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Pawn Sacrifice (2014)
A Look into the Top of the Chess World and Convincing Drama
Probably one of the best biographical documentary films / dramas about a chess player living in an intense period of time. And Robert James Fischer definitely belongs in the Top 5 players that have ever lived. I like how they interwove a few scenes of the actual Bobby Fischer at the end and how the chess scenes were mostly accurate. They show some of his novelties however they didn't pay attention to his famous knight maneuvers, together with Morphy's the best in history. Instead the producers focused on the Cold War bout with the Russians. Which is a nice decision for a movie. But they could at least have shown the trap involving the bishop sacrifice from B3 to F7 and winning the queen on D8, which he funnily enough simply obtained from one of those Russian chess magazines, but his GM opponent didn't know.
Also in reality, Fischer didn't resign after blundering his bishop in Fischer vs. Spassky Game 1, hoping for inaccuracies, but at that level he indeed might as well have. All in all this is a very good portrayal of the social and mental difficulties tagging along with the full dedication to a potentially brain-wrecking game, and ignoring life's other opportunities such as building relationships. It also shows an outstanding acting performance by Tobey Maguire.
The Legend of Bagger Vance (2000)
The best movie I've seen to become present yourself
You know, there's basically only two ways you can watch movies. You either use them as food for the thinking mind, or you simply sit back and see where it takes you, as if it's the first thing you've ever seen.
In the first way, your mind generates expectations of what it will get to consume. Then it will be presented its food for consumption, and it will start up its filters in order to judge whether the food is good or bad. And every time you think you can fit it with a negative label, you will gladly make known that you made that recognition.
In the other way, you enter the movie fully and openly, without expectations. And as the experience unfolds, you feel into the characters and relate it to your own being.
From the first perspective, this movie is not very good. It's slow, a bit airy-fairy, and the plot quite boring. Your mind will probably already know what's going to happen all the time, and find plenty of negative labels it can paste onto the movie. On to the next one, the next thing to consume, it will tell you.
From the other perspective, this is one of the best movies if not the best ever created in the history of humanity, if you ask me. It gradually unfolds into showing how R. Junuh (Matt Damon) becomes more present in where he is, as he makes crucial steps in his mind and lets go of the baggage that remains inside of it. By following this process and relating to it ourselves, this movie is a wonderful tool for becoming more present and being masterful in whatever we happen to be doing in our own lives.
Bagger Vance (Will Smith) basically tells that the only thing that Junuh can do in order to win this game of golf is let go of his thoughts. The thoughts that tell him who he is or should be in relation to others, what he feels about the present 'situation', or what he needs to do in order to succeed. He learns that he needs to simply drop that self-centeredness, essentially that whining child inside, and let the moment that is already there take him over instead of his mind.
By doing so ourselves during the movie, we might become more present too as our thoughts fade to the background and as we become more aware of what's going on around us, instead of being absorbed only in what's going on inside the screen, behind the electronic window. We can get into that state where we feel our environment, where we drop all mental baggage, and where we can simply excel in what we do, whatever it is that apparently wants to be done through us. We can remember how it was before all the mental conditioning started somewhere in our childhood, and become present again. That's the real potential of this movie, the experience it can drag you into. Which is much better than a temporary pleasure, if you ask me.
And is that not the only thing to do in this game we call life? Is that not the ultimate teaching that the Bhagavad Gita and ultimately the mystical branches of all religions point to? In this movie, it's not Bagger Vance that awakens R. Junuh, it simply all happens pretty much independently of anything, in the true experiential recognition of itself. And that's really all we need to know, and the limit of all that we can really get from any type of immersion in media content.