Tag Archives: movie

give. shop. fashionable’s birthday sale.

October is coming to a close all too quickly. While many are adding cobwebs to their décor, I’m dusting off the virtual ones here to share something important.

After watching The Impossible last fall, I wasn’t sure I would recover. The tsunami of Boxing Day 2004 might as well have happened that day and in my back yard. To say it was difficult to watch… well, it’s just too little to say. My every muscle was taut with the terror and pain. My every thought was of this story. And, as it gripped me for weeks, I continually came back to a single moment.

Maria has against all odds survived and found her oldest son. She is injured, barely putting one torn leg in front of the other. It is too much to bear, but by some miracle of body, mind, and spirit, they find themselves in the company of some other native survivors. The current and debris left their bodies tattered and torn, just like the little clothing they had left. Then, a single gesture of grace and compassion gives dignity and ushers in hope. Maria is wrapped in a shirt. There is no strength left and she falls into the arms of strangers with gratitude far greater than her whispered words: thank you.

I felt it then – relief in gift of dignity.

It may seem silly to you at first for me to liken this moment, based on a true story, to another in a completely different world, but bear with me.

He turned to go.

“Come Dobby. I said, come.”

But Dobby didn’t move. He was holding up Harry’s disgusting, slimy sock, and looking at it as though it were a priceless treasure.

“Master has given a sock,” said the elf in wonderment. “Master gave it to Dobby.”

“What’s that?” spat Mr. Malfoy. “What did you say?”

“Got a sock,” said Dobby in disbelief. “Master threw it, and Dobby caught it, and Dobby – Dobby is free.

“Harry Potter freed Dobby!” said the elf shrilly, gazing up at Harry, moonlight from the nearest window reflected in his orb-like eyes. “Harry Potter set Dobby free!”

“Least I could do, Dobby,” said Harry, grinning. “Just promise never to try and save my life again.”

The elf’s ugly brown face split suddenly into a wide, toothy smile.

At the conclusion of Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets, this house elf, a bottom-rung creature forced for years to do the bidding of any master that happened to own him, was set free by a piece of clothing.

And I felt it then – joy in the gift of dignity.

That same joy is visible on the faces of the women who work weaving scarves at fashionable.  You may remember I visited them last summer. The sweet smiles I saw and shared face-to-face told yet another story of how a piece of clothing gives dignity. In this case, it’s not the wearing that brings relief or the receiving that brings the joy. It is the employment, the contribution, and the provision that add worth to their day and shout into the lives of these women that they are worth so much more than they believed.

Take two minutes to watch this.

FashionABLE is celebrating its 3rd birthday this week! For 3 days (2 more) everything is 30% off! By purchasing a scarf or other accessory from them, you are helping to sustain this company and the life-altering, hope-giving opportunities it provides. Give your friends and family gifts from fashionABLE and you’ll be giving dignity.

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Spread the word. Share the video. Pick your favorite social media platform or hit them all. Just keep telling people about the gift of dignity.

Click here to start shopping and giving. 


watch. newsies.

It was 1992. I was nearing thirteen and still bouncing back and forth between childhood and teendom. Even then, Disney was making that transition a little easier. MMC and Kids Incorporated were all the rage, and Disney Channel must be where I first saw the advertisements for a new movie, Newsies.  I had always loved a movie musical – my life basically was one as I constantly broke out into song and dance. And, what could be better than a bunch of kids who seemed close to my age, dancing in the streets and standing up to injustice? I was guaranteed to like this one.

In those days, if we wanted to know when movies were showing, we read the times in the newspaper. I saw it – an ad for a special sneak peek showing of Newsies (made even better by the fact that it would be a double feature with the recently released Beauty and the Beast.) I knew I had to go. My mom and I bought our tickets, and as I walked through the lobby, I grabbed the special Newsies Banner, a promotional paper with biographies of the cast and stories about the making of the movie.

I read that paper until the movie began (and after a couple more times).  I loved the movie. I saw it again in the theater. I sang the songs and learned the choreography. Kenny Ortega became my hero. I bought the soundtrack on cassette tape. I recorded the movie on VHS when it aired on the Disney Channel. When all the tapes wore out, I got the soundtrack on CD and later the DVD of the movie.

I should take a moment to say that I am not usually a fanatic. The only other thing I gave this much attention to was Strawberry Shortcake at age 4.  Eventually, my affinity for both turned subtle.  Yet, as many friends can attest, I practically forced them to watch Newsies the moment I found out they had not seen it, and I often said something to the affect of, “This should really be on Broadway.”

I was not the only one.

Twenty years after the movie was released, Newsies opened on Broadway. I seriously felt 13 again as I purchased presale tickets – a birthday present to myself.

Even on the sidewalk outside the doors of the Nederlander Theater I could feel the energy. And when my friend and I sat in our seats the energy seemed to have increased exponentially. I am convinced the audience was the “happiest on earth” to borrow a phrase from the Disney company.  The opening moments were more like an invitation for the audience, the lights and smiles were lighting up our faces as much as they were the cast.  And for 2 more hours or so, all our preteen dreams came true.

At the stage door, one of the security staff asked me what I thought. “Did you like it as much as the movie?” In answering, I realized the stage musical would never replace the movie, but I could love them both.  I’m so thankful to Harvey Fierstein and Alan Menken and Jack Feldman for transforming this story after all these years. Out of gratitude I won’t pick the show apart and tell you the very few things that I did not like. Instead, I will tell you I love that it was not over-produced with too complicated a set or overly done costumes. The story, the characters, the music, and the choreography got all the focus, just as it should be. Speaking of choreography, it was enthralling. I could barely blink for fear I would miss something! It helps that these  guys are incredibly athletes!

Again, I’m not the only one that felt this way. This talented cast and great show received 8 Tony Award nominations, including one for Best Musical. Tomorrow night, even more of  “The World Will Know” (I can’t help the puns) when the Tony Awards air on CBS.

The show’s run has officially been extended, so many more will have the opportunity to attend in the coming months. I suggest you “Seize the Day” and plan your trip soon.

It is worth mentioning that Newsies has made incredible use of social media as a story about the power of the press should. There is no shortage of outlets for you to explore. Here are just a few:

Soundtrack on Spotify

Carry the Banner!

read. watch. the help.

A lot of life in the past weeks means a lot of recommendations for you ahead. But I’ll start with my review of a great book turned film – a secret I’ve been sitting on for months.

Sometime the last week in March
It must have been the constant buzz about the book that motivated me to read it. I borrowed my mother’s copy of The Help by Kathryn Stockett and found myself engrossed after only a few short pages. The bright and warm cover welcomed me in, but the story took a dark turn as if a cloud hovered over the history that hit too close to home. I remained engrossed throughout the story, but along the way I felt enraged, disgusted, grateful, joyful, and a host of other emotions. I turned page after page with anticipation of the redemption I knew had to come.  It kept me from defenestrating the book at moments of ultimate frustration both with circumstances and characters.

March 28, about 10pm
I was in the throes of a moral dilemma with Skeeter, the youngest protagonist, when I received an invitation to a special screening of the not-yet-released film version. The screening was the next night! Hesitant to let the visual of a movie invade my imagination, I asked for a few extra hours before making my final decisions about the movie.

March 29, about 1am
As it turned out, pulling a late night to finish such a great read wasn’t exactly a major sacrifice.

March 29, around 3:45pm
I fought unexpected traffic and faced doubts of not making it to the theater in time after all my reading.

March 29, around 5:15pm
What should have been a 20-minute drive took an hour and a half. But somehow, I made it (with plenty of time to sign I would not divulge any information about the movie prior to its release, hence this retroactive post).

March 29, around 9pm
I completed the questionnaire about the film, wished I could sit in on the smaller focus group that remained, and thanked my friend Abbey profusely for inviting me to be her plus one (Thanks again, Abbey!)

So that was my adventure of reading and watching The Help. My immediate responses to the film were recorded on a survey.  But with time to digest, I have found I have more to say.  Since only a few short hours separated the final sentence of the book and the opening scene of the movie, my reactions to both are permanently intertwined.

I won’t spoil any plot lines or twists for you.  But if you want to read or watch without expectations and my opinions planted in your mind, stop reading now.

What the novel did for me…

  • Told a story so powerful I was forced to face the reality of a familiar and not-so-distant past.
  • Introduced me to characters – some I hated and some I loved.
  • Kept me on the edge of my seat and of raw emotion with a near perfect balance of mystery, drama, romance, thrill, and humor.
  • Reminded me how relational all women are – a beautiful mark of the Creator of us all.
  • Left me wondering how we can hurt each other so badly and holding out great hope for our future generations. We still have so far to go.

What the movie did for me…

  • Showed me that I had something in common with each character. Though I knew from reading how I related, I was fascinated to see it. At least one item in every home reminded me of my grandparents’ belongings. I sat at Minny’s table, drank from Elizabeth’s glasses, and ate over Celia’s tablecloth.
  • Gave voice to the beautiful dialogue.
  • Brightened the era for me. In my mind, the colors of life in that era were muted, like the colors of faded family photographs.  These vivid colors helped me understand the inviting cover of the book, I thought were mismatched.

As with most novels turned films, the development and growth of the characters felt abbreviated. Thankfully, I carried that development with me easily into the movie. However, that was not the greatest contrast between novel and film. As I read, I truly understood that Skeeter was an outlier in her society. Not only was she tall, with uncontrollably frizzy hair, and fiercely independent, but she courageously found a way to give voice to the voiceless and instigated change. She was not the norm. As I watched the film, I felt the opposite. I found myself watching through the lens of today. Skeeter seemed more the norm; Hilly and the League seemed the outliers. For me, this brightened and lightened the situation, watering down the risk these women took and the courage required of them.

I am well aware that we carry our own experience and personality into stories such as these.  Therefore, many will disagree.  Overall, the film was very well-acted and directed. I believe it coped with the limitation of this genre of story-telling well. I am grateful that many who will never read the book may see the movie and know the story. I hope they will grasp the great themes and find the courage of these characters in themselves.

Finally, I cannot close without sharing my favorite aspect of the movie screening. I glanced around; every seat in the large theater was occupied. Most attendees were women.  Some were black. Some were white. Some were old. Some were young. As we laughed together and cried collectively, I could not help but think of the history in that room.  Whose mother was like Aibileen? Whose grandmother was Skeeter? Whose aunt lived like Celia? Whose saw their sister in Minny? In that moment, though I know how very far we have to go, I felt the author’s intention had been realized. “Wasn’t that the point of the book? For women to realize, we are just two people. Not that much separates us. Not nearly as much as I’d thought.”

For that reason alone, go see the movie.For many reasons, read the book.

watch. the players say goodbye.

You’ll have to bear with me while I join in the Pottermania this week. To start, I’ll just share what those who created and helped take us to this magical place had to say at the London premiere of the 8th and final movie. If you are a fan and you don’t shed a tear, you may want to check for kitten plates on your wall.

Take this with you: “The stories we love best do live in us forever, so whether you come back by page or by the big screen, Hogwart’s will always be there to welcome you home.”

read. early word.

An endless number of sources seem to exist on which any reader might base their next selection. Many turn to bestsellers, award winners, Oprah, Amazon, a friend or their librarian for a recommendation. I realized recently, I have been reading for the movies. I re-read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in preparation for the movie. On my bedside table now, is The Help. Admittedly, a movie deal does not guarantee great literature. (I can think of a few vampire-themed novels as examples.) However, the interest of a filmmaker can point us to of-the-moment works that in a few months will be passed over for the less taxing, likely abridged visual version.

In looking for more information about soon-to-be movies, I discovered Early Word. As explained on the site, Early Word “is a Blog and Web site on a mission — to give libraries the earliest information possible on the books their customers will be looking for, so they can stay ahead of demand. By giving readers what they want, when they want it, we believe libraries can increase their circulation and their support.”

The beauty of this public site is that librarians are not the only ones with access. A reader may find this as a great source for discovering upcoming releases as well.

There are 5 pages in particular for those reading for the movies. 

Books to Movies — In Development
Books to Movies — In Production
Books to Movies — Now Playing
Books to Movies — On DVD with Tie-ins
Books to Movies — Upcoming

Once you start exploring, you will find so much more than the early bird’s worm. And, once armed with the knowledge from the site, you can head straight to your local library.

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