Thursday, November 15, 2012

Movies: my first love, the love that lasts forever :)

Hollywood is in a current kick to release remakes of classics... The latest 80's (hardly old enough of a decade to be a classic in my opinion) victim to the lack of original screenplays penned of late, "Red Dawn".  Don't get me wrong, I won't mind being taken back to the days when Charlie Sheen was cool (not a hot mess) and Ralph Macchio and C.Thomas, Tommy, Howell were still cute. After all, Patrick Swaze does save the day and Jennifer Grey had her original nose.

However, I have a better one for you, Tinsel Town... release the ORIGINAL classics, uncut, commercial free, digitally remastered---NOT colorized if black and white---and surrounded by the smell of real, fresh, movie theatre popcorn.

I just experienced, for the first time in big screen since its original release in 1962, "To Kill a Mockingbird", based on the novel by Harper Lee about her growing up in segregated Georgia. The movie, starring Gregory Peck, is simple, black and white, and controversial due to its subject matter. This is not a movie review, as I suspect that many of you out there are well verse in Atticus Finch, Scout and Boo Radley. What was amazing to witness was my 10 year old son get completely sucked in by the story, the creepiness of the notion that there is a weird neighbor chained to the basement (no, not Sloth, from the Goonies), the wrongful accusation, conviction and murder of a black man who allegedly raped a white woman----yes, Luis did understand what was going on, while the word rape he processed as hurt---and the humor of the dialogue between the kids and the kids and their dad.

The first time I saw this movie, I must have been 11, maybe. I didn't really get the whole premise and certainly did not fully grasp the issues discussed or the impact the role of the ethical lawyer, lame and boring according to his kids, widowed dad. A few years ago AFI (American Film Institute) now famous for its countdowns:100 years of this, 100 best of that, decided to list 100 best heroes and villains on film. Errol Flynn was Robin Hood, Tom Hanks was Jim Lovell, of course, the love of my life, Harrison Ford was Indiana Jones. But the number 1 hero from 100 years of film, was Atticus Finch. This character represents everything even I can own to yearn in a hero: strong presence and authority, without being authoritarian, ethics, kindness, responsible and above all open-minded and loving of all creatures in this Earth, humans and non-humans, blacks, whites, gays and straight. Thank you Atticus, for you reminded me today of what a hero should always be.

Movies have always been part of my life... From my days memorizing lines from Annie, the Parent Trap and Mary Poppins, to memorizing EVERY line from Gone With the Wind. Did I say memorizing? I meant yes, by memory I can recite the whole damn script. May that be considered an open challenge to anyone out there: bring it! ;) Like my dad has often admitted of a quirky skill of his to be able to store unlimited amount of useless movie trivia, I am my father's daughter, and if I was a college professor, the classics would be my topic of research and expertise.

What has been funny at times is to live certain experiences in life that I could have sworn were written for the screen, and then to actually see them featured in a movie makes me wonder if "Big Brother" screen writer is really watching. I think my life, heck, my family and friends make for  extremely colorful and entertaining characters for award winning story lines. But, then again, whose family doesn't, right? ;) I mean, let's admit it. We all have an Aunt Glady (Home for the Holidays), a Lauren Bacall type mom of a diva that steals the spotlight from the daughter's wedding (The Mirror has Two Faces), an overprotective dad of daughters who honors tradition but accepts that times have changed (fabulous Topol in Fiddler on the Roof) or a grandpa who loves us unconditionally, and saves the day like a knight in shining armor (Harry Davenport, Grandpa, in Meet Me in St. Louis).

My son, thank you Upstairs, has been born with the gift of movie loving. It's not about just going to a movie or sitting in front of the TV. The kid knows who directors are--- I have been asked if LucasFilms have kids summer camps---and reads about how movies are made. He appreciates the art of movie making. It's pretty cool! I lived that tonight and I am forever grateful. Parents and their kids have certain things they like to do together. This is ours, with going to basketball games or watching baseball, close seconds.

I felt the need to put some thoughts into words and since God has heard me praise and quote movie line after movie line, here I am. This is another little glimpse into who I am and what I value. Movies often bring to life issues and subject matters, values, that indeed have a great deal of level of importance and depth for some of us.

I will finish with also giving a shout out for another movie, "Won't Back Down." The little movie that couldn't, or could? I cried inside, I cried outside the theatre. It changed my life and added fuel to the already fire burning in my heart to do more for education, for kids and families who need that extra push, that additional pair of hands, resource, dot connector. The next day I did something about it and now I am on a roll. Stay tuned!

That is what movies often do for me, they inspire, they speak to me. Often the message is indeed "snap out it", "let it go" and "drop it and move on" and is as welcome and clear as the voices from even my gut tugging inside my being, struggling with head and heart when decisions to take action are a must. Just wait until I write a reflection on Broadway plays and musicals... RENT defined perhaps one of the most significant years in my life, but that's another entry... ;)

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