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Five most important movies

What do you talk about with a woman you just met either online or in a bar that doesn’t have to do with what either your or she does, what school you went to, where you went on vacation, or how well your favorite sports team is doing? Dan Ariely, author of Predictably Irrational, mentions that, on first dates, we most often default to the boring questions about hobbies, etc. in an effort to rock the boat. In the Manosphere, we’ve heard about asking a woman emotional questions to get her into a state that doesn’t default to a fucking interview. I won’t repeat this here. Suffice to say, this is basic stuff.

So, here’s something I’ve done before with women: ask them to name the top five movies they’ve seen that have affect them strongly in one way or another. Not only is this a good topic to get the ball rolling, but it helps to shed some light on what might be important to the woman. Bonus points if she likes films that make you think and if she doesn’t watch the average, sappy romcom but once in a great while.

And, with that, I give you my list of movies that have affected me. I’ve done this only once or twice with women, and I’ve usually gotten blank stares. Oh, well . . .

1. AMADEUS (1984)

I’m a fan of classical music. I have been since around 17 years old, and a little before. (Thanks, “Hooked on Classics”.) This movie went on to win several Academy Awards, and it’s still talked about in the canon of movie history. Roger Ebert wrote two reviews on it.

Of course, the movie is about music — Mozart’s music. But, it’s not about Mozart. It’s about Salieri. In particular, Salieri’s vanity and envy. His envy struck a chord with me because envy is something that I struggled with when I was a younger man. Why? Well, if you have no good mentors, then I think envy springs up eventually, especially when you think that someone else is living the “good life” when it could be far from the case.

Effect on me: it helped me put my early classical music in context.  It also taught me how poisonous envy could be.  Most of us weren’t born a genius, but have had to work at it a lot through our lives.

2. BLADE RUNNER (1982)

Probably a common favorite among some Manospherians. Classic for cyberpunk and for the intersection of cyberpunk and film noir, and it merits more than one viewing to see all that there is to see. If you’ve ever read the Philip K. Dick novel on which it’s based, there are stark differences. Again, since this is a movie, it’s heavy on visuals. Thanks to Syd Mead for this.

I first saw part of this movie while seeing another one (Blue Thunder, I think) back in 1982. It was in an old drive-in with two screens. Runner was playing on the other screen, and I stole some backwards glances while in the backseat of my parents’ car. I thought the movie was strange-looking, to be honest. Then, I saw the whole thing in 1990 and was transfixed. Just the opening scene itself was enough to strike terror in me. I knew I didn’t want to live in a world like that. But, the funny thing is that I think we’re headed that way. November 2019 is still on the horizon. Will we see Replicants then?  Will an android like Rachel exist?  Would she be real enough to replace real women, thereby enabling men to avoid the typical woman’s bullshit?

We still have Vangelis, too, whose soundtrack is probably one of the most well-known ambient soundtracks from the 80s.  “Memories of Green” is a classic track.

Effect on me: one of my first visions of a scary, but beautiful, dystopian world.  It stimulated my thinking about memories, the self, the intersection of the memories and the self, and the meaning of life.

3. THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST (1987)

I was raised Catholic, so the content resonated with me at the time and resonates with me still, a long time after I became officially agnostic. Those of you around my age probably remember how this movie caused quite the furor when it was released, with religious protesters outside of movie theaters calling for blood. Nutty fervor at its finest.

What was the crux of the furor, you say? Jesus having sex with Mary Magdalene. Um, yes, I can see how this might be taken as offensive, but the protestors were missing the point. They missed the broader context. Reading the novel is better for the context.

The “temptation” in the movie is how Jesus was almost swayed from having a normal life. Kazantzakis meant to focus more on how Jesus was human, and not paying much attention to his supposed divinity. Jesus kind of knew what he was supposed to do from the beginning, when he heard the first of the voices in his head. But, he, like so many of us, didn’t trust himself and didn’t listen to find out what his mission was. Having a mission is very important to men. This isn’t a brand new topic in the Manosphere. If men don’t have a mission, then they feel lost and miserable. Eventually, Jesus finds his mission, culminating in “It is accomplished.”

This movie also put Willem Dafoe on the map. Peter Gabriel wrote the soundtrack.

Effect on me: taking the core story of my Catholic upbringing and turning it on its head. Focus on the mission, and a nudge to remember to try to do something extraordinary at least once in your life. I tell people that it’s one of those movies you watch late at night alone, when it’s quiet, to let the story and the atmosphere wash over you.

4. RAN (1985)

“ran” = chaos, disorder, rebellion

Some hail this as Kurosawa’s masterpiece. (But others will say Seven Samurai is better.) The conditions under which Kurosawa labored to make the movie (death of his wife, nearly blind, many problems with securing funding) are sufficient enough to put it in his top three. Visually, it’s stunning, helped along by the minimalist and Japanese-influenced score of Toru Takemitsu.

Knowing the “King Lear” story helps in understanding Ran’s story. King Lear transforms into a feudal lord, and Lear’s daughters become the lord’s sons. Jealousy and treachery lead to violence, and it’s hard to have sympathy with the lord in the beginning because he got where he was through cruelty and violence. Karma is a bitch. Yet, as with Lear and witnessing his breakdown through the course of Shakespeare’s play, we feel some sympathy towards the lord. At least one of the sons manages to separate himself from the cycle of violence. Yet, in the end it consumes him.

The movie is bleak, yet it’s one of those movies that I never get tired of watching for nothing else than the cinematography.

Effect on me: visuals, haunting images, the score.

5. THE NAME OF THE ROSE (1985)

The movie version of the novel of the same name, written by Umberto Eco. Eco’s novel is more in the form of a puzzle and a display of his erudition as a medieval historian, while the movie is more on the visuals. (Aren’t they usually?) I wasn’t taken with it when I first saw it on videocassette back when I was in high school, so I had to watch it more than once.

I’ve been a fan of Sean Connery since I first started watching the old James Bond flicks. I think Connery does a good job in this movie, though some might have panned his performance. At least he was doing something more productive with his time in the 80s than things like Zardoz. Yikes . . .

Effect on me: the relationship between William and Adso, which is a classic mentorship role between master and novice. The older man taking responsibility for the young man under his wing, who left his father to become a monk. One sees that William is a quality man, so Adso has a good mentor. This kind of model is what I wanted when I was a younger man. My father could only provide so much, and what he did provide was lacking.

You’ll notice that all of these movies are from the 80s. That was my formative decade — the time when I was moving from childhood to my pre-teens and then young adulthood. Not to say that there haven’t been other movies I’ve seen since the 80s that aren’t equally compelling or impactful, but these are the ones that always stick out in my mind. I watch them occasionally.

Effect on me: mentorship, older man guiding a younger man who needs it.

Honorable mention: IKIRU (1952)

The word ikiru is a verb, meaning “to live.” The movie is one of Kurosawa’s earliest, and maybe the most poignant and haunting one to watch. As Ran is bleak and violent, Ikiru is somewhat bleak and not at all violent.

It’s bleak in the sense that the main character has been a cipher for nearly all of his life and now he finds himself on the precipice of death without having done anything worthwhile in his life. Throughout the movie, he tries to find what could give his life meaning. Nightlife? Nah. Something else, maybe. He commits and then breaks through with working against the bureaucracy to do a selfless act: create a park for kids in the middle of a city cesspool. He’s successful, then passes quietly away.

It’s not the man’s impending death that’s haunting; it’s the fact that he did nothing with his life until that point. But, some could argue that, since he did that one selfless act, it might validate all of his life before his death. Even more haunting, though, is how his son and the others realize that they could do the same, but then fall back into listlessness, not choosing to do anything.

Effect on me: classic existentialist, and the awareness of the passage of time. The older I get and the more time I see passing behind me, the more aware I am of acting and finding meaning in everyday acts, or at least weekly acts. Also, that you eventually outgrow the nightclub culture because it doesn’t really add to your life in any substantial way.

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Blog shout-out: MaverickTraveler

I’ve been a lurker of the myrid Manosphere blogs for quite a while now.  As part of my general intellectual modus operandi, I like to comment on what great (and not-so-great) folks have said about things regarding life, liberty, men, and the pursuit of happiness.  As I’m sure any writer or deep thinker knows, what he creates himself is from the depths of what someone else has thought or written.  In other words, nothing new under the sun.  For some, this comes instantaneously; for others, it might take years to marinate, then they gather enough courage and momentum to birth something not-so-new.

Anyway, one Manospherian, who’s relatively new, is Maverick Traveler.  I’ve been reading him off and on, but I like what he says.  He’s a traveler (duh — read his blog title) who has lived abroad.  So have I, but he’s one of the few who has gained enough momentum.  Maybe one day, I could join him in his quest.

Earlier today, I came across his “66 Things On Life, Men and Women, and America” post.  He says some good things, and I wanted to gloss on a few things.  Here goes.

Rejection and success are imaginary terms that were created to quantify our lives, compare it to others, make us feel insecure, and ultimately sell us something to fix that.

Don’t forget that your life at any given time is the sum of thoughts, experiences, emotions, etc., some of which you’ll never get rid of like emptying out the wastebasket.  The harshest critic is often yourself, but you learned the concepts of rejection and success from others.  The sooner you learn to live by your own benchmarks and not those of others, the happier you’ll be.  Easier said than done, in many cases, but well worth the effort.

It’s perfectly OK to be sad, lonely, and depressed.  Understanding the fact is a huge step closer to finding your inner self.

Being sad, lonely, and depressed is what makes us human.  We’re not machines.  Never forget that, even when interaction with robotic and soulless American woman.

Your biggest mistake is believing that the world works how you want it to work.

Sometimes, let go and let God (or whatever the higher being is).  Great expectations are inimical to future success.  Just ask those college graduates with worthless degress, shitty jobs, and boatloads of college loans to pay back.

There’s no true truth; for it is what we’ve been instilled by family, culture, media and state.

As Kierkegaard said, “truth is subjective.”  There is truth, but maybe not “out there.”

If you’re not happy, seek change.

But don’t seek change for change’s sake.  You’re likely to trade one set of stressors for another set of stressors, in order to escape the pain that you feel today.  Look before you leap and understand where the root causes in yourself might lie.

Of all the money I’ve spent on things, travel has the highest ROI.

For me, it’s been travel and books.  Like music’s existence, travel and books (reading) require time.  If you have little time, there might be something wrong.

I’m happier, smarter, wiser and more confident now that anytime in my past, and I’d never trade for what I know now for my younger years.

You truly is wasted on the young.

Hold a grudge against someone with a very good reason.  Let go of the simple shit.

I’d advise against holding a grudge.  Holding grudges poisons you, because the negative emotions are inside of you and, ultimately, directed towards you.  Better to forgive, but not forget.

Stay true to the bro code.  A good friendship with a guy is much more important than a random fuck with his chick.

And this, I believe, is one of the most challenging things for modern guys to find, especially as they grow older and become more socially isolated.

“A man truly matures around the age of 40,” Eastern/Central European proverb.

Refer to my first post about deconstructing the first 20 years of your life, then building the next 20.  20 + 20 = 40.  Welcome to maturity.

A typical conversation with an American(ized) girl is 50% sarcasm, 50% teasing, 0% authenticity, avoiding silent pauses like the plague.  A typical conversation with a non-American girl is 20% verbal seduction, 80% non-verbal seduction, treasuring silent pauses like gold.

Caveat: if the American(ized) girl is expecting you to be the conversation-starter, -carrier, and the performing monkey, silences are golden for her.  The more work you do to try to get her to talk, the less of a prospect she is.

Pickup was invented in USA to counteract the evolution of a new species of women who no longer go by their emotions, but instead follow what the media tells them to do.

Countermeasures to the ongoing arms race, in other words.

A man settles down when he finds a suitable mother for his children, and when he begins to focus on the accumulation of wealth and assets instead of accumulation of notches.

Truly problematic for men, like men, who are childless, who never had the strong desire to see his seed sprout, and raise his progeny.  On the other hand, leaving a legacy in other ways is quite doable.  The man has to find out what this is, if he doesn’t desire children.  His woman will just be icing on the cake as he builds wealth and assets.

America is the best place in the world to learn how to make money from nothing.  Once you have money and/or skills to make it, leave and never look back.

That could take a lifetime.  Better to work and see what is available in your immediate world.

Henry Dampier

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