Monday, September 10, 2012

Aspirational Art

The other day I received, what I refer to as an aspirational movie, from Netflix.
I'm not sure what your aspirations are, but when it comes to movies mine tend to be the ones with the words 'critically acclaimed' in their blurb. I'm also unsure how you react when you get your aspirational movies, but this is what I do. I wrinkle up my nose and drop the movie in one of those rooms in the house that no-one ever enters. In short, I practice avoidance.

The problem is that, when given a choice, my taste runs more towards sordid depictions of vampires or violent ones of zombies. And just so I can be really clear about my movie/tv viewing preferences I should confess I have a hard time walking away from an episode of Gossip Girls...erm and maybe the rest of the CW line-up.

I realize my zombie, vampire, Park Avenue princess viewing habits have all the sustenance of Pop Rocks (which I recently tried for the first time ever and now that I think about it True Blood mixed with Pop Rocks sounds like a perfect combo), but I'm digressing.

There's a simple reason I force myself to watch aspirational movies and read books.

I think they're healthy, like vegetables. I'm convinced they're chock full of brain vitamins, ideas I wouldn't think of on my own, knowledge that might click and add to knowledge I already have, points that will make me seek out expertise in person and on-line. They're like yoga for my brain, making me stretch and contort into positions that aren't necessarily comfortable and often make me grit my teeth and wonder how much more I can take.

Okay, I'm not making this sound very enjoyable. And sometimes aspirational art isn't. Some of it is dreadful.

Every so often a movie is so bad I can't help but think poking myself with needles would have been a more productive use of my time. There are books I have literally thrown at the wall because they are just that annoying.

But I also learn things. Now that it's September and my children are off to school doing their own brain yoga I thought it only fitting I take a break from my Pop Rocks cultural consumption habits for a month or so and give aspirational art my full attention.

Who knows, maybe I'll inspire you to pick up something new too. We can groan or rejoice at aspirational art together. At the very least you can cheer me on from the safety of your couch where you're comfortably enjoying all my favorite shows. Umm, now that I think about it would anyone mind volunteering to fill me in on The Carrie Diaries...pretty, pretty please! I'll pay you in these!


Shell Flower said...

This post is very fitting for me right now. I've literally been fighting with my boyfriend over the fact that I was watching Gossip Girl. He just can't stand it that I would want to spend time doing that over hanging out with him. Guys just don't understand brain yoga :) I have read all the Sookie Stackhouse books and watched the shows (very different, BTW), too. Sometimes you just need a little trash.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Pop Rocks - funny!
I have to be in the right mood, but I enjoy the more dramatic, deep movies now and then.

Alison DeLuca said...

I'm in!

OK, so art films that I have enjoyed: Melancholia was SO WEIRD, but I liked it.

Hey, Reservoir Dogs counts! Love me some Tarantino.

Dannie Darko - so odd, so crazy, so confusing - but fascinating nonetheless.

Memento - The forerunner of backwards film.

Anything by Miyazake - I say he counts!

OK, cue the popcorn and fun drinks! And, a very happy birthday to you, Johanna. :)

Anonymous said...

Now I want Pop Rocks.

I don't know if any of them are "aspirational," but I've been putting Netflix reviews up on Saturdays for the last few weeks. Maybe something there will qualify? Not the one from this last weekend, but the ones before that maybe?

Happy Birthday again!!

Beylit said...

Trashy teen fiction, vampire shows, and reality bad for me but so enjoyable. I balance it out though with enough Through the Worm Hole (totally only in that show for Morgan Freeman's voice)and Histories Mysteries and other biographical informational shows on subjects I didn't really care about. That counts right?

Nicki Elson said...

*gasp* Are the Carrie Diaries starting?? I'll fill you in. ;) Enjoy that aspirational stuff, hehe.

Johanna Garth said...

Shell, couldn't agree more!

Alex, me too, but I just wish that particular mood struck more often.

Allie, awesome list...may steal a few to blog about and thanks for the bday wishes :)

Thanks Josh and I'm definitely going to check out your Saturday postings for some ideas.

Beylit, I have no idea what Through the Worm Hole is but I think I need to check it out.

Nicki, thank you!! Thanks goodness we no longer live in an age where missing something on tv means waiting for the rerun!

Barbara Watson said...

Yoga for the brain. I like that thought. I tend to stick to what I love--whether in TV, movies, or books--so thinking of something as yoga for my brain may help me s t r e t c h. said...

This was a fun post. I remember pop rocks, and watching people swish a combo of coke and pop rocks in their mouths, as I quickly backed away. Rumor had it they'd explode.


Emily R. King said...

I watch a lot of reality TV. I don't know why, but I find the drama more intriguing (and inspiring) when I know it's real...well, sorta real. :)

Unknown said...

Happy birthday!

I hear you. There are some so-called critically acclaimed stuff I just can't stand. I feel stupid, like what am I not seeing that everyone else apparently is? Give me Walking Dead or Sons of Anarchy any day.

alexia said...

Ha, I'm the same way. Love my TB, Vampire Diaries and Pretty Little Liars. I do love some of the classy/good movies though. Check out Stage Beauty - excellent acting and story. It's a historical drama but not at all boring.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

I have to admit that I run away from any movie labeled as "critically acclaimed" and "Oscar winning." Yes, they are the movie equivalent of vegetables. But when I watch a movie, I want popcorn. :D

Jenny S. Morris said...

Oh man, the last movie I watched like this I was so mad and my hubby for making me do it. I don't want to think, I want to be entertained. Haha, but I totally agree they do stretch your mind. And my mind needs Pop Rocks for now. ;0)

Rachel Tsoumbakos said...


I tried really hard to like Melancholia (after all, the Skarsgard is in it), but I must say, I had to watch it in two sittings and I am glad to say I need never watch it again :-? We have a channel over here (in Australia) called SBS, I am always amazed at the quality of foreign and art house films they play on that station. Although my hubby just watches SBS for the boobs :-(

L. Diane Wolfe said...

If I'm forced to watch a slow drama type of movie, I usually like it. But it's never my first choice.

Gina Gao said...

This was a really fun post to read.

Unknown said...

Yeah there's some seriously trashy TV that I like to watch and sometimes my movie choices aren't much better. But come on, Zombieland is a thousand times more fun to watch than many aspirational movies.

Donna L Martin said...


I'm hopping over from GUTGAA and visiting blogs. Nice to meet have a lovely blog! Good luck with GUTGAA!

Donna L Martin

Talli Roland said...

Like Alex, I need to be in the mood... I find after a day of trying to create my own aspirational art (!), I need a mental break!

Tonja said...

It's hard to find good movies lately. My daughter is finally old enough to watch scary movies, so I've been watching movies like Alien, The Shining, etc. with her. Must find a copy of Psycho.

Angela Cothran said...

What is it about the CW that makes me (a 36 year old mother of 3) unable to look away? Yay for Pop Rocks! But I do make myself eat veggies too.

Lu said...

Great post! I love to zone out and watch something that pulls me in! Such a great break!

Michael Di Gesu said...

Not my favorite subject matter for relaxing and enjoying, but it could be fun during Halloween.. lol

Scarlett said...

There was a time when we could share our favorites on Netflix. Miss that!

~ Melancholia was visually stunning, and fascinating how the story danced in and out of the telling of time. Though interesting, it left me feeling hopeless and lonely.

~What the Bleep do we know? was a thoroughly interesting look at humankind and the universal laws of quantum physics. Seriously deserves a watch, if you're interested at all in the idea, that we humans have a lot more control over our bodies and minds and futures than we think. (Except that strange animated segment. Not sure why they felt the need to add that part.)

~Strictly Ballroom was a fun love story! One of our favorites.

~The Help was Absolutely Wonderful!

~The King's Speech: ditto.

~Love Actually... Amazing.

~Best In Show... Best Mockumentary I have ever seen!

Well, I could go on. I can't get enough of The Office, True Blood, and admittedly, even The Vampire Diaries, but you're right, Johanna, sometimes your brain is just hungry for more. Good luck in the search!

Neurotic Workaholic said...

I haven't seen the Carrie Diaries, but I'm curious about that show. I always thought that the heart of Sex and the City was the friendships between the four women, so I wonder how they're going to do it without all four of them.
I have to admit I've peeked at a few episodes of Gossip Girl. I wish I had their clothes. :)