Bahstan

Well, I’ve graduated graduate school and I have homework tomorrow.
The past few days, wait, the past few weeks have been a complete whirlwind. Planning this trip – booking tickets to Boston separately for me and then for my family, booking the hotel room the same way, booking the flat in London, booking the flight to London, getting all the documents together for customs – as well as making sure everything is taken care of – buying adapters, cleaning my apartment, packing, repacking, packing again, paying bills, etc – has worn me out.
I only got about three hours of sleep Friday night. I was anxious about traveling and it wasn’t just leaving for a week, so I had to prep my apartment in ways I hadn’t had to before – emptying the fridge and cupboards or canceling Dish Network. Then the flights were super turbulent, but that was okay. Mom and dad traveling together was hilarious and comforting. They’re completely civil and friendly, but I thanked them both, with a tear or two, for being able to do this with me. I realize how lucky I am to have divorced parents who are able to travel together, and travel well together, for my sake.
We got into Boston and after a short rest, we headed to Dirk’s for the class BBQ. Our Chinese cabbie taught us American history and accidentally drove us through the not-so-great part of Boston. We needed to be in Cambridge and how the hell were we supposed to know? We get to Dirk’s in one piece, even having driven past a crime scene, and right away I get a big hug from Deb. We get to the garden and I recognize Kim immediately. She jumps up and gives me an even bigger hug. (Earlier, she had said she felt the ground shake when I stepped foot in Boston. I apologize for anyone who might have felt the tremor and mistook it for a minute earthquake.)
Beers were enjoyed, we laughed our asses off. I met Brett, and then later Matthias showed up, fresh off the plane from San Fran. I must say, my classmates are the fucking shit. An outsider would not have been able to tell that we’d never met. We’ve been communicating academically since October, but are from all over the country and, in Matthias’s case until recently, the globe.
Dad took over the grill and later borrowed Dirk’s guitar to entertain us with some AC/DC, Deep Purple, Led Zep, and Beatles: acoustic-style. I could have stayed forever. I even got to bust out some Deutsch and impress the Krauts.

Today, I walked across stage to a mispronounced last name (let’s be honest, if ii sounds like E in “skiing” and “Wii,” then it sure as hell follows the same rule in Friis, damnit) and received a big ass sheet of cardstock: my conferred degree. It is post-dated for August 31st, so I guess that means I actually need to finish the program, eh. It was Matthias’s first graduation ceremony, and the fourth of his degrees. They don’t do grad celebrations in Germany, so it was heartwarming to see him experience it all; his wife and two terribly adorable sons were there, as well as his folks from Germany. As we walked across stage, the president of the school put the regalia over our heads. It was like so official. We are the first media psychology class to graduate from MSPP, and one of the first in the world. Nay, in history. I’ll try not to let that go to my head. Much.

But, really, the first. I mean, come on.

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Star Trek: Into Darkness

So back when the Star Trek app was released, I downloaded it and was able to buy a ticket to the early sneak of the film (then two days before it would be released here in the US). Finally, the day had arrived.

I was already in a frenzy of anticipation because it’d been building for who knows how long. I didn’t grow up with Star Trek, always made sure to flip past it when I saw it on SciFi. I was more of a Star Wars fan. Then JJ Abrams made Star Trek a few years ago and after much pleading from my boyfriend at the time, I sat down to watch it.

It absolutely blew me away. The score by Michael Giacchino, the cinematography, the acting by Zachary Quinto, Chris Pine, Simon Pegg, etc; the action, the romance, the comedy, the drama, the excitement. I loved everything about it. (Well, besides, “Are you out of your Vulcan mind?” Damnit, Bones). I immediately bought it on Blu-Ray and downloaded the soundtrack. Just thinking about Enterprising Young Men gives me goosebumps.

Between that film and this one, I have become such a fan of Benedict Cumberbatch’s work, so when I heard that he was to play the baddie in the new Star Trek… And actually, ‘baddie’ doesn’t do him any justice at all. Benedict as an actor, nor his character in the film. No, he’s not just another Englishman made sinister due to his accent and angular face. He’s outrageously talented and provides such a likeable quality to this villain that you sit conflicted as to whether you should be rooting for Kirk and Spock or hoping John Harrison gets away at the last second.

I was already vibrating in my seat when the first few bars of Michael’s score started (mind you, this is during the introduction of the production companies). I won’t reveal anything because it would be ridiculous to do so after JJ and his cast did such a tremendous job of withholding some long-since-abandoned-in-this-industry secrecy throughout; but holy shit. What a fucking film.

I laughed a ton, I cried, I wanted to shout, I wanted to beg; I wanted to watch it again as soon as the credits rolled.

I walked out of the theatre finding myself unable to form real words, and yet wanting to call anyone who would listen to me and expell my feelings. It blew me away. It floored me. It left me emotionally compromised and stunned (thank you). It did not disappoint in the least; if anything, it took any expectations I had and made them look miniscule in comparison to the result.

I’m just blessed in that I have the capacity to be moved to tears by films and music. Even now, I can’t fully express my feelings toward this film. All I can do is shake my head in quiet appreciation.

Not many things leave me speechless. Well-played, JJ.

Did I mention it was in IMAX 3D? Jesus.

The World of Over-share

Alright, I have been thinking about social media a lot lately, thanks to my master’s program in media psychology, and I think I’ve made it clear that I’m a bit of a BBC’s Sherlock fan. If not, don’t get me started. Anyway, I am also a fan of the most recent Star Trek film by JJ Abrams and cannot wait for the one about to be released.

Here’s the problem:

I got into Sherlock after the first two seasons had already been filmed, shown on tv, and put on Netflix; which was awesome, because then I could watch them boom-boom-boom one after another. As soon as a third season was confirmed by the creators, all hell broke loose. I had found Tumblr and was on Instagram and Twitter, and I hadn’t seen such crazies* since my days as an NSync fan. (*I say ‘crazies’ totally lovingly as I am one of them.) Let’s just say, thank God for the hashtag “spoiler” because otherwise I would know way too much. I like surprises, I really do. I like going into a movie having not already researched every nook and cranny and found out who plays who. It’s supposed to be an escape, not familiarity at that point. Not everyone shares my stance. It’s been a challenge to navigate Instagram and Twitter for months now because of everyone posting filming locations or photos of characters that should have died in the last series, but here they are on set again, or what have you.

Then there’s Star Trek: Into Darkness. I can’t frickin’ wait to see this movie. I am not a Star Trek fan in the least, I know nothing about Star Trek, but I do know that I loved JJ’s first Star Trek and I’m going to love this one, also. My love for the film might also revolve (a bit) around the fact that *Benedict Cumberbatch is playing the baddie. (*Gosh, what else does he star in, I just can’t put my finger on it…) However, there is a mysterious quality in this film that JJ and Benedict have fought so hard to maintain. Who does Benedict play? Is it Kahn? Is it John Harrison? Neither will say. I wish I could find the quote, but I read an interview with Benedict where he went on about why he won’t say who he is playing. It was something along the lines of, there isn’t any mystery in going to the movies anymore because all of the information is released up front or in the trailers and then people go into the movie knowing exactly who plays who or why this particular event is happening, and I am [he is] going to try to uphold as much secrecy as I [he] can. I love that. It’s true.

With social media being about spreading as much info to as many people as quickly as possible, and the people spreading the info just want to be the ones to do it, I don’t wager many people stop and think about exactly what they’re doing. Would you really want to be the one who outed Benedict’s character as really _______? The mystique, the intrigue, some of the glory would be lost.

Don’t people want to be surprised anymore? I think the thirst for knowledge can be a bit detrimental in these cases. It’s like the faith is gone. I don’t want to get to season three of Sherlock and know how Sherlock pulled off his fake suicide in The Reichenbach Fall because some yabo tweets about it before I get to see it for myself. I don’t want to walk into Star Trek: Into Darkness and know that Benedict is actually playing _______, and not be able to participate in the collective sharp intake of breath with the rest of the audience upon his reveal. 

That’s another thing I love about JJ and the creators of Sherlock (Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat) – in the latest STiD trailer, Benedict’s character is shown on some little screen with a tracking device and the name that pops up in front of him for a split second is “John Harrison.” That wasn’t a mistake, that was a mislead from JJ. I am sure of it. Same with Gatiss/Moffat – I follow Mark Gatiss on Twitter and he posted a spoiler-esque picture along with a cryptic sort of message saying that not everything being posted about filming is real/going to be used, and it’s mostly to throw people off. He did the same thing when he released the three word clues for this season*. He tweeted three words that had nothing to do with anything and then later released the ‘actual’ three words. (*For each series now, he has released three words that are supposed to be clues as to what Sir Arthur Conan Doyle stories they are going to use. For example, for last season, he said “Woman. Hound. Fall.” which referred to the episodes A Scandal in Belgravia – “The Woman” Irene Adler as the main character, Hounds of Baskerville, and The Reichenbach Fall. For series three, he first said “Pipe. Slippers. Bed.” and then later released the real clues, “Rat. Wedding. Bow.”)

Thank God for writers/directors such as JJ, Mark, and Steven for their creative integrity and keeping mystery as alive as it can be in this world of over-share.

Speaking of, this reminds me of how Alfred Hitchcock approached the release of Psycho. He sent letters to the theatres with explicit instructions on how to keep the ending a complete secret – locking doors, keeping guards, only using certain posters, signing waivers as not to reveal spoilers, etc. Even back then, without social media, he was readily aware of the spread of information ruining the mystique of his film. He wanted to hear the true screams when… you know, I don’t know if any of you have NOT seen this film. I’d hate to ruin it.

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