Watched Three and a Half Movies Enroute to Boston

What else is there to do when one is cooped up for a very long time, in a VERY full plane but to watch the latest that Lufthansa has to offer?  I watched three 2009 releases and only one I would recommend for our young audiences in Astana.  That would be the British film titled “An Education” about a young 16 year old girl named Jenny who studies hard to enter Oxford, her dad pushes her to those ends until she meets David.  David is a slick, older man, almost twice Jenny’s age and he shows her a different, exciting side to life from her playing cello, memorizing boring Latin and speaking French.  Jenny’s parents are as taken in by David as she is, until… You will have to watch what kind of “an education” Jenny receives on your own, I won’t spoil it for you.

The second movie that is rather slow moving but it fits the part of a recent widower played by DeNiro is titled “Everybody’s Fine.” He has four children who don’t show up for a reunion at his home so he sets out to surprise them in New York, Chicago, Denver and Las Vegas.  (BTW, against doctor’s orders because the dad has a heart condition.)  This movie pulls at the heart strings because he too pushes his kids to succeed like Jenny’s father in “An Education” but somehow his drive backfires on him.  His adult children turn out to not communicate with him truthfully and there are some painful truths we find out by the end of the movie.

The third and bottom of the barrel of a movie is “Pope Joan” or also known as “Die Papstin” which is about a woman who supposedly became pope in the 8-9th century A.D.  It shows the primitiveness of the Middle Ages but also the political correctness of our current age of feminism.  This movie is a pile of horse manure which is right along the same genre of “The Red Tent.”  I won’t even tag that book that I was required to read in graduate school five years ago because it was so awful to read.  “Pope Joan” is impure, adulterated fiction, created in fantasy land to be sacrilegious against the Catholic faith.  I’m sure it must have created quite a stir at the Vatican. But then again, it is a picture so unworthy to be watched that giving it attention is just what the filmmakers wanted, kind of like the “Da Vinci Code.”  Two thumbs down on “Pope Joan.”

Oh, I did watch but did not hear a fourth and very funny movie off of someone’s screen in front of me, “All About Steve” starring Sandra Bullock.  I had seen it before and thought it good for laughs to guess what was being said, her acting is silly and superb.  Now I want to buy the movie “Blind Side” where Bullock won an Academy award for Best Actress, so I can see that movie on my own time.

So, here I am in historic Boston and must discover the town while going to the international TESOL conference.  Many sessions to attend, people to meet and generally taking in the latest in political events in the capital of our great country.  I’m glad I live in Kazakhstan so I don’t have to deal with all the backlash of this latest legislation they pushed through.  I grieve for my country’s Constitution that our great forefathers diligently created to have a balance of powers so that no despot would rule the masses.  It’s only a matter of time…

2 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Herman said,

    In your last paragraph are you by any chance referring to the passing and signing of the “Healthcare Bill” granting healthcare insurance to some 30million+ (unemployment being at 10% soon to be 55 million)? Or are you referring to a country torn in two by a political gridlock so nightmarish that no ordinary US citizen can trust his congressman / woman anymore “to do what is ethically right”; instead the citizen has to fear his/her elected congressman / woman pandering to the lobbying of industry groups? “Grieving for my country” is a normal emotion for all persons on various sides of a democratic spectrum and normally contributes to a good discussion. It applies to specific developments in about all countries. OK, too much said – the blog is about Kazakhstan. I still haven’t read how the new university in Astana will be able to avoid pampering to “the haves”, and will take in and enable those who don’t have. Spreading the gospel of “fantastic opportunities of education in Astana” doesn’t pay for those listeners to be able to come, live and study in the most expensive city of Kazakhstan. Free education? Sure, perhaps. Books at USD 75 a piece included? PC’s or laptops included? How about dorms, facilities? And then what? A degree of an accredited university enabling pupils to study internationally? How and with what funding? To what benefit of the nation? We should have learned that the “managers” coming out of the Bolloshak program have done preciously little for the nation. Not a single petroleum engineer, not a single chemical engineer, not a single natural resources specialist, but lots and lots of “business managers”. And that for a country which needs a program of “forced industrialization” to start diversification of the economy, away from its dependency on natural resources.

    • 2

      kazaknomad said,

      Hmmm….where to begin? Yes, I grieve the fact that our elected officials, those who supposedly represent the people, passed the Health Care legislation that does not apply to them. They apparently are above whatever policies and laws that will go into motion while the burden will ride on the backs of people who work hard to make a living. Those others who are either illegal in the U.S. or have an entitlement chip on their shoulder will get health care coverage while they sit in front of their t.v. getting more obese and more unhealthy. Our people in power are trying to level the playing field but it amounts to moving towards socialism which *I* know was a failed experiment in the former Soviet Union. It will take years to get out of the mess created by forced industrialization thanks to Papa Stalin.

      You are right though, Herman, this blog is about Kazakhstan and I don’t know how to answer your questions about the new university in Astana. Seems you know more than I do about the Bolashak program and the results of those Kazakh students who got their masters degree from either the U.S. or U.K. are still coming in. It takes time, patience and money to right the wrongs that happened in the educational system throughout the former Soviet Union. Since it is no secret from my years of blogging on Kazakhnomad that I have NO love for the communist propaganda machine the educational systems were made to be, it will take the older generation of Soviet educators to die off for any progress to be made in the direction you suggest. I’ve been told that it may take two generations to get the highly qualified Kazakh experts in the engineering, medical, and other scientific fields needed for diversification to happen of Kazakhstan’s rich resources.

      In the meantime, the money that is being allocated to a new university for Kazakhstan’s younger, earnest generation is money well spent if the habits of cronyism, bribery, corruption can be broken. Competition set in place with WHAT you know, rather than WHO you know may be instilled in the younger people if they get a western style education. I believe Kazakhstan’s economy is doing the best out of all the former Soviet countries, thus their resulting education will hopefully be the best. And they ARE trying, but as you correctly infer, there are Kazakh or Kazakhstani managers currently in place who do not understand our western values of honesty, integrity, ethics, freedom, and independence to name a few. These Soviet-style managers are decision makers over those young, impressionable students whom I care about. The young people of Kazakhstan are the hope of this country’s success.

      Perhaps that is why I feel the pain more acutely at seeing the wrong turn my dear country of the U.S. of A is taking with the passage of the Health Care bill. We should be newly renamed D.S. of A. for Divided States of America!!! I write this in Boston, MA, the heart of where freedom rang many centuries ago.


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