Tag Archive: miracle on 34th street


After the Feasting…

Family Movie Night

 

By Karyn Bowman

 

Do you have thanksgiving traditions that must be honored?

 

For us it is the green bean casserole. The husband loves it and feels it must be on the table in order for the meal to be complete. The kids must have jellied cranberry sauce although one year I picked up whole berry by mistake. Kids hated it, the adults loved it.

 

I try to change things up a little every year. I might make a different side dish, put something a little different on the relish plate, or try a cheesecake instead of pie.

 

But this year I have no such plans. It will be our favorites all the way.

 

I feel the same way about the movies we will watch. I really want to keep it to the old favorites this year.

 

Image from IMDb.comThe husband and I will probably stay up to watch Planes, Trains and Automobiles which stars the late John Candy and Steve Martin. These two men are trying to get home for the holiday after a snowstorm takes down their plane from NYC, sends them on a train south of where they need to be before finally getting home. Martin plays the persnickety advertising agency guy while Candy is the likable traveling salesman.

 

That these guys are an odd couple who do not get along is a part of the usual plot. But they are relying on each other to get home to the ones that they love and that can make for different dynamics. I am also taken by the differences in their personalities. A guy can be pretty prickly when his home is all it needs to be and the outside world cannot compare. Another guy can be friendly and maybe a bit annoying when his home is missing the one he loves the most.

 

This movie is more adult in context and there are a few scenes that have innuendos that may not be appropriate for the younger kids.

 

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For whole family watching, there is always Miracle on 34th Street about an old man who is considered crazy because he says he is Santa Claus. A new version with Richard Attenborough exists although I prefer the 1947 film with Edmund Gwynn as Kris Kringle. It is a movie I love and probably know the script by heart.

 

But let’s say you want something a little different with lots of noise, gun fights, and explosions. The other week our family finally watched Cowboys and Aliens. The movie follows a tradition western set up. A lone man comes to a town, manages to get into a fight with the son of the richest man in

Poster Image from IMDb.com

town and becomes a target.

 

Then the alien ships show up and steal some of the town’s people, including the rich man’s son. This is not going to be your usual posse and you may not believe how it all works out.

I found it was a good movie for pre-teens and up, although my 8-year-old watched it without any ill effects. And did I mention that Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford are in this movie? Their performances really make it worthwhile.

 

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

 

Thanksgiving’s Coming…

Family Movie Night

 

By Karyn Bowman

 

Next week is Thanksgiving already. Can you believe the year has gone so fast? Never mind that old chestnut; the better question is about what are any of us serving at the Thanksgiving.

 

What plans do I have for our menu?

 

Well, oyster stuffing is definitely on. Green Bean casserole in another must along with cranberry sauce

 

Another dish I plan on is Sweet Potato Casserole with a pecan topping. I love mashed sweet potatoes but my family is not so thrilled about them. That is until last year when I made up the topping with some pecans I happen to have in my pantry. I mixed the chopped nuts with a little flour, butter and brown sugar before spreading it on top of the mashed sweet potatoes already in a casserole dish. In the oven it went to get crunchy on top.

 

This was a Big hit!

 

As we make the ramp up to the holiday, I am sure there are a few movies that people like me say are “must see” because they focus on the turmoil and dysfunction of family get-togethers.

 

 

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How can you do Thanksgiving without watching Home For the Holidays with Holly Hunter and Robert Downey Jr. as they go home again. This movie – not meant for anyone younger than teenagers because of the context – has its bitter moments and sweet moments.

 

Another Thanksgiving adult-only feature is Pieces of April starring Katie Holmes as a young woman trying to turn her life around. She decides to show her family how well she is doing by hosting Thanksgiving in her NYC apartment. Problems start with a broken oven and continue with a mom having issues.

 

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My personal favorite movie to watch during the Thanksgiving holiday is family friendly Miracle on 34th Street.But I am a sucker for sappy movies about mythological characters that want to inspire good in the world.

 

That aspect lead me to the summer movie now on DVD, Brave.

 

Set in the Scottish Highlands, we meet Merida , a young girl who is on the edge of adulthood. But she and her mother do not see eye-to-eye. That could not be more true as her family prepares for the Highland Games that will determine whom Merida will marry.

 

That is when Merida goes to find the witch to produce a spell to help her mother see her point of view. But you know it is never that easy. Things go wrong and now the girl has to find a way to undo all that she has done.

 

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Disney put out a movie a few years ago called Brother Bear that worked on a similar premise although it it was the main character who was turned into a bear. I was not fond of that movie and felt it missed something.

 

Brave perhaps touches closer to home for me because my kids are head strong and want their way. I connected with the mother as voiced by Emma Thompson. But I can also get how the daughter wants her freedom. Merida ’s solutions may not be the right ones at first but they are certainly interesting.

 

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Family Movie Night

 

by Karyn Bowman

 

This week is Thanksgiving.

 

Image by Jzlomek

At the quiet moments we are trying to remember why we are thankful. We are happy for having a job, having a roof over our head and the ability to put on this meal. We are thankful for healthy kids and good enough health for ourselves.

 

All of us have friends and relatives going through rough patches – lost jobs or serious health issues. My cousins are mourning the loss of their mother just two Thanksgivings ago. I pray for their hearts to be healed even though I can’t imagine losing my mother yet.

 

In the hustle and bustle of this holiday, there is cooking to be done and favorite dishes to get on the table. Green bean casserole, mashed sweet potatoes, mince meat pie, and pumpkin pie. And don’t forget the whipped cream. Some of you may enjoy the tussle of Black Friday shopping or giving a local business some money on Small Business Saturday.

 

There is no doubt this will be one busy week.

 

It is also the beginning of the holiday season, the ramp up to Christmas and all that goes with it. Band concerts, holiday plays, parties, sports tournaments.

 

So what do you do to relax?

 

When it comes to family watching movies together, it can be tricky. Our whole immediate family loves Kung Fu Panda. Perhaps it is because we like Jack Black but this movie is really fun. My dad is not a big fan and has said “I am not watching a Panda movie.” Fair enough, I say.

 

Finding that middle ground movie can be difficult. My dad likes movies with chase scenes and explosion that I do not appreciate for their language content. Perhaps that is why some holiday movies surpass all of that. They allow all family members to have something everyone can relate to without being too objectionable.

 

 

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Movies such as Miracle on 34th Street and What a Wonderful Life are heart warming movies that everyone could watch although I do not think many kids are really interested in the latter movie.

 

That is when you bring out movies such as Elf in which Will Ferrell plays a man who was a foundling that found its way into Santa’s bag and the North Pole. Once he becomes a super-sized adult, Santa lets Buddy the elf know his true heritage and sends him on his way to New York City to find his father.

 

It is a magical movie with a great chase scene and some great comedic moments. Most of it is pretty safe for kids. But here is hoping they do not ask you to decorate the house as fast as Buddy can.

 

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There is one movie I would suggest for the weekend is The Nativity Story starring Kasha Castle-Hughes as Mary, the mother of Jesus. Many people will recount how Christ is being taken out of Christmas but how are they keeping him there? I find that when I watch this movie about Mary and her life in the months before the baby Jesus is born, I gain greater understanding of both Mary and Joseph.

 

The movie allows us to better appreciate the times in which Mary and Joseph were living as well as how the dangers of their trip to Bethlehem. Director Catherine Hardwicke put together a rich movie filled with the sights and sounds of the era that recounts a story many of know by heart in parts. The other parts, she has brought to life so that we can imagine these miracles once more.

 

 

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

The Gratitude Shine

I was thinking about writing on thankfulness today with the big holiday coming up.

Perhaps it is a desire to remind myself that - even when I mess up, blow deadlines and have a generally yucky feeling - life is pretty good. My family is healthy, I have a job as does my husband and while we do not have a lot of money we do have enough.

That idea was totally blown out of the water when I read “Gratitude, Shmatitude” at Snide Reply. How right she is that sometimes you have to deal with what is at the moment and gratitude has to wait some days.

The strange thing is that it reminded me of a life lesson found in a Star Trek movie. Spock’s human brother is a healer who takes away the emotional pain that the roughest situations give us. Dr. McCoy in particular has become a believer as he never got over the guilt of taking his father off of life support one week before a cure for McCoy’s father’s illness was discovered.

It is at this moment that Captain Kirk refuses, stating that the worst moments of our lives are what shapes and forms us. Would Dr. McCoy had become a less able doctor if his father’s experience had not propelled him? We need those times to push us and eat at us to make ourselves better.

I am going to think about that as my frozen rock of a turkey slowly thaws and perhaps be cook-able tomorrow. I will think about that as I put up Christmas lights on the warmest Thanksgiving in years. I will think about it all as I watch Miracle on 34th Street for the umpteenth time.

That is not going to stop me from feeling grateful for the good things because I learned long ago there are always going to be people trying to drag you down. Some people are happiest when they are dragging you down. Some people think cynicism is hip when it is really hiding from your own emotions. I have been one of those persons at different times in my life and I am not going back there. If that means I have to shine the light of gratitude to keep from sliding down the slope of despair, I am doing it.

But here is what I am not doing. I am not joining a gratitude group or keeping a gratitude journal. Some days, I will go to bed angrier than a red hen at something stupid the husband has done and forget to think of things that make me grateful. (Like no one else has ever done that.) Nor am I going to force you to state how you feel grateful for something or chide you when life puts you on the negative side of the fence. I have cousins whose mother died two years ago at this time and telling them to be grateful they had her as long as they did is a bit cruel and stupid.

What I am still going to do is be happy for what I do have because as far as I can tell, I have it pretty good. It has not always been easy but my life is easier than a lot of other people. And that makes me feel lucky and good.

If that is gratitude, well, so be it.

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