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Just Mercy

Just, wow.

I didn’t watch the trailers for the film: knowing Michael B Jordan was in it was enough of a reason for me to want to see it. Learning that it was about someone wrongly being on death row meant I would also be interested in the subject. And the fact that Mum wanted to see it too meant I didn’t have to go alone.

In many ways the plot of Just Mercy was what I expected: the main characters meeting and getting to know each other, a bit of digging to find out what went wrong, and scenes in court to set it all right. Some of this didn’t have as much weight as I expected though. There was much less time spent in court than I expected, and the ‘speeches’ weren’t as powerful as you come to expect from watching lots of Law & Order and The Good Wife.

I was amazed at how quickly the time passed. About 5 minutes from the end, I thought, “this can’t be the end, there’s still loads of time to go”, and then it finished. Although there are a few captioned scenes interspersed with the credits, which are worth sticking around for.

There were bits that felt unresolved, namely, the reason that Walter McMillian was charged/framed when there was no evidence; the prison guard who was softening; and obviously the murder itself. But as the story is from the perspective of Bryan Stevenson, I suppose it makes sense that he wouldn’t know more about these things. I also haven’t read the book so I don’t know how true it is, and how much poetic licence has been used.

What surprised me most though was that the film was about more than Walter McMillian, and this is the reason it was such a good film. In fact, as good as Michael B Jordan and Jamie Foxx were, the story was completely stolen by Rob Morgan, playing Herbert Richardson. It was heartbreaking but handled so well. His story is the reason I cried so much during the film, on the way home, and every time I have thought about it since.

As we were leaving, I said that the scary thing about the film is that Walter is in the minority because he was exonerated, not because he was falsely accused and jailed. Listening to the Undisclosed podcast has left me with little faith in the justice system, especially where the death penalty is concerned.

More than anything, the film has made me question what right I have to squander my skills, intelligence and time when there is such injustice in the world. To look at my CV you might say that I do help people and tackle injustice in small ways; but it doesn’t feel like that from where I sit. It feels like a waste; like too much time spent on nonsense and almost no time making a difference to anyone.


Silver Screen

Take a quote from your favourite movie — there’s the title of your post. Now, write!

Daily Prompt

My favourite quote used to be from Harvey Dent in The Dark Knight: “You make your own luck”. But personal circumstances that make me feel massively out of control of my own luck have made that quote feel less important. So I’ve moved onto this one:

I’m looking for someone to share in an adventure

Gandalf, The Hobbit

I really enjoyed The Hobbit, and I felt that the film really pulled out the theme about quiet, unsuspecting characters being capable of greatness and being important in the grand scheme of things (even if it’s not common knowledge). I have enjoyed my adventures, and I think I felt a little like Bilbo before my first couple: determined to go but scared at the same time.

My big adventures have mostly been on my own, although I often meet people along the way, and this has definitely helped me overcome my shyness. My mini-adventures with my friends are also fun, whether it’s surfing and kayaking in Rhosneigr, wakeboarding in Abersoch, possum-spotting in New Zealand, or activities in Amsterdam. And I loved the group of complete strangers I met on the West Coast of New Zealand.

I like the idea of sharing one of my big adventures at some point, whether that’s with a group of friends or with one other person. If it was with my friends it would be full of outdoor activities, and probably a fair bit of drinking and dancing. But if it was with one other ‘special’ person, would it be a showcase of my favourite places, or would it be completely new places and experiences?

My favourite places would have to include:

Completely new places might include most of South America or South East Asia. I planned a trip to South America in 2009 and never got there. Not sure if I ever will now. I did a bit of research on SE Asia for a university report on ecotourism, and that made me a bit yearnful.

I’m working in tourism at the moment and the big marketing push is about experiencing a destination; so marketers should be illustrating how people can experience a destination rather than just showing stunning scenery and vistas. I completely agree: many of my trips have involved hiking, kayaking or even sky-diving, and those experiences definitely shape how you experience and remember a destination.


Scott Pilgrim vs The World

What a breath of fresh air!

I’ve been struggling with comedies lately: everything seems to be following the Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Vince Vaughan, Will Ferrell vein, and I just don’t find them funny. I enjoyed The Wedding Crashers, Dodgeball and 40 Year Old Virgin when I first watched them, but there isn’t anything to make me go back and watch them again and again. And I have no idea what the fuss about The Hangover was all about. I know they keep getting made because they sell, but how many times do we have to hear the same jokes in a slightly different way? I don’t find someone saying ‘suck my dick’ as trash talk funny; but then to have to sit through it being said several more times, using slightly different words? And fat jokes. Haven’t we had enough of them too?

But Scott Pilgrim is fantastic. It’s original, off the wall, and will surely be a cult classic. The humour is a mix of quirky and sweet. Some of the jokes might not be new, but the delivery is brilliant. People might struggle with it because it is set in the present day but is completely unrealistic. I’ve told all my friends who would probably think that way to just go with it.

A woman in the row in front in the cinema stood up at the end and said, “Well that was the shittest film I’ve seen.” I think that made it even funnier!

You can also check out the graphic novels here.

New Zealand Round the World 2007

Free Day in Hamilton

Slept in until 9.30am since I didn’t have anything pressing to do today. I spent an hour on the internet, but couldn’t use the USB ports, so couldn’t upload photos. And my card timed out before I finished and saved yesterday’s blog, so I lost it all.

I wandered into town around noon, and went to Coffee Club for my favourite scrambled eggs on toast with tomatoes and mushrooms. After that I went to see Blood Diamond at the cinema. That is such a great film. It covered so many aspects of conflict diamonds – rebel groups, warlords, child soldiers, refugees, and corrupt Westerners too. It was incredibly moving and emotional. It had a Hollywood ending, but you almost needed one after all that bloodshed. And all for pretty gems. I cried lots.

After the movie I got a milkshake from the NZ ice cream company, but it wasn’t that tasty. You get to choose your own ice cream to go in it, so I can only blame myself! I finished that on my way into the internet cafe I pass every day, but I couldn’t use the USB ports there either. I did manage to write yesterday’s blog again though, and still spent two hours there!

I got a cheesecake on my way back to the hostel, packed my stuff, ate, and watched some TV.

Honduras Honduras and Guatemala 2005

Oh, Another Slope to Dig

So we’ve gone down one slope and now we need to go up the other side. It’s a steeper slope and it rained a lot last night so it’s really slippy, but I still found it easier to dig than yesterday’s slope. We’ve decided there’s a bit of a conspiracy. They put us to work on the steep slopes cuz we’re always falling over and slipping, and they find it amusing. Somehow they never fall over. They’re like cats – if they do lose their balance, they always manage to land on their feet.

The weather improved a lot by the afternoon so I went to the pool. There were other people there! For like, the first time! The idea of swimming in front of other people made me feel quite self-conscious, so I spent ages on the sun lounger reading, and only swam for a little while.

Went to Café Welchez afterwards cuz I haven’t been there for a few days. After supper, my host mum gave me a t-shirt of the Mayan Calendar as a gift. She’s so good to me!

Any of you guys watched The House of Sand and Fog? It’s so depressing. It’s good, but not really worth the feeling of wanting to kill yourself afterwards!

I’m thinking of trying to finish a couple of days early so I have more time to travel, cuz at the moment I’ll be cutting things a bit fine.

Honduras Honduras and Guatemala 2005

The Main Pipe

Ok, so Robin’s left but Nicki is back, and Lauren is volunteering this week before she moves on. And Keith’s still here, so there are four of us up in Sesesmil now – the tuk-tuk struggles up the hills!

We’ve been set to work digging from the water tank down to the village. It’s the main pipeline, which means we have to dig deeper – about halfway up my thigh. Today’s slope was really steep and full of roots – not fun!

We’re working with the local guys now and it’s becoming quite evident just how much better at this they are. It takes four of us to do the same amount of work as one of them! But, at least we did the houses while they worked on the main pipe – saved them some work!

After getting back and having lunch, I went to a restaurant that makes really good licuados and stayed there for a couple of hours. Tried to watch I, Robot before bed but couldn’t keep my eyes open.

Honduras Honduras and Guatemala 2005

Shark Boy and Lava Girl

Last night I managed to rope myself into going to the cinema with my host mum and her youngest daughter this morning. We went to see The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl 3D. A kids film. Dubbed in Spanish. But I knew all this before we left and I still went! Managed to understand some of it too.

Got back and watched Shark Tale after lunch. In English. Understood all of that. Updated my website and generally managed to waste the day quite successfully, by doing very little.

Birthday Wish List (in case anyone’s interested)

  • Money
  • Purple shoes from Barratts – like my green ones, size 5
  • DVDs
    • Ghostbusters 1 and 2
    • South Park: Bigger, Longer, Uncut
    • Red Dwarf series 1, 2, 5, 6 and 7
    • Confessions of a Dangerous Mind
    • Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
  • CDs
    • A Crow Left of the Murder – Incubus
    • In Your Honour – Foo Fighters
    • Green Album – WeezerDynamite – Jamiroquai