42 (2013 film)

42 film poster.jpgJackie Robinson broke the race barrier in baseball when he was signed to the Brooklyn Dodgers. Before this, the idea of their being a black man in the major league was unheard of. But, Jackie Robinson managed to make that happen. On this day, Jackie Robinson was brought into this world unknowing that his destiny would help break down race barriers in the year 1947. The events of him getting into major league baseball is chronicled in the 2013 film 42. The name representing the number that Robinson wore brings us back in time to when baseball was separate and unequal.

The movie starts out with Robinson signing to the Brooklyn Dodgers under the guise of manager Branch Rickey. From  here we are brought back a couple of years to when Robinson was just starting out. They show Jackie and his first team the Kansas City Monarchs struggling to get their bus filled with gas because of the attendants refusing to help them out. As the film goes on we are taken to Robinson in spring training after he has received an offer from the Brooklyn Dodgers. We are shown the trials that he faced as the only black man on the team. Yet, we are shown the comradeship he was able to receive from those around him. There are many fights between the managers and the team members from other teams who complain about him. None the less, he is shown to be on the outfield. One of his teammates, Pee Wee Reese, realizes the struggle that Robinson faces on a daily basis and stands in solidarity with him silencing an angry crowd. After this we are shown Robinson still struggling with racism, yet he still perseveres and goes on with his team to win the World Series.

Jackie Robinson was able to have a story that reminds us that one man can change the world. He did so in America when he willingly signed to the Brooklyn Dodgers. Although, he may have been a little reluctant, there were people who were beside him encouraging him along the way. All of this helped pave the way for integration in the coming years. 42 is a great movie to remind us of how far we have come from segregation.

Book Challenge #1: The Circle

The Circle (Dave Eggers novel - cover art).jpgFor the 2016 Reading Challenge, I chose to do David Eggers novel The Circle for the future section. Although, this book does not take place in the future, it does have an eerie way of prediction bad things that could come from technology that we depend on. The book follows Mae Holland, a young college graduate who finds herself lucky enough to have a job at The Circle, one of the most powerful internet companies.

Impressed by what they are offering things start to change when Mae starts to become successful. The more higher up she becomes the sooner she learns the deepest secret her company has been keeping from the rest of the world. Not one to give away spoilers, I will leave you with that much information.

The Circle does bring us into the future with the idea of what could happen if technology gets the better of us. The company is run by three mysterious people called “The Wise Men” who we never see until the time is right. None the less, this book shows us what can happen if we get to far ahead of ourselves with technology that could lead to the destruction of trust, loyalty, and what we hold dear.

The Last Unicorn

Last unicorn.jpgMany of us have seen Rankin and Bass production, like Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and Santa Clause is Coming to Town, around the Christmas season. Arthur Rankin Jr. and Jules Bass created some of the most beloved holiday specials that are played yearly on television to the delight of children and adults every where. On January 3o, 2014, Arthur Rankin Jr., passed away in Bermuda. One of the most beloved artists worked with his partner on a beloved animated movie called The Last Unicorn. Staying true to their animation style, The Last Unicorn delighted audiences around the world after it’s premiere in 1982.

The story of The Last Unicorn is a different from several films aimed a children. Following the story of the unicorn called Amalthea we see her leave an enchanted forest to find herself. Through her journey she encounters an evil witch named Mommy Fortuna who has cast several spells upon animals making them delight audiences for her. Finding herself captive in a dangerous situation with Fortuna, Amalthea starts to make friends with some of the animals around her. Eventually, an incompetent magician helps her escape from Fortuna’s clutches and she heads on her way.

The journey brings her to King Haggards castle. There she learns about the monstrous beats that he is rumored to have. With the help of her friends she is able to turn into a human being. The three of them become guests at Haggards castle with Amalthea falling in love with the prince. However, Amalthea starts to forget who she is with every step she takes. Will she be able to remember who she is before it is too late?

The Last Unicorn brings us on a journey like no other with the unique animation from Rankin and Bass. Arthur Rankin Jr., may have been just half of the company, but he did leave behind a legacy for many generations to enjoy. There has been much that is to be said for The Last Unicorn and all the beloved features that came out of this one of a kind movie company.

Flowers in the Attic

FlowersInTheAttic2014.jpgThe Lifetime movie Flowers in the Attic is based off of the V.C. Andrews novel by the same name. Although, a television movie, this is a good one, despite what other people have said. One of the stars of Flowers in the Attic is Heather Graham, who today turns forty-six. Starring as a desperate widow to help out her four children, she sets out to her parents house in Virginia. Unbeknownst to her four children, her family is one of the richest and cruelest in all of Virginia. The journey she is about to embark on with them would soon turn into a nightmare.

The movie is narrated by Corrine Foxworth (Graham’s) daughter Cathy (Kiernan Shipka). Cathy explains about how she and her family live a picturesque life in Pennsylvania in the 1950’s. Carrying the name Dollanganger, they are said to be perfect in every aspect of their appearance and health. One day things take a turn for the worse when Mr. Dollanganger is killed in a car accident. Life changes drastically for Cathy, her older brother Christopher, and younger twins Carrie and Cory. One day Corrine surprises her children when she tells them that she is taking them to Virginia to live with her family. Telling them very little, they set off in the middle of the night.

Once Cathy and her siblings get to her grandparents mansion, she learns that they are far from welcome. Learning that there is a clause in the grandfathers will that will prevent Corinne from inheriting all the wealth due to her having children with her husband, they are kept hidden. Living in an attic for a little bit is what is planned for Cathy and her siblings. But, soon the days turn into weeks, eventually they reach two years. Corrine has become more distant from her children with every move that she makes. Learning that their mother has changed, Cathy and Chris must make a decision before their mother, whom they now call by her given name, makes a deadly move for all of them.

Flowers in the Attic came out to mixed reviews by some. But, to me this movie was a great adaptation of a classic book. With Heather Graham going from a loving and caring to a vindictive mother, we see how twisted things go for the children in the attic. Heather Graham was magnificent as the mother who would abandon all who she loved for what she wants.

The Challenger Disaster

Front row from left are Michael J. Smith, Francis R. (Dick) Scobee, and Ronald E. McNair. Back row from left are Ellison Onizuka, school teacher Christa McAuliffe, Gregory Jarvis, and Judith Resnik

Thirty years ago today the space shuttle called the Challenger exploded. Many people had tuned into watch the ship take off due to Christa McAuliffe being the first teacher and civilian in space. Seventy three seconds after take off there was an explosion causing the space shuttle to be destroyed causing all seven crew members to be killed. All seven of the crew left behind family and friends who asked themselves what went wrong. Lives cut short hoping to lead the world into the future of science with what they hoped to discover.

Pride and Prejudice

Prideandprejudiceposter.jpgJane Austen wrote one of the most beloved love story of all time, Pride and Prejudice. On January 28, 1813 this lovely tale made its debut in England. Captivating many audiences with the love trials of Elizabeth Bennett and her sister have inspired many works of art today. Pride and Prejudice was adopted into a movie in the year 2005 starring Keira Knightley as Elizabeth Bennett. To me, this movie is the most adaptive to the novel Pride and Prejudice.

Most everyone already knows the story of Pride and Prejudice before the movie even begins. A man who is anxious to marry off his five daughters to good suitors. Through out the film we are introduced to many suitors for each of the daughters. Eventually, all but four of the daughters are satisfied with a man, including Elizabeth. However, when Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy steps into Elizabeth’s life starts to change. She finds that she truly loves Mr. Darcy. Unfortunately, Mr. Darcy has not been to honest with the Elizabeth and her family by plaguing events in the Bennets lives. As time goes on Darcy comes around and gains Elizabeth’s trust and heart again. But, will her family be able to approve of Mr. Darcy over the other man who entered her life before?

Pride and Prejudice is a timeless love story with following Elizabeth Bennet and her struggle with love. Finding it in her strength to go with her heart, she does make the right decision. One of the most inspirational stories of all time has been brought to life many times, but the 2005 version to me is the best.

Around the World in 80 Days

A hot air ballon, in it a man wearing a top hat is holding the arm of another suited man who is hanging over the edge of the basket.Most people have never heard of Nellie Bly. I recently heard about her today when I learned that she had inspired Jules Vernes Around the World in 80 Days. Why, you may ask. Well, she managed to travel around the world in just seventy-two days. An inspiring journalist and activist, Nellie Bly managed to help inspire one of the most beloved books that was turned into a 1956 Academy Award winning picture. In this version of Around the World in 80 Days stars David Niven as Phileas Fogg who claims he can achieve this challenge.

Not many people thought of Phileas Fogg, until he really did take on the challenge for twenty thousand pounds. As he goes around the world he learns more about the cultures around the world. He donates money and gains the respect of many of those of whom he has visited. Traveling by hot air balloon, Fogg starts to wonder if he will be able to accomplish and win the wager. Once he lands in Liverpool he finds himself being arrested, but will he be released in time to accomplish his mission?

Ultimately, Around the World in 80 Days is an inspiring story about taking time to accomplish your dreams. Although, Phileas Fogg came across this by accident, he was able to learn a few things on his way around the world. An inspiring story that came from a woman, Nellie Bly, who managed to go travel the world in just seventy two days.

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

Theboyposter.jpgMany people around the world are remembering the terror of the Holocaust. On January 27, many European countries have made this day a day to honor those who lost their lives in the concentration camps by the Nazis. In the 2008 drama film The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas there is a sense of innocence lost around the Holocaust. The movie follows a young boy Bruno who’s father has been promoted to be the Kommandant of a concentration camp. With the exception of Bruno’s father, his mother, sister and himself are unaware of the nightmare that is happening next door to them.

When we are introduced to Bruno we meet a young and inquisitive boy. He lives a happy life in Berlin, until his father’s job causes the rest of the family to move to the German countryside in the year 1940. Upset with his new surroundings, Bruno wanders off one day and comes across the concentration camp. There sitting right behind a wire fence is a boy who is his age named Shmuel. Although, a little taken a back by Shmuel, the two form a friendship due to their age and wanting a friend to play with. The atmosphere around Bruno is anti-Semitic causing him to question what is right and wrong. Throughout the film, Bruno encounters the injustice of what is happening right in his own backyard as he helps Shmuel look for his father in the concentration camp. Confused by what is going on, Bruno and Shmuel find themselves in a gas chamber where they are both murdered.

Ultimately, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas has a few inaccuracies given Shmuel’s age of a young child. But, the message in this movie is clear with the memory of the horror of the Holocaust. There are many people who have said “Never again” to the Holocaust happening, that is why there are movie like these that are important to watch so we can learn from history.

Finding Nemo

Finding Nemo.jpgof my favorite talk show hosts celebrates her birthday today! Ellen DeGeneres is an inspiring and comic woman who has been inspiring many people throughout the years she has been in show business. Today is not just Ellen’s birthday, but Australia Day. The day that celebrates the founding of the continent and country of Australia. Both of these events have inspired me to do a post on Finding Nemo. The 2003 Disney/Pixar classic stars Ellen DeGeneres as Dory and takes place in the ocean right outside of Sydney, Australia.

Finding Nemo follows the adventure of a not-so-funny clown fish called Marlin who is over protective of his only son Nemo. His mate, Coral was killed by a barracuda as well as the rest of their eggs. Nemo goes off to school one day only to be taken by a group of divers. Marlin takes off after the divers only to lose sight of the boat that had taken his son. On his way he runs into Dory (DeGeneres) a forgetful regal blue tang who helps him on his journey. From there, the two encounter vegetarian sharks, surfer turtles, and the deep blue sea.

Meanwhile, Nemo is taken to a dentist office that is owned by the diver who took him off the reef. Eventually, growing close with the rest of the fish in the tank, he learns that his father is on his way to get him. But, time for Nemo is shortened, when he learns that the dentist’s fish menacing niece is meant to receive him for a birthday present. Nemo and the rest of the fish work on getting out of the tank and into the ocean.

Finding Nemo came out as a family film in 2003. This film is filled with tears and laughter following a father and son relationship. Marlin and Dory are able to form a bond as friends with Marlin learning a thing or two about letting his son grow up. Finding Nemo, to me, is a must see film with many one liners that I still hear from time to time from other people around me.

Sound of Music

Poster with an illustration of actress Julie Andrews dancing in the mountains“The hills are alive with the sound of music” is one of the most commonly heard lyrics in movie history. Starring Julie Andrews as Maria von Trapp, this movie chronicles the von Trapp family singers. On January 26, 1905 Maria was brought into this world. She would assist in leading a family of singers to fame that would inspire a musical.

Most of us know how The Sound of Music starts, with Maria singing in the hills. A young nun in training Maria lacks the discipline that her fellow nuns have. Maria is sent to be a governess for Captain von Trapp’s seven children. After getting off to a shaky start with the rest of the children, they all grow to love her. Through music and dance, the children start to look to Maria as a mother rather than a governess. As time goes on we learn that Captain von Trapp is engaged to be married, but Maria realizes she has feelings for him and leaves. Later she comes back to the von Trapp family to be welcomed back with open arms and the heart of the Captain. However, the family’s happy life is soon disrupted by Hitler and his Nazis taking over their beloved home country of Austria. Deciding to leave under the darkness of night, the family pulls through together to make sure that they are able to live in the world that they were brought up in.

The Sound of Music is a classic that has been parodied and inspiring ever since its release in 1965. Sticking to the original song and lyrics by the epic Rodgers and Hammerstein and brilliantly directed by Robert Wise, this movie has become a family classic. This movie is one that many have seen and fallen in love with, just as Maria fell in love with Captain von Trapp.