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Monday, October 28

My Favorite Things - The Beach

"I'm not a daydreamer...but I often wonder what my life would be like if I were..." - Versability

Watch The Beach Movie on Amazon
Click to watch on Amazon
***Caution: This post contains many plot spoilers for an old movie...***

I've seen it over two dozen times now, but The Beach still retains the magic of the first viewing. It brilliantly captures the spirit of adventure and yearning to explore that defined the imagination of my youth. I instantly fell in love with the entire package: the international cast, the beautiful settings, the music, the writing, the entirety of the movie still touches me.

After a long week, I needed to take my mind off the past and start moving forward, so I smoked a couple bowls and turned on my go-to film. Here are 10 reasons to love Danny Boyle's film (based on a novel by Alex Garland) about a young man (Leonadro Dicaprio) whose search for something unique leads him to an island paradise hidden behind a marijuana field:

1 - Richard is a Man's Man...


Although Leo's character Richard isn't a huge guy, he makes some great masculine choices. No amount of push-ups will make a shot of snake blood go down any easier. Your win/loss ration in a fight doesn't matter to a shark when it's attacking you in the water. Muscles don't stop a bullet.

French chick from The Beach movie
"Brian...I want to put your wiener in my mouth..."

2 - Francois is Gorgeous...


The romance between Richard and Francois (Virginie Ledoyen) is one of my cinematic favorites. It's a dreamy fantasy romance that takes place during exotic travel. When they meet at night to make love in the moonlit water of the beach, it's difficult not to reminisce of romantic times of the past.

Although the sex scene with the white witch chick from Narnia (Tilda Swinton) is more graphic, Richard and Francois is much more passionate and intense.


3 - Accents are Orgasms for the Ear...


Speaking of romance, The Beach is filled with great accents. Every character is from a different part of the world, so they all bring their cultures and accents with them. I especially love the scene where each of them individually gives their shopping lists to Richard before his trip back to Koh Phangan, the nearest city to the secret beach.

Mary Jane in Julie Mitchell's Grinder
Mary Jane never gave me Chlamydia...

4 - Marijuana, Mary Jane, and Cannabis...


Any film that promotes marijuana usage is A-ok in my book. I'm in no way against people harvesting and consuming poppies, coca, marijuana or mushrooms. Even the synthetic drugs (Xanax, Pain Killers, Molly, etc) have their uses, but my personal favorite drug-of-choice will always be THC.

The field of marijuana the travelers stumble upon after swimming for hours is totally worth the trip. The video-game-style isolation scenes easily make this a stoner classic.


5 - The Reality of Paradise...


Behind all the sappy romance and drug-addled dreams, The Beach actually does a great job as a metaphor for our own individual quests for that "perfect life." Everyone has a dream of somewhere distant where they can be themselves and life will work out perfectly.

A different setting isn't always the answer, and there's a reason you're holding on to what you have. Even people gathering with the best of intentions will create something corrupt eventually. Isolation isn't possible in a hivemind, which we (human beings, not just #Anonymous), are.

Whistleblower Brian Penny
Image Courtesy of artwithlines.blogspot.com

6 - The Beach Teaches How to Become an Outcast...


Although attempting to create and preserve a perfect society, the deeper and more complicated things get, the more likely they are to become corrupt. In a society in which everyone wants to be happy, people who aren't happy are cast out of utopia - whistleblowers are especially at risk.

Human history has shown us that creating a utopia will conversely create an equal hell for those unable to keep up with the societal norms of nirvana. In The Beach, they simply cart their injured comrade off to die in the woods where it's not inconvenient. They also silence whistleblowers at any and all costs.


7 - Actions Have Consequences...


Every action has a reaction. Whether or not they're equal is in the perception of the parties involved. Sometimes human beings go overboard in their search for either equality or vengeance. The Beach captures this essence beautifully. When Richard goes Daffy on everyone, the society wants to enact their consequences on the whistleblower. The drug cartel has their own plans in mind, however, kicking everyone off the island.

8 - Perspective Changes Everything...


The view of paradise is actually fonder after having left it than it is while searching for and experiencing it. Richard and his friends think they've found paradise, but when forced to let go and return to the real world, it still lives within their hearts, as he views pictures from a time he's long removed from in an internet cafe as just another average American working schmuck.

The Beach
The most beautiful beach without dinosaurs...

9 - Paradise Is a State of Thought...


Even memories of this movie warm my heart, so the memories of the characters who lived it or the real life people who brought it to the screen must be amazing. Even though I wasn't involved in the story in any way, I feel like the characters are a part of my own memories and my own family - that brief moment in time forever etched on a smile and a thought...


10 - Friends Will Always Be Friends...


The sappy ending of the film reminds me that people go through rough times, people have disputes and wars and arguments and say and do so many hateful things; at the end of the day, though, the warm memories are never erased. The people in our lives had an impact, and forgetting or dismissing them doesn't do you any good. Instead focus on all the important ways in which they improved your life...and fondly remember them...for that is true friendship...

Want more of my favorite things? Check out: Useful Uses of Hydrogen Peroxide...



Brian Penny is a former business analyst at Bank of America turned whistleblower and freelance writer. He's a frequent contributor to Huffington PostMainstreetLifehack, and HardcoreDroid and an affiliate of Manduka and Tazo. He documents his experiences working with Anonymous, practicing yoga, and fighting the banks on his blog.

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