Fat Sick and Nearly Dead

Recently I have been taking a break from the typical Hollywood films and instead been catching up on documentary films that have been recommended to me. My brother recently suggested that I watch this film, Fat Sick and Nearly Dead, a documentary by Joe Cross. I’m still not quite sure what point my brother was trying to make by mentioning this film to me, maybe he just thinks I enjoy Wendy’s a bit to often.

Fat Sick and Nearly Dead is the personal story of its creator, Joe Cross. Cross is an entrepreneur from Australia who also suffers from chronic urticaria an autoimmune disease which has no apparent cause. Determined to change his life for the better Cross left Australia and headed to the United States. He arrived here with a film crew and a dream.

Over the next several months Cross travelled across the country drinking nothing but juice. Real juice, not the store-bought, processed, sugar filled liquid you and I think of. He stopped frequently to stock up on fresh produce and introduce juice fast concept to anyone who would listen.

During his journey Cross meets Phil Staples, an overweight truck driver from Iowa. Staples oddly enough suffers from the same autoimmune disease that Cross does. Staples adopts the juicing lifestyle and with the help of Cross makes drastic changes in his life. By combining a juice fast with a bit of light exercise Staples looses over one hundred and fifty pounds and greatly reduces the amount of medication used to treat his chronic urticaria.

The real magic of this film is the interviews that make up the majority of the content. Simply put it is amazing to hear how Americans associate food with health. This country is literally eating itself to death and the worst part is people are fully aware of what they are doing but do nothing to stop it.

By the end of the film (approx. four months) Cross had lost nearly 100 pounds and his doctor had taken him off all of his prescription medications.

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The Only Blog I REALLY Follow

I was thinking about blogs. More specifically, I was thinking that I don’t follow any blogs. Then I realized I’ve been following one for at least the last five years, I had just never thought of it as a blog.

PostSecret.com isn’t a blog in the typical sense. There are no words, only photos. The creator of this blog, Frank Warren, is simply a moderator. He very rarely posts text on this blog, and when he does its normally commentary relating to a post or promoting a Post Secret event.

Frank Warren is a genius. He has created the most visited advertisement free blog in the world. And it all began as a simple community art project.

Beginning in late 2004 Warren distributed these simple postcards. One side was blank. One side contained a short set of instructions inviting anyone to participate in a community art project. Individuals were urged to share a secret that they had never shared before. The results were astounding. Thousands of secrets poured in, spanning the gamut from silly to serious and from sad to scary.

The secrets collected were used by Warren to construct the PostSecret.com website, which was updated every sunday. Every week a new theme was chosen by Warren and a new set of secrets were shared with the world. The site was so popular that in 2005 Warren published the first of five Post Secret books. Similar to the website the post secret book was simply a collection of secrets that had been anonymously mailed to 13345 Copper Ridge Rd.

Over the years PostSecret.com has changed little. For a short period of time comments were allowed, but it was decided that allowing comments defeated the idea that secrets would be shared anonymously. Warren was concerned that fear of criticism would deter participants from being honest about the secrets that they shared.

Postsecretcommunity.com was created as a forum for discussion surrounding the website.

Past and Present

After writing my last post about The Graduate I began thinking about some of my other favorite movies. I ventured into my basement and began digging through my old laser disks, thats right laser disks, the big brother of your beloved DVD. I came up with several classics including Jurassic Park and Titanic. I also stumbled upon Memphis Belle.

The Memphis Belle was a B-17 bomber (aka Flying Fortress) that flew during WW2. The crew of this aircraft was the first to complete a tour of duty in the European theatre and return home to the United States. They were hailed as heros and their story served as inspiration for thousands of  American soldiers still fighting overseas.

In 1990 the story of the Memphis Belle was transformed into a full length feature film. While the film is mostly a fictional story based loosely in fact, it still tops my list of favorite movies.

This film is action, comedy, and romance all rolled into one. As the film progresses the audience feels as if they really get to know the crew-members of the Belle. Each character lets us in in their own special way and by the end of the film I can almost guarantee you will be cheering for your favorite character.

 

Past:

Present:

It’s That Time of Year

Its that time of year again and I thought it appropriate to promote one of the best films ever made. The Graduate starring Dustin Hoffman as Ben Braddock is relevant even to todays college graduates.

Released in 1967 The Graduate, based on 1963 book by Charles Webb, chronicles the life of young Ben Braddock during the summer following his graduation from college. The opening scenes follow Ben on his return from college and his reception by his father at his graduation party.

This film is simple and straight forward. We get a glimpse into Ben’s life and the uneasiness he feels about his future. He is surrounded by people who seem to know what is best for him and yet he is not sure what he wants for himself.

What he does know is that he wants to make his own way. He had been the perfect son and perfect student. Now that school is over he feels lost and alone, until he is befriended by Mrs. Robinson, the mother of his childhood friend Elaine.

Benjamin and Mrs. Robinson cary on an affair over the summer, that is until Ben realizes he is truly in love with her daughter Elaine, and their secret quickly unravels.

With a plot this interesting no viewer will be left un-entertained.

The Graduate won many Oscar nominations, including: best cinematography, best adapted screenplay and best picture. Director Michael Nichols won an Academy award for best director and the film was placed on the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress for its significance to the movie industry.

Men Who Hate Women

The story of  The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo almost never saw the light of day. The recently released motion picture staring Rooney Mara and Daniel Craig has a backstory almost as interesting as the film itself.

Originally known as the Millennium Trilogy, the three book series which begins with The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,  has recently become popular in the United States. Many don’t realize that trilogy was originally written in Swedish and published in 2004.

Stieg Larsson began writing the trilogy in 1997 and had originally planned a ten book series. Larsson freely admitted that much of his inspiration, for the series, was derived from the guilt he felt for witnessing the sexual assault of a young woman and doing nothing about it. In 2003 he signed a contract with Swedish publisher Norstedts Förlag, to produce three books.

The first of three book written by Larsson, was released shortly after his death in November of 2004. The Swedish title literally translated to mean “Men who Hate Women” was changed to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, for release in english in 2008.

A year later, in 2009, the Swedish film company Yellow Bird produced three films to correspond with the three books. These films featured Noomi Rapace and Michael Nyqvist as Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist. Later that same year Larsson would win the Anthony Award for best first novel. A year later in 2010, he was awarded the title of USA Today’s Author of the year.

Six years after his death, in 2010, Stieg Larrson was the second author to sell over 1 million e-books. That same year The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo had sold over 40 million copies and spent 18 month on the NY Times best seller list.

100 YEARS AND COUNTING

Written and directed by James Cameron Titanic is one of the most award winning films of all time, that almost didn’t get made. Cameron believed so strongly in the project that he spent nearly five years researching the sinking and designed camera equipment expressly to film the wreck. He even went so far as to forfeit his 8 million dollar directors salary due to cost overruns. It is because of him that we have this amazing film.

1517 people perished when the Titanic sank on April 15th 1912. One hundred years later the tragedy was commemorated around the world. Hollywood remembered the tragedy by releasing Titanic 3D, a remastered version of the 1997 blockbuster. Titanic grossed roughly 28 million dollars during its opening weekend and close to two billion dollars since its release in 1997. The release of the 3D version, revealed that interest in the film has not yet subsided, bringing in close to 18 million dollars during is opening weekend. Titanic was the first film ever to win both the Academy award and MTV Film award for best picture. The film also boasts 10 additional Academy Awards and 14 Oscar Nominations.

The drawing by Jack Dawson (Leonardo DeCaprio) was based on this actual photo taken in 1933.