get a degree. Taking one or two classes at a community college or online classes around his schedule could slowly but surely push him towards a college degree. Of course when I tell him this, he brushes it off because life, work, kids and thousands of other priorities make it hard to find time for school.

With that being said, there are always a million reasons not to do something. It is easier to come up with reasons to stop yourself than it is to motivate yourself. If going back to school is something he really wants to do, it can happen if he makes it a priority.

People often state that life is full of regrets. In some cases that may be true but often times, we can go back and right our wrongs and fix bad decisions. Living a life we are proud of can be a daunting thought but once you are in a place where your happy, it makes all worth it. If your not currently proud of your situation or choices, I hope you have the courage to do whatever it takes to get to a point where you can feel accomplished.

 

How I kicked a bird (TIFU)

Today my post has nothing to do with my education but it is one of the craziest experiences I have had in recent memory. Here goes…

It’s about 3:00 in the afternoon. I am walking from my job at the financial services lab up to another useless meeting with the counseling center because… well i have no good reason but the meeting are required for all first semester students. As i am walking up the hill, I am doing my usual routine; listening to music and keeping to myself. As I make my way up the sidewalk, I look up from my phone and notice a bird walking around in the path infant of me. ***WARNING the next part of the story may be sensitive to some people.***

So I get the bright idea to wind up and pretend like I’m going to punt the bird into oblivion. I fully expect the bird will fly away well before my foot gets even close to it so really I am expecting to just kick the air. Anyways, I line myself up as if I am in a game of kickball and about to kick a home run with the bases loaded. I start towards the bird and as I approach it I wind my foot back. All of the sudden…

“THWACK!” I kick this bird right in its side and launch it into the sky. I must have kicked that bird better than I have kicked anything in my life. Had it not been able to fly, It still may have gone the same height. That’s how powerful this kick was. I Kicked a bird as if it was a playground ball at recess.

After the incident, I stood in complete shock. I couldn’t comprehend what had just occurred. I looked around and another guy, maybe a year or two older, had seen it as well. We made eye contact just to confirm what had happened was a real thing not some sort of delusion. Of course by the look in his eyes, and the look on mine, I could tell we were both in the same “bird-kicking” reality.

After I had a chance to calm myself down and reflect, I am still in shock. I feel awful for the poor bird and have no good reason why this occurred. Is it my fault for trying to kick a bird I assumed would fly away? Or is it the birds fault for being too blind to know I was getting ready to kick him? I don’t know the answer, I’m not sure I ever will. I can say this experience changed me, but I am not sure how just yet. I did learn one thing though, I will never try to kick a bird again because there is a small chance that bird wont get out of the way and I don’t want to be known as the “guy” who kicks birds.

This post is my apology to the bird, I am sorry I kicked you.

Write good reviews!

Too often I see people write negative reviews of companies on yelp and social networking sights. I  think its fine to express a negative experience you had at a business and make it known you were unhappy. With that being said, it is just as important to write positive reviews that applaud companies for doing things right.

It is so easy to have a nice experience and not write about it because it has no emotional connection. It experience that angers you will drive you to express those negative feelings. We should try to express our positive experiences just as often. Many small businesses struggle to make a profit and can’t make themselves known to a large population. By writing nice reviews, we can help these businesses gain footing and advance.

I challenge you to right a nice review any time you have a pleasant experience with a company. It will make you feel good as well as give the business a positive advertising. By writing nice reviews, we can encourage businesses to focus on customer service and customer experience rather than just on profit. If a company knows that you will praise them for a good experience, they will do whatever they can to ensure you have that positive interaction.

Society often gets caught up in the bad parts of life, we need to shift or attention to the good moments. By rewarding these good experiences we can make more of them happen.

Why I don’t do drugs…

As an 18 year old at a party school like Lehigh University, i would be in the majority in I went to frat parties 4 times a week and came home drunk at 2 am on the weekends. Vomiting in toilets and waking up with a hangover is the norm on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Most students at Lehigh participate in these activities and are proud of Lehigh’s reputation as a party school.

I am not sure why but i guess I skipped the age where i desire to get “fucked up” and wake up sick with a lack of memory of anything that happened in the last 10 hours. I feel and act way more mature than my age, I love routine and look forward to the simple enjoyments in my life. I don’t know if it is good or bad that I skipped this age of experimenting with drugs. I have no desire to do any of this but I feel my reasoning is pretty valid.

First and foremost; the cost. Alcohol and weed are expensive items that can really put a dent in your bank account. I don’t think i need to be under the influence to have fun or enjoy myself. Why would I spend money on thee items when all they do is cause bad decisions/ lack of productivity. I would rather pay for things that benefit me rather than harm me.

Next, my health is important priority in my life. I enjoy working out and eating healthy. The effects of drugs and alcohol are not good for the body. I don’t feel the need/ desire to put things in my body that are detrimental to my health. I give a lot of hard work and effort to stay in good shape and would hate to negate the benefits of good health with drugs.

Going off of that point, my family has a long history of alcohol/ drug abuse. As recently as my grandparents and all the way back to generations before that. my relatives have ruined their lives by getting too reliant on these substances. I have also seen two of my best friends have their families crumble due to a parent that abuses drugs. I have witnessed drugs destroy families and know that my family has a history of addiction. These two things really reinforce my decision not to use substances.

I listed out a number of reasons why I don’t use these items and can’t think of a single good reason why I should. Honestly I don’t think it really effects my relationships all that much. The most i have been pressured to drink is by my father who says. “It is good to go out every once in a while and have a beer with your buddies.” I really don’t think any one else cares about my choice to stay sober or cares if I don’t have a beer when we go out.

Really I have no desire to use either right now. Who knows, maybe I will change my mind in the future. Only time will tell. As f now, I’m happy with my choices and don’t see anything wrong with them .

My thoughts on gun laws

One of the many hot topics of debate currently dividing the U.S is that of the second amendment. Many proponents of this right believe people should be allowed to carry weapons because the constitution says we have the right. Those who oppose the second amendment believe that guns are too dangerous to be given to anyone and we would be safer with out the general population having access to them.

I believe that the sending amendment is outdated and doesn’t protect the right to carry any gun. When the founding fathers wrote this amendment, guns were single shot weapons that took a lot of time to reload. Bullets were still deadly, but much less accurate and much more difficult to operate. Fast forward to today, automatic weapons can shoot multiple bullets in a second. We have the precision to shoot people from miles away. Guns are no longer weapons or protection but weapons of assault.

The second amendment was never meant to give the general population access to heavy weaponry. I believe under the second amendment, people should be allowed to carry pistols intended as a last resort protection. Weapons meant to do any more than protect are not intended to be used by just any one. There is no reason any normal person should require more than a pistol at any given time of an ordinary day.

My belief is that guns are meant to kill, not show off, not protect, but kill people. If it were up to me, no general person would have access to guns and they would be only given to trained professionals. Unfortunately it isn’t up to me and under the constitution, we do have the right to carry weapons. With that being said, when the amendment was written, guns were not nearly as powerful as they are today. Today’s weapons were never meant to be in the hands of just anyone. If someone wants to carry a gun, he or she should be allowed to, but they should be limited to a weapon that coincides with their needs. Anything that is able to shoot more than one bullet at a time, should not be given to just anyone. These serious weapons are meant for people who require more than just a simple gun. The majority of people don’t need this!

Are you listening?

Is listening the same thing as hearing? When we engage in conversation with someone else, we can either hear the words they are say or we can listen to what they have to say. At the surface, hearing and listening seem like interchangeable terms. One cannot go with out the other yet somehow, listening is so much more useful than hearing.

When you hear someone, you are simply sensing that they are saying something. Hearing is possible without really knowing what a person is saying. When this occurs, you really don’t gain anything from the experience. Hearing is something we are born with the ability to do.

Listening, is a much deeper experience. When listening to someone, our minds are engaged in the interaction. We hear them but listening takes it a step further. We hear with an intent to understand and engage is meaningful dialogue. Listening is a valuable skill that is often overlooked. Many people lack the ability to listen because they think what they have to say is more important.

Real listening results in all parties being left better off. They exchange information, and learn from each other. In many conversations, I often observe that one or both parties are not listening to each other. Every one just wants to state his or her own point without scaring about the others. People are so involved in their own conversation, they forget other people may have things to say that are just as important.

It really makes a difference when we choose to listen rather than hear. In my college lectures its important i listen to my professors so I understand the material rather than just hear what they are saying. In life this skill is just as (if not more) just a valuable as it is for college. We cannot expect to learn and grow as a community if we aren’t willing to listen to each other and have meaningful conversations.