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That Box

Because of the new bathroom laws, I am seeing memes and video posts in which men are saying they are doing this to protect their women and girls from rape.

Texas-Sheriff-Transgender Meme

 

WARNING!!!! I am about to let loose some opinions that will not please people.

You know, as much as I appreciate the concern for my safety and my daughter’s safety and the safety of all women out there, I can think of a few things that might actually do a better job than bathroom laws.

  1. Believe Rape Victims. How do rapists get away with what they do? The first thing a woman reporting a raped is asked “What did  you do that sent the wrong signal?” or “Why should we believe you because you are a known whore, liar, druggie, female, or all of the above?” We are not believed that all we did was be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Worse yet, every guy has a story in the back of his head about how some guy’s life was ruined by a false allegation.                                                                                                                                                                           That is what rapists such as Daniel Holtzclaw count on. The former Oklahoma City police officer was convicted on 18 out of 36 charges of rape and sexual assault in January 2016. His thirteen victims included a 17-year-old and a 58-year-old grandmother.Most of his victims lived in the poor part of the city and have a history of arrests for drug and prostitution charges.These women knew they were not going to be believed and did not report the sexual assaults. That is until Holtzclaw forced himself on Jannie Ligons during an unauthorized stop after his shift was done. She reported his behavior which led to other discrepancies in Holtzclaw’s records.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Yes, some women do lie about being raped, some have regrets about sexual behavior, or are forced to call it rape by their parents. But most women don’t lie and they don’t tell because they know they won’t be believed.

 

2.        Test the Rape Kits                                                                                                                     rape kit Strange things happens when rape kits get processed as they should.   Serial rapists, the ones that should frighten the bejesus out of everyone, get found. Cleveland found this out the hard way after two reporters, Rachel Dissel and Leila Atassi,  in 2010 began a series of stories in the Cleveland Plain Dealer about rape kits that were not processed.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Starting in 2011, 4000 rape kits were tested, 1600 kits held usable DNA, 350 cases were prosecuted,  leading to the conviction of 100 rapists. Another interesting fact came together, 30% were committed by serial rapists. These are the guys who don’t care who they assault, they just want the feel of power that comes from violating another human being. One man, Elias Acevado, confessed to a number of rapes, at least two murders, and the sexual abuse of three of his daughters. One of the girls thanked Dissel because she reported her father’s abuse but was not believed.                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Another strange result?   Violent crime is down in Cleveland.

3. End the Statue of Limitations on Rape and Sexual Abuse                                Whatever you might think about Dennis Hasert, his case showed that it is hard for people to come forward with allegations. Worse yet, the laws that were relaxed to make it possible for people to report abuse would not have helped Hasert’s victims as they were too old to report what happened by 2000 when Illinois changed their state laws saying you have until 20 years after your 18th birthday.                                                                                                                                                                                                                               While several states have no statute of limitations for sexual assault, especially that involving children, there is no single rule. Some might allow 3 years, others give you a ten-year time frame to report. The Bill Cosby case is making California consider a change to no statute of limitations because of the scope and length of time of his accusers. Ask Corey Feldman why he cannot file charges against the men who molested him.

4. Stop the ‘Boys will Be Boys’ ideology                                                                                      Would the athletes of Steubenville had been better served if they grew up thinking their actions do have consequences? That perhaps raping a passed-out girl and creating a video as they were doing it might have ruined their futures more than the girl filing an assault report?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Was the girl stupid for getting so drunk she passed out? Probable. But nor does that mean it was OKay to assault her. No way, no how. Stop telling boys their bad behavior is OKay, stop laughing at their sexist antics, stop playing along with them so adult men can feel like they are still one of the boys. Stop demonstrating to boys it is OKay to cat-call and comment on a woman’s tits, ass, or body as if it is your property despite the woman being a stranger.

Do we live in a rape culture? Yes and no. It is not as in your face as it is in some cultures. Instead, it is insidious. We are constantly told how to act without being told outright. We are judged constantly on our looks, on our dress, on what body parts we do or don’t have. And if we speak out – as Beyonce has started doing – we are told to be quiet, that our opinion is not needed. Those in charge will take care of everything.

The men in charge, the men not testing rape kits, the men raping the women.

If my opinion is not enough, listen to Samantha B tell it like it is in her own unique way.

Editor’s Note: I wrote this a week before the Brock Turner sentencing. I thought it would be a good idea to sit on this essay and make sure it was the right thing to post. I have no doubts anymore.

 

Big Action Adventure

Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

When your family is made of boys and their friends, action-adventure is going to be the most frequent movie selections.

In the last week, we saw two of the biggest movies in that genre.

Star Wars The Force AwakensI thought when I brought home Star Wars:The Force Awakens that this would be our Friday night movie. But no!!! The case was snatched out of my hands, barely leaving my digits intact. The movie was watched that night by the teen boys. It was watched the next day by my husband. It played a third time because the 11-year-old did not get to see it. I managed to watch bits and pieces each time till I got most of the story and saw the final revelatory scene.

What a movie! What action! What storytelling!

A part of me thought about how so much is similar to the original story. A child is in dire straits, making money by salvaging or repairing the items left behind. Their parentage has slim links to anyone else. And yet this young person is smart, resourceful, and filled with an unknown power.

There are differences in this tale. There is a villain who comes from the bravest and righteous of people. Someone formerly with the Empire’s army can no longer stomach the evil he must do. And I feel myself being pulled into the story, the conflicts, the grandness of it all despite seeing how it is a re-tread. Knowing that the sequel does not come out before 2017 is nearly painful.

We also saw Captain America: Civil War. We went to Movies 10 which now has these wonderful reclining seats. My husband loved the seats. I would have liked it if you could only recline the back. In the end I sat with the recliner at full relaxation mode, still unsure if I liked it.

Captain America Civil WarIn this final film of the Captain America trilogy, many nations are calling for responsibility from the Avengers for the damage and death their battles leave. Individual members of the Avengers are being asked to sign the Accord to provide safety. But Captain America refuses. And when the international group is targeted by a bomb, his friend Bucky is identified as the mastermind.

Cap knows this to be wrong and he makes a choice that will pit fellow avengers against each other. It leads to one epic battle that will lead to another.

It is strong storytelling with dialogue that reminds us these people are friends, life long friends in some instances. The nuances are important with a cast this large, we actually learn about them and their motivations. The action is thrilling as well although at times I was left wondering if a person could really do some of the bits they did.

As for the movie, I once again came away impressed with the Marvel Franchise. Characters are allowed to grow and develop, over time they change their opinions, show their age. Stan Lee makes his usual appearance that allows humor to slip into a serious scene that can happen between friends.

Both movies are long, meant for pre-teens and older who will obsess over the characters. I would not show them to younger children in part because of the violence and because these are movies over two hours in length.

Both are thrilling and exciting. But the more meaningful will always be the Marvel series.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Oh, Joy

Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

The husband really wanted to watch Joy starring Jennifer Lawrence. But it never happened.

Joy posterWhen the movie was in the movie theaters, we never got to see it. When it came out on DVD, it took us months to finally get a copy. Once I had a copy in my hands, we never sat down together to watch the movie. I have since sent it back to the library. And if my husband wasn’t going to watch it with me, I was going to take the time to watch it anyway.

You know what? He would really like this movie.

Joy is about a woman who invents a new kind of mop that you never have to touch to wring out. She designs the item after a lifetime of failed dreams. She doesn’t get to go to college, she marries a man she loves but they cannot live together. After the divorce, they are friends but she is trying to support two kids and her mother on her salary at Eastern Airlines.

Joy creatingIt is during this period of stress and frustration that Joy invents her product. She has taken enough and she is ready to movie forward. That means borrowing money from Dad’s new girlfriend, forking over some control, and having to take action when things get out of control.

While most bio pics take the “based on a true story” a little seriously, this movie takes what it wants to be true and walks away from the rest. Characters are compilation, some events happened or didn’t happen, and the director never shies away from the fact that his movie may or may not be the whole truth. There are quirky bits that feel so strange one wonders if they must be real. Those bits kept me watching.

There there is Jennifer Lawrence who gives a gung-ho performance. Her character is the glue that holds everyone together but she is not there for herself. Strange how strong women always do that. I believed Lawrence as this woman who works through her fears to create more than a mop.

Joy FamilyIts not just Jennifer who is great in this movie. Her supporting cast includes Robert DeNiro, Bradley Cooper, Isabella Rossellini, Virginia Madsen, and Diane Ladd who make scenes crackle and spark. We watch them as strongly as we watch Lawrence. What will they do next? Even though I knew the outcome of this movie, I was rooting for Lawrence’s character to win, to shine on.

When the movie was over, with some interesting shots and some implausible action scenes, I felt great. There were times I felt as if I was watching a mob family and other times that I wondered if some of the characters could change so quickly.

This is not a kid movie although it’s one you can watch with your teenagers despite there being some tiny bits of language. No, this is a movie to watch with friends or the spouse, because we all know a Joy, we all know someone who has an idea that could go far. When the movie is done, you want to talk about it, you want to dissect it down, find out what is true and what is not.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

One Fine Day

Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

For whatever reasons, whenever it rains for days in a row, I am reminded of One Fine Day starring Michelle Pfeiffer and George Clooney.

One Fine Day - missing busSet in New York City on a rainy spring day, the storyline is about two single parents who manage to miss the school field trip on a big day for each of their careers. Melanie blames Jack because she was trying to grab his daughter to take her to school. That made her late. Jack, on the other hand, did not know he was taking care of his daughter for a week until the morning of the field trip. Through the course of the day, they try to figure out what to do to make their meetings, run their work errands, and take care of the kids.

Along the way, each parent develops an appreciation for the other while holding on to their own prejudices and fears. For moments at a time, they let go of those fears to begin the steps of falling in love again. It is filled with wonderful moments of truth telling, happy moments, and fear.

One Fine Day Movie PosterI have no idea why rain makes me think of this movie because for one, I have never been to New York City. But when I watch it, I wonder if you can really get around Manhattan in a taxi. Or if Serendipity is really that good. The film makes me want to take a trip there to see Washington Park and the museums and Carnegie Deli.

While the setting and the music are wonderful side characters, what I really love about this movie are the two leads – Melanie and Jack (Pfeiffer and Clooney, respectively). They portray a certain constant weariness that is always present in parenting. Even when you think you have gotten enough sleep, you have not gotten enough sleep. But they also show that parental love has no limits.

Secondly, these are two people who are a little broken by their relationships that didn’t work out. Each character has trust issues and they wonder if they can trust another person once again. That both are attracted to another person and see the possibility of hope in that person is a huge emotional step. What is even better is that they can admit it openly. How many of us ever want to admit to the soft parts inside our souls.

One fine day - kiss
But, lastly I love some of their arguments that talk about the truth of life. If we like what we like and want things to go that way, are we control freaks or people who know what we like? As parents, especially single parents, keeping everything going means juggling and relying on yourself. Sometimes we have to admit that we are out of options. And sometimes, we have to admit we want the magic of love in our lives.

The movie is now twenty years old and there are some things that are incredibly out dated, such as their cell phones and Jack’s baggy pants. And then there are some things that never grow old, such as Melanie’s suit, how kids behave, or men and women trying to figure out the life/work balance.

This may not be a movie to watch with younger kids because Jack tends to say G-D, a lot. This is more of a movie to watch with girlfriends who can agree or disagree with whatever is happening on the screen.

Bring on the rain just so I can hear the Natalie Merchant take on that classic old song once more.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Thoughts on the Austen Project

As regular readers of this blog may know, I am a Jane Austen fanatic.

I have read all of the six, several times. Years ago my mother gave me a collected edition but I also love my little Barnes and Noble copy of Sense and Sensibility as well.

I have read various fan fictions and have not been impresses. The language is too stilted or the action is unbelievable in an unbelievable manner. My favorites are the Jane Bites Back series by Michael Thomas Ford and Austenland by Shannon Hale. In regards to the former, the book is ten times better than the movie.

Harper Collins is in the middle of the Austen Project in which they hire currently famous writers to re-write those classic novels in modern settings. The order of publication is Sense and Sensibility by Joanna Trollpe, Northanger Abbey by Val McDermid, Emma by Alexander McCall Smith, and Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld. But let me tell you what I loved and hated about each one in order of least to best.

Austen Project Emma

The one I liked the least was the novel Jane loved the best. However, there was something missing from this retelling. McCall Smith, who writes with much charm in the #1 Ladies Detective Agency, failed to understand Emma and her circle. This despite writing long and complicated back stories for the majority of the characters we never understood before.

From Mr. Woodhouse to Mr. Knightly to John Knightly to Mrs. Goddard and Harriet, we received more back story than necessary. That leads to a hurry-up-and-tell the story affair that made me wonder why Mr. Knightly would even consider Emma. I questioned why she wanted to hang with Harriet who was clearly her lesser. Frank and Jane were an even bigger bore.

But stranger than that to me was how the extra hired help questioned why Emma was not in the kitchen helping to make the meal for her big dinner party. The setting was still England so despite the modern ramp up and various changes in society, I could not see that being probable. Nope, Emma would not be in the kitchen making the sauce or cleaning the silver.

Austen Project Sense and Sensability

When I read Joanna Trollope’s foray into this project, I have to admit I really enjoyed it. The update has Eleanor in college for architecture, Marianne as a talented home musician, and Margaret was in that frightful stage of middle school. We learn that their parents never married as their mother was ‘the other woman’ and the two hippies settled in without the paperwork.

So when Mr. Dashwood dies, John inherits all. His wife happily gives the other Dashwood girls that unwelcomed feeling till Mrs. Dashwood and the girls find a new home. Sir John Middleton is happy to be their hero by giving the girls jobs as models in his outerwear catalog and finding Eleanor a great job in her field of study. Eleanor is the grown-up dealing with heartache of grief and total loss of their old life style while the rest of her family flip out in their own special way.

The modern touches of how facebook and phones are fundamental parts of our lives was wonderful. The problems I had were that characters, especially the Dashwood sisters, were more crass. Hippie or not, I expected Mrs. Dashwood to not allow that kind of behavior in her girls. While Coronal Brandon is still fabulous, I am not sure if he was too wonderful. And there was one portion at the engagement party where Mrs. Ferrars’ reaction was correct. It is hard to laugh at her silly desire to be right at all times despite being wrong when she is actually in the right.

Austen Project EligibleThis next selection just left my hot little hands, so I may be in the mulling stage yet. However, Eligible really is close to being a good update to Pride and Prejudice. To make it work, Curtis Sittenfeld has aged the characters and moved them to Cincinnati.

Jane is 40, a yoga instructor, and looking at a sperm donor for thee child she wanted and never had. Liz, at 38, is a successful magazine writer with a crush on colleague Jasper Wicks. He is married and promises to leave his wife someday. The older two girls live in NYC while the younger three live at home still. Mary is 30 and working on her third online Master’s degree. Kitty, 24, and Lydia, 22, are gym rats and Paleo diet fans.

What no one knows, until Liz ferrets out the information from her dad, is that the family home, a Tudor style house in the Hyde Park neighborhood on three acres of land is mortgaged to the hilt. She finds this out after she and Jane come home to help Dad recover from a heart attack and broken arm. Liz also finds out her parents have no health insurance.

Enter in Bingly, a gorgeous ER doctor who was also a contestant on Eligible, a Bachelor-like show, and Darcy, a neurosurgeon working at a local stroke clinic. Soon events are going in the direction we expect with a few twists here and there.

Again, this is a lovely update, the satire was stronger than in the other outings. There are some adaptations that are well suited for this update and questions are raised  about interpretations that are interesting. I love the modern take, the simplifying of some relationships while others take on a more physical nature which may or may not be appropriate for our times. I also wonder if Sittenfeld was watching The Holiday  as she wrote this, too many similarities.

Austen Project Northanger AbbeyBut my favorite of all of the adaptations is Northanger Abbey  by Val McDermid. To begin with, the setting is switched from Bath to Edinburgh for their annual arts festival. Filled with accidental meetings and the excitement of seeing an old friend, we experience Cathy’s happiness at being in the middle of a happening art scene.

She and Isabelle are soon as thick as thieves. But happenstance allows her to meet Henry and Eleanor, growing a relationship. Once she receives the invitation to come to the Abbey, it is not long before Cathy imagines vampires everywhere.

This is a fast pace read, filled with teen references, Facebook and messaging technology, and the drama that fills that age group. It embodies Austen’s love for the Gothic novel that she satirizes. Cathy morphs into a modern teen into a bit of a fairy tale existence with her protectors and yet she feels as fresh and naive as she did 200 years earlier. I would read it again or perhaps give it to my daughter to read so she can see that Austin is not just for the costume drama fans.

What are you reading?

Garden Talk

Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

What do you do when perfect weather hits?

I prefer to be outside.

I know my house needs to be cleaned after a world-wind of work and activities that have kept me busy. But really, I want to be outside when the weather is warm and the wind is calm.

It doesn’t matter if I am walking the dog or working in the garden, being outside when it is beautiful restores my soul, especially after a winter like we had this year. I know most people feel that way although a few might prefer their beautiful bug-free, air conditioned inside world.

Sadly, movies about gardens and plants are not that plentiful. Not everybody gets jazzed by dealing with plants or being in the orderly world of gardening. That is what we do after all, force order into the wild rift raft of nature.

Secret GardenOne of my long time favorites is The Secret Garden (1993), a rich tapestry of a movie following the life of a little girl left orphaned by an earthquake in colonized India during the early part of the 1900s. She lives at her uncle’s manse, a colossal pile, but it also has gardens she is free to explore. One day the girl finds a key and then another day find the door where it fits.

Not only that, she meets a local boy who can tame wild animals. And then she finds her cousin, who might be a wild animal but is certainly ill. He is a reported invalid who must be catered to at every turn. But soon the girl and her cousin, once they discover each other, are close friends who run off to the secret garden with the other boy.

We watch the garden turn from cold March winds and expectations through the spring and to summer’s explosion of roses and other greenery. The three children also grow through magic they create and the connections they share. It is a wonderful movie that can be seen by all ages, although people who prefer physical explosions may not like this movie.

If explosions and action is what you need then perhaps Batman and Robin (1997) is the movie for you. I realize the plant connection is not very clear at first. This movie, directed by Joel Silver, is not a favorite in the Batman canon. Starring George Clooney as the Bat, it also feature Arnold Schwartzeneger as Mr. Freeze and Uma Thurman as Poisen Ivy. Is there over acting in this movie? Well, yes, by the tons.

Batman, Robin , Poisen IvyGeorge is great but low-key. It’s the villains we want to see and they do a bang-up job. Uma Thurman is fantastically over the top as the scientist who has gone to the bad side after being rejected one time too many, she even comes up with a secret formula for a deadly kiss. But she has developed feeling for Robin that may be more obsessive for the ways she can hurt Batman. She’s also developed plants that do more than grow around a window frame.

What a silly, crazy movie. But with it’s PG-13 rating it might be one to reconsider if you do not like the cartoonish ‘stylized’ action and the verbal sparring that gets suggestive.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Sometimes life requires a movie that is not so serious. It requires a movie that makes fun of everything and anything.
That is how I felt when the husband and I went to see ‘Keanu’ the other day at Movies 10.
keanu-movie-posterThis movie features the comic duo of Key and Peele who have had a show on the Comedy Channel for the last five years. One of my favorite bits they do is President Obama’s anger interpreter. I laugh at a lot of their comedy.
However, one has to wonder if what they do can stretch over 90-minutes on the big screen.  Seven-ten minute bits are easy compared to a 90-minute film.
This film starts from a pretty flimsy plot. A man finds a kitten and adores his new friend. It is a very cute kitten. But when he comes home after a night at the movies with a friend, Rell finds his home ransacked and his kitten missing. So Rell goes to his neighbor’s house, a known drug dealer, to find out who tossed his home. From there Rell learns that a bigger drug dealer in town might have had reason to ransack his neighbor’s place.
So Rell takes along his friend and cousin, Clarence, to get the kitten.  They plan to go into a strip bar on the bad side of town to talk to a drug dealer named Cheddar about getting Rell’s adorable kitten back home.
This could go wrong in so many ways because Rell and Clarence are middle class guys. Their lives are pretty comfortable. Nor do they want to do much to ruin those lives. But Rell has a goal and that goal means doing whatever it takes to get his cat.
keanu-movie-key-and-peele1That includes imitating the roughest duo of thugs that no one has seen. It means training guys to be better thugs. It means doing the worst that a person has to do.
As many of you should know, this is not a movie to take little kids to see. There is a lot of swearing, drug use, violence, threatened violence, and more drug use. Just because there is a cute little kitten involved doesn’t mean this movie is for kids under the age of 12 bare minimum.
 And if you are sensitive to this stuff as an adult, you shouldn’t see it either. I didn’t count the number of each swear word used but it was a lot, in every scene.
That said, there is a lot to like in this movie. It makes fun of every black stereo-type we normally see in a movie like this. It makes fun of the tough thug, of the half-wit minions. And it also makes fun of the middle class guys who play video games that require you to kill people.
At any number of points these guys should have been called out for not being who they say they are and yet they aren’t. Each time there is something that keeps them in the game from mishaps to lucky flips to being able to explain how someone like George Michael can relate to a tougher crowd.
_B7A6370.dngAs much as I enjoyed this movie, I also had problems with it. The character of Clarence’s wife bothered me in the way she changed  by the end of the movie and I am not sure it felt right in this bit of farce. Nia Long gets credit for being willing to go out on a limb but I didn’t buy it. I wondered why the one character who knew they were faking it never let on what they knew.
So if watching a violent, profane movie with the cutest kitten on earth about two middle-class guys in over their heads is what you are looking to do, “Keanu” is totally the movie for you.
Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

I was prepared to watch and report on some film adaptation of Shakespeare for this week in an effort to encourage people to see something by the greatest writer of all time.

Doris-Roberts

I choose a great picture of Roberts, not the crap-ass one others have been using.

When Doris Roberts died, I thought about all of the times that she made me laugh on Everybody Loves Raymond. Her timing was superb and she made Marie into someone you could hate or love, depending on the moment. Roberts almost didn’t take the part that would earn her four Emmy awards. At the time she had a busy stage career and thought she would not have time for the role.

Thankfully, she changed her mind and we benefited with nine years of superb comedy. One would think that at the age of 80, Roberts might have considered retirement. But she didn’t. Her credit page is filled with roles since the end of the TV series. In fact, the movie I remember her in during this post-Raymond time period is Aliens In The Attic. It is not a great movie. The story is about two families who vacation together in a huge house with their grandmother.

The cousins realize something is not right and that there are aliens in the attic trying to destroy the house to get at something buried underneath. Worse yet, these aliens can get into a human with a special device and control them. One of the funniest scenes in the movie is when Nana Rose is taken over by these guys and performs some serious kung fu. It is classic Roberts, giving everything for the scene but it did make me wonder how much of the scene she did and how much was a stunt double.

I hope they gave her plenty of painkillers for those sequences.

The other death that occurred this week is the one I cannot wrap my mind around. The artist known as Prince died at the age of 57, leaving behind not only a legacy of superbly played music but also acts of generosity and kindness that were unknown to most of us. For me, Prince wrote huge chunks of my life’s sound track including songs by the Bangles, Sinead O’Conner and Stevie Nicks.

It is shocking he died at the age of 57; he seemed too young to die. That age still seems young in some ways, people are still able to get around and do stuff for the most part. He was still performing on a regular basis.

74145_D4_1_43

For Prince, this seems even crazier because while he was a shy man who did not advertise his life he was a larger than life figure. He was always the coolest cat in the room.In the 80s, he put his soul into the Purple Rain album and movie. There was no mistaking that he was singing his life and his emotions.

Later, he took on record companies who treated him unfairly while still performing shows with incredible musicianship. Did you see his performance during the 2009 Superbowl in which Prince played in the pouring rain? There was the George Harrison tribute in which he did a three minute solo that could make anyone weep. Even Eric Clapton, arguably one of the best guitarists ever, stated that Prince was the best.

He was strange and quirky, guarded his privacy, and built a studio in Minneapolis that people could easily see. He had a bevy of beautiful girlfriends, two ex-wives, and a small circle of friends throughout his life. Prince knew what he wanted his sound to be, playing several instruments on his records. As strongly as he controlled his sound, he controlled his image. Those of us at the end of the Baby Boom generation will miss him the most because he was our Bowie, our Stones, our Beatles, our Elvis. And like any other person who dies long before they should have, the knowledge of his absence will simply be shocking.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Get the Bucket

Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

Last week, we had a sick kid in the family. I could tell you the whole story that involved a trip to the firehouse and a failed trip to ER that resulted in said child throwing up in the car.

sick-kidThen again, this is the child who is almost never sick, almost never feeling bad enough to miss school. He proudly shows me the part of his report card that tells the story of no missed days. Well, not for this quarter.

The problem is how must one stay quiet and rest after resting too many days and feeling ready to move but not feeling well enough to move. When the boy cannot finish a bowl of his favorite soup, you know he is sick.

Usually in my house the solution is simple. I find animated films so that rest can happen but a person is ‘occupied.’ Some would call this a win-win situation. But this child is not the other kids in the family. Tarzan or Toy Story are not among his choices of movies.

So I made the choice that I felt was the best for the situation. I picked up Transformers. I am talking about the mixed live action/computer animation, loud as thunder, action packed movie that help launch the career of Shia LaBeouf from TV to the silver screen.

The story is about a young man who is buying his first car. OK, Dad is buying it and he is shopping. At the first lot they walk onto, the kid spots a car that looks run down. He is trying to decide function over fashion but Dad seems determined to go for cheap. After a momentary glitch in which the windows of all of the other cars break, Sam is driving home a rusty Camero that needs a little work.

Transformers_star_ShiaIt doesn’t take long for Sam to try to leverage his new car as a way to get not-so-secret-crush Michaela into his life or to find out maybe the car is not exactly what it appears to be. In fact, the car is something more, an alien who is to protect Sam from other forces that wants something he has and it is not Michaela.

Soon, Sam finds himself on a dangerous journey, trying to return the cube to the military. We get the pleasure of watching giant mechanical beings destroy a city and Dad’s garden. There are plenty of great lines to repeat day after day so kids will understand the importance of the tasks faced in this movie.

Should this movie be ridiculed? Yes because there are times the action and or dialogue is just awful. But the delivery from our various actors such as Josh Duhumel, Kevin Dunn, and Megan Fox somehow works. And then there is Optimus Prime, perhaps one of the best super good guys who gets that sometimes self sacrifice is the only way.

Sure watching this movie makes my house shake to its foundation. And there are times that I look at the animation and wonder how anyone could have come up with these spectacular shots.

But I also have to admit that for a few days after watching this movie I wonder if my cell phone would ever turn on me.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

It was one of those typical weekends in a small town.

Friday night was the band concert at the high school. Saturday was errands, 5the-8th grade solo and ensemble contest, and a Pork Chop supper. Sunday was church and the big Sunday meal at the house.

church dinnerI was once asked if life was slower after we moved from the city to a small town. While I might have spent more time in traffic congestion, the thing that did not change was how busy our lives were/are with kid activities. There is always something going on, some place to go or special event to mark on the calendar.

Life can be as busy or as slow as you make it and it doesn’t matter where you live. Small towns have their advantages and, obviously, I like that. Our kids have great comfort here and that it important.

This past weekend was everything I want out of life. It was perfect, it was quiet at times and active at others. Some might have seen it as perfectly boring while others might have felt it was way too busy. Typical small town life. Whatever that might mean to you.

And that is what this week’s movie, American Ultra, tries to depict at first, the life of a small town stoner guy and his girlfriend. Starring Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart, this is a movie that is meant for older teens and adults. There is plenty of swearing, lots of violent action, and a ton of death. Cartoon action this is not. The R rating is there, not for ‘real’ but for blood, gore, and swearing that some folks mat not want to deal with seeing or hearing.

american-ultra-posterMike and Phoebe can never leave the town because he gets anxiety attacks every time he tries. And some days he worries that he is holding Phoebe, his girlfriend, back from her full potential. The problem is, he is more than that. He has no clue why until a woman drops into his convenience store and says some strange words to him.

The next thing Mike knows is that two guys are coming after him with knives and he takes them out – with a spoon. This completely freaks Mike out and he reaches out to Phoebe. But before you know it there are more guys with guns and knives and other stuff willing to take Mike out. And he cannot understand why.

Going into this movie, I was not sure what to expect. Was it going to be light and fluffy and serious and grim? The thing is, this movie is a bit of both. It is making fun of these programs that try to train the perfect spy/killing machine. But the movie also presents what could happen if that person is hidden within a small community. You have to be willing to suspend all disbelief while in the midst of constant violence and harmful actions that feel all too real.

At least you will be more prepared than Mike ever was.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

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