This past week, I saw a couple of movies that made me stop and think...so guess what that means! That's right folks, today's post will be my very own psychoanalytical movie review. Now, typically, I would just review one movie at a time in order to abstain from endless off subject tangents, but I'll try to keep it relative. Of course I personally believe they are somewhat related, but for the most part, I'm very scatterbrained, so what do I know. Anywho, the 2 movies that I happened to see (one of them twice in the same week thanks to T) were Wonder Woman and The Stanford Prison Experiment. Wonder Woman I saw at the movies obviously, but the other was simply a Netflix movie whose title peeked my interest, so I gave it a whirl. I actually rather enjoy discussing movies on a regular basis. It's quite interesting to see what different people get out of the message (or lack thereof). Sort of like in books. But sadly since a lot of people don't read and discuss books anymore, movies it is!
I will discuss Wonder Woman first. To start off, I did enjoy this movie. The actress was easy on the eyes, and it gave me an overall sense of womanly empowerment. I'll try not to spoiler alert too much and jump right into the message I got. The storyline centered around Wonder Woman coming to the human world to help save mankind and end the Great War. She came into a chaotic situation of destruction and evil with a refreshingly positive attitude. She literally wanted to (and thought she could) save everyone by defeating Ares. Like, every single person. Eventually, reality set in, and she found that to be a completely unrealistic goal. Yet and still, she continued to fight for the good in the world, knowing that the fighting would never TRULY be over. And I sorta like that stance! It's very relatable to today's trying times. There will always be a bad guy. There is never ONE person to blame, we're all to blame (except Wonder Woman), so our fighting and attempting to make this a better place will never have an end date. That doesn't mean we should give up though. The good, even though we can't see it all the time, is very worth fighting for.
The next movie's title caught my eye for one reason or another. Possibly because I may have heard of it before, and my subconscious memory triggered the connection. The Stanford Prison Experiment is shockingly based on a true story. Come to think of it, I probably heard it from my psychology class in college. Since it's based on a true story, I technically can't spoiler alert anything when talking about the storyline, right (if you've never seen the movie Titanic, you obviously know it sinks at the end)? Anywho, the premise surrounds a college psychology professor leading a research experiment in which the psychological effects of perceived power were investigated, focusing specifically on relationships between prison guards and prisoners. Interesting! The thing is, out of the group of volunteer college students, the guards and prisoners were selected at random (a coin toss). The guards had free range to "control" the prisoners by whatever methods they chose (besides physical violence), and the prisoners were told to comply. This simple experiment seemed to take on a life of its own when the guards began to psychologically torture the prisoners, and even got some of the prisoners to harass the other prisoners. The whole thing was supposed to last for about 2 weeks, but they ended up having to stop after only 6 days. Also, 2 prisoners left early because they basically went crazy.
*From Wikipedia*: "The experiment's results favor situational attribution of behavior over dispositional attribution (a result caused by internal characteristics). It seemed that the situation, rather than their individual personalities, caused the participants' behavior." It's crazy! And it definitely was an extremely interesting movie, to say the least (had me yelling at the screen a few times). Power really did go to people's heads. But even more unsettling, people began to actually accept themselves as less than human, and it an alarmingly short time! It started to make me think about the situations we see with law enforcement in the US, today's dilemma on a much grander scale. Really, such a good movie to make you think. I highly recommend it (it's on Netflix and it's a holiday weekend so you have no excuse).
In a possibly futile effort to see a correlation between these two movies, I tried to question each moral. What I came up with is simple... Is evil merely a learned trait! Before wonder woman came to the real world, she had no idea of any war or how destructive and cold hearted mankind turned out to be. She was chillin on her island in peace and harmony with the other tall hot amazons (is this how the world could've been if there were no men?). Similarly, the boys from the experiment were all fairly normal average college students, yet under the direction of the experiment, began to exhibit a truly sadistic nature. One could also alternatively question, are we all just INHERENTLY evil?? So much to think about! Bottom line though, 2 great movies that made me think! It's good to turn your brain off some of the time, I get it, but anything has the potential for closer inspection and a deeper meaning. I believe that movies have the capacity for both. What are some movies you've seen recently that made your brain go on a tangent like mine? Let's talk about it!
P.s. (Since we are on the topic of movies) My top 3 favorite movies of all time you may ask? In no particular order; The Matrix, Coming to America, and Rocky Horror Picture Show.
P.p.s. Did you know that the lady who played Wonder Woman was 5 months pregnant when she shot some of the scenes?? Man, I need to start working out...
P.p.p.s. In addition to the very unethical Stanford Prison Experiment, I was interested in other unethical psychological studies conducted on unsuspecting subjects. Crazy stuff! Psychology is so freakin' fascinating.