“Land”, A Film That Beautifully Portrays The Extremes Some Go In Life To Heal Their Brokenness Within…

It’s actually been a good while since I saw any movie that truly moved me enough to write an article about it in my blog. That all changed when I caught a screening of “Land” starring Robin Wright in the theater recently.

Wright plays a woman named Edee, who from her very first moments on screen shows how extremely unstable she’s become, both mentally and emotionally. Something tragic has obviously happened in her life that has caused her to find no reason left to live. Her sister Emma (Kim Dickens) is distraught over this and pleads for Edee not to take her life. While the viewer has no idea exactly what has caused Edee to feel like this, it’s apparent it’s something horrific. As a last-ditch effort to cope with whatever she’s dealing with, Edee decides to completely go off the grid in a remote part of the Wyoming wilderness and start up a life of complete solitude. Little does she know she’s bit off far more than she can chew when she arrives at the very old mountainside rustic cabin she’ll now call her home. In the middle of nowhere, without any attachment left to the living world, including no phone or car, electricity or otherwise, Edee begins a spiritual journey within, one that will face her two biggest fears, that being the pain within herself and the fear of connecting with another human being again, one that will only come by way when another lonesome soul named Miguel (Demian Bichir) enters her life by happenstance.

“Land” is exactly the movie I needed to see lately. Watching a seriously wounded woman overcoming the greatest of odds and finding herself along the way is the hopeful story my soul has been calling for. Most of the films I’ve watched as of late are depressing. They’ve all dealt with fighting, bickering, cheating, stealing, and well pretty much every type of low vibrational behavior that’s filling our world quite a bit now, especially as everyone continues to cope with this ongoing pandemic. What my soul needed the most was a spark to uplift it and “Land” most definitely didn’t disappoint in that.

What I think I related to the most in “Land” was the number of times I saw myself feeling just like Edee, having no purpose to keep going, that life doesn’t matter anymore. That’s a very scary place to be in, where every day you awake and feel that life is pointless. I know the pain of that oh, so, very well. Watching Edee in “Land” walk through that pain is something I continue to face myself. There are countless days where I don’t know if I can take this pain anymore, but like Edee, there’s an inner resilience somewhere deep within me that keeps me going. While I’m not sure if I’d ever go to the extreme of living in a remote mountainside wilderness-based existence to find myself, I am spending more time alone in stillness, as I too hope to find greater inner peace and serenity, just like Edee desperately sought in the movie as well.

By far, “Land” is at least a four out of five-star film with Robin Wright giving an Oscar-worthy performance that was more than believable and well worth its hour and 29-minute running time. While the film takes one through the most heart-wrenching of moments via Edee’s eyes, it’s one I definitely felt ended on a positive note and left me with exactly what I needed, which was the courage to keep going.

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson

Why Professional Athletes Rarely Retire On Top…Is It The Love Of The Game Or Possibly An Addiction?

I was once one of Michael Jordan’s biggest fans when he played for NBA’s Chicago Bulls and won them six championships. After winning his sixth, Jordan went into retirement for a second time, the first having been motivated mostly due to the stress from his father’s tragic killing. When Jordan came out of retirement for a 3rdtime and played for the Washington Wizards for two seasons, he told the press it was out of his love of the game that brought him back, but I silently wondered if his decision to return yet again, especially at almost 40 years old, was one more based out of an addiction.

I’ve often pondered if many professional athletes like Jordan push themselves well beyond their prime playing days because of the dopamine high that comes from the love of winning and being on top. Honestly, that drive is no different than what an alcoholic, drug addict, gambling addict, sex addict, or any type of addict goes through. Because once that high gets achieved, it’s game on for them to keep getting that high, at any cost. Is that really any different with a professional athlete who pursues the glory and high of winning and constantly fights the aging process along the way as to when to retire? And if it indeed was an addiction-based drive that led Jordan to come back that third time, at least it didn’t leave him after those two final seasons with any life-altering injuries. Sadly, it did leave him though with two losing seasons, and only an occasional reminder of the razzle and dazzle he once was.

Now, I see the same thing happening with Tom Brady. Ironically, I’ve often referred to him as the Michael Jordan of the NFL. The guy has won seven titles, six with the New England Patriots, and one with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. While he’s never gone into any official retirement, he’s 43 years old, playing in an extremely physical and often dangerous sport. Now, he’s planning on coming back yet again at the ripe “old” age of 44 to play another season. What more does he have to prove when he’s already surpassed just about every record and will forever be considered one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history. I’d say there is nothing to prove other than him doing exactly what Jordan did, saying the love of the game keeps him coming back. But is that “love of the game” really just code for the high that comes from playing the game?

I’ve played a number of sports before and there indeed is a nice high that comes from winning, especially when you come out on top at the end of a season. What risk though is Brady putting himself in coming back yet again? The guy has three kids and a beautiful wife who I’m sure love spending time with him. Beyond the limited time he probably has with them when he’s in season, he puts himself at risk for permanent life-changing injuries each time he steps on that field, especially each year he gets older. I think Brady would seriously regret playing another season after seven titles if he permanently gets injured and God forbid, one that paralyzes him or gives him that concussive disease (CTE) that many NFL players have gotten.

I don’t see this as any different than any other addiction. Addicts in general get a high from something and chase after it over and over and over again, putting themselves at risk more and more each time they engage in it. And the older they get, the more at risk they are continuing to do it. But oh, that high drives their mind and egos so great, just like I’m sure six championship titles for Jordan did and seven for Brady. I’m convinced it’s why Jordan came back, because retirement didn’t provide that high, which is most likely why Brady keeps playing as well.

In my book, this is why I wish Tom Brady would retire now, while his body is still relatively healthy enough, rather than potentially having a complete losing season next year or even far worse, sustaining some life-altering injury. But that’s the price addicts risk chasing some high. Personally, I wish I had “retired” from all my former addictions when I was still “on top of them”. But I didn’t, because an addict has no control over their addiction. And maybe indeed in the end, that’s why I often wonder if athletes like Michael Jordan, Tom Brady and many others are addicts as well, constantly seeking the high of winning and being number one, all while risking so much to lose each time they come back for one more season…

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson

A Little More On Those Frequently Portrayed LGBTQ Stereotypes In The Entertainment Industry…

After posting a review of the Netflix remake of “The Boys In The Band” about a week or so ago, I received a number of heart-felt and very interesting comments from a number of readers. While I understand that the original film this remake was based upon was one of the earlier strongholds in the LGBTQ movement, it still made me cringe given how many of the same stereotypes that heterosexuals often place on the LGBTQ culture depicted in this film, continue to be depicted more than not in the entertainment industry today.

Case in point, I recently watched a second LGBTQ film shortly after watching “The Boys In The Band”. It was on Netflix and titled “The Prom”. It was about two lesbian girls attempting to go to their high school prom together and encountering massive resistance from the powers that be on the school board. While the depiction of this lesbian couple itself wasn’t laced with any strong stereotypes, the depiction of the prominent gay male character in the film, Barry Glickman, played by James Corden, sadly did and ultimately ruined the movie for me. Beyond the fact that Corden is a married heterosexual man in real life, his performance was so over-the-top flamboyant, that it honestly made me feel disgusted at the ongoing Hollywood portrayal of so many gay men.

Look, there are countless gay men in our world who you would never know are gay, who don’t act feminine, who don’t sashay when they walk, who don’t use overly strong hand gestures when they talk, who aren’t into drag, who aren’t into showtunes or Broadway, who like things like sports and cars, and do many other things as well that are the exact opposite of what the entertainment industry often portrays of them. Honestly, I rarely see any mainstream movies and television shows that depict average type of joes just like me.

If there’s one thing that truly upsets me the most that comes from all this constant stereotypical portrayal of the LGBTQ culture in the entertainment industry is whenever someone says to me, “I never would have guessed you are gay!” A close second to that would be when someone says to me, “Have you ever dressed up as a woman?” or “Do you like drag?”

Just because I was born being attracted to the same sex doesn’t mean I have to talk with a feminine lisp and like either dressing up in women’s clothing or watching other men do that at some type of bar! Sadly, those types of judgments ALWAYS seem to come from heterosexual men and women who have never had any gay friends and only know of what a gay person might be like by what they see portrayed in films and on television.

Thankfully, I have a number of friends today who really appreciate the fact that I am an average type of joe, who doesn’t come off as appearing gay, and doesn’t fit those typical LGBTQ stereotypes. While I know there are plenty of people out there who do fit those typical LGBTQ stereotypes regularly depicted in film and television, if only the entertainment industry might begin to focus more on average type of joes like me, maybe the world would stop thinking all gay men for example are like Nathan Lane’s or Robin William’s characters from The Birdcage.

And lastly, I need to also mention that while the entertainment industry tends to show many LGBTQ individuals as promiscuous and not caring whatsoever about having a relationship with God, there are plenty out there who do like to settle down, remain monogamous, and focus their life on their spirituality and having a closer relationship with God. While many, many years ago I did explore my sexuality a little too promiscuously and avoided God at the same time, today I am with a partner I’ve been monogamous with for almost nine years now and spend every day seeking a closer connection to God.

Why the entertainment industry must always place gay men in roles that are consistently floating them from one sexual act to another and never doing any sort of praying and spiritual work, I don’t know. For as much as the series “Queer As Folk” for example was groundbreaking in its own way for the LGBTQ movement, it also focused a little too much on promiscuity and led many to believe that there is nothing spiritually healthy that can ever exist amongst gay men. It’s precisely why I feel it took so long to get gay marriage approved for these constant stereotypical portrayals of gay individuals.

Nevertheless, I tend to avoid watching LGBTQ-centered films and tv shows these days mostly because far too many of them frequently depict these typical stereotypes that pigeon hole people like me into them when I am so far from being like them. Hopefully one day, there might be films and shows that regularly depict average type of joes just like me falling in love with another man, all while doing things like hanging out at NASCAR races for the thrill of loud car engines and high speeds, or watching football games, not because of men in tights, but for the thrill of the sport itself…

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson