“Boy,” an independent film from New Zealand, tells the story of a young Maori boy, Alamein nicknamed Boy, who lives on the East Coast of New Zealand. Boy has one true idol in his life: Michael Jackson. He lives with his grandmother with his cousins and younger brother Rocky as his mother passed away and his father is in jail. Everything was normal for Boy until his father came back into his life after being in jail. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ESD3mlgpSwM The film does a great job at showing what Maori life is like in rural New Zealand. The mixture of Maori music and comical reenactments keep the film whimsical. It plays on the imagination of an adolescent growing up and the process of trying to impress an absent father. One example is when Boy sees his father dancing while drunk at a party and Boy imagines him dressed up as Michael Jackson. Another example is how his younger brother Rocky thinks he has super powers. The film ingeniously depicts this by showing animated drawings of what he is thinking. During one scene, Rocky has a school bus pass him as kids yell at him from the windows. Rocky puts out his hand and imagines the bus exploding. The plot of the movie wasn’t as driven as I’d hope it to be. The story seemed to introduce plot lines but doesn’t take them anywhere. A large part of the film was the father and his gang members trying to dig up some “buried treasure” in a nearby pasture. Boy joins to help and spend more time with his father. The point of the hidden cash seemed to end abruptly and didn’t really explain what the father was going to use it for. At the end of the film, I didn’t really get a sense of resolution. It leaves the viewer with their own interpretation of how Boy’s, Rocky’s and their father’s stories would play out. I usually don’t like that sort of ending, especially so soon after a fight between Boy and his father. One thing that I thought did a really good job was the character development of Boy. I really felt like reliving boyhood and trying to naively follow someone. One thing I didn’t like so much about the characters was at the beginning of the film, it introduced his whole family and then didn’t have them in the film very much. They always seemed to just sit around judging Boy for what he was doing. Another thing Taika Waititi, the director, did really well was incorporating Maori culture into the film. It was in subtle ways, like mentioning his grandmother was away at a Tangi, or a funeral. Overall, the film introduced a unique look at boyhood through the eyes of a young Maori boy. It seemed realistic in showing a boy’s aspirations and imagination along with being disappointed in the person you thought was a good role model. Rating: 7/10
Recommendations: Based on Nestor’s interest in idea generation and digital curation, I would recommend he download an app called Fate, available for iOS and Andriod for $0.99. Fate asks users to set up a profile specifying age, gender, relationship status, geographic location and personality type (partyer, introvert, hipster, etc.). After the profile is complete, users can specify what kind of activity they’re looking for, like “alone”, “date”, “group” or “family” and then configure settings such as price, time of day and mood to generate a distinct idea for what to do. Users can easily refresh and tweak ideas, and accept them to build a custom profile of activities.To test out the app, I completed Fate’s profile - I’m a 21-year-old city dweller with a “nerdy” personality – and ran a query for a date activity on a modest budget for the whole afternoon. The app recommended that I go on a pub crawl or build a fort with my date. I can attest to the accuracy and hilarity of this app’s technology. It’s also ad-free and you can connect it to Facebook to fine-tune your profile.
When you finish a documentary and start to question how you live your life, and question decisions you make, I feel like that is a very well made documentary. "Miss Representation" is one such documentary. "Miss Representation" examines rape culture, body image and self worth. The film has a lot of well-known, powerful women speaking on how little women are represented in Hollywood and in politics. From Jane Fonda to Katie Couric to Condoleeza Rice, these women speak on how hard it has been for them to be taken seriously, and what it means to be a women in their position. Some of the statistics are shocking, which is part of the reason that this film is so great. Shocking statistics and well-known women make this film powerful. There is even a few men offering their opinions on the matter, which always refreshing in a discussion about feminism. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W2UZZV3xU6Q&feature=youtu.be There were a few things in the film that I did not care for. The film was supposed to be about women’s representation in media and politics, but towards the end they briefly started talking about how men are affected as well. I understand that there are stereotypes with men as well, but frustrating in a film that is trying to show how little there is out there in terms of women only media. Another thing that was strange was the narration stopped during the climax of the documentary. I wish they would have incorporated the narrator a little more during the most intense part. It would have made some transitions in topic a little smoother. "Miss Representation" ends with a clear call to action, which I also value in a documentary. I hate when you watch something or hear something that is inspiring and there is no clear way to promote change. “Miss Representation” offers several challenges to the viewer, from texting a number, checking out a website or simply changing what TV channel you watch. They were all simple things to do, that could make a big difference in the movement. For those two minor things that I did not like, I took away a half star, leaving this film with a 3.5 stars out of 4 stars. The documentary will be shown on campus tomorrow in Arntzen Hall at 6 p.m., with discussion time afterwards. I would suggest going to that. This documentary provokes conversation. If you cannot attend then this film is available for purchased streaming on Amazon and Google and with subscription on Netflix.