Monday, August 31, 2015

The Things That Fathers Do For Their Kids

Tonight's marathon takes the concept of a father and his child dynamic from the lineup titled When Adventures Lead To Reconnecting With Daddy and brings it to a whole new level with this theme showing how far a father is willing to go for his children. Whether it's to protect them from the harsh realities of life whether living in the Holocaust, a father who bypasses a court order and dresses up as a 60 year old woman to spend time with his kids, a father who will travel to a foreign country and stop at nothing to rescue his daughter, a father who would turn the tables on his sons kidnappers to ensure his son is returned home and safe, and a father who would take an emergency room and it's inhabitants hostage in order to make sure his son receives a heart before his current one fails, it is through these different story arcs where we witness the power of love that a father holds for his children and his stubborn refusal to take no for an answer. For tonight's beautiful and emotionally empowering marathon, we have on the following menu:

Finding Nemo 2003, The Pursuit Of Happyness 2006, Mrs Doubtfire 1993, Taken 2008, Random 1996, and John Q 2002.

       Now this is a powerful marathon that demonstrates all the great traits about fatherhood in all its different forms. Being a father is  not an easy job but being a father who doesn't take no for an answer and chooses to fight for his kid takes a great deal of courage. That courage shines through love and determination to protect their child no matter what happens to the parent. The case that this marathon builds is that there is no greater love than a father who will put everything on the line for their children, even going as far as being willing to give their own life to ensure that they live on. The first movie of the night demonstrates how far a father is willing to go for their child with the 2003 blockbuster and critically acclaimed animated movie titled Finding Nemo. Nominated for a total of four academy awards including Best Song, Best Screenplay, Best Animated Film, and Best Sound Editing, the story centers around a clownfish who sets out on a journey to retrieve his son named Nemo who was captured in the Great Barrier Reef and taken to Sydney. Finding Nemo is the perfect opening for this marathon because it starts off fresh, exciting, and begins the story arc with a fathers child going missing and the father going after him regardless of the dangers that lie within the trip.
      The second movie of the lineup is the 1997 critically acclaimed comedy and drama titled Life Is Beautiful. Nominated for a total of seven academy awards and winner of three including Best Foreign Film, Best Music, and Best Actor for Roberto Benigni's unforgettable portrayal of a loving father whose forced to shield his son from reality when both are placed in a concentration camp in the Holocaust during World War ll. He uses wit, humor, and imagination to not only win over the heart of his wife but also to protect his son from the dangers of the camp, as well as sharing a bond that's special even if they may or may not survive the camp together. Life is Beautiful remains one of the most powerful father and son films ever made and can essentially be summed up as The Pursuit Of Happyness of Holocaust movies.
      The third movie of the marathon is the 1993 blockbuster and Oscar winning comedy/drama for Best Makeup about a divorced father who dresses up as a 60 year old woman in order to bypass a court order to see his children without his ex wife knowing about it. The film Mrs Doubtfire starring Robin Williams takes the theme of a father going the extra mile for his kids to the next level in the realm of comedy. The character Robin Williams plays named Daniel admits to the judge who issued his court order that not being able to see his children is essentially him being told that he can't have air and that he had to see them. His hilarious act of changing identity to be a babysitter for his children is done out of both love and desperation to be with them. Compared to the first two movies, there is no national emergency or child going missing in this scenario but rather a father fighting to still be relevant in his children's life. Mrs Doubtfire remains one of the defining father movies and one of Robin Williams defining roles as a comedian and dramatic actor.
      The fourth movie of the marathon is the action movie drama Taken starring Liam Neeson, Famke Janseen, and Maggie Grace. This film begins the drastic change in tone for the marathon with the theme remaining present and maintaining emotion but the lineup becoming more suspenseful and thrilling. In this above average action thriller and drama, Neeson plays a retired CIA agent whose struggling to get back into the life of his daughter who now lives with his ex wife. When his daughter gets taken when traveling to Paris, Neeson's character travels across Europe to save his daughter whose become apart of a drug trafficking ring. Taken is a film that's essentially about a man whose trying desperately to reconnect with his daughter and make up for lost time with her, but reacts when he's given no option but to fight for her. The film spawned two hugely inferior sequels that received bigger box office intakes but failed to achieve the same fame and quality as this film.
       The fifth movie of the marathon is the Ron Howard blockbuster thrilled titled Ransom starring Mel Gibson, Gary Sinise, Rene Russo, and Delroy Lindo. The film centers around Gibson and Russo as parents who discover that their child has been kidnapped, leaving them with no choice but to corporate with the police until Gibson's character Tom comes up with a clever plan of turning the tables on the kidnappers. Ransom earned Gibsons fantastic performance a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor and spawned one of the most iconic movie moments of the 1990's with Gibson screaming at the top of his lungs at the kidnappers on the phone demanding "Give Me Back My Son." Gibson gives a career defining performance as a father whose given no options but to use his brains and fight to get his child back using the one thing they demand against them.
      The sixth movie of the marathon is the epic conclusion to the lineup titled John Q starring Denzel Washington, James Woods, Kimberly Elise, Robert Duvall, and Ray Liotta in the title roles. The film centers around a man named John who takes the emergency room of his kids hospital hostage when his  health insurance refuses to cover his sons heart transplant. John is presented as a loving husband and father figure like the other dads in this marathon but the twist is he takes matters into his own hands and goes against the system when it refuses to help his dying son. The tagline of the film says if you give a father no other opens then he has no choice. This marathon is centered around that one powerful tagline and shows how deep a fathers love for his children can go and what they will ultimately do for them.

So what are these movies trying to say marathon wise? When you put them all together, the message is that a bond between a father and his children is a force that cannot be broken or cut off. If a father truly cares for his children then he will always find a way to be prominent in their lives and protect them from whatever obstacles they may face. A father who dresses up like an old woman to spend time with his kids, a father who travels across the world to save his daughter, a father who is willing to pay a huge ransom for his child, and one who will take over an emergency room to ensure that his child gets a heart are fathers that every dad on the planet should aspire to be. Period.

Our remarkable fathers and kids for this evening:


Friday, August 28, 2015

When Adventure Leads To Reconnecting With Daddy

Tonight's marathon is full of action, adventure, emotion, and ultimately carries a sentimental message to it. In all of these films, the lead character whether a male or female has a desire to reconnect with their father and get back the time that was lost in being with them. Through these adventures and quests, our protagonists reunite with their fathers by the end of each picture whether alive or in spirit. It is a clever marathon with different styles of movies using the same formulas and themes. For tonight's exciting and sentimental lineup, we have on the following menu:
Jumanji 1995, Aladdin and the King Of Thieves, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider 2001, National Treasure 2004, and Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade 1989


      Everything that one needs and desires upon going to the movies is in this marathon. There is action, there is drama, there is romance, there is comedy, there is spectacle, strong and iconic characters that you ultimately care about, and most importantly, a good message about letting go of past grudges and appreciating your fathers for being your dad. The presence of the father figure grows stronger with each movie and the sentimentality of the story arc grows more emotional. The first film of the marathon is the 1995 blockbuster family classic titled Jumanji. Starring Robin Williams, the film centers around a young boy and girl coming across a board game which they end up finding in a attic and playing with it in an abandon house their stepmother bought up. Upon playing the game, they release a man whose been trapped inside the game for 26 years and rejuvenating the previous steps that were played with the older gentlemen and his female companion at the time. Now it is up to the four of them to continue where the game left off and finish it before the full magical powers of the game wreck havoc upon them and the town that surrounds them. Not only is Jumanji a great action and adventure film to start the night off with but it also introduces the theme of a father being lusted for in the story. The young version of Williams character left his father on bad terms after his dad makes him face a group of bullies who beat him senselessly and is forces him to go to a boys school he doesn't want to attend. One scene of the film has Williams character searching for his dad in present time only to find out that his father died recklessly searching for his son after disappearing into the game. It is through successfully completing the steps in the game that Williams character at an older age reunites with his father and makes the past right by telling him how much he cares. Jumanji is pure fun and further cements the notion that Robin Williams was one of the greatest and most versatile actors that ever graced the big screen.
      The second movie of the evening makes the father dynamic more impactful with 2001's summer blockbuster based on the popular videogame. Lara Croft Tomb Raider starring Angelina Jolie, Jon Voight, and Daniel Craig pre James Bond focuses on a female Tomb Raider who collects ancient artifacts much in the same style as Indiana Jones, except in this scenario she is haunted by the sudden death of her father during one of his hunts for ancient artifacts. She uncovers a letter from a deceased father in which he reveals that he hid a secret key that a doomsday cult named the Illumaniti is searching for in order to control an alignment that can bring them enough power to control and destroy the world. Lara Croft is essentially the female Indiana Jones in the sense that she goes on the same quests to retrieve important artifacts that can bring supernatural power to her enemies and wrongfully use them to gain control of the world. Lara's father is played by Angelina Jolie's real life father named Jon Voight, therefore making the father and daughter dynamic more sentimental. In the first two movies of the lineup, it is the fathers that inspire the beginning of each characters journeys.
      The third movie of the marathon is the third and final chapter in the iconic Disney trilogy titled Aladdin And The King Of Thieves. In this tale, Aladdin is about to marry Princess Jasmine but finds himself coming across the ultimate discovery when The King Of Thieves disrupt their wedding. Aladdins discovery is that the leader of the thieves is his long lost father whose searching for an oracle that will direct him towards greater treasure. The King Of Thieves is perhaps the most emotional of the three Aladdin films with this one being more about a son reconnecting with his father and trying to regain the time lost with him even though he's conflicted given his fathers intentions. The film was a big deal upon it's release on home video due to the return of Robin Williams as the voice of the Genie.
      The fourth movie of the marathon is the 2004 Disney blockbuster titled National Treasure starring Nicholas Cage, Sean Bean, and Jon Voight in the title roles. In a adventure tale that's in a similar vein to that of Indiana Jones and Tomb Raider, a historian played by Nicholas Cage is in a race against time to recover the long believed to be Templar Treasure before a team of mercenaries beat him to it after the leader betrayed him played by Sean Bean. While on his journey to finding the treasure, he reunites with his father who thinks unfavorably of his quest at first but slowly rebuilds their relationship as they join forces to uncover the location of the treasure. This is twice that Jon Voight plays the same father type of figure with the other being Tomb Raider, and the perfect father and son prelude to Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade.
      The fifth and final movie of the evening is the third and arguably finest entry in the popular Indiana Jones trilogy titled Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade starring Harrison Ford in the title role. Generally considered by many to be the real finish to the series if you don't acknowledge Indiana Jones 4, the film centers around Indiana Jones reuniting with his father played by Sean Connery after rescuing him from the Nazi's. Together they both pursue the Holy Grail with Indy following in the footsteps of his father while staying ahead of the Nazis on the search for the Grail. Hands down the most sentimental film of the five with the father and son dynamic reaching its peak and paying off with great scenes where Indiana and Sir Henry try to escape a fire together, their conversation at the table on the plane about Henry's lack of fatherhood during Indy's youth, Indy thought to be killed during the battle with the Nazis and Sir Henry admitting he didn't tell Indy how much he cared and their powerful embrace once he realizes he's alive. With Last Crusade, Spielberg brings the story home and gives fans answers to questions regarding Indiana's past such as where did he come from and what his parents were like. To this day Indiana Jones fans still debate over which film was the better of the two between Last Crusade and Raiders Of The Lost Ark. In my humble opinion, my heart always chooses Last Crusade.

So what are these movies trying to say when you put them all together and focus on the father and son/daughter aspect of them. The message that these movies say as a marathon is that whatever happened in the past is in the past between a father and his child. If there was a bad departing or a lack of parenting growing up, a reconciling and reconnecting is always possible if the other party is willing to step up to the challenge. Sometimes the greatest adventures can be moments where past wounds are healed if a parent tags along. Precious treasure and artifacts such as the Holy Grail should be in museum and away from hands of people such as the Nazis.

Our fathers and their children for this evening:




Monday, August 24, 2015

When You Remember Your Past

Tonight's marathon is all about rediscovering your roots and where you come from. Sometimes we tend to forget what our pasts were like either because they were too painful or not relevant to what's happening now. In my humble opinion, our pasts are a reminder of what makes us the people we are today and what we should learn from. Tonight plays on that concept and makes for a more intimate evening where we witness several different journeys of people struggling to rediscover their past. Some of these characters have become iconic in pop culture while the rest fulfill the task of carrying out this evenings theme. For tonight's emotionally touching and powerful journey, we have on the following menu:

Peter Pan 2003, The Majestic 2000, Anastasia 1997, A Little Princess 1994, The Vow 2012, and Hook 1991

      One word to perfectly sum up these batch of movies is that it's quite simply moving. It reaches into your own soul and makes you think about how much you cherish your own memories and loved ones. The lineup also poses as a lightweight tearjerker given certain situations in movies such as A Little Princess and The Vow. The use of Peter Pan and Hook is to give everything a feeling of coming full circle with Pan shown as a young boy in love with Wendy and returning to Neverland at an older age when his children are kidnapped by Captain Hook seeking vengeance for his loss to Pan. Hook is the perfect finish for this marathon because it takes all the emotions of the previous movies to it's highest point and leaves a climax that is worth cheering for. The first movie of the night is the 2003 critically acclaimed live action adaptation of the Disney classic titled Peter Pan. Based on J.M Barrie's legendary play, the story centers around a young Windy Darling and her siblings receiving a visit from Peter Pan, who ends up taking the children on a trip to Neverland. When arriving at Never land, they are placed in an ongoing war between the lost boys and the evil Pirate Captain Hook played brilliantly by Jason Isaacs. Peter Pan as a live action film works nicely because it manages to capture the spirit and imagination of the cartoon, along with placing greater emphasis on the relationship between Peter Pan and Wendy which ends nicely and picks up with Hook.
      The second movie of the lineup is the 1997 blockbuster animated classic titled Anastasia starring Meg Ryan, John Cusack, Christopher Lloyd, Kelsey Grammer, and Hank Azaria in a loosely historical tale of a young woman being used by two con men as a way of getting enriched by having her claim to be the Grand Duchess Anastasia, the last surviving member of the Romanov family executed in July 1918. The two con men voiced by Cusack and Grammer attempt to have the young woman be identified by Anastasia's grandmother, the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna in exchange for the millions of dollars being offered for the discovery of the real Anastasia last seen at a train station in the film when the Winter Palace in St. Petersberg went under siege. Anastasia is a remake of the 1956 classic starring Yul Brynner and Ingrid Bergman of the same storyline and winner of an academy award for best actress. Anastasia is a great addition to this marathon because it's essentially the story of a young girl finding a way back to her grandmother whose the only family she has left, while at the same time rediscovering her past and destiny. The film is loosely based off the real life story of Anna Anderson, the woman who claimed to be Anastasia until DNA tests proved otherwise in the 1990s. The film was nominated for two academy awards including best song and best music.
      The third movie in the marathon is Alfonso Cuaron's outstanding remake in 1994 titled A Little Princess. Based on the Shirley Temple classic, the story centers around a young girl named Sarah Crew who is sent by her father to an all girls rich school while he goes off to fight during the first World War. When her father goes missing and is presumed dead, the schools harsh head mistress forces Sarah into servitude while her father is found with no memory of anything that happened in the past prior to his discovery. Through the help of a spiritual Indian man in Sarah's life, he uses his magic to draw a path where Sarah and her father find a way back to each other. A Little Princess is a fantastic remake of the 1939 classic which started Shirley Temple and centered around the same premise. The film makes the journey of Sarah Crew more personal and the visuals more stunning with two academy award nominations going toward Best Cinematography and Best Art-Set Decoration. The film flopped at the box office but received unanimous critical acclaim upon it's theatrical release and paved way for Cuaron to direct future projects such as Great Expectations 1998, Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban, Yu Tu Mama Tambien, Children Of Men, and Gravity.
      The fourth movie of the marathon is Frank Darabont's The Majestic starring Jim Carrey in his first dramatic performance as a blacklisted Hollywood writer in 1951 who gets into a car accident shortly after being accused of being a member of the communist party during the Paul McCarthy era. While recovering from the accident, he loses his memory and settles down in a small town where he is mistaken both as a long-lost son and long-lost lover. The Majestic didn't receive the critical acclaim that Darabont's earlier films such as Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile received but it retains much of the sentimentality and heart of those films in it's story. Jim Carrey's dramatic turn is totally believable and makes it a tragedy that he didn't continue to pursue more dramatic roles in his career besides Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind. Nevertheless, the story remains inspiring as one man strives to fit in with the small town community while slowly trying to rediscover his past.
      The fifth movie of the marathon is the Nicholas Sparks book turned movie titled The Vow starring Rachael McAdams, Channing Tatum, Jessica Lange, and Sam Neil. After a car accident, a young woman named Pahe is placed into a coma where she awakens with no memory of her past life nor her husband named Leo who fights to win back her heart as an ex lover moves back into the picture. As Leo fights to get his wife back, he has to contend with her overbearing and controlling parents who wants Page back so she can fulfill their wishes of her living a life of their standards. The Vow is perhaps the most intimate and personal movie of the lineup with a man fighting to save his marriage and start from scratch on why they fell in love in the first place. The scenes where the two go out on dates and do personal things together sink into the heart of tonight's theme.
       The sixth and final movie of the marathon brings it all full circle with the epic finale directed by Steven Spielberg. Nominated for 5 academy awards and a box office smash in the winter of 1991, the film Hook starring Robin Williams, Dustin Hoffman, Julia Roberts, and Bob Hoskins centers around a grown up Peter Pan whose overweight, a workaholic, and gives little attention to his children suddenly finding himself traveling back to Neverland to save his children from being kidnapped by the now vengeful Captain James Hook played by Dustin Hoffman. Hook brings it all full circle back to where the marathon began with Peter Pan and is a powerful story of a man remembering who he once was as a child, and why he quit being Pan in the first place. He quit because of his love for Wendy's daughter and his children who gave him a happy thought to fly again. Generally considered one of the worst films of Steven Spielbergs career, Hook is an underappreciated classic that deserves much better than the reputation that came long after it's release.

So what are all of these movies trying to say when you put them all together in a lineup? The theme is about people forgetting their past and slowly fighting to rediscover their pasts and who they are. The past is a very powerful part of a persons life for several reasons such as it molds a person into who they are in present times, and it reminds us of what life was like at one point for better or worse. No one can escape their past nor their destiny as it will always find it's way back to you sooner or later. Family and marriage should always come first before any job or hobby.

Our characters for this evening: