Chris McCandless Into the Wild

I have not been touched by a movie lately as that of the true life story of a young man called Chris McCandless. The movie was based on a novel, I think, by his younger sister. Anyway, except for the images I checked on google, I didn’t want to read any criticism about the life story, else my perception might be affected. There was, I think a proposition not to talk about Chris any longer.

But why not?

I was able to relate with Chris.

Chris was a man in search of his self, his being. He yearned to feel joy and happiness that couldn’t be gratified by the existence he was in.

Chris comes from a rich family. He went to college and graduated. He was an adorable lad, someone you would like for a son, someone you would like for a brother, someone you would like for a boyfriend.

Somewhere in his childhood though, he realized that he has two warring parents. Somewhere in his adolescence, he discovered he has an older brother whom his father never acknowledged as his son by another woman.

Chris breezed through life the protective brother, the ideal student, the traveler. He loved going on adventures.

Right after graduation from college, he did just that. He turned down the gift of a new car, gave his law school money to charity, and disappeared into the highways and byways by a different name: Alexander Supertrump.

Destination: Alaska. A rover wandering in search of a meaning.

Along the way, Chris met a few people. He was the congenial, most likely a gregarious company one would love to spend hours working with or just have a conversation with, or just keep quiet with.

He enjoyed the experiences as if he was born to be free, not trapped in a rich family, business or politics. Those things he resent, without offending anyone.

And when he reached Alaska, the wild area, he found a rusty bus that he turned into his shelter, his abode. And he discovered his happiness. He was overjoyed by the view of the majestic scenes on the horizon, overwhelmed by his becoming a hunter. It was the hermit existence. And he loved it. He was born for it.

And one thing with Chris, he reads and writes.

He loved Leo Tolstoi and Jack London. Perhaps that was the reason. He felt his self fed up with society’s hypocrisy. He felt his self invited into the wild. None most satisfying. To be free.

Did it occur to him that solitary existence could be fatal? Yes. But it was a life’s adventure to take that risk.

In the end, Chris died of starvation, because he couldn’t cross back the river, and he couldn’t hunt for food. Even the berries that he ate turned out poisonous.

A tragic story of a brave soul. Given the strength and vivaciousness, I would probably device my own adventure. For what could be more compelling to know that one could be attuned with the great creation, in the brightest of days, the darkest and coldest of nights,to admire the beauty of snow caps, smell the freshness of the trees, hear the music of the wilds, the sound of silence, and inhale the marvelous scents and exhales into the greatness of the earth and the heavens.

If Chris survived, he could have put into words a story of love. But it was not meant to be. Chris story is a lesson for us, to be true with our selves, to find beauty and joy and happiness. It was his regret, because albeit he felt happiness, it would have been real if he had shared it.

Find your peace, Chris, you already have shared your happiness. My turn to say Thank you, you are worth knowing.

Fill in the gaps.

Do I like Star Wars?

Well, like Harrison Ford. you can omit me from the discussion. Enough of the force and Darth Vader for me, especially so when the rise to evil of Anakin disillusioned many a fan that evil could be so fascinating.

Yet, with my daughters, I found myself in sync with the millennials watching the sequel hoping to know whatever happened to Luke Skywalker. Who would not want to know. After all, there is a Jedi in all of us.

The demise of Hans Solo was the last straw. Every one was talking about Ford wanting an end to his character, and I wondered if only I had seen it was a cinematic technique from Oedipus Rex, that the son will slay the father in a place where three roads meet. With Hans, it was on a bridge that hanged over a pit.

Suffice it to say that bringing back the Star Wars characters of my youth fascinated me, even if the new characters are totally millennial in action and disposition. Oh well.

Surprises of surprises, my daughter brought me yesterday to a movie treat called Rogue One. I asked right outside the theater at Century Mall if the movie was starring Baymax? My daughters sighed in disgust. They filled me in that this was a side story in Star Wars.

And I found myself enjoying a rebel group led by a lady, offering their lives, with only courage and resolve, to secure a document from Darth Vader’s Imperial Globe, a document that shows a loophole, or a fault, or the Death Star’s Achilles Heels, that which makes the sinister headquarters vulnerable.

The lady heroine is known as Star Dust, a romantic name given by her parents to a child whose life’s story is as contrary to her poetic alias. She was brought up by a questionable creature after her mother was killed and her father taken. Yet, her child’s longing for father remained, as a star dust does in the vast multitude in the galaxy.

So I found myself loving Star Wars again. And if may mention, to spoil you further, that the force is strong, with the Jedi perhaps descendants of ancient arts born from the cold Himalayas, I don’t know really.

No way to end this piece but to say that “I am one with the force and the force is with me.”

Spotlight on.

Tomorrow signals the beginning of Semana Santa, when we wave our palms to welcome the Lord as He enters Jerusalem.

Yet today, I feel it is already a Black Saturday.

My daughter Tish and I meant to be attuned with the Lenten Season, as we try to do so every year. Today, we were early for a recollection at our parish church, St. Paul of the Cross. One morning, we thought, to refresh in our hearts the Passion of our Jesus, a necessary restrengthening after a long year of busyness. I have no problem with the faith, fortitude is a blessing. My upbringing in the Catholic Church was a formidable one. Still, a renewal of sorts comes in useful, to wave off temptations. More importantly, Tish is hungry for a credible theological study, an infallible standpoint or viewpoint why the church we love, the Catholic Church, is the one true church. The public schools which Tish attended fell short of defining in an intellectual or academic presentation, our being and our relationship with God. In other words, even the teachers have not read the entirety of the Bible, otherwise, they could have inculcated in their students the faith in a very satisfactory level. Anyway, that was why we were punctual, because we want to know.

Fr. Alex Balatbat of the Archdiocese of Antipolo shocked the laity, most of whom were white-haired servers from different ministries, when he opened with a statement that we would be talking about the enemy, or the devil. It was a tactical strategy, he said, because in warfare, if you do not know the enemy, you will lose.

He proceeded narrating the battle of a second lieutenant Archangel Michael, the very one who defeated the five star general of a seraphim called Lucifer, the bearer of light, and cast this evil one not into hell, but right here on earth.

That is why, he proposed, to look beside you or right behind you, the devil might be there, in the form of a good person, waiting for an opportunity to tempt you. Beware, he said, because the devil can imitate even the voice of God.

Which brings me to why I am feeling a Black Saturday today. Do not get me wrong, because Fr. Alex wrapped up the Recollection with the hope in the Eucharist and an overwhelming Mercy that was instituted and bequeathed to us in the Last Supper, after one of the apostles betrayed our Lord for thirty pieces of silver that first Maundy Thursday. Fr. Alex said he had succumbed to many temptations, too, as many priests,did. Like all of us. No such thing as a perfect human being.

And I had the sad luck of picking SPOTLIGHT, Oscar’s best picture, a film highly recommended by a friend, Denis Andrenson, that movie that revealed the atrocities of the clergy, towards poor, innocent, impressionable and lonely children. I did remember those who called themselves men of God, and they dressed in robes, and yet somehow, I know, they have abused their priesthood.

No, the molestation did not happen only in Boston, nor was it a single incident. At the tail end, I saw Manila. It was a global psychiatric phenomenon that affected the Vatican. The tally of priest molesters still has to be divulged. The more depressing thing, many of the molested did not survive. Those who did kept away from the faith.

You and I will have a long week, and perhaps you could include in your quiet moments watching Spotlight, and make an effort to pray for our erring priests. Lucifer was a seraph. Our church had been infiltrated. We are called to arms.

Spectre: the unraveling of a specter.

Spectre begins with a dire foreboding, the Day of the Dead in Mexico City, a culture seemingly grotesque. for the living enlivens the dead, in a peculiarly festive way.  Strange though it may be, it is a fitting opening, a foreshadowing of what is to come, for the world’s most famous secret service spy, his secret known to everyone, except perhaps, everyone who has lived with the MI6 for the past half century, has grappled as to why Bond was Bond,  a man alone unto himself.

The SPECTRE is a fictitious acronym which stands for Special Executive for Counter-Intelligence, Terrorism Revenge and Extortion, for the demise of the MI6 or the British Secret Service. For all intents and purposes, fault was assigned to the distinguished characters: M, Q, Moneypenny, and 007

And while the eradication of the secret service seems inevitable, a specter arises. A phantom. A ghost from Bond’s archrivals arises, too. A juxtaposition of two impending deaths: the secret service and Bond’s own.

Thus the cardiac high-action, sniping, bombing, and inverted helicopter flying, or falling. in  Mexico City, where the dead comes to life.

But all at once, the movie transports to holy Rome, the city that encapsulates the glory of the past. Bond follows another lead, and discovers that there’s more than meets the eye. But of course, that is always what Bond story lines are about. But the motion is set. Bond gets an eye view of who his nemesis are, even if it was a little obscured, or darkened.

There was a reference to Tokyo, an allusion that most likely implies how Bond’s every move is seen. Thus it was imperative that Bond himself was injected with a GPS. And in all the succeeding scenes, a specter follows.

At the icy Alpine Austria, Bond finds the daughter of an enemy, the enemy who was set to make Bond’s life miserable. The daughter is  a therapeutic doctor. and she brought Bond to her father’s honeymoon nook, the very same place that archived Bond’s story, from being an orphan, to a skill filled days cruising the mountains with his adoptive father,  to the disgust of his step brother.

In sharp contrast to the snowy mountains, Bond and the lady doctor were ushered into the center of an arid  desert, where a meteorite once landed to earth. And here Bond meets his step brother, the very same one who was reported to have died with his father in a snow avalanche. And all the past two decades, his step brother was scheming on executing his revenge on the orphan boy who found favor in the eyes of his father.

The step brother was the brainchild of SPECTRE, designed not just to have a domination of the world, but more importantly, to ensure the wicked end meant only for the boy with the blue eyes. James Bond.

So the story unraveled.  And 007’s story is now complete.

Daniel Craig essayed the James Bond role magnificently.  Gosh, he is so fit and agile. The curtain calls for a final vow for this actor, and the jalopy is definitive enough.

But gosh again, I have enjoyed Bond movies all my life, but Daniel Craig’s Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, Skyfall, and Spectre gave the most profound and in-depth picture of the spy. He was a man, after all.

Licensed to kill? No, not at all. That was the spy bound by duty to pull the trigger. And that’s another point. Bond threw his pistol.  Definitive enough. He is licensed to kill no more.

The Dark World

I enjoyed the first screening of THOR the other day, with Tish and Adam. THOR is my most beloved Marvel character, and HULK next. Pretty excited about the series of movies about my childhood cartoon superheroes. Really glad the animation I watched on black and white television in my juvenile years have come alive in full screen. THOR is guaranteed deserving of every cent paid, plus the pretzels that you bring inside the theater, instead of pop corn. Go watch, before I put some spoilers here.

Iron Man Three

Photo: Malou B. Escalona, that sweet and generous and sexy lady my cousin Bong had the luck of marrying (such a marvelous blessing, huh), treated us to a grand opening day screening of Iron Man 3. So there we were, Audrey and Julia, Jean and Tish, Malou and I, with our cheesy pop corns, French Fries with dips, hotdogs and serenity teas (and C2), all eyes agape, lest we miss something in the transformation of Tony Starks from a self-indulgent billionaire/playboy/philanthropist to an Iron Man with a real heart. The prototype Mack 42 was destroyed in the end, as Tony was left with no option but to ask Jarvis to detonate it, because his nemesis (can't quite remember the name, but it was the true Mandarin) took him, Tony, to the next high level action. That's all you gonna get from this spoiler. Go watch it. THANKS Malou, it was a great fun night! I love sitting beside Audrey, she perceived the plot and varied characters quick and easy. :) Like I always say, when you want your children to learn many things, just take them to the movie theaters and give them some pop corn. :)

Malou, that sweet and generous and sexy lady my cousin Bong had the luck of marrying (such a marvelous blessing, huh), treated us to a grand opening day screening of Iron Man 3. So there we were, Audrey and Julia, Jean and Tish,Malou and I, with our cheesy pop corns, French Fries with dips, hotdogs and serenity teas (and C2), all eyes agape, lest we miss something in the transformation of Tony Starks from a self-indulgent billionaire/playboy/philanthropist to an Iron Man with a real heart. The prototype Mack 42 was destroyed in the end, as Tony was left with no option but to ask Jarvis to detonate it, because his nemesis (can’t quite remember the name, but it was the true Mandarin) took him, Tony, to the next high level action. That’s all you gonna get from this spoiler. Go watch it. THANKS Malou, it was a great fun night! I love sitting beside Audrey, she perceived the plot and varied characters quick and easy. 🙂 Like I always say, when you want your children to learn many things, just take them to the movie theaters and give them some pop corn. 🙂