Saturday, November 7, 2015

Babadook, Depression, Young Old Men, and My Place

1. Started watching The Babadook.

I'm waiting for something scary to happen.

But I don't want to be too scared. 

2. Noticed the movie uses a lot of drab blues.  I'm guessing it was done on purpose—gives the setting a kind of depressing and hopeless feeling.

3. Noticed that now the blues have been reduced, and there's a lot of black.

4. Thought that Essie Davis, in the movie, looks a bit like Jessica Lange.

5. Thought one of the actors in the movie looks very familiar, but I can't figure out where I've seen him before.

6. Got his character name, so now I can look him up. 

7. Saw that the actor is Daniel Henshall

Have I seen him in anything?

8. Saw that he played the drunk clown on Rake!

That's funny. I just saw him in that a few weeks ago.

9. Thought the scariest thing about this movie, so far, is that Amelia (Essie Davis) is very depressed, and she's trying to take care of Samuel (Noah Wiseman), who is a very rambunctious and imaginative child.

I think it would be hard for a depressed mother to take care of any child. And it would be hard for a mother of any mental state to take care of an overly energetic child. Combine the two, and you have a very difficult situation.

Although, it could also be that the difficulty of Samuel is what made Amelia depressed. 

10. Could totally relate to some of the dialogue in the movie.  

Amelia says to Claire, her sister (or friend?), I listen to your life, day in, day out, and you never stop to ask me anything about mine.

I've had a lot of that in my life—people who want listeners, but don't want to do a lot of listening.  Or, really. It feels they're simply not interested in my life. Sometimes it might be because I'm boring to them.  In other cases, it might be that the person is so interested in talking about themselves, they don't want to take a break from that particular subject.

11. Wondered if Amelia counts generic questions like How are you guys doing?  and What's up with you? as Claire asking about her life.

I personally don't count that stuff—especially if I've had a very detailed conversation about the other person's life where I've asked them specific questions about their  life storylines and characters.  How's Toby? Are you still thinking of sending him to camp? Are you still reading horror novels? Any news about your crazy neighbours?

They eagerly answer these questions; and the only thing they give me in return is Are you guys doing okay? Or sometimes it's not in question form.  They just say, I hope you guys are doing well. The underlying message: If you're not doing well, please don't tell me about it.

Though I guess I should be glad we're at least mentioned.

12. Wanted to say that I excuse people from being inquisitive and interested if they're going through an acute drama or trauma.

If someone's beloved pet macaw died, I wouldn't expect them to pause from their grieving to ask if my Australia blog is going well. But if they always have too much drama as an excuse for being self centered; that would get old.  

13. Lost my Internet.

I hope it comes back on soon.  

14. Learned same lesson from The Babadook as I did from Coronation Street.

Do not taunt and/or threaten someone when you in a location that's high, and it wouldn't be too hard for the other person to push you off.  

Don't fight on a balcony or in a treehouse.  

Don't tease someone when you're on the top of a slide.  

Don't have a big domestic drama when you're at the Grand Canyon.  

If you want to be mean, wait until you're on level ground and there are no sharp objects nearby.

15. Thought Amelia was a bit of a hypocrite.

She complains to Claire that Claire doesn't ask about her life or want to visit her house.

Then later Amelia tells her son she doesn't want him talking about the Babadook. 

The Babadook is on her child's mind...a LOT.  How does telling him not to talk about it help him?  

16. Thought there are times that someone talks about something too much, and we might reach a breaking point. I think then it's okay to say we've had enough, or we need a break. Perhaps we could just gently change the subject. I think this is more okay, though, when we're dealing with a mature adult. I think it's different with a child.

17. Thought about how this movie reminds me of Stephen King's complaints about Stanley Kubrick's adaption of The Shining

King didn't like Jack Nicholson as Jack Torrance because Nicholson's reputation and portrayal pushed the idea that Torrance was crazy before the hotel got under his skin.  The book was supposed to be about a relatable/normal character losing the plot.

In The Babadook, a mysterious and menacing children's book pushes a mother into madness and bad mothering.

The problem is Amelia was pretty awful to Samuel before the book got there. She's tense, intolerant, and easily loses her temper. Honestly, the book and the monster stalker haven't really made that much of a difference.  

I think horror movies are more effective when they begin with relatively happy and normal families. The contrast between the two situations adds to the horror.

There's also the idea of hey, these people are like us; and horror fell upon their lives. It can happen to us too!  With The Babadook, I get this idea that as long as I don't fall into depression and live in a house with drab colors, the monster can't get us.

18. Wondered if maybe the monster has been in the house all along, and the Babadook is just kind of his way of saying. Hello! I'm here.

Even then, though, I think it would have been better to start with a happy family.

Amelia's husband died the day she gave birth. Maybe the movie could have shown her being happy and mentally healthy while pregnant. They could have shown the death of the husband; then jumped ahead in time to her being a depressed single mother living in a depressing house.

For all I know, Amelia was depressed before her husband died.  Maybe she's just a depressed person; and in that case I'm not sure The Babadook makes that much of a difference.  In fact, I think The Babadook kind of symbolizes depression.

19. Thought of The Exorcist. If young Regan was a scary, bratty, and disgusting child; would it have made that much of a difference when Pazuzu entered her body?  Probably not.

Regan, though, was very sweet and lovable. So that made it more tragic when she went through the changes.

20. Decided that Noah Wiseman looks like a child version of Richard Davies from Offspring.

21. Got an idea about how the story is going to turn out.

I won't say much, except that I think this is more about mental illness than the supernatural.

Well, and I'll also say that I think the general theme is a woman's journey from depression to madness.  

22. Felt torn between wanting to talk about something and not wanting to give too many spoilers.

Oh, what the heck.

I'll give spoilers. I usually do.

I guess my feeling is if someone plans to watch the movie, and doesn't want spoilers; they can just not read what I'm writing.

So...I think the important piece of information was given at the birthday party of Claire's daughter. Another mother mentions that she heard that Amelia is a writer. She wrote various things, including children's books.

Samuel finds a random book on the shelf called The Babadook. He wants it as his bedtime story. Mother and son read it together. The book is very creepy and menacing.

I'm assuming now that Amelia herself wrote the book in some kind of fugue state.

I don't think there's any ghost, monster, or evil spirit. I think it's all her. 

23. Saw that I'm wrong.

24. Didn't really understand the end of the movie.

25. Felt the movie would have been better if my theory had been right.

26. Consulted Lord Wiki about the film.

He talks about how Jennifer Kent, the writer and director, was very careful with Noah Wiseman. She didn't want to traumatize him.  When they had scenes with Essie Davis being abusive, they used an adult stand in.  Lord Wiki quotes Kent as saying,  I didn't want to destroy a childhood to make this film—that wouldn't be fair.

That's very kind and thoughtful of her.

27. Learned, from Lord Wiki, that a writer named Tim Teeman had brilliant and insightful ideas about the movie.

He says the Babadook represents grief.

Wow.

Now I'm liking the movie; and I understand the ending.

What happens at the end is that they learn they can never get rid of The Babadook. So they lock it in the basement, go about their happy lives; and every so often go to feed the monster.

28. Went to read Tim Teeman's review for myself.

29. Saw that Tim Teeman noticed the grayish-blue coloring scheme too.

But he was smart enough to see that it was the color of mourning.

The film is full of grays, blues, and black.

30. Thought Teeman's quote here is absolutely brilliant. (Lord Wiki actually quoted it, so I think he thinks it was brilliant as well)

Teeman says, This film is about the aftermath of death; how its remnants destroy long after the dead body has been buried or burned; it’s about how a loved one’s death can erode, and then threaten to kill a family.

31. Loved What Teeman says here,  Grief is part of us, living with loss is part of us. We do not “get over it.” Grief, like the Babadook, never leaves. Terrible loss may never be surmounted. But it needn’t warp us, destroy us, kill us. You can accord it a place, and then—hopefully—like Amelia and Sam find a way to get on with your life

32. Appreciated Teeman for helping me like the movie.

This is much better than when I like a movie, and then read a review that makes me rethink my liking of the movie.

I think I wanted the movie to be about depression and insanity because that's what I was perceiving. Then when supernatural stuff happened, it annoyed me. It could just be that I wanted to be right, and the movie proved me wrong.

But now I'm thinking the movie still is about those things. The supernatural stuff is allegorical.

33. Wrote a fan-Tweet to Tim Teeman.

I think it's been awhile since I've done something like that.

34. Had an idea why I was less understanding of the movie than Tim Teeman.

The thing is, though I'm a good listener; I'm not the most tolerant when it comes to depression.  Of course I understand grief, and I have a ton of sympathy.  But I have this mindset that if we're depressed; we should work to move away from the sadness.

It bothered me that Amelia lived in a world of drab colors. I understand that she misses her husband, but it seems she might feel better if she moved into a more colorful house, wore more colorful clothes, and did some fun things.

My feeling is that sadness is a part of life, and we shouldn't deny or ignore it. But I also feel we shouldn't let it take over our entire existence.

35. Thought of people who are depressed and they stay in bed all day. Or they walk around the house like zombies.

What if they got dressed and went outside? What if they exercised? What if they went to a funny movie?  I don't imagine it would completely cure them, but might it make them feel a tiny bit better?

36. Felt if NOTHING can make the person feel a tiny bit better...then drugs might be a smart choice.

Now I'm not talking about someone who's recently gone through something horrible. If someone's husband recently died, I don't think putting on a brightly colored dress and seeing a comedy is going to make them feel better.

But after seven years?

Seven years is a long time to be in such an intense, overwhelming grief state.

37. Felt that Amelia's problem wasn't just grief, but also the lack of a decent support system.

Or...actually. Maybe not. Her mother-in-law seemed kind and helpful.

38. Decided there's a difference between getting over things and moving on.

There are certain things we never get over. They haunt us for our whole lives. But despite this, we can still manage to live productive lives with moments of joy.

We can put the Babadook in the basement.

39. Felt we all have Babadooks. Some are tiny. Some are huge. Some are born out of death while others are born out of rejection, break-ups, failures, and disappointments.

When our Babadooks first arrive, we can't escape and there's really no point in trying. But then after awhile, I think it's a good idea to be like Amelia, and lock it in the basement. Go out for some fresh air, and maybe buy an ice-cream.

40. Felt my advice could be a problem for someone lives in a rainy area, is diabetic, or is short on cash.

But there are probably alternatives.

Maybe.

Or maybe not.

The sad truth is some people have no ways to fight their Babadooks. Even medication won't help. Because their life sucks; they have no resources; and medication isn't going to change that.

But a lot of us do have resources and a way to pull ourselves out of the horror...if we make up our minds to try to do that.

41. Went to Random.org to pick my next thing to watch.

It's Breaker Morant.

That might be interesting.

Or boring.

I shall see....

42. Looked at Breaker Morant on IMDb.

The director is Bruce Beresford. I wrote a post on him once, but now I don't remember anything.

What else has he directed?

43. Wondered if he directed Driving Miss Daisy.

44. Saw that Beresford DID direct Driving Miss Daisy. Wonderful!  I like when I've remembered something correctly.

45. Saw that Beresford has recently completed a drama starring Eddie Murphy called Henry Joseph Church.  There's at least one Australian in the cast—Xavier Samuel.

46. Saw that there's going to be a remake of the miniseries Roots. Beresford directed one of the episodes.

47. Got the idea that Beresford is interested in the relationship between white and black Americans.

48. Saw that Beresford is the one who directed the Barry Mackenzie movies.

That's kind of a huge deal.

49. Looked at the cast of Breaker Morant and saw that I'm going to be seeing some older Australian men, that I know of, looking much less old.  There's Jack Thompson, John Waters, Bryan Brown, Terence Donovan, Chris Heywood, and Ray Meagher.

I'm actually not sure who Chris Heywood is, but I often see him in the cast of things I watch.

50. Thought that Jack Thompson might have been the guy on Rake that I thought sounded like Dumbeldore.

51. Checked and saw that yes, Thomson was on Rake.

In Breaker Morant, he's around forty—a couple years younger than me.

In Rake, he was about seventy-two.

52. Thought about how when Breaker Morant was released, I was only eight-years-old.

Isn't it funny how we all age.

53. Saw that Terence Donovan would have been about thirty-eight in the movie. I'm so used to seeing him as a grandfather figure.

54. Saw that John Waters would have been the youngest of the men I mentioned—in his early thirties.

I think he's a very handsome and sexy man in his sixties.

Will I find him attractive when he's young?

55. Saw that Chris Haywood is actually about the same age as John Waters.

I'm looking through his credits, trying to see what I've seen him in.

So far, all I've got is Rake.

56. Found something else!

He was the evil sorcerer on Farscape!

57. Saw that he was on an episode of Water Rats I watched.

58. Saw that he was in the movie I just watched yesterday—The Cars That Ate Paris.

59. Looked at an actor named Vincent Ball, that's in Breaker Morant. He was born in 1923, and is still alive. That's impressive on it's own, but also...he's still working!

He was on episodes of Home and Away recently.

60. Looked at Russell Kiefel, forgetting that I actually know that name. I didn't remember that I knew it until I saw that he was on Neighbours. He played Russell Brennan.

He might still be playing Russell Brennan.

I don't know, since I can't watch the show anymore.

61. Knew I should quit this post, because it's getting long.

But there's one more thing I want to do.

I want to look at a TV program I keep running into when I look at filmographies.

I looked at it briefly today, but wasn't in the mood to give it a lot of time and thought.

Now I'm kind of in the mood.

It's My Place.

I had been assuming it was an adaptation of Sally Morgan's autobiography, but it seems it's not.

I think it might be related to what I wrote about recently—a if-walls-could-talk-kind-of-thing.

62. Consulted Lord Wiki.

He says it's a children's program.

It takes place in a house in Sydney, and tells the story of the children who lived there throughout history.

Each episode deals with a different child in a different period of history.

That's very cool.

I want to see it.

Maybe Hulu will have it someday.

Hopefully.

63. Looked at the cast on IMDb.

Susie Porter is in seven episodes.

Does she travel through time?

Or maybe the stories are bookended with the present.

64. Saw that there are other actors in multiple episodes.

65. Thought of another possibility. Some of the episode time periods are close together. So one character could be a neighbour in multiple episodes.

66. Saw that I'm right.

Kate Box, from Rake, is in two episodes—1938 and 1948.

67. Had strong desires to see this show.

It sounds brilliant.

68. Saw that Scorpius (Wayne Pygram) from Farscape is on an episode.

69. Saw that My Place has a website where you can explore the house, and the land before the house existed.

I'm going to have to play with this...probably on my own, because this post is getting too long.

70. Saw that the house has the same oven/stove from 1958-2008.

That's a long time!















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