" Global amnesia refers to a dense and circumscribed deficit in memory in the context of otherwise preserved intelligence. It encompasses the acquisition of events and facts encountered postmorbidly (anterograde amnesia), as well as the retreival of information acquired premorbidly (retrograde amnesia). Patients with amnesia are capable of holding a limited amount of information in mind for a very brief period of time, but with increased retention interval or increased interference, their recall and recognition of the information inevitably fails. Anterograde amnesia is usually global, in that memory for all new information is affected - regardless of the nature of the information (i.e. verbal or nonverbal) or the modality in which it is presented (i.e. auditory or visual). In most patients, anrerograde amnesia is associated with some degree of retrograde loss, although its extent is more variable. The reverse, however, is not necessarily the case, as some patients have been described who demonstrate relatively focal retrograde amnesia in the absence of anterograde memory loss (Kapur, 1993; Kopelman, 2000)."
I've had several cases recently in which some degree of memory impairment has been reported. As a result, I've contined to focus on various aspects of memory impairment, which explains the recent posts on memory-related topics. I thought this paragraph effectively described the issues associated with the two general types of amnesia: 1) Anterograde - from the point of onset, a person cannot form new memories, and; 2) Reterograde - a person cannot recall memories from a particular time period in the past, but is able to form new memories.
With respect to anterograde amnesia, two movies that have portrayed this issue are: 1) 50 First Dates, in a lighthearted, comedic manner, and; 2) Memento, in a darker, film noir manner. In each case, a head injury impairs the individual to the point where they can no longer form long-term memories; once time passes, or new information is presented (interference), the preceeeding stimuli is lost. Memento is particularly effective in demonstrating the impact this sort of problem can have, utilizing a clever time-sequencing device to impart the memory problem onto the audience. If one is interested in reading a fascinating portrayal of this type of problem, I highly recommend the chapter "The Last Hippie" from Oliver Sacks' An Anthropologist on Mars .
Retrograde amnesia has been shown in film as well. In the case of a brain injury, Overboard with Goldie Hawn presents a woman who loses memory of her past after a fall and subsequent hit on the head. More common in the movies (liely due to theatrical potential) is psychogenic retrograde amnesia (amnesia for past events for psychological, not medical, reasons). In The prince of Tides, Nick Nolte works through a childhood trauma for which he cannot recall the event; many movies will portray memory loss of this type as a result of a traumatic event (including the comission of a crime), often using this set up as a plot device.
As time and interest permits, I'll keep posting stuff I think might be interesting!
1) This post addresses the question: "Who is the best Batman of all-time?' Voice portrayals are included. Amazingly, George Clooney is not ranked first.
2) The kids of the Geekdads made their picks for "Best of the Decade" in categories such as movies, books, comics, and games. A good list for anyone with kids, as there are a few items I know my kids would like, but I had not heard of them. Also, lots of Lego-love!!!
3) Here is a list of the top 5 PS3 games of 2009, including downloadables. I haven't played with my PS3 much (I use it mostly for the Blu-Ray), but I did download Comet Crash, and I've really enjoyed it.
4) This is a really nice review of the game Carcassonne, a game I've been eyeing for quite awhile, but I've yet to pull the trigger on. Sounds like I need to get it.
I have a book review pending for Rubicon, a book about the last days of the Roman Republic (hint: I loved it!). Unfortunately, it is written on a computer that is now without a screen, and that is now being mailed back to me by Dell (unrepaired, I might add). Once returned, I'll do my best to pull my writings off of its hard drive, and will hopefully be able to post my review.
Rubicon was written by Tom Holland, who also wrote Persian Fire, about Leonidas, Xerxes, and the war being the Greeks and the Persian Empire. Note - I loved that book, too. As a result, I read Rubicon, and will read Tom Holland's other stuff when able.
Based on my enjoyment of Rubicon, I recently began receiving HBO's series Rome in the mail. Disc 1 sat on my computer stand for two weeks, but I finally popped it into the player this weekend. All I can say is, "Wow!"
I'm not going to go into any kind of review; this has been around awhile (2005?), and I'm sure there are tons of quality reviews all over the Internet. Suffice to say that if you enjoy history presented well, with a focus on both the major players, as well as the day-to-day lives of the typical citizens, this series is for you. Well written, well acted, beautifully filmed, and with a story of remarkable importance and timelessness, I am four episodes in, and can't wait to watch more. I recommend the double dip - read Rubicon, which is very well written and will provide you with a sense of the time, players, and issues. Then, start watching Rome, and be sure to use the special feature "All Roads Lead to Rome," which provides bits of information and trivia on-screen as the episode plays. Two seasons were filmed, with 22 episodes total. I find this appealing, in that an end is in sight right off the bat, and the last episode appears to be at an appropriate juncture in Roman history. Enjoy! I know I will...
As this post over at Wired shows, John Williams’s Star Wars music from Star Wars: A New Hope is consistently ranked at or near the top of every movie score survey (and rightfully so). Williams perfectly captures the sense of wonder, adventure, and whimsy that was so strong in Star Wars, particularly given the immense impact the movie had at that time. Dozens of sci-fi/fantasy/space opera movies have been churned out since 1977, but it was Star Wars that paved the way for this type of film, and the music was an important part of the reason.
I’ve read this elsewhere, but I agree: music compositions written for film seem to get the short shrift in terms of artistic credit. Why this is, I don’t know, but it’s rare that a film score composer is ever mentioned as a great composer, period; it’s always qualified. Seems ridiculous to me, since I really enjoy listening to the scores of many movies on my iPod, and many movies are far more memorable than they otherwise would have been if the music didn’t contribute so mightily to the overall experience.
In no particular order, here are a few movies besides Star Wars (off the top of my head) where I think the music score (not soundtracks!) played a significant role in the cementing of the movies’ reputation as a classic, or at least perfectly fit the theme and feel of the film:
1) Jaws 2) Rocky 3) Raiders of the Lost Ark 4) The Last of the Mohicans 5) The Bad News Bears 6) Blade Runner 6) Alien 7) Conan the Barbarian 8) Gladiator 9) Superman 10) Halloween
Not surprisingly, I have most of these on my iPod. I also have other scores to movies such as Braveheart, King Kong (the Peter Jackson version), Gettysburg (extremely under-rated), The Dark Knight, Casino Royale, and Hoosiers, Wanted, and 300. There’s a few others I’d like to get my hands on at some point, including Rudy, The Witness,
Incidentally, you can look at the AFI list of the 250 movies nominated for best score of all time, as well as the 25 winners, here. The list is quite interesting, especially because it dates my movie-watching experience as post-1975. Sure, I’ve seen plenty of pre-1975 films, and would rank many in my all-time favorites list. But when it comes to a more specialized list such as this, my thinking skews towards films I’ve seen in theaters, on awards shows, etc. The only quibbles I have with the list is that several movies are listed that would seem to be far more memorable for their soundtrack than their score: these ought to be different lists. The other problem is that Halloween is not on the list, while The English patient is this list, let alone on any list at all that doesn’t include the word “Crappiest” in the title.
In the meantime, I may write up something on my favorite soundtracks at a later date. Brief preview: Swingers, Once, and Purple Rain will be in the mix! And if anyone has a film score they think I've overlooked or might be interested in checking out, feel free to leave a comment.
I thought this article was a lot of fun, especially since I remember thinking some of these very things when watching these movies. “But, but, but how can...?” ran through my mind on more than a few occasions watching the films on this list. The good news is that, when I was younger and took this sort of thing more seriously, these types of plot holes provided tons of fun debates and efforts to “solve” the problem.
This post has generated a ton of responses in the comments section, many of them funny. I’m glad someone answered the question a poster asked regarding Lord of the Rings: “Why didn’t Frodo just hitch a ride with the giant eagle, and fly to Mt. Doom to destroy the Ring?” Ahh, because, Young Grasshopper, The Eye was Always Watching! Always! Remember the 300 or so quick cuts to The Eye during the movies, showing it searching for the Ring all over Middle Earth? Remember how The Nine were drawn to the Ring? Remember how Gandalf, Aragorn, and the others led a last battle against Mordor in the hope that Sauron would take His Eye away from its search just long enough to give Frodo a shot at slipping through? Anyway, that’s why - the eagle would have been spotted long before it had a chance to get Frodo to the drop point.
My favorite loop hole not on the list? It’s from The Terminator movies, especially the first one. When the Terminators time travel back to disrupt the events that lead to the existence of John Conner, why not go back to 1880, and kill his great-grandfather? That way, there is no technology that could even conceivably be used to stop a terminator. The only explanation I can think of is that the machines did not want to potentially jeopardize their own existence by tampering with history too early, where there would be less control over the subsequent impact. But, I’m open to other theories (besides the idea that a terminator dodging 19th century technology from people on horseback would not have been nearly as entertaining a film).
For all those interested in various issues related to Geekdom:
1) An effort is underway to honor the late Gary Gygax with a statue in his hometown of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. If you have to ask, “Who is Gary Gygax?” you are probably wasting your time reading this post. The truly pertinent question would be, “Will there be any features that allow for animation, and a potential destructive rampage?”
2) Star Wars versus Star Trek - Which one to choose on a desert isle? Despite the fact that the poll question posed is not the same as the question many are answering (from a look at the comments), it is a fun debate that was portrayed rather humorously in Fan Boys. My vote? Star Wars, of course!
3) As recently noted, I pulled out an old microgame called Saga, and played it with my seven-year old last weekend. He enjoyed the game, but it is a by-the-numbers game, very little imagination involved. I’ve often wondered when my kids can start to tackle the more complex and/or more imaginative stuff. Based on a review by Paul Tevis and reviews at RPG.com, I’ve decided to order Faery's Tale, a role-playing game for children. From the sound of it, the game allows for a fair bit of imagination, the use of magic, and emphasizes problem-solving skills (instead of just hacking away at everything). Looks good! Once I’ve played it with the kids, I’ll post my impressions.
5) Lileks posts about all sorts of nostalgia, and he has a recurring post regarding “out-of context” advertisements. This one is pretty funny. Today’s newspaper carriers are tomorrow’s leaders! I’m proof-positive that this is not necessarily the case...
...when it starts popping up in all sorts of mainstream pop culture media. Now, I'm not saying there haven't been references to Facebook, Myspace, etc. before (I remember recently seeing an episode of My Boys that revolved around Facebook), but to have a large-scale movie (in this case, Funny People) devote this amount of time (HT: TechCrunch) to these sites suggests social networking is sufficiently well-known to the general audience that the material will be broadly recognized, not merely an insider reference. I suppose I knew this anyway, given personal observations: Two years ago, I was way too old for Facebook - now, parents and in-laws are sending me friend requests. Indeed, Facebook has arrived!