Monthly Archives: June 2016

Throwback Thursday-Bogus (1996)

The greatest gift we have as children is imagination. There is nothing that is impossible as a child if we just believe. Then we grow up and that imagination is replaced by the cold and hard facts of reality.

In 1996 movie Bogus, Albert Franklin (Haley Joel Osment) has just lost his mother. The person designated to be Albert’s guardian is Harriet Franklin (Whoopi Goldberg), his mother’s best friend. Harriet reluctantly takes Albert in.

But Albert is not alone. Along for the ride is Bogus (Gerard Depardieu). Bogus, a flamboyant French magician is Albert’s imaginary friend. While Harriet is caring for Albert materially and physically, she is unable to provide the emotional support that the boy lost with his mother.

Can Harriet become Albert’s mother in every sense (and get over the scars of her childhood in the process) and will Albert ever stop grieving for his mother?

I happen to think that this movie is enjoyable. The narrative and the journey of both Albert and Harriet has an undercurrent of grief and loss. But with that grief and loss is Bogus, who represents hope, love, childhood innocence and the promise of a brighter tomorrow.

I recommend it.

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Happy Birthday Gilda Radner

Last night, I wished a happy 90th birthday to Mel Brooks.

What I did not know is that June 28th is also the birthday of another legendary Jewish comic, the late Gilda Radner.

Born in 1946, Gilda Radner is remembered as part of the original cast of Saturday Night Live, then known as the not ready for prime time players. Standing on the shoulders of Lucille Ball and Carol Burnett, Gilda paved the way for the careers of Tina Fey, Rosie O’Donnell, Ellen Degeneres, Amy Schumer, Roseanne and other female comedians. While some of her characters were broad and perhaps a little on the annoying side, other characters were sweet and maybe a little naive.

After leaving Saturday Night Live, Gilda acted in several movies, including Haunted Honeymoon(1986), with her husband, Gene Wilder. She left this world in 1989, dying from ovarian cancer. After her death, Gilda’s Club was established as a support system for those fighting cancer.

Happy Birthday Gilda, wherever you are.

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Happy Birthday Mel Brooks

Today is the 90th birthday of the legendary comedian Mel Brooks.

Born in Brooklyn, New York on June 28th, 1925, Melvin Kaminsky would grow up to be one of the greatest comedians of the 20th century.

What can I say about this man? He is a comedic genius. His movies are completely quotable and his characters are outlandish. His characters say and do things that many writers and filmmakers would shy away from. There is no genre that remains untouched by his unique form of satire.

Mel Brooks has also had the good fortune to see two of his movies, Young Frankenstein and The Producers become hit Broadway musicals. Not bad for a Jewish kid from Brooklyn who was born right before the great depression.

I could go on and on, but I will let his movies do the talking.

Happy Birthday Mel Brooks, thanks for the laughter.

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Filed under History, Movies, New York City, Star Wars

Just Keep Swimming

Sometimes, when we feel when we are the point that is our lowest, it’s easy to give up. What is harder to do is to pick yourself up and move forward.

In the recent release Finding Dory, Dory, the blue tang once more voiced by Ellen DeGeneres, is just as cheerful and forgetful as she was in Finding Nemo.

The plot of Finding Dory focuses on Dory’s journey to find her parents.

It’s easy to laugh and mock someone who is like Dory. Socially naive, forgetful, not always the smartest fish in the sea, etc.

But underneath all that is a confidence, a belief that she can find her parents and more importantly, a resolve to not give up until she finds her parents.

I think that is a lesson we all can learn from Dory. If there is something you want out of life, just go for it. There will be nay sayers and obstacles along the way, that is certain. But that does not mean we should give up at the first potential sign of defeat.

As Dory says, just keep swimming. You’ll make it there, whatever there is.

P.S. If anyone would like to read my review of Finding Dory, it should hopefully be on the website Movie Pilot soon. You can also check out my review of Money Monster if your interested on the same site.

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Brexit

Over the past few days, the world has been riveted by the Brexit referendum.

For those who are unaware, the Brexit referendum was a vote put forth to the British voters. The question was whether or not to retain a membership in the European Union.

The vote was a close one, with 52% of those voting to leave the EU versus 48% voting to stay within the EU.

While I as an American am not personally impacted by the decision at this moment in time, I can see how it could affect the global community in the future.

The way I read the decision is that it feels very isolationist. Not that the fears of those who voted to leave the EU are completely unfounded, but it could be interpreted as racist and prejudicial against certain communities, especially those who are fleeing destruction and hate in other parts of the world.

I am going to end this video with John Oliver, because he hits the nail on the head every time.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

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Music News: Goodbye Yellowcard And The Mess I Made

Last night, Yellowcard fans around the world went to bed with their hearts breaking. The upcoming album and tour will be the band’s last for the foreseeable future.

Their albums have been the soundtrack of my life for the last 10 years. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing them live several times. I cannot put into words the unbridled joy that comes the phrase “Yellowcard concert”.

All good things must come to an end, that is a fact of life. When the Beatles announced that they were breaking up in 1970, their fans must have felt like the world was falling apart.

The new album and tour will be bittersweet. Thank you guys, for 10 years of incredible music, my life would have been very different without you.

To honor their journey as musicians and mine as a fan, I give you their first song to hit the charts, Ocean Avenue and the first single off the new album, Rest In Peace.


In other music news, I have a new favorite song, The Mess I Made by Stillwell.

I found the song to be so true to life. We all make mistakes and it’s incredibly easy to punish ourselves for that mistake. I love a good rock song and this song is perfect.

Happy Saturday.

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The Devil Wears Prada

June 30th is 10 year anniversary of The Devil Wears Prada.

Based off the best-selling book by Lauren Weisberger of the same name, Andy Sachs (Anne Hathaway) is a new college graduate whose professional goal is to be a journalist. But a job in journalism is out of reach. The only job she can find is as an assistant to the notoriously difficult and demanding Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep), editor of the fashion magazine Runway.

Andy initially is like a fish out of water. She does not fit in, especially with her fellow assistant Emily (Emily Blunt), feels overwhelmed by her job and has little to no social life due to her demanding job. Then something clicks and Andy finally starts to feel like she is fitting in and getting the job done. The problem now is that her personal life is being pushed to the side. Can Andy find that balance again and will she stay at Runway?

I saw this film during its initial release in theaters. From the moment the film started, I got the story and I got Andy. First, it is a very New York City story. It sounds cliché, but New York City was another character. Second, Andy is an every woman. She represents the millions of kids that graduate from college, have a dream career, but are forced to take a totally different job to survive.

At the time the film was released, I was in my early 20’s, only a few years out of college and working in my first long-term full-time job. I understood Andy and her struggles. Especially living in New York City, where dreams are well and good, but the rent has to be paid.

If there was ever a film to highlight Meryl Streep’s talent, this film is it. Miranda Priestly did not need to yell and scream if she was unhappy with her underling’s work. She only had to speak softly and raise her eyebrow. Even with stars like Streep and Hathaway, the MVP of this film is Emily Blunt. Not only does she have some of the best lines, but she steals the show from her co-stars.

I have nothing but good things to say about this film and I absolutely recommend it to anyone who has not seen it.

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Filed under Books, Life, Movies, New York City

Flashback Friday- Timeline (2003)

Time travel has been a major component of science fiction since the beginning of the genre. But, like anything else, there is drawback.

In the 2003 film, Timeline, a team of archaeologists and military experts travel back in time from the 21st century to the 14th century. Their goal is to rescue Chris Johnston’s (the late Paul Walker) father. The issues they face are equally thorny: a time crunch to return to the present in one piece and the knowledge that Britain is going to invade France.

Can they accomplish their mission and return home in the same condition that they left and can they retrieve Chris’s father without affecting history?

This film is interesting. It is not completely science fiction, but it has elements of the genre. It is not a historical film, but a large portion of the film is set in 14th century France.

While Timeline is not the best film I’ve ever seen, it’s not the worst film that I’ve ever seen.

Do I recommend it? I say maybe, but someone else might say yes.

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Filed under Flashback Friday, History, Movie Review, Movies

Throwback Thursday-28 Days (2000)

Anyone who has grappled with an addiction to alcohol or drugs can tell you that breaking the addiction is not easy. It’s even harder on the ones who love them and only want the best for them, but are limited in their abilities to help.

In the movie 28 Days (2000), Gwen Cummings (Sandra Bullock) is at a major crossroads in her life. Gwen’s alcohol addiction has become so bad that she got drunk on the day of her sister’s wedding and gets into a car accident. She has two choices: go to jail or rehab. Gwen chooses rehab.

At first, Gwen is resistant to accept that she has a problem and use the tools at her disposal to deal with her problem. Then she begins to see the problems that her alcoholism has created and must work to not only make amends for her choices, but work to overcome her addiction.

Up to this point in her career, Sandra Bullock’s roles were mostly the heroine in predictable and bland romantic comedies. This film is much darker and her role much more complex. Alcoholism is a disease that millions of Americans grapple with every day. It is Gwen’s fight with herself that makes this movie seem less like fiction and more like the real struggle of those who are fighting within themselves daily to stay sober.

I recommend it.

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You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life Book Review

On the surface, confidence may seem easy to acquire. We just have to think positive thoughts, remember the good things we have (and the people who love us) and the rest will take care of itself. That is often easier said that done, especially when someone suffers from anxiety, low self esteem or depression.

Best selling author and life coach Jen Sincero has a message for those let doubt and fear hold them back: you are a badass and you deserve the good things in life. Forget the b*llsh*t, forget the nonsense and forget the people who you believe are holding you back.  Her new book is entitled You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life.

Appealing to those who are in desperate need of self esteem and self worth, Ms. Sincero speaks to the reader as if she was having a one on one conversation with them. Her goal is to help the reader become the confident person they already are, if they are willing to do the work and let that confidence shine through the darkness of low self esteem. But at the same time, she doesn’t want to make it obvious that the reader is working on building that confidence.

There are many self help books on the market, especially in the area of self esteem, anxiety and depression. Whether they are written by professionals in the mental health arena or someone who has finally allowed themselves to be self confident after years of self doubt and internal criticism, it’s not always easy to choose which book to read.

I found this book to very appealing. Using her professional experience as a life coach as a guide, Ms. Sincero
makes the case very plain to the reader: stop whining and do it. Life is hard and people are mean, but that is no excuse to let your mojo be taken away. Within the book, she provides examples from both her own life and the lives of her clients. Broken down into small chapters, one of the aspects of this book that made it stand out was the exercises. I found the exercises to be the best part of the book as make the reader see that they have the confidence while confronting whatever is holding them back.

Written without the jargon that is sometimes used in similar books written by mental health professionals, it appeals to the John or Jane Doe on the street who needs that pick me up to hold their head high and be proud of themselves.  But with a little hard work, a positive attitude and a pitchfork to battle the demons that lurk inside of us, it is possible to the badass that we have been all along. We just need the confidence to say to be that bad ass.

This book is excellent and I absolutely recommend it.

 

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