How to identify good and bad role models for men

There is a debate that crops up every now and then, trying to explain the behaviour of human beings. It’s called the nature vs nurture debate and speaks about how our overall behaviour patterns is determined by our genes (nature) or how we are raised by our parents (nurture). It’s clear that both play a role but more and more of my own thinking is leaning toward nurture in a big way, especially when you consider the revolutionary work on the Biology of Belief by Dr Bruce Lipton.

The short answer is not to be devided in your thinking and you being. Your message must be clear, must be short and when in doubt show the opposite to be wrong and ergo makes your message right. Remember we live in a world of duality. For every wrong there is always a right, for every bad there’s always a good, for every forward there’s always a backward.

Just a short overview of two movies that demonstrate the right and the wrong way to approach your life as a man:

The Groomsmen Edward Burns

  1. The Groomsmen: A film written, directed and starred in by Edward Burns. I liked most of his previous films because they seemed real and down to earth. However, after this one I realised how he often plays the most self-pittying characters. In many ways he symbolises what is wrong with the modern man. And as Tom Leykis and comedian George Carlin calls the continued pussification of America (and the rest of the world). And in this particular movie he is so distracted and divided in himself. He can’t decide to get married or not to get married. His girlfriend is pregnant and he feels like he needs to do the right thing. This is the worst roll model I’ve seen on screen in a long while for what a confident, mature man needs to be like. Women will likely enjoy this move more because of the cliche “happy ending.”
  2. Thank You For Smoking starring Aaron Eckhart and Katie Holmes

  3. Thank You For Smoking: Aaron Eckhart in this satire is a real powerhouse because he is so raw and so authentic it feels like a slap in the face for a wake-up call. As a tabacco lobbyist he has one of the most notorious jobs in the world. Trying to spin the research, the complaints, the victims, the media, and still come out on top. There’s a great rapport between him and his son (who also featured in Nicole Kidman’s Birth). Nick Naylor, the main character is cunnning lingust and more so a superb spokesman, cool, calm, collected and knows how to duck and dive the questions, giving answers or responses in a way that focussed the audience on what’s wrong with the person trying to debate with him. And he’s always able to turn things around to fit his worldview. In the seduction community this would be called having a strong frame. The only way to survive and thrive is by having a stronger frame then the other people around you.

So the secret to success for a man is not being divided. People are easily swayed by opinions of others. And you must stand your ground and believe yourself first before you expect other people to believe in you.

 

Lessons from Talladega Nights for Guys

Will Ferrell in Talladega Night: the Ballad of Ricky BobbyTonight I watched Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, a new Will Ferrell movie. I really enjoy his films because its movies for guys, with humour for guys. And it was hilarious, on par with Anchorman. Will Ferrell’s dry humour is not for everybody but the physical comedy makes up for that.

Now this movie has a very important message for guys who grew up without a dad, like me. With divorce rates consistently around 50% even more boys will grow up without their fathers in the future. In the story Will Ferrell’s character grows up obsessed with speed and racing. In fact he was born in the backseat of he’s dad’s car, as he’s dad was rushing her to the hospital.

He’s dad disappears and then reappears in school on a career day. The attitude of his dad is a can-do attitude, a overly confident, no bullshit kind of dad. Love him or hate him. Eventually Ricky Bobby gets into Nascar racing and becomes the #1 driver for his team and wins consistently. Part of his drive comes from a statement he’s dad made on career day, “if you’re not winning you’re loosing…

This serves him well until he’s confronted with some real competition in the form of a French Formula-1 driver, played by Sascha Baron Cohen. Ricky Bobby gets into the worst accident of his career and eventually ends up in physical therapy because he believes he is paralyzed in his legs. Turns out its all in his head or as the experts call it, a psychosomatic condition. Well a lot of funny things happen and eventually he and his kids moves back in with his mother. He’s dad shows up and gives him just the right kind of tough love.

So many guys do not know how to overcome fear. And they do not know how to build up their courage so that they can face their fears. The problem comes in that if you never had a strong male role model or didn’t play any team sports it will be very difficult for you to overcome your inner demons.

So go and watch this movie: Talladega Night at Nu Metro or Ster Kinekor.  Let me know what you think if you’ve watched this movie.

 

School for Scoundrels – Nice Guys Graduate Last

Just spotted a new movie which looks like Wedding Crashers meets Hitch and from the director of Old School, responsible for a number of Frat Pack movies. There does seem to be a trend for Hollywood to make more aggresively guy friendly movies in recent years. This one in particular looks really good and hopefully wakes up a lot of guys from them “nice guy syndrome.

School for Scoundrels starring Jon Heder Billy Bob Thornton

In SCHOOL FOR SCOUNDRELS, Jon Heder plays Roger, a beleaguered New York City meter maid who is plagued by anxiety and low self-esteem. In order to overcome his feelings of inadequacy, Roger enrolls in a top-secret confidence-building class taught by the suavely underhanded Dr. P (Billy Bob Thornton). Aided by his assistant, Lesher (Michael Clarke Duncan), Dr. P uses unorthodox, often dangerous methods, but he guarantees results: Employ his techniques and you will unleash your inner lion. Surrounded by a band of misfit classmates — Walsh (Matt Walsh), who’s dying to move out of mother’s basement; Diego (Horatio Sanz), a punching bag for his hen-pecker of a wife; and Eli (Todd Louiso), a shy guy just looking for female companionship — Roger’s confidence grows and he makes his way to the

head of the class, even finding the courage to ask out his longtime crush, Amanda (Jacinda Barrett). But Roger quickly discovers that star students have a way of catapulting Dr. P’s competitive side into high gear. Soon enough, the teacher sets out to infiltrate and destroy Roger’s personal and professional life. Nothing is off limits for Dr. P, not even the object of Roger’s affection. In order to show Amanda Dr. P’s true colors, Roger must rally his new friends and find a way to beat the master at his own game.

 

Superman is Dead

Tonight I watched the new Superman Returns movie. A big fan of comic book superheros since I was a young lad. This movie was to say the least a dissappointment in the story. Visually its spectacular but the acting is wooden or dead.

Clark Kent and Superman must be the most insecure superhero I know. If only based on his levels of self-confidence even Peter Parker (aka Spiderman) is better.

Now I’m going to reprint a part of a newsletter by my friend Stephane Hemon, who teaches unconditional love and sacred sexuality in Montreal, Canada.

“Superman is DEAD!”

As children, we often looked up to various superheroes and deep
down I think we all wished that we could be like them.

We wanted to be more powerful.

We wished that we could have that perfect body.

We wanted to have the external validation that superheroes feed
on.

The problem is that when humans try to compare themselves to
superheroes (or Barbie and Ken for that matter), they inevitably
come up short.

We've all been socially conditioned to feel that we're LACKING
certain superficial qualities.

Don't get me wrong - I love Superman, but I think it's time
to listen to that Our Lady Peace song and let Superman rest
in peace.

He was a great superhero, but at the end of the day, he actually
LACKED COMPASSION.

Allow me to explain.

He spent his entire life trying to SAVE a world that did not
want to be saved.

He interfered with everything going on around him. It wasn't
kryptonite that killed him. It was the lack of compassion.

Superman was a concept that was created at a time when our world
really truly needed it. We needed a type of hope, of some superhuman.

But, in a sense, that old concept has worked against us. It
is not just Superman and Superwoman. It is all the superheroes,
and all of these grand beings that we have manifested.

We have all wanted the perfect body, the perfect strength, X-ray
vision, the ability to do all these things and to save the world.

But Superman is dead now, replaced with compassion.

Replaced not with the image of this perfect body that was strong
and all of these other attributes that related to the physical
being. That is dead now.

We have been struggling and fighting with the way that we think
we need to be a super human. And, that is gone… gone… dead.

We have judged ourselves based on all of these superficial things.

They are gone now. They are gone. They are replaced with compassion
and honoring of your self and everything around you.

Superman forgot to honor himself and others. And, he had to
leave because he didn't understand that people have free will
and need to learn to accept response-ability for their own lives.

It's lack of compassion that compels us to argue with others.

It's lack of compassion that compels us to want to change others.

It's lack of compassion that compels us to want to “save” others.

And it's lack of compassion that compels us to feel angry and
judgmental toward others.

To change the topic for a moment, I ALSO get a lot of emails
that sound like this:

“Hey Steph, “coming from the heart” SOUNDS like a good idea.
But HOW does one come from the heart?”

The short answer is this:

You know that loud voice in your head?

Well, BEHIND that voice there is ANOTHER voice. It's much quieter.
It's MUCH softer. It's not your “inner-wuss”.

It's the wisdom of your heart.

Since it's not as LOUD as the Ego, we humans rarely pay attention
to it.

The average heart-chakra is only 3% open.

Scary!

…But it does explain all of the power struggles, arguments,
fights, violence, and cheating that goes on in today's relationships.

Now, to get back to Superman being dead, many of you are trying
to CHANGE the women you are with, rather than TRAINING her.

The difference is quite simple, and can be summed up in TWO
WORDS:

Don't_Argue_With_People.

Now, here's a story to illustrate what I mean by Superman being
dead and replaced by compassion.

Recently, a friend of mine started seeing a new woman. Everything
was going well for the first week or two…

Then he tried talking to her about being in a relationship,
and she told him that although she was enjoying his company
very much, she was not yet ready to jump into a relationship.

What does he do?

Instead of HONORING that, and respecting her God-given right
to decide for herself when she is or isn't ready to be in a
committed relationship, he began to argue and attempted to change
her mind. He started LECTURING her.

Now, my friend has very good intentions and all, but in this
case what he didn't realize was that he lacked COMPASSION.

Needless to say, he lost the girl.

Had he respected her right to make up her own mind about things
and displayed compassion, things might have worked out differently.

So it was a lesson he learned the hard way. He tried to be her
Superman; he tried to “save” her.

He tried to teach her something that she didn't want to learn,
which really means that he tried to impose his values on her.

When a woman wants to do something that I don't agree with,
such as sleeping with other men, I honor that. I might even
introduce her to other men.

The bottom line is that I've learned to trust the Universe to
supply my abundance of pussy. Ironically, it's this non-needy
attitude that draws them in faster than anything.

I NEVER attempt to preach, “save” or control women. I honor
whatever path they choose, and I honor my own path as well.
I don't compromise my values in order to keep getting sex from
a woman.

Her choices in life are her buisness, not mine. And whatever
choices she makes, I ask myself, “Can I live with that?”

If yes, great. If no, then she needs to be in a relationship
with someone else.

Trust me, the non-needy attitude (compassion) is quite challenging.
It can be very difficult to master, but when you do, it's THE
most attractive quality you can have.

Try to HONOR every single choice, every value, and every belief
that other people choose for themselves, even if you disagree
with them and know that they are choosing something un-healthy.

Let it go. Honor them, respect them. Be the first person they've
ever met who was totally capable of accepting them just they
way they are.

Stop being her Superman and have TRUE compassion. Trust me,
this will draw heart-centered women into your life more than
any other quality.

For more on Stephane please visit his website Ideagasms and also checkout his Ideagasms Forum.

 

Spice up your life

Misstress of SpiceTonight I watched Misstress of Spice, a new movie starring reigning Bollywood queen, Aishwarya Rai and American actor, Dylon McDermott. South Africa’s top movie critic, Barry Ronge, gave it a scathing review you can read here. I still think its a good movie with fantastic visuals and also a lot of fantasy. It’s playing at Cinema Nouveau and elsewhere.
Last year I met this gorgeous Indian woman who at first was very stand-off-ish. But I got her email, and emailed her the next day. A few SMSes and more emails and a week later met for dinner. And some kissing. Another few days later on a Sunday afternoon she stopped by my place to lunch. She told me no guy had ever cooked for her before. Well I think this is the best thing I could have learnt a few years ago as part of my repertoire. Lets just say that she had me for dessert and the rest is history.

So any guy who reads this post. Do yourself the biggest favour and learn some basic culinary skills. It will set you miles apart from other guys.

 

Hustle For A Dream

Hustle and Flow Tuesday is most often my movie night and I watched Hustle and Flow, starring Terrence Howard. No he’s a pretty smooth character and as a pimp controls the lives of a few women in the film. His real passion which he surpressed for years was to get his rap heard by someone. Well he struggles to get things together but they do. And one telling scene for me was just before he goes out to meet the big rapper from his home town who’s visiting one of his girls, who’s pregnant with someone else’s baby gives him a gold necklace. She says all rappers she’s ever seen on tv have them so its apt that he should have his own. I almost cried because she showed real compassion for him and it took him a few minutes before he realised she loved him deeply and she had been supporting him all along emotionally. He kissed her so passionately and they were destined to be together. Now he ends up in prison for a bit and one of the things that keeps him going is the memory of that kiss, which as Fransesco Alberoni calls it the nascent state, or the ignition state of “Falling in Love”.

Also checkout the official Hustle and Flow website.

 

Valentine’s Day 2006 Movie Recommendations

One of the best things to do is get together with your girlfriend or boyfriend and watch a movie. DVDs are just so commonplace and as you know you can get those pirate copies even while movies are in cinemas. I personally prefer watching them at the cinema the first time around. As Valentine’s Day is approaching I recommend some of my favourite romantic movies from the last two years…

1. 50 First Dates (2004)

50 First Dates With generous amounts of good luck and good timing, 50 First Dates set an all-time box-office record for the opening weekend of a romantic comedy; whether it deserved such a bonanza is another issue altogether. It’s a sweet-natured vehicle for sweet-natured stars Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore, and their track record with The Wedding Singer no doubt factors in its lowbrow appeal. But while the well-matched lovebirds wrestle with a gimmicky plot (she has no short-term memory, so he has to treat every encounter as their first), director Peter Segal (who directed Sandler in Anger Management) ignores the intriguing potential of their predicament (think Memento meets Groundhog Day) and peppers the proceedings with the kind of juvenile humor that Sandler fans have come to expect. The movie sneaks in a few heartfelt moments amidst its inviting Hawaiian locations, and that trained walrus is charmingly impressive, but you can’t quite shake the feeling that too many good opportunities were squandered in favor of easy laughs. Like Barrymore’s character, you might find yourself forgetting this movie shortly after you’ve seen it.

2. The Notebook (2004)

When you consider that old-fashioned tearjerkers are an endangered species in Hollywood, a movie like The Notebook can be embraced without apology. Yes, it’s syrupy sweet and clogged with clichés, and one can only marvel at the irony of Nick Cassavetes directing a weeper that his late father John–whose own films were devoid of saccharine sentiment–would have sneered at. Still, this touchingly impassioned and great-looking adaptation of the popular Nicholas Sparks novel has much to recommend, including appealing young costars (Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams) and appealing old costars (James Garner and Gena Rowlands, the director’s mother) playing the same loving couple in (respectively) early 1940s and present-day North Carolina. He was poor, she was rich, and you can guess the rest; decades later, he’s unabashedly devoted, and she’s drifting into the memory-loss of senile dementia. How their love endured is the story preserved in the titular notebook that he reads to her in their twilight years. The movie’s open to ridicule, but as a delicate tearjerker it works just fine. Message in a Bottle and A Walk to Remember were also based on Sparks novels, suggesting a triple-feature that hopeless romantics will cherish.

3. Bride and Prejudice (2004)

Bride and PrejudiceThe exotic sounds, vibrant colors, and ecstatic dancing of Bollywood collide with the cunning storytelling of Jane Austen in Bride & Prejudice (from the writer/director of previous East/West hybrid Bend It Like Beckham). When smart, outspoken Lalita Bakshi (Indian beauty Aishwarya Rai) meets Will Darcy (Martin Henderson, The Ring), she finds this American businessman arrogant and conceited–but because his best friend is falling in love with her sister, Lalita agrees to travel around India with Darcy. On the trip, a childhood friend of Darcy’s named Johnny (Daniel Gillies, Spider-Man 2) both tickles Lalita’s fancy and confirms her worst suspicions about Darcy. But as events unfold, Lalita wonders if she hasn’t misjudged Darcy–and Johnny. Austen fans will be find much to criticize; Bride & Prejudice transplants the basic plot of Pride & Prejudice to modern India, but not much of Austen’s sly wit or her insights about character and society have survived the translation. Henderson, though handsome, lacks the intimidating charisma of previous Mr. Darcys (including Laurence Olivier and Colin Firth). Thank goodness for the delightful Rai, here making her first all-English-language movie. She commands the screen like a true star (unsurprisingly, she’s hugely popular in India, and previously starred in a more homegrown Austen adaptation: I Have Found It, based on Sense & Sensibility). For Western audiences unfamiliar with the freewheeling exuberance of Indian movies–wild musical numbers can break out at almost any moment–Bride & Prejudice offers an engaging taste of this fantastic cinematic style.

4. Spanglish (2004)

SpanglishAnyone familiar with writer/director James L. Brooks (As Good As It Gets) knows the man has a real feel for interesting women and a disarming way with a one-liner. The main women in Spanglish are Deborah Clasky (Téa Leoni), a moneyed SoCal mom, and non-English speaking Flor Moreno (Paz Vega), the beautiful Latina whom Deborah hires as a housekeeper. The one-liners, some of them amusing, are everywhere. Brooks provides an intriguing set-up for the two women to butt heads–Deborah’s pudgy daughter Bernice (Sarah Steele) needs the affection at which Flor excels, while Flor’s clever, bi-lingual daughter Cristina (Shelbie Bruce) is enamored of the financial advantages Deborah can provide–then proceeds to make Deborah so hatefully ignorant you can’t imagine why her neuroses are the main thrust of the film. And Deborah’s celebrated chef husband John (Adam Sandler, way over his head) is such a perfect parent he doesn’t seem human–what happened to the Brooks who had Terms of Endearment mom Debra Winger turn to her scowling little boy and grunt “Don’t make me hit you in the street”? Cloris Leachman has a nifty supporting role as Deborah’s boozy, ex-jazz singer mother, but it’s only one offbeat chord in an earnest film that hits all the wrong notes.

Continue reading “Valentine’s Day 2006 Movie Recommendations”

 

Steve Carell is 40 Year Old Virgin

40 year old virginThe mix of hilarious, amazingly rude slapstick with a shrewd observation of human behaviour and honest emotions makes it one of the year’s best comedies. Jim Carrey and Adam Sandler should look to their wilting laurels because Steve Carell can match their raunch but he adds intelligence and careful observation to the mix so that the film touches your heart as well as kicking your funnybone.

Director: Judd Apatow
Cast: Steve Carell, Catherine Keener, Paul Rudd.
(116 min.16SL)

This flat-out, in-your-face sex comedy is probably the rudest comedy we are likely to see this year, but it is also one of the funniest. The title more-or-less describes the story. Andy Stitzer (Steve Carell) is a fairly good-looking, genuinely nice guy who has managed to turn 40 without ever having sex. There’s nothing physically wrong with him and he’s not repulsive. If anything he’s too nice and too concerned about offending any woman he likes, so after a series of missed opportunities he’s more or less settled into a terminal virginity.

When his secret is uncovered by his work buddies, they make it their mission in life to get Andy laid. In the process we are taken on a tongue-in-cheek, whistle-stop tour of the sex lives of the average American male and its messy and silly enough to make us wonder if Andy does not have the right idea about virginity.

The genius of the script is that underneath all the raw and raunchy comedy is a lot of sound good sense about relationships, affection and companionship. That’s the secret of the film’s charm. As the film progresses we get to see more of the lives of Andy’s buddies and they are a sorry lot. David (Paul Rudd) can’t get over a failed relationship. He’s saddled with a sense of failure and despite the fact that girls really like him, the sex he gets does nothing to please or comfort him. He’s getting what he thinks he wants, but in fact the only thing he really wants is someone to love and he had that but lost it. He’s far worse off than Andy is, yet he presumes to be the great sexual maestro.

The same is true of the other two guys Jay (Romany Malco) and Cal (Seth Rogen) who flee from relationships and when they are involved they lie and cheat to preserve the illusion that they are still sex-gods who can go out and have no-strings fun with women whenever they choose. They are dragged through their lives by their dicks and they are rapidly reaching the same age as Andy, and the question is which is worse? To be a 40-year old virgin or to be a 40-year old adolescent with chronic commitment issues?

Despite the parade of willing babes that the friends shove in front of him, Andy forms his own edgy, off relationship with Trish (Catherine Keener) who gives the other great performance in the film. Keener has done sterling work on the independent film circuit, moving from “Being John Malkovich” and “Your Friends and Neighbours” through “Lovely and Amazing” to “The Ballad of Jack and Rose”. She is a resourceful and intelligent actor, who goes right to the emotional core this character. Trish has a failed relationship behind her and a teenage daughter. She’s lonely but wary, but she is also a bit flakey, a woman with weird ideas who works to her own odd agenda. Andy is Mr Normal, scrupulously clean and neat, disciplined and polite. They are the proverbial opposites that always attract but it’s a very strange and hilarious attraction. Catherine Keener gives a very detailed and emotionally true performance, edging the comedy with pathos and lifting the situation onto another level..

Mention must also be made of Paula (Jane Lynch), Andy’s boss, who never gave him the time of day before she knew his sexual status, but the idea of being able to take a man’s virginity sends her hormones into overdrive. The scene I which she sings him a tango is one of the funniest moments in recent screen comedy. Everything in the film is exactly judged and director Judd Apatow understand Steve Carell’s comic style and timing so well that the film does not have one single dud joke. It’s consistently funny but it also exposes real truths about ordinary people, but it never turns into a mealy-mouthed sermon. In the overcrowded field of macho farce this film is funky and completely original.

 

Tiger and the Snow

I just found an article about a new film, Tiger and the Snow by Roberto Benigni who won an Oscar for Life is Beautiful. I rented the DVD of Life is Beautiful after listening to Tony Robbins’s Get The Edge. I remember I didn’t want to watch this movie when it came out in theatres originally because I saw it as “yet another” concentration camp movie. I was so surprised by the beautiful story telling, the honesty, the humour, the love and caring the main character has for his wife and child. Well I will be first in line to watch Tiger and the Snow.

 

Batman Begins

Batman Begins Christopher NolanWell tonight I watched Batman Begins with my little sister who is visiting me for the June school holidays from Uitenhage. This is a great movie and I recommend everyone to go and watch it because of it’s authentcity. Christopher Nolan, who also wrote and directed the amazing film, Momento, has brought Batman to life like Joel Schumacher could only dream. The character is dark and deep and Christian Bale is superb as the Dark Knight. For more on the Batman the comic book hero, it’s history and overview of all comic books, tv shows and movies checkout the Wikipedia page for a great article.