Romeo And…

4.01: Black Lives Matter (And So Can You!)

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Welcome to the fourth season of the Romeo And... Podcast!

This season, I will be presenting to you "Romeo And... Lite" in light of other podcast production demands, a defunct website, higher preparatory demands, and other concerns. But fear not! We've still got all the great musings you've come to love!

In this episode, I share the story of how I came to appreciate the Black Lives Matter movement, and what I've learned about myself and my own experiences in the process.

Be sure to let me know your thoughts and share them with me at [email protected] or 516-514-7878.

3.11: The Sandlot PLUS Reactions to Gun Violence

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SEASON FINALE! 

Celebrating one more completed season of the podcast. Unfortunately, it is in the midst of numerous tragedies going on in our country. I don't want to end the season on a somber note, but I can't ignore the hate that continues to claim the lives of innocent Americans. I do my best to find a silver lining, but doing so during such a sad time is never easy. 

This episode's movie review is on The Sandlot, the coming of age cult classic that you probably still remember if you were raised in the 90s. There is so much to say about the film. And since it was so incredibly popular among children during the 90s, the messages the film imparts are especially influential. 

Unfortunately, the messages are a lot of the same things we're used to hearing. That women are objects to be ogled at, and boys must prove their masculinity to each other constantly in order to fit in. 

REFERENCES 

- 5 Ways Modern Men Are Trained to Hate Women - Cracked - http://bit.ly/1UqSwlC 

- Mass Shootings 2016 - Gun Violence Archive - http://bit.ly/28NxWyt 

- Movie dialogue and sound clips from The Sandlot courtesy of 20th Century Fox 

3.10: Pleasantville PLUS The Depp-Heard Controversy

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Critical discussion of the film Pleasantville by Gary Ross. On the surface it's about two teens who get trapped in a black and white television world. Below the surface we see a pointed commentary of society, discrimination, and reluctance to change. And it is this mentality that informs many of the ways people develop opinions on topics like gender and masculinity. 

I discuss Tobey Maguire's character David and how he goes through the all-too-familiar transition from geeky loser to self-confident man. We often see this transformation in film, but both the definition of "loser" as well as the solution to being a "loser" is problematic when you consider how this translates to real-life men. Additionally, I discuss other portrayals of masculinity and how the conservative mindset works to hold not just men, but all of society back. 

At the top of the show I talk about the recent news surrounding the Johnny Depp and Amber Heard divorce case. People have been arguing about Heard's accusations of domestic violence against Depp and it's brought some ugly rhetoric to the surface. Should we really be spending this much time digging into the personal lives of people we don't know just because they're famous?

Note: The next episode of the show will be the Season 3 Finale of Romeo And... Excited to close yet another chapter of the show, and looking forward to what is yet to come! 

REFERENCES 

- What to Know About Amber Heard’s Domestic Violence Accusations Against Johnny Depp - TIME - http://ti.me/1RUPnpp 

- New Photos Show Amber Heard's Injuries Allegedly Caused by Johnny Depp in Another Domestic Violence Incident - People - http://bit.ly/1RUPSQc 

- Movie dialogue and sound clips from Pleasantville courtesy of New Line Cinema 

3.09: Chasing Amy PLUS How Much is Too PC?

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Today, I talk about the film Chasing Amy. Written, directed, and staring Kevin Smith, the iconic film was a breakthrough in the cultural conversation of homosexuality and bisexuality. Smith does a great job of talking about big societal issues through the gaze of your average, comic book loving male nerd. 

I discuss how Smith handles the topic of homosexuality, but I focus on his portrayal of men. The way men think about topics like falling in love, unrequited love, and getting over a breakup. 

At the top of the show, I talk about political correctness and how the concept has evolved over the years. The meaning used to be fairly cut and dry: There are certain terms you should use and others that are inappropriate. However, we now talk about political correctness as anything that can be found offensive. I take some time to distinguish between what is "politically correct," what is "offensive," what is "triggering," and what is just plain "disturbing"; and how we should react to each of these comments. 

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3.08: xXx PLUS The Mask You Live In

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The movie xXx was iconic, not just because it spearheaded Vin Diesel into our hearts as an action superstar, and not just because of its one-of-a-kind stunts that were performed on camera. It also taught us a little something about what it means to be men. At least, what the creators of the film xXx thought it meant to us to be men. 

In this week's movie analysis I discuss how the toxic representations of masculinity in the movie xXx can work to shape our understanding of maleness into a narrow box. As if there is only one way to be a man, and Vin Diesel is doing it better than you. I also talk about the women in the film and how they are pictured simply as a means to reinforce this idea of masculinity embodied in Diesel's character. 

At the top of the show, I talk about the documentary The Mask You Live In by The Representation Project. It is a fantastic depiction of how men and boys are negatively brought up to believe that masculinity is something that must be constantly proven. It shows how the lives of men can be destroyed by this culture of "manliness." But it also presents alternatives to these all too familiar representations of men, and shows us how boys could be raised with healthier senses of identity. 

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3.07: Wanted PLUS Policing the Bathroom

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If you love shoot-'em-up movies that are secretly about depression and religion, then you've probably already seen the 2008 blockbuster Wanted. The movie reflects a lot of the stresses and stereotypes of masculinity and how a lot of men deal with them. 

I talk at length about anxiety and depression and how the pressure to "be a man" can often lead us into unfulfilling lives. And how doing so can be detrimental to our mental health. I also talk about how women are portrayed in fantasy/action films such as this one, as well as religion, and finding the motivation to improve your life. 

In the first part of the show, I discuss the bill that recently passed in North Carolina that bans transgender people from the bathrooms they feel most comfortable using, and how a number of big-name companies and celebrities have responded to the legislation. 

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3.06: The Princess Bride PLUS Virtual Reality Sex!

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My analysis of the classic film, The Princess Bride. After completing the novel by William Goldman, I decided that I had to halt any further movie reviews and talk about this one. I know how influential it was for me, and I know how influential it is for a lot of people in my generation. 

Specifically, I talk about how the film and the novel portray gender. The titular Princess herself is very different from many other princesses we are used to seeing in movies and stories. She is not "dainty" and "fragile." She is opinionated and confident. She is determined and strong. Nevertheless, there are still times when her portrayal, especially in the film, reflect the traditional depictions of princesses we are used to seeing from other works in the "damsel in distress" genre. 

At the top of the show, I talk about the development of a bodysuit that would work with virtual reality technology to allow the user to experience sex. The suit is designed specifically for male-identified persons, and the scenes they experience are with women. Why do straight men seem to get all the cool, virtual reality sex toys? I offer my thoughts on the issue. 

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3.05: Wall-E PLUS The Definition of Evil

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Wall-E is the Disney/Pixar classic about a trash-compacting robot who goes on an adventure to save the human race. But beyond that, it's about saving the environment, the dangers of consumerism, men, women, and following your heart. There's a whole lot of awesome to unpack. And I do exactly that in this episode of the show! 

I discuss some of the major themes in the movie; namely, our responsibility toward the conservation of our planet, and how big businesses can take over the world if left unchecked. But mainly, I discuss how masculinity and femininity is portrayed in the forms of Wall-E and Eve. 

The top of the show is a bit dark because I talk specifically about evil. The darkest of the dark! I discuss how evil should be defined and regarded, as well as how we can work to improve our criminal justice system. 

TRIGGER WARNING: I touch on the subjects of rape, murder, and other forms of depravity. If you want to dodge all that and get to the discussion of the children's movie, skip to minute 20! 

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3.04: Gone Girl PLUS The (New) Ghostbusters

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Sharing my thoughts on the 2014 movie Gone Girl starring Ben Affleck. The film touches on a lot of issues regarding gender as well as race and privilege, so naturally, I had to take a swing at it. 

EPIC SPOILER ALERT! Do not listen to this episode of the show if you haven't yet seen the movie or read the book Gone Girl. Mainly because I don't want to be the one to ruin such a great story for you. 

I discuss how men are often unfairly portrayed by the media, and how women are often idolized and seen as "pure." I also discuss how Gillian Flynn tackles the topic of privilege and why it's such an important conversation for us to be having. 

At the top of the show, I talk about the newly released trailer for the upcoming Ghostbusters film featuring an all-female team. I was not particularly fond of the new trailer, but I hope the actual movie is more impressive. Let me know what you thought of the trailer and how you think the film will do in the box office this year! 

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3.03: 10 Things I Hate About You PLUS The White Race

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Taking a trip down nostalgia lane and breaking down the 90s teen drama of 90s teen dramas, 10 Things I Hate About You. The film was in a lot of ways a reflection of the millennial generation and shows us a somewhat cringe-worthy picture of our mindset 20 years ago. 

That said, the film does a lot of things right. The screenplay was written by women, there is more than one minority character, the women in the film have personalities, and each character has strengths and weaknesses. To be fair, the play the story was based on was written by Shakespeare himself. Unfortunately, the movie still leaves us with the impression that being a feminist means being too unpleasant to be able to date men. 

If you are a MRA, than you might agree with this sentiment. However, I explain why this thinking ultimately puts us back. 

At the top of the show, I discuss whiteness and how "Caucasian" is often disregarded in conversations about race. Why don't we group white people together as a race the same way we do every other minority? What can we learn by talking about Whiteness the same way we talk about any other race? 

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3.02: Secretary PLUS The Relationship Trinity

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To celebrate Valentine's Day, I continue my discussion of 50 Shades of Grey; however, this time using a film that does the BDSM community a little more justice. I break down the movie Secretary and share why it is not only a better quality film, but has more developed and relatable characters, a more moving storyline, and better representations of bondage, masochism, and consent. 

That said, the film does not do everything right and there are still a number of pitfalls in the story that I raise. Even so, it is a fantastic movie and I highly recommend it, regardless of your relationship to BDSM. 

At the top of the show, I detail my theory of the "Relationship Trinity," which is essentially a way for people to determine what they ultimately want in a relationship partner, as well as what they can offer to their relationships. The trinity consists of the Emotional, the Economical, and the Physical. 

The most fulfilling relationships will have some combination of all three elements that all the involved parties can agree on and be happy with. And though I further explain how these elements can be understood, the special blend of the three that you need in your life is a recipe that only you and your prospective partners can determine. 

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