Hooray for Social Work! (or Hollywood.)

28 02 2011

I am an Oscar junkie. I can’t help it. Even when I know the hosts are going to be terrible (being pretty and having acting talent doesn’t excuse everything, Mr. Franco) I’m still excited for weeks. The fashion doesn’t hold my interest, but being a movie snob does. Nothing gives me greater joy than being able to get righteously angry for whoever got snubbed.

I should probably social work myself over that one. Later.

I make it a point to see as many nominated movies as I can. This year I made a spreadsheet to make this more achievable. (Note: if you do this, don’t show it to anyone. I assure you, people don’t understand.)

We all know that being a social worker colors your view of the world. It changes how you see things. The Oscars are no different.

We started with the red carpet. Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban just had a baby through a surrogate, and Sandra Bullock was talking about her son. So much going on. I wonder who facilitates these things. If you work in private adoption and Sandy strolls into your office, is it cool to ask her what she really thought doing “Speed 2” was going to accomplish? I think it’s relevant.

Some of those young actresses are looking awfully thin. Self esteem seminar, perhaps? Who are they maintaining this look for?

Kirk Douglas–does he have a case manager? He’s entitled to services, I hope he’s getting them.

James Franco…all right, kid. I love you dearly, but what are you on? I don’t know if an intervention is necessary at this point, but if this starts to affect your career and relationships, you give me a call. (Or you know, even if it doesn’t start to affect anything, you could still give me a call. I mean, whatever.)

Onto the movies!

Black Swan, a social worker’s dream nightmare something. There’s almost too much to discuss. Enmeshed family systems, diffuse boundaries, eating disorders, self-harm, sexual confusion…imagine a family session with Nina and her mom. If you haven’t run screaming, congratulations. You’ve got what it takes.

The Social Network. Just because you’re making tons of money and invented crack Facebook doesn’t mean you’re exempt from social norms. I hope Mark Zuckerberg has taken a good look at himself. Who are your real friends, sir? Where’s the support system?

The King’s Speech. What a delight. Social workers need a triumphant story every now and then. (As do speech therapists.) I think this film makes a really good case for the need for early intervention, though.

Inception. Oh come on. Are you kidding? All I can say is, I wouldn’t mind getting in Christopher Nolan’s head for a little while. But how would I know if I was really even there?

127 Hours. I loved this movie. It was probably my favorite of the year. But all I could think of was, 1) If I was part of the family who found Aron Ralston wandering the desert with an arm hacked off, I probably would have fled before helping, and 2) What if you were the person that guy came to for counseling? What is the precedent, really? “Ah yes, the old trapped for days in a canyon, drinking your own urine before sawing your hand off. I remember studying this in Ringling Bros. social work school.”

True Grit. First of all, Hailee Steinfeld should have won. (No offense to Melissa Leo. A working class tough gal from Boston with a heavy accent? Never been done.) Second of all, can we put a little more pressure on our 14 year olds? But Mattie avenged her father, survived a snake bite, and never let a man hold her down. (Also got spanked by Matt Damon, but that’s an entirely different discussion.) When I say “parentified,” you say “resiliency!”

Toy Story 3. Oh, life cycle changes. This one doesn’t make me think of social work, so much as it makes me cry. (Although I would kill to have Andy’s toys for use in a counseling session.)

Join SocialJerk next year, for the movie reviews you won’t get anywhere else! (And if someone could get Richard Roeper to return my calls, it would be much appreciated.)

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10 responses

28 02 2011
Heiddi Zalamar

lol I loved this post! I thought the same thing about The Black Swan too – having a family session, plus the diagnosing. lol I did that at the movie, too. Had my pal cracking up when I told her I was studying while watching the movie.

Heiddi

28 02 2011
socialjerk

Thanks! I think Black Swan should be required viewing for all social workers. Diagnosing and developing a treatment plan for that family would be a much more fun, and challenging, licensing exam.

28 02 2011
socialoverworker

Matt Damon and spanking? Where?!

28 02 2011
socialjerk

There are many reasons to love True Grit. That’s all I’m saying.

1 03 2011
Carolyn

But let’s cut to the chase ladies. Cate Blanchette. Worse. Dress. Ever.!!!!!

1 03 2011
socialjerk

That dress elicited what Kathy Griffin refers to as “the gay gasp” from my Oscar watching crew. In a bad way.

1 03 2011
The Bass Lake Bunch

[…] Hooray for Social Work! (or Hollywood.) « SocialJerk […]

2 03 2011
Nectarine

This post makes me *almost* wish I had watched the Oscars. But I can imagine.

I can’t watch movies like Black Swan precisely because they ARE too much like work. Give me a break!

2 03 2011
socialjerk

The only time I’m not social working movies is when they’re completely out there. When I saw Jason X: Friday the 13th in Space (in theaters, yes I did) I wasn’t thinking in terms of social work. But I was thinking about work during Up. When I wasn’t sobbing.

5 03 2011
Weekend Links 8 | Fighting Monsters

[…] in my trip around the virtual world, SocialJerk shares a great post about the links between films and social work in an Oscar-themed po…. As someone who has made a concerted effort to avoid Black Swan because it sounded like it might […]

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