Film Friday: The Lost City

Photo by Denise Jans on Unsplash

The Lost City (2022) Paramount Pictures

The Lost City, starring Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum, is an Action/Adventure, Comedy. The movie follows Loretta Sage (Bullock), a romance novelist, who has grown disenchanted toward her novels and their somewhat shallow subject matter. She wants to quit, but her publicist (played by Da’vine Joy Randolph) and her loyal fans are not ready to see the stories end. Someone else who doesn’t want the series to end is Alan (Tatum), who is the cover model for Sage’s novels. He has grown attached to the character, “Dash,” he portrays and enjoys the fame it has brought him. The action begins when Sage is kidnapped by a wealthy businessman (played by Daniel Radcliffe) and finds a coincidental link from one of Sage’s storylines to an actual treasure.

Sandra Bullock, to me, is a very versatile actress and her comedic roles are always great; this movie is no exception. Her characters are believable, even if the storyline is not. Channing Tatum is always funny and has great chemistry with Bullock. He’s not too bad to look at either. Speaking of which, Brad Pitt makes an appearance in this movie as well, and adds additional comic relief.

This movie reminded me somewhat of Romancing the Stone and Jewel of the Nile, if any of you have seen those. In The Lost City, there was definitely more comedy than the two aforementioned films, but it did have a moral lesson, which can be lacking in other films. The premise is “out there,” but as long as you know that going in, you can sit back, watch, and be entertained.

Overall, I give this film 4 out of 5 stars.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

*This review is my own opinion and I am not a paid spokesman for any entity or company.

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If you liked this review, please check out Film Friday: Bros and Theater Review: Rocky Horror Picture Show.

*Originally published on Medium

Six-Word Stories Vol.2

A while back, I wrote a blog of six-word stories. It seemed to be enjoyable to many people, so I thought I would try another one.

If you’re not familiar with it, a six-word story is exactly as it sounds: It tells a complete story in only six words. This requires some very creative thinking. Many writers can describe a scene in several pages, using flowery descriptors and embellishments, but are you able to tell an emotional, significant story in just a few words? Some of mine have titles and some do not. I would like to hear from you. Can you come up with a good six-word story? Please post in the comments below or create a post of your own and link back to mine. I would love to read them.


Kitten found me; now I’m his.


Fear became my prison without walls.

Seed planted, no water, no growth.


Drove too fast; now I’m “slow.”


Built my walls, brick by brick.


“Moving On”

Sent his mom flowers–no more.


Smiled more; people liked me more.

“Seasons”
New growth, warmth, leaves fall, cold.

Copyright © 2022 Brandon Ellrich

Now it’s your turn. Write a six-word story containing a beginning, middle and end. Post it in the comment section or post the link back to your own website/blog.

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Give Thanks, Thanksgiving

A “Chiasmus” Poem

Image credit; Pavel Danilyuk@ Pexels
I’m giving thanks for people living,
In this home on this Thanksgiving.

You ask why that I’m not stressed,
Ask instead why I’m so blessed.

I don’t deserve such great rewards,
God rewards me greatly by His word.

Have we been lifted from so low?
All we have to Him we owe.

Join hands to pray that we are able,
Pray, come to join us at our table.

Copyright © 2022 Brandon Ellrich

This poem was written in response to Sadje’s What do you see# 160- November 14, 2022, so please visit her page to see other responses and/or participate. It is also inspired by Ben’s W3 Prompt #28: Wea’ve Written Weekly. Even though I missed the cutoff this time, I still wanted to give credit for the inspiration.

Chiasmus: In simple terms, chiasmus happens when the writer says one thing and then says something very similar in the next line, but the grammatical structure has been reversed.

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Nowhere to Go

Simply 6 Minutes – Welcome to the Challenge: 11/15/2022

https://unsplash.com/@chalkian
No way but up, no way but down. 
Nowhere to go, but round and round.

Don't hold the doors, I'll take the stairs.
Either way, I'm not going anywhere.

Don't go outside; you'll come right back in.
You may not lose, but you'll never win.

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Forever Foe

You were here when the world began,
Are you bored with the antics of man?

Why do you choose to move so slow?
Why do you tease and torture me so?

Why must you expedite our death,
Continue beyond our last breath?

You’re the only healer of pain,
I must wait for you once again.

Stealing my moments of joy and fun,
Speeding by, so my lists are not done.

Not once are you convicted of crime,
My ever-present foe is TIME.

Copyright © 2022 Brandon Ellrich
Photo by Oladimeji Ajegbile on Pexels.com

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Fighting

This poem was posted two years ago on Veterans Day and I wanted to repost it for this year.
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
I was called away to fight and I never,
Had second thoughts to endeavor,

To engage an enemy that attempted,
To come against us with contempt.

I returned to my country only to find,
That citizens within were turning blind,

Fighting each other without even knowing,
The goal they were reaching or where they were going.

Is this what I fought for, risking my life,
To make things better for my child and my wife?

Is this the future our founders believed,
That their dreams and hopes would one day achieve?

I continue to fight day after day,
Sometimes at home and sometimes away.

I have to believe that minds will be changed,
And government will no longer be twisted, deranged;

To believe that one day we'll come together to fight,
Not one another, but in a quest for what’s right.


Copyright © 2020 Brandon Ellrich

In dedication on this Veterans Day to all those who fight for their country and for the freedoms that are afforded us.

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Do We Need a Reason to Socialize?

Photo by Brandon Ellrich

Let’s Have a Tupperware Party!

Do you recognize any of the classic gems in the photo? Does anyone remember Tupperware Parties? I must confess I have never been invited to one, but I remember my mom, her friends, and neighbors having them when I was younger. Tupperware parties were social events, mainly. Yes, you could buy Tupperware products during these parties, but was that the REAL reason they were attended? My inclination is that they were an excuse to be part of a social gathering. My question is, why do we need an excuse?

It Doesn’t Matter Who Wins or Loses

My parents would often have card parties when I was younger as well. They would play “Pitch,” which I never hear of anyone playing anymore. At the end of the night, there would be a winning team, but what did they win? Nothing. Winning was not the point, and neither, I would say, was playing the game. The whole point, the entire crux of the evening was the socialization that occured during, between and after the games. There was much talking and laughter and everyone had a good time, but no one really cared who won or lost. It was all about the human connection.

The Need for Connection 

Psychologist Abraham Maslow1 came up with a “hierarchy of needs” that he believed was the basis for all human decision-making. In the third tier of this hierarchy is the need for love and belonging. The only tiers more important, being physiological and safety needs, which shows the value he placed on this essential facet of life.

Home Interiors, Pampered Chef, Tupperware, and many other companies use the human need for connection in order to sell their products, and we use those companies to fulfill the same need. After all, does anyone really NEED an Apple Peeler/Corer/Slicer? How often would you use it? Maybe once a year, during apple picking season. The rest of the year it would be taking up space in your cabinet. Tupperware is a little different story. Who DOESN’T want Tupperware? It’s quite handy. Anyway, that’s not the point of this article.

I don’t hear of those types of parties much nowadays, which makes me a little bit sad. Most people sell the aforementioned products on Facebook or other social media and skip the human connection. Even the Girl Scouts have resorted to selling their cookies virtually.

Excuses, Excuses

Back to my question, why do we need an excuse to socialize? When a friend or neighbor tells me I should stop by sometime for a visit, I say “Sure!” but do they really mean it? Do I really intend on stopping by? I always find it awkward to go to someone’s home for no reason other than for a visit. I feel the need to have a reason. The reason could be as simple as returning a borrowed book or other item. Naturally, while I’m there, we would have extended conversations and catch up on what’s going on in one another’s lives. The conversations would have nothing to do with the reason I stopped by in the first place; nevertheless, I needed that reason to bring me there and initiate the visit. Some people may meet for coffee or go out to eat; there again, a reason is required–we both like and want coffee, we both like to eat at this restaurant.

Social Media Isn’t Very Social

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with needing a reason to socialize. The problem is, it seems that the reasons are being eliminated by social media, the convenience of having food delivered, and forced or chosen social distancing. I think the term “social media” is rather a misnomer. “Disconnected Media” may be a more accurate term. Just think about it…Are people socializing as much as they did twenty years ago? I don’t see it, but maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I just haven’t been invited to any Tupperware parties lately.

Copyright © 2022 Brandon Ellrich

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Please take a moment to read some of my other articles like Grow Your Nose and Who is Disappointing Whom?

1https://positivepsychology.com/abraham-maslow/

Painted Child

Dear painted child, do not hide,
Thy roots and innocence inside.

Those that mock and shun thy birth,
Cannot see thy priceless worth.

Dear painted child, can they not see,
Thy light inside, thy true beauty?

Wilt they not deign to understand,
Thy heritage of distant land?

God made thee true–be free and wild,
Be bold and proud, my painted child!

Copyright © 2022 Brandon Ellrich

This poem was written in response to Sadje’s What do you see # 159- November 7, 2022, so please visit her page to participate and/or read other responses. I did not include the picture in my post because I went in sort of a different direction.

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How Do You Find Your Purpose?

The word "purpose" is spelled out in different colored letters on burlap material.
Photo by Magda Ehlers on Pexels.com

I wanted to start an “advice column,” of sorts, and this was my first question:

Dear Brandon, How do you find your strengths, gifts, purpose, etc.—especially professionally—when most of your jobs have nothing to do with your degree and you’re losing confidence in yourself? How do you keep the imposter syndrome and doubts from nagging at your soul?

My Degree was a Waste of Time!

I changed my major several times in college and ended up with a Bachelor of Science in psychology (and a minor in music) with the intention of going further–getting my master’s, possibly PhD, etc. This did not happen. I am not currently using my degree in a professional sense. I add that caveat because I do use the knowledge and principles I learned during my courses all the time, especially in my writing. I believe I am better able to get inside the heads of my characters and empathize with individuals with whom I would normally have nothing in common.

My minor in music has helped me become a better pianist and have a broader, deeper appreciation for different types of music and musicians. Ryan Tedder, lead singer for OneRepublic, is a very talented musician and songwriter, writing and producing songs not only for his own band, but artists including including AdeleBeyoncéLeona LewisMiley CyrusEd SheeranJonas BrothersJennifer LopezCamila CabelloLady GagaMaroon 5One DirectionTaylor SwiftKaty PerryAriana GrandeLogicPaul McCartneyBlackpinkTwice and Anitta. Justin Bieber (wait, don’t cringe just yet) was an immature little twerp sometimes, but looking at his abilities objectively, he has an extremely gifted and natural singing ability. I do not regularly listen to all of these artists, but after studying music theory and analyzing pieces, I have attained an appreciation for musical talent.

Furthermore, I believe that education is never a waste of time. To learn something–whatever it may be–makes a person a more well-rounded individual and opens thier mind to more possibilities and exploration of the world around them. I don’t believe the person who wrote this question to me was implying that their education was a waste, but they feel frustrated that they spent all this time thinking that a pursuit in a degree would help them get a job. I completely understand that frustration and I believe it happens with a great many people.

For those of you who can empathize with this frustration, try to look at your education in a more positive light. Think of the ways your degree(s) can be used in your life without necessarily focusing on utilizing it in order to make money.

Experience “Required”

More and more it seems that companies are looking for individuals with experience over education. I’ve looked at so many job postings that say they want someone with experience, but very few that are willing to give someone experience. And there’s the rub: How do you get experience if no one is willing to give it to you?

One job posting was more honest than the others and said something to the affect that:

No one has all the qualifications for a particular job, so even if you aren’t completely qualified, apply anyway.

It kind of blew me away. I looked at so many postings that listed “requirements” that I didn’t have, so I immediately discarded them. After reading from that one company that I should apply anyway, I transferred that notion to other job applications. I’m not saying you should lie on your application–not at all. Whenever they ask about specific qualifications or experience, be honest and tell them about whatever experience you do have that might apply to their company. Tell them how much you would enjoy working for them and that you are willing to be trained or learn whatever skills are necessary.

Deflated Confidence

If you are losing confidence in yourself because you’re not being hired or people are not seeing your potential, then your confidence is based on others’ perceptions. Do you see what I mean? You must learn and get to know yourself. Know what you are good at and also what your limitations are (and most of those are self-imposed). Try not to base your self-confidence or self-worth on other people’s opinions.

I know that I’m a good writer and I hate saying that more than you may hate reading it. I am not an arrogant person, but I am proud of my writing, my poems, stories, and articles; otherwise, I wouldn’t publish them on this blog. I have also written some crap, but you will never see it, because I won’t post it. 🙂

Publishers and companies looking for experienced writers don’t want to hire me because I don’t have “proof” that people like my writing. What did I do about it? I started a blog and grew my audience to more than 500 followers. I started another one on Medium recently and in just over a month, I have over 100 followers. This did not happen by accident or by merely posting stories and sitting back to wait for people to follow me.

Put in the Work

How did I do it? I engaged with other writers. I read SO MANY blog posts, stories, poems, commented, “liked,” “clapped” and followed other bloggers. This took a lot of time to do. I also had to read a lot of complete nonsense! I didn’t like many of the posts that I read, so I didn’t engage with those particular writers. I was never fake, and only followed blogs that I was interested in.

My point is…sometimes you have to put in a lot of work to “prove” yourself in order to get that job, to advance yourself in your career. You may have to work for yourself for a while and do some “freelance” work. I know this is difficult too–building up clientele without a proven record–so you may have to take a less desirable job with possibly less pay or benefits until you are able to build your chosen career.

Conclusion

At the end of the day,

  • Realize that your education is playing a role in your life and try to recognize it.
  • Don’t let anyone else determine your self-worth
  • Put in some extra work to get to where you want to be
  • You may have to take a job that you don’t like in order to do what you’re passionate about.

Thanks for reading! I hope this has been helpful. If you have an issue or question you would like me to address, please leave a comment or email me through my contact page to remain anonymous. I will do my best to address it in an objective manner.

*This article is my own personal advice and is not meant to be taken in place of a mental health professional.

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Inescapable

Inescapable
Photo by lalesh aldarwish on Pexels.com
Reminiscence of my sin initiates repentance;
It imitates the semblance of innocence.

I try to deny my primal desires,
And imply the fire inside has died.

I make haste to erase this hated face,
And replace the trace with untainted space.

You can fool a few, but if you do, too soon,
The new will cool and truth moves into view.

We can leave our beaten street and seek to flee,
But even if we deem to succeed,

Our thoughts--unconscious or not--are brought along;
The common denominator is always following.

The trouble uncovered is rough; we’ve suffered enough, blundering above,
The other lover we discover: to be covered six feet under.

Copyright © 2022 Brandon Ellrich

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*Originally published on Medium.