Flashback Friday-The Sandlot (1993)

There is nothing more American than kids playing baseball in an open field during the warmer months.

In The Sandlot (1993), Scotty Smalls (Tom Guiry) has just moved into town with his mother and stepfather. In an effort to encourage Scotty to make friends, his stepfather teaches him to play baseball. Scotty soon joins a rag tag team of local kids, led by Benjamin Franklin Rodriguez (Mike Vitar). Over the course of the movie they battle another baseball team, lust after the female lifeguards at the pool like young boys do and hope to find the baseballs that have been eaten by the dog known as the beast.

This is a movie that has an appeal to all ages. Not just the twelve year olds in the audience, but also the former twelve year olds in the audience.  What I think keeps audiences coming back is that there is something about being twelve that is forever imprinted in us, no  matter how old we get.

I recommend it.


Stooping To Their Level

Readers who follow my blog regularly know that I support Israel and proudly so.

That does not mean that I agree with everything that happens over there.

In Jerusalem, Yishai Shlissel, an Ultra-Orthodox man stabbed several people at Jerusalem’s gay pride parade. This is not the first time that Mr. Shlissel  has attempted to kill members of the LGBTQ Israeli community. He was put in jail for attempting the same act ten years ago.

In Nablus, Jewish extremists are accused of starting a fire that killed a Palestinian toddler.

I am disgusted by both events.

While I believe that the Orthodox have the right to live as they wish to live (and I hope they would extend the same to me), they have no right to kill another simply because he or she lives differently.

In the same vein, starting this fire and killing this innocent child only feeds the hatred and the lies.

By these horrific acts, these people have stooped to the level of the terrorists.  I ashamed that these people are my own.

Flashback Friday-Toy Story (1995)

When we are young, our toys are our best friends. They are inanimate objects in which we bestow our hopes and our fears. But what would happen if  the toys came to life when their humans were not around?

This is the premise for Toy Story (1995).

Woody the cowboy (Tom Hanks) has been the favorite toy of Andy (John Morris) for a very long time. Then Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) is brought home and Woody feels like he has lost his place in the universe.  Buzz becomes Andy’s new favorite toy and Woody becomes jealous. In an attempt to get rid of Buzz, Woody removes them both from the comfort of Andy’s room. Now they must work together to get home before Andy moves and leaves them behind forever.

The graphics, especially for a movie made in 1995 are incredible. At the time, they were groundbreaking. But what makes the movie for me at least is the story. For a kid’s movie, the  plot and journey that the characters go through is very mature. It also appeals to the adults who remember when they were kids and saw their toys not as pieces of plastic and metal molded together, but as an extension of themselves.

I absolutely recommend it.


Throwback Thursday- Babe (1995)

The pig is often not thought of as the most intelligent creature in the animal kingdom. It is either thought of as a cute plaything or dinner.

In the movie Babe (1995),  Babe, a pig is raised by sheepdogs. He does not get much respect, either from the other animals on the farm or from Farmer and Mrs. Hoggett (James Cromwell and Magda Szubanski). Unlike his fellow pigs, Babe takes on the challenge of being a sheepdog while working to gain the respect of the rest of the farm animals and the humans who rely on them.

Let’s be honest, this is a kid’s movie. But there is a message about perseverance and being yourself that transcends the genre and for the most part, makes the movie somewhat watchable as an adult.

I recommend it.

Throwback Thursday-Television Edition-You Can’t Do That On Television (1979-1990)

There is something about television before the PC (politically correct) era that always stands out for me.

In the late 1970’s, a small Canadian station premiered You Can’t Do That On Television, a sketch comedy show with a cast of young up and coming performers. In the early 1980’s, the show aired internationally. Broken up into Saturday Night Live style skits and conversations between cast, the show was infamous for a certain catchphrase, which many of my generation may remember. Uttering this catchphrase meant that you would soon be covered in green slime.

For a kid in that era, this was sophisticated comedy. For my generation, this show elevated Nickelodeon’s stature and forever imprinted it’s association with green slime.

I recommend it.

I’m Going To Miss You, Jon Stewart

Let’s face it, the news is boring.

Jon Stewart has hosted The Daily Show since 1999. He made the news accessible and understandable for a generation who may or may not read a local newspaper or go to news stories on the internet.

I’m going to miss you, Jon Stewart.

There Is No Comparison

In local news, mogul Russell Simmons has compared animal abuse to the Holocaust and slavery.

He has every right to speak his mind and I respect the fact that he is standing up for animals who have no voice.

But there is no comparison.

Both the Holocaust and slavery represents the worst of humanity. The scars of both still linger and will continue to linger with our culture.

I understand that Mr. Simmons needed to get his point across. But to use those specific comparisons  takes away from the issue and creates an unnecessary controversy.

Alice At The Morgan

There are some childhood stories that stay with us, no matter how old we get. There are also some stories that we may not totally get until we are way beyond childhood.

Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland (more commonly known at Alice In Wonderland) was initially published in 1865. 150 years later, Alice In Wonderland is still a beloved children book.

Celebrating the book’s 150th anniversary, The Morgan Library in New York City has recently premiered it’s newest exhibit. The subject is Alice In Wonderland and the book’s author, Lewis Carroll. The exhibit takes the visitor through the writer’s life and how his experiences with the real Alice contributed to the fictional Alice and her experiences in Wonderland.

I found this exhibit to be very interesting. Among beloved childhood stories, Alice In Wonderland stands out. It stands out because there are references that a young child may not completely understand. The exhibit stands out because of not only the imagery, but also the artifacts that seems touchable behind the glass.

I recommend it.

Alice: 150 Years Of Wonderland is presently open at the Morgan Library in New York City and will be open until October 11th. 


Washington Square Book Review

A father is the first man in a woman’s life. No matter how old she gets or how many other men she may meet, he is the blueprint for how she will react to other men.

In Henry James’s classic novel, Washington Square, Dr. Austin Sloper has been hit early on in his life with two major losses: his son and his wife. His only consolation is his sole surviving child, Catherine. According to her father, Catherine’s charms lie solely in the money she is to inherit upon her father’s death. Catherine is neither intelligent, witty or easy on the eyes, according to her father. When Morris Townsend, a young man who is long on charm but short on cash starts to pay attention to Catherine, Dr. Sloper’s starts to suspect the real reason that young Mr. Townsend is coming to visit. Will Catherine follow her heart or will she continue to live as her father wishes?

This book is flawless. It is not just about a young woman choosing between loyalty to her father and the man she loves. There is a real psychological element to this novel. At stake is not just Catherine’s heart and mind, but also her future. What also struck me, as both a student of history and a student of this era, is that I grateful that I no longer live in that era. I am grateful that my only option in life is marriage and that I am not bound to marry a man that would be approved of solely because of his family or his income.

I recommend it.

Clueless, 20 Years Later

Clueless turned twenty this past June.

It has never looked better.

Loosely based on Jane Austen’s Emma, Clueless is the story of Beverly Hills teenager Cher Horowitz and her group of friends.

It has never felt dated. It is as fresh and authentic as the day it premiered.

The fact that it is 20 makes me feel old.

And I still wish to this day I had Cher’s closet.

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