New episodes of my program, 'California Life, travel-lifestyle series' can be watched here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJtOUanPr0e85fv7cWCyu4Q.
15 August 2021
09 August 2020
This blog post about LUCAS (1986) is the third of three posts that discuss unique movies about the sport of American football.
The romantic comedy and drama movie LUCAS stars Corey Haim as a precocious child named Lucas. Lucas appreciates nature and classical music. He is intelligent but prejudged by others because of his appearance. He is small in stature and on the surface unpretentious. Because of these qualities, aside from students in the school marching band, other teenagers do not socialize with him.
Maggie (Kerri Green) is new in town and meets Lucas during the summer break before school starts. Lucas introduces Maggie to bugs and classical music. Maggie introduces Lucas to tennis and gives him a ride in her convertible car. One-on-one these friends make a great pair, but Lucas desires more.
Eventually, Maggie meets other teenagers in the community, including Cappie (Charlie Sheen). Maggie develops feelings for Cappie, who Lucas calls “superficial,” and Cappie is attracted to Maggie, but has a cheerleader girlfriend named Alise (Courtney Thorne-Smith). When Cappie suggests Maggie become a cheerleader, Alise gets angry at him.
Lucas thinks cheerleading is as superficial as football. However, he puts energy into capturing Maggie and joins the school’s football team. He makes this decision based on observing Maggie’s admiration for football player Cappie. Ironically, Lucas focuses on football and Maggie, but does not notice his marching band classmate Rina (Winona Ryder) likes him.
The football coach (Guy Boyd) obviously does not want Lucas on the team, but Lucas shows up to practice in uniform quoting laws about how he is supposed to be given a fair opportunity. No one takes Lucas seriously and he ends up in Principal Kaiser’s (Garrett M. Brown) office, creating his own superficial circumstances by telling the principal his father is a lawyer. Truthfully, Lucas’ father is an alcoholic and he does not live in the affluent neighborhood he takes Maggie to during summer break. Rina already knows these aspects about Lucas’ life, but he does not spend time with her outside of band class. Instead he chooses to impress cheerleader Maggie whom he has no chance of romancing.
LUCAS is not just about football, but the sport does represent a fair portion of the story. In Lucas’ perspective football players and cheerleaders are superficial, yet he uses the sport to get what he wants. Unfortunately, Maggie never returns his affections, but his bravery in playing the sport, risking physical injuries garners him respect from his peers.
05 August 2020
This blog post about FACING THE GIANTS (2006) is the second of three posts that discuss unique movies about the sport of American football.
The drama movie FACING THE GIANTS features an extremely popular scene, even if one has not seen the entire film he or she has watched the scene of one football player carrying another player on his back all the way across a football field. This scene is shown at conferences by workshop presenters and at schools by teachers. Attendees and students are told the message that they can do whatever they put their mind to if they are willing to prepare by working hard and never giving up. FACING THE GIANTS is unique because the message is presented from a Christian perspective. In addition to preparing, working hard, and never giving up one must have faith in God because all outcomes are His will.
Alex Kendrick plays Grant Taylor, head football coach at Shiloh Christian Academy. The team consistently loses and the players’ parents want Taylor fired. In addition to coaching a non-championship team, Taylor has several other problems he is dealing with, including being the reason why his wife is unable to conceive a child.
Difficult times are often what lead people to pray. Taylor prays, reads the Bible, and is inspired by his former football coach. His faith allows him to accept winning a game or losing a game, and he encourages his players to focus on their attitudes. As a result, the team starts winning games, makes the state playoffs, and surprisingly plays in the state championship game against the three-time championship team, the Richland Giants. Furthermore, Taylor’s personal circumstances improve, and he keeps his job.
In addition to playing Taylor, Alex Kendrick is also co-writer, co-producer, and director of FACING THE GIANTS. Bob Scott, a veteran cinematographer for NFL Films, is the film’s director of photography. Rob Whitehurst, a NFL Films technician, records the movie’s sound.
Most sports films are inspirational, and it is exciting watching the underdog achieve championship status (however, the movie FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS put a spin on that idea). The Christian perspective of FACING THE GIANTS shows viewers an even deeper inspiration by not limiting Taylor’s faith to wanting to win football games. His focus on attitude makes it possible for him to live his life in an even more positive way and develop character by accepting God’s will, regardless of what may happen. This is an exceptional lesson for everyone. Lastly, it relates to the quote by Greek philosopher Epictetus: “It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters. When something happens, the only thing in your power is your attitude toward it; you can either accept it or resent it. Men are disturbed not by things, but by the view which they take of them.”
02 August 2020
Several great films are made about American football. Even if one is not a football fan, the movies are enjoyable. My next three blog posts discuss unique movies about the sport of football.
Goldie Hawn plays Molly McGrath in the comedy WILDCATS (1986). McGrath is a girls’ track coach at the affluent Prescott High School. She desires a position as a football coach because her father was a well-known football coach. It is significant McGrath wants to coach football because no woman had ever done it before, not even at the high school level.
In real life Jen Welter was introduced as the first woman National Football League (NFL) coach in July 2015. Just this year Katie Sowers was the first female to coach in a Super Bowl. So far only 10 women coached professional football and three coached high school football.
WILDCATS is a unique movie about football because Molly McGrath is given the opportunity to coach football at Central High School in Chicago. Unfortunately, the position is given to her as a joke by the male football coach of Prescott High School, Dan Darwell (Bruce McGill). The job offer is solid, but Darwell has no faith McGrath can truly coach football. In addition, it is noted that no one else will take the position at Central High School because of where it is located. McGrath is a white woman who will be coaching football at a school where mostly students of color attend.
At first the boys on the Wildcats team at Central High School give McGrath a difficult time. She firmly tells them no one else will take the job so they are stuck with her. Over time, McGrath grows on the team and the team grows on McGrath; a mutual respect is cultivated.
WILDCATS presents the concept of a female football coach that is 29 years ahead of its time. It is a fun comedy that does not take itself seriously, even though the idea of a woman in McGrath’s position might have inspired many young girls watching the movie. The film may have also inspired videos that were produced by real life professional football teams. The end credits of WILDCATS features the Wildcats team and McGrath performing a rap: “It’s the sport of kings, better than Diamond Rings, That’s why we’re here to sing, football…”
The most popular video was by the Chicago Bears Shufflin’ Crew performing “The Super Bowl Shuffle.” Other NFL teams that made videos in the 1980’s were the San Francisco 49ers, the Los Angeles Raiders (“Silver and Back Attack”), the Seattle Seahawks (“Locker Room Rock”), the Dallas Cowboys (“Livin’ the American Dream”), the Philadelphia Eagles (“Buddy’s Watching You”), the Cleveland Browns (“Masters of the Gridiron”), the Miami Dolphins (“Can’t Touch US”), and the Los Angeles Rams (“Ram It”). WILDCATS probably got the idea from one of these teams. Whether the movie inspired real life or the real teams inspired the movie, the rap during the end credits of WILDCATS is very entertaining and keeps viewers engaged.
21 July 2020
17 July 2020
14 July 2020
12 July 2020
26 May 2020
Lately, I have been watching movies on satellite television and video on demand (VOD). Maybe I will blog about those films. They are not new releases, but film is timeless.
21 December 2019
Roy is a con artist. Betty is a widow with millions. Roy enters Betty's life with the intention of taking all her savings. Watching Roy play out his scam makes viewers feel sympathy for Betty.
The story takes an alternate route, providing unexpected circumstances. It is unpredictable and the audience observes Betty's courage. THE GOOD LIAR could serve as a cautionary tale. The movie is currently playing in theatres. The official Web site is https://www.goodliarmovie.com/.
27 August 2019
Hannah (Aryn Wright-Thompson) is a 15-year old girl who lives with her grandmother. She has been told her parents passed away. She is a loner and kleptomaniac. Fortunately, being the only runner on her school's cross country team gives her a sense of purpose. She discovers her identity with help from the school's principal (Priscilla Shirer), her coach, John, (Alex Kendrick) and his wife, Amy, (Shari Rigby). John and Amy discover something special about Hannah, and lead her to it, allowing her to receive answers to questions she had about her parents. As a result, she makes positive changes in her life.
OVERCOMER is an inspirational Christian film and does an excellent job of having its audience think about the question: What is your identity? OVERCOMER is currently playing in theatres. The official Web site is http://www.overcomermovie.com/.
08 July 2019
Jimmie Fails plays Jimmie Fails, a man who is determined to reclaim the Victorian home his grandfather built. His best friend Montgomery Allen (Jonathan Majors) is supportive and assists Jimmie in his efforts. The highlight of the story is watching their friendship. The narrative is pure.
Eventually, the movie takes an unexpected turn. It is bittersweet. The audience cheers for Jimmie, but reality sets in and destiny has other plans. It is true that the ones who sincerely care about you will shield the painful truth from you, or may choose to reveal it to you.
THE LAST BLACK MAN IN SAN FRANCISCO is currently playing in theatres. The official Web site is https://a24films.com/films/the-last-black-man-in-san-francisco.
02 July 2019
If you want to laugh out loud and like the film BOOK CLUB, you will enjoy POMS. As an added bonus, Diane Keaton is also the star of POMS. She plays Martha, a woman who sells her business and moves into a retirement community like the real-life Sun City. Her intention is to live out her final days in peace, especially since she is ill and knows she is dying soon. Instead she forms unexpected bonds with neighbors who become friends and fulfills a life-long dream of being a cheerleader.
The cheerleading tryouts are hilarious. And scenes with the cheerleading squad are equally amusing. POMS is currently playing in theatres. The official Web site is http://www.stxfilms.com/poms/.
30 June 2019
HOTEL MUMBAI also stars Armie Hammer as David, an American married to a Muslim Iranian-British heiress named Zahra (Nazanin Boniadi). The film ends by showing the actual people who endured the horrific events. They have reunited at the renovated Taj Mahal Palace Hotel.
I saw HOTEL MUMBAI at a theatre in April. Now you may watch the movie on various Web sites, including YouTube, Amazon Prime, Vudu, and Google Play.
15 May 2019
COLD PURSUIT is a remake of the 2014 Norwegian film IN ORDER OF DISAPPEARANCE. The film counts disappearing characters in a hilarious manner. Overall, the movie is fun and stars Liam Neeson, Tom Bateman, Tom Jackson, Emily Rossum, and Laura Dern.
I saw COLD PURSUIT at a theatre. Now it is available on DVD and Blu-Ray. The official Web site is https://www.lionsgate.com/movies/cold-pursuit.
16 March 2019
Parents will be able to relate to Joyce Smith (Chrissy Metz) whose son John Smith (Marcel Ruiz) falls through the ice while playing with his friends and stays in the freezing water for 15 minutes. The incident puts John into a coma and he is rescued by first responder Tommy Shine (Mike Colter), who seeks John with a determination even unexplainable to him. Doctors are doubtful John will awaken, but Joyce stays with John every day and prays. This causes some friction between Joyce and her husband Brian Smith (Josh Lucas). Brian has faith, but deals with the situation in a different manner than his wife.
The Smith's are referred to Dr. Garrett (Dennis Haysbert), who has more experience working with patients in John's condition. Dr. Garrett verifies that the likelihood for John's survival is slim. Joyce keeps praying anyway. In fact, many people in St. Louis, Missouri pray for John, especially his classmates who sing with conviction outside of John's hospital room in an emotional scene.
BREAKTHROUGH will be released in North American theatres on Wednesday, April 17th and in the Philippines on Wednesday, April 10th. The official Web site is https://www.foxmovies.com/movies/breakthrough.
16 February 2019
Manav develops a relationship with Graham and learns about his missionary work. Graham displays love, hope, and forgiveness in a country where his faith is not embraced and seen as illegal. During his investigation, Manav discovers what it means to have faith and humbly serve others. Unfortunately, his ambition gets in the way and he must make a decision, just as he sadly witnesses a tragic situation involving Graham and his two sons.
The movie is a compelling drama, and based on actual events from 1999 in India. THE LEAST OF THESE: THE GRAHAM STAINES STORY is currently playing in theatres in the United States and premieres in India on March 1st. The official Web site is https://theleastofthese.movie/.
13 February 2019
In the 1960's very few women practice law, so Ginsburg teaches law. She is not satisfied with this, and in 1970 when Martin discovers a tax law case involving a man named Charles Moritz (Chris Mulkey) who hires a nurse to help him care for his aging mother, Ruth accepts it. Moritz is denied a tax deduction for the nursing care because the deduction is limited to "a woman, a widower or divorcee, or a husband whose wife is incapacitated or institutionalized," which is Section 214 of the Internal Revenue Code. The opportunity allows Ginsburg to overturn the law, which also challenges laws that discriminate against women. Additionally, she believes winning the case will start her career of practicing law.
In the United States landmark cases and laws have made it possible for school integration (Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, 1954) and voting rights for all (Voting Rights Act, 1965). In the 1970's Ruth Bader Ginsburg makes it possible for women to work in professions seen as only for men by successfully proving that a man is discriminated against on the basis of his sex. As society changes, the laws should change.
ON THE BASIS OF SEX is currently playing in theatres. The official Web site is http://focusfeatures.com/on-the-basis-of-sex.
12 January 2019
GREEN BOOK is a comedy-drama film about classical and jazz pianist Dr. Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali) who hires a chauffeur, Tony Vallelonga (Viggo Mortensen), for his concert tour of the Deep South. Tony is given a Green Book and studies which places he can take Dr. Shirley. The screenplay is written by Vallelonga's son Nick Vallelonga, Brian Hayes Currie, and the film's director Peter Farrelly.
At first glance, it is unique seeing a white Italian American driving a car with an African American in the backseat in 1962. There is even a scene where they stop, due to car trouble, in front of a farm where Black people are working in the fields. The workers are frozen and stare in amazement.
Overall, the writers' choice to make GREEN BOOK a comedy-drama offers an uncommon way to share a story about racism. As a result, the audience is able to get a sense of the time period and its troubles, but additionally focus on the unlikely friendship that develops between Dr. Shirley and Tony. The movie is inspired by the true story about the eventual, respectful relationship these men shared.
GREEN BOOK is currently playing in theatres. The official Web site is https://www.universalpictures.com/movies/green-book.
03 January 2019
Writer and director Barry Jenkins has done a phenomenal job with IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK. The movie is honest and pragmatic. Furthermore, the story is set in the 1970's, and James Baldwin's novel, which the screenplay is based, accurately illustrates racial discrimination. And sadly at present, not much has changed.
The cast, especially Regina King, and crew are outstanding. The musical score is exquisite. IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK is currently playing in theatres. The official Web site is http://bealestreet.movie/.
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