Back to the Future Movie Shows how to Connect Your Flux Capacitor & Find Your Jiggawat Jackpot

Annette Moser-Wellman, in her book, The Five Faces of Genius: The Skills to Master Ideas at Work, identifies five creative thinking styles or processes of ideation. The metaphors she uses to describe these creative tools are the Seer, the Observer, the Alchemist, the Fool and the Sage. Wellman shares a story about Albert Einstein to explain the importance of the creative face she calls the Seer.

Seers pay attention to the pictures in their mind’s eye. Albert Einstein’s radical, new theory of relativity began as an image he had as a young man when he pondered the picture of someone riding on a wave of light. He wondered, “What would the landscape look like as the person traveled through space?” Einstein paid attention to his new image of space and time. Pondered it. Cherished it. The 1985 Steven Spielberg movie, Back to the Future, is an allegorical story that alludes to Albert Einstein’s light-speed vision that occurred in the moments when he was riding in a streetcar and looked back at Bern’s clock tower. Einstein had moved to Bern, Switzerland in 1902 at the age of 22 from his hometown in Germany, carrying all his worldly belongings in a single suitcase.

Applying his new theory Einstein decided the clock would appear to him to have stopped, while the watch in his pocket also traveling at the speed of light would continue to run at the same time. This confirmed his idea that time is not the same for all observers when objects approach the speed of light.

Spielberg’s movie highlights the Seer’s creative ability. As Wellman explains it, the creative genius of the Seer breaks through by staying focused on their image. In Einstein’s case, he allowed himself to stay obsessed with the image of traveling at the speed of light.

Back to the Future both entertains and enlightens. It’s a modern-day parable about the cycle of time and clearing away negativity from the past can lead to a better future. It takes place in the small, modern town of Hill Valley. The Mayor, with the help of the local preservation society, wants to replace the clock in the town’s clock tower, which stopped almost 30 years ago when it was hit by lightening. Michael J. Fox’s character, Marty McFly, is a Teenager from Hill Valley whose parents are caricatures of low self-esteem. His father is so timid he can barely communicate, and his mother makes herself oblivious with alcohol.

Marty hangs out with a reclusive scientist named Doc Emit Brown, whom his high school principal says Marty should stay away from, or he’ll turn out to be a loser just like his father. Doc Brown is conducting a temporal experiment involving sending his dog, Einstein, on a journey through time in the Delorean with a clock attached to his collar. The Delorean is a sports car Brown has turned into a time travel machine. When the Delorean (operated by remote control) reaches the speed of 88 miles per hour it enters hyperspace, and Einstein, the dog, instantaneously becomes the world’s first time traveler. One minute later the Delorean returns and amazingly Einstein’s clock hasn’t changed! The heart of Doc’s vision, the Flux Capacitor, is what makes time travel in the Delorean possible. Brown’s challenge, however, is that the Delorean needs plutonium to run – or 121 jigawatts of electricity!

Where does he find the needed plutonium? Libyan Nationalists (terrorists) who later shoot Doc Brown because they want their plutonium back! But don’t worry, in the story Marty uses a small remaining supply of plutonium to go back in time to save Brown’s life by warning him just minutes ahead of time. In doing so Marty returns to an earlier Hill Valley and he meets his parents when they were teenagers. While he’s there he intervenes in their lives and changes their future, and thus his own.

After this Marty is able to return to his own time, even though he is out of plutonium, with the help of a younger Doc Brown who harnesses the power of lightening, which Marty knows will hit the Hill Valley Clock Tower at exactly 2 minutes after midnight. This provides enough energy (121 jiggawatts of electricity) to kick-start the Delorean into hyperspace. Finally, Marty returns in triumph to the Hill Valley of the present to find that Doc Brown has been saved by a precautionary, bullet-proof vest and Marty’s parents are now confident, successful people.

Doc Brown’s creative skill as a Seer and the dream he had thirty years ago made all this possible. He was standing on the edge of the toilet hanging a clock in the bathroom, when he slipped, fell and hit his head on the sink. When he came to, he had a revelation – A Vision: The Flux capacitor, which is the heart of his creative invention and what makes time travel possible. It took him almost 30 years to realize the vision of that day. This happened because, like Albert Einstein, he stayed focused on his image and allowed it to live into the future.

This charming allegorical story is a modern day parable of dreams and the amazing power they have to lead us into the future. Doc Brown dreamed of a kind of heart (The Flux Capacitor) that would allow energy to flow past time barriers! The hidden message here is that we too can choose to open our hearts and minds to a new world of exciting possibilities. Like Marty, this intra-personal connectivity has a way of grounding us and clearing away negativity so we can receive the power of love to breakthrough to our own Jiggawatt Jackpot!

Survival Movies – The Cream of the Crop and Those That Didn’t Shine

Survival Movies, Best to the Worst!

The popularity of survival movies has really grown over the past couple of years. I have rated these movies in three different categories. The categories are: realisticness, survival value and entertainment factor. Each of these is on a A – F Grading Scale with A being best and F being worst. These ratings are all based on my opinion so you may not feel the same.

Waterworld – Realisticness – D Survival Value – D Entertainment factor – C+
The Earth is now filled with water, but some people believe there is still dry land on the earth. This is one of the many survival movies about the fight over resources. As in many movies, this is a fight between the protagonist (Kevin Costner) and the antagonist (Dennis Hopper) and his cronies (called the smokers). This movie is fun to watch but I don’t feel it was realistic or offered much in the way of survival value.

The Postman – Realisticness – B Survival Value – C Entertainment factor – B
I feel the reviews of this movie by critics don’t give it justice. In this film, the United States is a very different place with little order. Many people have gone back to a dark ages style of living with no electricity, very little law, and a tyrant thug (Will Patton) trying to gain power. The protagonist (Kevin Costner), a drifter, finds a way to make a difference in the world even though he is originally only worried about his own livelihood and well – being. This was a very long movie, but I really enjoyed it and liked its sense of hope. I thought this movie offered decently realistic insight on what could happen with a breakdown of society and numerous years of lawlessness. It had a few areas that I think gave it some survival value, but overall, it was just one of the entertaining survival movies.

The Road – Realisticness – A Survival Value – B Entertainment factor – C
While I didn’t feel this was one of the survival movies that lived up to my expectations, I feel it accurately portrayed the emotional rollercoaster that an end of the world situation would create. The characters in this movie were not able to trust anyone around them, and they lacked the resources necessary to carry on a normal life, which could be an accurate outcome in a real societal breakdown. I think this movie, while being boring in some spots, felt very realistic and showed the dreary outlook of the main character (Viggo Mortenson) in a post apocalyptic world with no hope. On the survival value front, I thought there were some topics to take away from the story line that would be useful in real life. I felt that this movie allowed me to realize that striving for happiness and wishing to live life to the fullest despite terrible circumstances is key to beating the end.

I am Legend – Realisticness – C Survival Value – B –
Entertainment factor – B This is another of the survival movies that I think showed great emotion. The main character (Will Smith) and his dog attempt to survive throughout this film despite the constant threat of zombies. I will say this movie has one of the saddest scenes in any movie I have ever seen, which makes the whole movie worth watching. This survival movie really shows you how important a companion is when you are lonely. Other than the importance of companionship, there were only a few survival lessons to be learned.

Book of Eli – Realisticness – C Survival Value – C
Entertainment factor – B I felt Book of Eli with Denzel Washington and Mila Kunis was worth the watch. This survival movie showed how important being aware of your surroundings is. Also in a disaster ridden world it shows how there will be people that will take power any way they see fit. The use of religion to control people is what the antagonist (Gary Oldman) uses to gain power. If you are a Christian or are religious this is definitely an important movie to watch because it shows how people can use religion and the Bible for good as well as evil to push their own motives. Even so, in the end, this movie didn’t show the Bible or Christianity in a bad light. I thought the lesson of being aware was the best survival value it gave.

Jeremiah Johnson – Realisticness – A
Survival Value – B Entertainment factor – B Jeremiah Johnson (Robert Redford) is one of the best survival movies. This movie is about a man who wants to live as a hermit living off the land, who wishes to be left alone to do his own thing. This is the oldest movie on my list and also one of the best. I believe it has great survival value and is quite realistic. In one scene, Jeremiah Johnson finds a man who has been dead for a while with a note on him saying, “I, Hatchet Jack, being of sound mind and broke legs, do hereby leaveth my bear rifle to whatever finds it, Lord hope it be a white man. It is a good rifle, and killt the bear that killt me. Anyway, I am dead. Yours truly, Hatchet Jack.” How can you not love this movie with a scene like that? This movie is great at depicting how to live off the land and be self – sufficient.

Castaway – Realisticness – B Survival Value – C Entertainment factor – B
Castaway, starring Tom Hanks, is a family survival movie. There is some survival value to this movie like starting a fire or taking an abscessed tooth out with an ice skate. The main character is involved in a commercial UPS type plane crash that leaves him stranded on an island with no other survivors. It illustrates how ingenious people can be when they do not have the conventional tools for survival.

Into the Wild – Realisticness – A Survival Value – B Entertainment factor – B
Into the wild is the true survival story of Christopher McCandless (Emile Hirsch) who gives up his ordinary life to roam the US and live in Alaska. This is an ultimate adventure movie that shows how Christopher lived all by himself in the Alaskan wilderness with only what he could carry on his back. This film offered good survival value, and it taught me something very important: never eat wild plants unless you know exactly what they are and if they are safe to eat.

Zombieland – Realisticness – D Survival Value – D Entertainment factor – A –
This is really a comedic approach at the survival and zombie genre. While there is really no realisticness or survival value to speak of it, is very funny. This survival movie stars Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, and Emma Stone. During the film, they all come together to help each other survive a zombie infested world. In my opinion, one of the best cameos of all time occurs during this movie. Just watch and see!

28 Days Later – Realisticness – B Survival Value – C Entertainment factor – B
28 Days Later is a survival movie starring Cillian Murphy (Batman Begins). After a virus wipes out almost everybody on the planet, a few survivors come together to try and find a safe place to live. This was a good movie that portrayed what could happen if an epidemic were to spread very quickly. This survival movie does not have tons of survival value, but it still provides insight on the possibility of a nation or worldwide epidemic.

Mad Max/Road Warrior/Beyond Thunderdome – Realisticness – D Survival Value – D Entertainment factor – B
Mad Max, The Road Warrior, and Beyond Thunderdome are very entertaining and fun survival movies to watch, but they are very unrealistic. Mel Gibson stars as Mad Max, a man who lives in a post apocalyptic world who also tries to improve life for himself and others. There really was not much survival value in these movies, but there are cool vehicles with many types of weapons, which makes them entertaining.

Red Dawn – Realisticness – B – Survival Value – B Entertainment factor – A+
Red Dawn is not just one of my favorite survival movies, but also one of my favorite movies It has quite a few stars before they were household names (Patrick Swayze, Charlie Sheen, Lea Thompson and Jennifer Grey). The Russians and Cubans have taken part of Colorado and are rounding people up, whom they believe to be threats, into camps. A group of high schoolers get together and live in the woods. They badge themselves the “Wolverines” and try to take back the land that was previously theirs. This is a great movie that provided survival value in the way of outdoor living, hunting and fishing. The other thing I love about this movie, that others have also expressed, is that when you finish watching this movie, you feel extremely patriotic and proud of the great people that live in the United States.

Rescue Dawn – Realisticness – A Survival Value – B Entertainment factor – C
This survival movie is the true story of Dieter Dengler (Christian Bale), a German American fighter pilot whose plane is shot down over Laos during the Vietnam War and captured. I believe this film gives you a picture of how the living conditions in prisoner camps were. Additionally, it shows how important having a strong – will is when you need to get out of a seemingly dead end situation. There are many scenes in this film that have survival value, especially when they escape from the camp and must live outdoors and survive in the wild.

Alone Across Australia – Realisticness – A Survival Value – B+ Entertainment factor – B+
This is survival documentary is not well known, but still provides pretty great survival value. The only reason I saw this was because I attended a small independent film festival in my town. This is the story of Jon Muir and his dog that set out on a trip across Australia with only him, his dog, and what he could carry on his homemade cart. This is a great look at survival and has the highest survival value out of any of the survival movies I have reviewed. Out of all the movies I’ve ever seen, this film probably has the saddest scene because what happened in the movie was what happened in real life. If you get a chance, definitely watch this documentary. The only problem is it is difficult to find and usually expensive because of its rarity.

Great War Movies

So what makes a great war movie? In my opinion a great movie about the subject of war must show the nightmare that war is. Any movie that romanticizes the horror of war or tries to make the subject of war anything less than the human nightmare it is, does a disservice to the young men and women who fought in died in war and who have given their lives for the country they are fighting for.

As far as great war movies, in my opinion, no movie will ever top “Saving Private Ryan”, which came out in 1998 and was directed by Steven Spielberg. The fact that this great movie did not win best picture in 1998 and lost to the movie “Shakespeare in Love” means that at least in the year 1998, there was something very wrong with the voting process or the people who voted for best picture that year. Saving Private Ryan showed the horror of war so well that even the veterans who served during the Normandy Invasion thought that this movie showed what it was like better than anything they had ever seen before. First and foremost, the opinion of any person who had seen the horrors of war means everything to how effective a wary movie and Saving Private Ryan has forever set the bar at the highest possible mark in this regard.

I recently saw the movie “American Sniper”, which was about the war career during the IRAQ war of Chris Kyle who at 160 kills, is the all-time record holder as a sniper in the US Navy Seals. What was great about American Sniper is that it showed the psychological effects of war after the soldier returns home better than any movie I have seen in a long time. This movie has already been nominated for best picture this year and should win in my opinion mainly due to the performances and the importance of the subject matter.

A close second this year would be the movie the “Imitation Game”, which was the story of a great scientist Alan Turing, who due to his genius was able to figure out the German communication code by building a machine for Great Britain. Due to this brilliant invention, Turing and his team was able to break the German code in 2 years and according to the movie, probably shortened the war by 2 years and may have saved as many as 14 million lives. I loved this movie because it showed the importance of intelligence during a war better than anything I have ever seen and it was also a great history lesson because not only did Turing break the German code, but he also created what would be considered the first ever modern computer. Unfortunately due to the fact Turning was gay, he was not celebrated as he should have been for saving the world after World War 2, but instead was forced to take drugs to try and prevent him from being gay, which tragically lead to his suicide at age 41.