The Bill Paxton Effect

Despite our presumed differences, it’s safe to say that we’re all looking for that elusive “something” that makes us feel complete. Our specific pursuits are irrelevant when we stop to consider that, deep down, we’re all desperate to find meaning in a world that seems devoid of logic, especially now.

Film and television are notorious for bringing such feelings to light, for it’s in the eyes of the actors that we can see ourselves. Bill Paxton’s body of work—his characters, in particular—personifies our innate desire to seek what’s just out of reach. But if there’s one thing we can learn from what the beloved actor and director left behind, it’s that what we want and what we need don’t always align.

Source: CraveOnline

Source: CraveOnline

Paxton’s roles often looked to the outside world for direction. His unhinged persona in Frailty believed he was destined to rid the world of demons, for instance, while his adventurous alter ego in Twister unearthed renewed purpose when chasing tornadoes. But it was his turn as Brock Lovett in 1997’s Titanic that demonstrated how tunnel vision might distract us from the critical lessons of life.

“Three years, I’ve thought of nothing except Titanic, but I never got it. I never let it in.”

Spoken by Paxton’s Lovett at the end of the film, these words emphasize the character’s epiphany. While he’d spent years searching for the Heart of the Ocean, a rare diamond once worn by the now aging Rose Calvert, he neglected to explore the rich history buried deep within the ship’s wreckage. Lovett longed to find artifacts, forgetting that each item pulled from the ocean floor carried the stories of those lost and found. As he said, he never let the immensity of the disaster sink in, so to speak.

Source: CinemaBlend

Source: CinemaBlend

But isn’t that how most of us go about our daily lives? We are selfish. We rarely stop to observe what’s all around. We are oblivious to both the beauty and the injustice right before our eyes.

Though we live in an increasingly enlightened time—an era filled with activists who wish to fix the faults of our ailing society—many people opt to look the other way. Face forward and eyes down, they trudge through life with little regard for those who are suffering. If they stop to acknowledge these issues, they run the risk of derailing their own efforts. One step off the beaten path could mark the beginning of the end for their personal success.

Nowadays, we call that privilege. Historically, we call that ignorance.

But now, more than ever, we need to open our eyes and our ears. We must extend our hand and heart to our neighbor, both near and far. Local communities may be close-knit, but we’re all global citizens now. We owe to our people and our planet to seek solutions to the problems that affect everyone worldwide. We must spread the stories and amplify the voices of those in need to educate the selfish and encourage the selfless.

Source: YouTube

Source: YouTube

During an interview with “Film School Rejects” in 2014, Paxton expressed his boundless fascination with human-interest stories. “My father always read obituaries to me out loud, not because he was maudlin or morbid, but because they were mini biographies. ‘Listen to what this guy did! Look what he said. Look how he started out.’”

Human-interest stories, those that truly touch our hearts and inspire change, are born from an interest in humans from all walks of life. But to learn the lessons our friends and strangers have to teach, we must commit to walking with them, hand-in-hand, even if only for a short while.

Fans will surely quote Paxton for generations: “Game over, man!” For those blessed with life, however, the game has only just begun.

But we’ve got to be in it to win it.

Let’s allow Paxton, the director, to call the next shot. Let’s show more interest in our fellow humans, for it’s in every human’s best interest to cultivate an overarching culture of curiosity and compassion. From this core value, we can achieve anything as long as we do so together.

Source: SunStar

Source: SunStar

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We Must Spread Love, Now More Than Ever

Conversation hearts cannot inspire dialogue—at least not the sort we need right now. “Text Me” and “U R Cute” will merely leave a chalky taste on your tongue. But, as Valentine’s Day continues to evolve, it’s obvious that one day dedicated to cardboard cupids and heart-shaped chocolates will not spread enough love to sustain our increasingly difficult fight against hate.

In today’s volatile political climate, it’s easy to drown underneath waves of anger. Leaders on one end of the spectrum regularly infuriate those on the opposing side, sparking outrage that results in an epic game of emotional Ping-Pong. Those wishing to instill fear go to extremes to cultivate animosity, while those working to alleviate worries aim to promote unity.

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Source: Getty Images

But on this, the greeting card holiday dedicated to love, we must look beyond romantic pursuits in order to show our affection for those who face undue persecution. Border walls and religious bans pollute the air where all the love’s supposed to be. We must treat this day as an opportunity to realign our own thought processes so we may continue to fight the good fight under the veil of justice, not disgust. If these destructive measures remain unchecked, our resistance also runs the risk of becoming disconnected from its primary purpose.

Going forward, we must pause frequently to reflect. We must collect our thoughts and reestablish our goals so we never lose sight of the love and togetherness on which this movement was built. We must commit to small actions and gestures every day so we never abandon the vital message behind our efforts.

Defend those who face unmerited hatred because their skin tone doesn’t match the winter snow. Black, Mexican, or Muslim—show these marginalized groups that their contributions to society cannot be overshadowed by the misdeeds of an extreme few. Pop that bubble you’ve been living in your entire life and engage those who don’t look or think like you. Despite popular belief, love isn’t blind. Instead, love grows from the willingness to open our hearts and minds to new people and possibilities.

But, above all else, we must not forget to love ourselves. Much of the anxiety plaguing our nation resides in the hearts of those who are unhappy with themselves. Insecure individuals project their internal doubts onto those who seem weak, punishing the innocent merely so they may reinforce their false confidence. They assert their supposed power by oppressing those who have very little power themselves.

We have the capacity to inspire revolutionary love—love that bonds people of all races, genders, and religions—but we’ve been complacent for far too long. Now’s the time to stand up for what we believe. Now’s the time to lend our voice to the voiceless. Now’s the time to spread love, not hate. Cupid doesn’t have enough arrows to take up arms against the foolish leaders of America. But if we, the people, march forth hand-in-hand, there’s nothing we can’t achieve together.

Source: Dreamy Addictions

Source: Dreamy Addictions

Deck Your Screens with Christmas Adverts: 5 Holiday Commercials That Stole the Show This Season

15317943_10100501619163156_4721658093138191009_nDivisive rhetoric and unrelenting fear have come to define the year in an unforeseen fashion. Our election alone has set the tone for the tumultuous times ahead. But even in this era of unpredictability, advertisers throughout the world refuse to keep quiet.

While companies, such as Marks & Spencer, have invested vast amounts of time, talent, and money into creating memorable Christmas commercials—in hopes of going viral, no doubt—many have accomplished this feat by putting social issues at the heart of their holiday messages. By tapping into themes that foster love and togetherness, brands have the platform to promote unity through universal truths.

But which advertisements have left an indelible impression on the general public this season? Those that devote airtime to emphasizing what ties us to one another instead of what tears us apart, of course.

  1. Sainsbury’s

 

Based in the United Kingdom, Sainsbury’s 2016 advert combines the charm of stop motion animation and the appeal of James Corden in an effort to convey one simple message: spending time with those you love is the greatest gift of all. Dave, our protagonist, realizes that, despite his best efforts to make the holiday special for his family, he was missing out on the activities that matter most. In response, he concocts crazy ways to avoid his everyday responsibilities so he may fully envelope himself in the joys of the season.

Best part? He’s one half of an interracial couple! I know. This shouldn’t be groundbreaking anymore. But, ever since that one Cheerios commercial sent people into an unnecessary uproar, one cannot help but smile at the subtle, yet strong, message behind such creative choices. As long as there’s love, nothing else matters.

 

  1. Allegro

 

For many, the holidays exacerbate their constant, nagging loneliness. Elderly people often find themselves forgotten, especially, as many remain holed up in nursing homes, forced to spend the rest of their days in some sort of living purgatory.

In the case of Allegro’s viral holiday ad, an elderly gentleman lives alone, far from his immediate family. In preparation for his inevitable trip, the man purchases an English learning kit from the Polish online auction website so he may greet and speak to his granddaughter upon his arrival. It just goes to show that, once again, being with the ones you love will always be the best part of the season. We must make every effort to cherish our time with those who mean the most.

 

  1. Apple

 

Brad Garrett has taken on many varied roles during his admirable career, but none are more lovable than his turn as Frankenstein’s monster in Apple’s holiday commercial. Here, we see Frankie, as he’s called, in the preparation stages of his Christmas debut. Once he joins the crowd around the town’s Christmas tree, he replaces his bolts with festive bulbs and begins his rendition of ‘Home for the Holidays’.

While some greet his advances with disdain and hate, one child starts to sing along instead, inspiring the group to set aside their differences and come together in the spirit of the season. Considering the rampant hatred our society now displays for those who don’t quite meet their conformity quota, this commercial promotes acceptance and understanding in ways many have yet to comprehend.

 

  1. Elgiganten

 

Despite being surrounded by family members, those who are considered different may still feel alone this season. But as Elgiganten, the Scandinavian electronics retailer, depicts in its latest advertisement, actions can truly speak louder than words.

While the transgender teen at the heart of this commercial appears to be uncomfortable in the presence of her family, her father walks over and silently hands her his gift. She rips the paper back to reveal her very own hair straightener. Though no words are exchanged, his gesture and her smile say it all. No one has the right to dictate how another should live his or her life. Instead, we must learn to accept people for who they are and empower them to blossom into who they want to be.

 

  1. Amazon Prime

 

Religious intolerance has become the cornerstone policy of the impending Republican administration. But Amazon Prime’s latest advertisement clearly indicates that the company has no tolerance for bigotry. This ad focuses on what happens when two old friends—a priest and an Imam—meet for tea. These two men bond over their aches and pains, ultimately sending each other the same knee braces in response. There’s no tension, no hatred—only laughter.

Here, the creatives behind this concept made sure to highlight the parallels between the two religious leaders to demonstrate that, while many tend to fixate on the differences between Christians and their Muslim counterparts, all are connected by their devotion to a higher power. Just because two people observe different faiths doesn’t mean they cannot come together in friendship. Ultimately, we’re all humans, and it’s this shared experience that should encourage compassion instead of engendering conflict.

The Pressure’s Off: Valentine’s Day in Retrospect

Just as ‘Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer’ claims “they should never give a license to a man who drives a sleigh and plays with elves”, I’ve always wondered who thought giving a tiny, diapered child a bow and arrow was a good idea. Considering I’ve spent my entire life BB Gun-free for fear of losing an eye, I’m convinced that this winged, weapon-wielding weirdo can’t possibly be healthy for humanity. (Though many wish they could blame their relationship woes on this fantastical fool, I’m sure.)

But, since we can’t place direct blame on the illusive Cupid, the brunt of the blame falls on our significant other’s shoulders.  Men have a reputation for avoiding Valentine’s Day like the plague, while all the ladies of the land build their expectations higher than their heels will help them reach.  Such high hopes leave both parties doomed, destined for disappointment and failure.  Men feel pressured to spend money are their girlfriends and wives, thinking the more lavish the gift, the better, while many women feel unloved if they don’t receive the fanciest chocolates or the finest jewelry.

Yet once you move past all the pink and red hearts, heart-shaped doilies and chocolate boxes covered in red cellophane, you’ll notice that we’ve once again turned a day based on meaning into a day fixated on materialism.  But all the diamonds and stuffed teddy bears in the world could never replace the joy that comes with a shared experience.  Whether it’s an extravagant vacation, or just a simple dinner and a movie, time spent together is much more meaningful than money spent on each other.  Material items cannot compare to memories, for these gifts are merely momentary.  Some gifts break the barrier, but most of those bought in the last minute haste go forgotten days later.

Memories withstand the test of time and inevitably bring a couple closer, for shared experiences are what help us build those unbreakable bonds.  You cannot reminisce about that box of chocolates your love gave you last year (unless you’re lamenting over the weight you gained, of course), but you will always have those memories to hold onto for a lifetime.  To know someone wants to give you their time is the most precious gift of all and exemplifies their love through action, not empty gestures.  And when you stop to realize how very little time we have with those we love, these moments are true blessings that money could never buy.