In a scene in the movie “Twister” several people are discussing the intensity rating of tornadoes. It’s mentioned that EF2s and EF3s are pretty strong and an EF4 will relocate your house. Someone else asks if there’s such a thing as an EF5 and what would that be like. The reply? “The finger of God.” For those of you who don’t live in tornado alley you may want to note that this little factoid wasn’t made up for the movie. If you’ve been anywhere near your TV and on regular programming this evening you’ll know this is true. The city of Moore, OK was hit by an F5 today. Actually, “hit” is a bit of an understatement. Words can’t describe the devastation.
The news has been tossing around “war zone” as a description. I wonder if anyone who’s been in a war would agree. This was not man made. This was not something anyone could fight. And, in some cases, this was not something from which you could hide. At one point the reporters said that if people couldn’t get underground the chances were pretty good they wouldn’t survive. Why do I care enough to post about this? Because several of my loved ones live in Moore and as soon as I heard the sirens and the news that the tornado was headed towards them I tried to text one of them hoping against hope that she was at work and far far away from her house. She was not. She was home. Her daughter and son-in-law were at their apartment. Also in the path of the tornado. Another cousin was in a Moore school. Unreachable by me. The rest of his family was in different parts of the city. I work in an office on the 20th floor of a building in downtown OKC. My windows face to the south...towards S. OKC and Moore. I sat in my office, looking out the window of a building just miles away from these loved ones and that tornado and straining with all my might to be able to see what was happening. Yes, I knew that even on a clear day I can’t see that far but, at the time, it didn’t matter. I needed to know.
Needless to say, I didn’t get much work done. Fortunately, I have a very understanding boss. He took in stride the fact that I couldn’t sit still and kept walking in to his office to give him updates about people he’s never met. At one point I told him I wanted to go home. His immediate response? “Okay.” No questions asked. I didn’t leave. I knew there wasn’t anything I could do and, had I left, I’d just sit around the house worried. So I tried to work and didn’t accomplish much.
I spent the next hour texting; trying to find out who was where and whether or not they were safe. My family is not a group of great communicators but apparently we pulled out all the stops for this ordeal. My mom was in another state and got some family news before I did. I also logged on to KFOR.com to watch the streaming video of what was happening. It wasn’t pretty. So much damage. So many homes and 2 schools destroyed. The reporters showed the schools but wouldn’t tell us the names (they didn’t know yet themselves). I knew which school my cousin was in but the reporters wouldn’t confirm whether or not his school was one of the ones they were showing. I started yelling at the reporters on my computer. Because that always hurries information, doesn’t it? They finally gave the names of the schools. Not his. Thank goodness. Relief! Then I got the message that another cousin goes to one of the schools that was destroyed. She’s actually a step-cousin but our family doesn’t work on the step-system. If you’re family you’re family. Period. It was okay though. She hadn’t gone to school today. Hold that thought…she was at home which is in the housing area behind the big theater that was hit and we didn’t have information yet about whether or not she and her grandmother had gotten to shelter. ARGH! They are both safe. Thank goodness.
I finally gave up and decided to bring my work home with me. I didn’t feel like doing it here either but it would put me closer to my family. This all started around 3 o’clock this afternoon and we didn’t confirm the location of all family members until around 10 this evening. They are all safe. I want to see and hug every one of them. Just to be sure. As I was leaving work, dad called and asked if my house had any wind damage. I hadn’t even considered my house. I knew the tornado hadn’t hit it but I hadn’t thought that it could be hurt by the weather in other ways. That was a dreaded trip. I pulled in to my driveway and the only disaster to be seen was my lawn which badly needs to be mowed.
I went inside, hugged my boys and called dad to let him know everything was okay. I turned on the TV and HGTV came on. Regular programming. Didn’t they know what was happening here? Then I turned on the news. Seven children who were trapped in an elementary school had drowned (I just heard on the news that it was from broken water pipes in the school). Seven children who left home for a normal day of school and wouldn’t be returning. That was it. I had had enough. I called my mom. My sounding board. My rock. Everything had gotten very surreal. My house was fine. My boys were fine. I was fine. Love It or List It was on HGTV. If all that was true, how could something so bad have happened just down the road? Mom let me cry it out and we talked about what we’d both seen on the news. I was angry that we’d had looters at a medical center and people trying to catch pictures of destruction and injury. In Oklahoma. My Oklahoma. The state in which people help each other in times of tragedy. They don’t add to it. I was heart sick that so many children had died. I didn’t know yet that the number would climb to 24. Mom let me vent it out and told me to get some sleep, told me she loves me and hung up the phone.
Why do I feel like my little story is important? I don’t. Not really. As it affects me anyway. It’s after midnight and I can’t wind down. But, the little roller coaster I rode today was absolutely NOTHING compared to what happened to those in the path of the tornado. Compared to a mom who couldn’t locate her son. Compared to a dad/son trying to get to his daughter and mom. Compared to teachers – found under cars and trapped under debris- who used their own bodies to protect their students. Compared to sobbing rescue workers who had to switch their efforts at an elementary school from rescue to recovery. Compared to thousands of people displaced because their homes are no more. My fears and stress, though they seemed large at the time, were minor.
This has been declared the worst tornado in history. The death toll has climbed to 51 and I pray it stops there. [Turns out the news was wrong on that count at the time of this post. The total was 24; that number including 9 children]In a few hours I’ll get my sleepy butt out of bed and drive in to work while thousands try to figure out how to carry on. I pray that they get back to “normalcy” as quickly as possible. I pray that those who lost loved ones will be able to get rest enough to see them through. I finally feel like I can go to sleep but it’s with a heavy heart. The one bright spot in all this is that the loss of lives could have been so much worse if not for the systems set up for just this very event so that people are warned quickly. My only wish is that 24 more could have been saved.
Please remember the people of Moore in your prayers. They have a tough road ahead of them but they are not alone. Every thought and prayer counts and yours will be felt throughout the community. Of this I am sure. God bless and keep us. Good night.
I hate to admit that in all the excitement over the Moore tornado I completely forgot about the cities that were hit the day before. It's hard to imagine how though. A friend and I watched in horror as the reporters told the people of Carney and Wellston that the tornado was as big as their cities and, once again, if they couldn't get underground they needed to get the heck out of Dodge. If you've ever heard an Oklahoma newscaster during a tornadic event you know this just never gets said. It's always only "seek shelter". To be told to flee or die must be a scary, scary thing. Shawnee and Norman were hit along with several smaller cities with a death toll of 2 people. I know that doesn't sound like much but to their families, it's a lot. To all of these cities mentioned I would like to offer up my apology for not seeing the big picture. You too are in my prayers.
Tuesday, April 9, 2013
“There was something unfair at the heart of the game I loved.”
Those of you who really know me know that I love three sports. Hockey, college football and baseball. I love college football not only because it is a harbinger of Fall but also because my beloved Sooners and other collegiate players are still playing for the joy of it. Hockey is my stress relief. I like to sit up in my corner of the arena and yell my heart out for my Barons. But baseball. There’s just something about it. Or, it’s everything about it. It’s the crowd. It’s the ice cream in the tiny plastic baseball helmet. It’s the brats with sauerkraut (yeah, I know that’s not American but I love my brats). It’s the young child attending his/her first game and pummeling their parents with question after question after question. It’s the fireworks after the Friday night games. Growing up, it was the grassy area next to left field where my sister and I played while we waited for the chance at a foul ball. It was 89er stadium and now, The Brick (I don’t care that they changed the name). It’s watching an entire team when they’re out in the field but just one player when they’re up to bat. I love baseball. I love how it is portrayed in movies. I’ll watch any baseball movie I can get my hands on and I’ve had several favorites throughout my life. I have to say now that my favorite has once again changed. If you don’t watch any other movie about baseball ever, you need to watch 42.
For those of you who aren’t baseball fans and haven’t heard of this movie, 42 is the story of Jackie Robinson, a baseball player who tore through the color barrier so that he could play the sport he loved in the sport’s biggest arenas (or parks if you’re going to be picky). It shows how he rose above the meanness and hate and became one of the greatest players in baseball history. Not only for the man he was on the field but also because of the man he was off.
To say that this movie affected me is putting it mildly. If I hadn’t embarrassed myself a couple times I’d have been a fan in the stands throughout the entire film. But we’ll get to that later. Except for Harrison Ford’s acting at the beginning I can’t find anything negative to say about this movie. How it was made, I mean. There were plenty of reasons for me to be disappointed/sad/angry. That’s what made it such a good movie.
What is it about 42 that I liked so much? Jackie himself. I don’t know a thing about his personal life so I’m just working on the theory that the director/writer was close to getting it right. We saw more than just the athlete. We saw the husband who, oh so obviously, loved his wife. We saw the wife who was his greatest supporter. We saw the man who could turn the other cheek when most men wouldn’t have. We saw the man who cried when it was just too much. We saw the man who proved that it wasn’t HIS color that slowed the process of him becoming a hero. We saw the young boy who was inspired by Jackie Robinson to become a Major League player himself.
Aside from that, I liked 42 because it showed the men who supported Jackie despite the fact that it was so not the popular thing to support a black man in the 1940s. It showed that you should stand up for what is right no matter how it might affect you. It showed that actions, more than anything else, prove a man’s character.
Speaking of characters…
Chadwick Boseman was cast in the role of Jackie Robinson. I’m sure I’ve seen him before as several of his roles occurred in TV shows I watch a lot but I guess I haven’t paid attention until now. I believed he was Jackie Robinson. I hurt with him, I wanted to fight for him, I most certainly cheered for him (one of my embarrassing moments in the theater), and I yelled at an ump for him (another embarrassing moment in the theater). I would love to one day have the kind of relationship he did with his wife. They adored each other and she truly was his biggest fan and he hers.
Nicole Beharie was Rachel Robinson. Her character was beautiful inside and out. But she had an ornery side too! I loved that when Jackie was at his lowest her response wasn’t full of venom towards the people who’d hurt him. It was, I think, a healing response and it was wrapped in one short, little line. I hope the real Rachel actually said that to the real Jackie.
Harrison Ford played the part of Branch Rickey, the baseball executive who signed Jackie Robinson to the Brooklyn Dodgers. I have no nice way to explain how I felt about Harrison’s acting at the beginning of the movie other than to say he overdid things a bit. Throughout the rest of the movie it seemed as if he was channeling Jimmy Stewart. Aside from that, I loved Branch. He was a good man who fought for what he believed in. He believed baseball should be integrated and he made it so.
John C. McGinley was Red Barber, the announcer at several of the games. I’ve liked him in almost everything I’ve seen him in and 42 was no exception. He was hilarious. My dad has Red’s kind of sense of humor so it was very easy to love him. I guarantee dad will appreciate Red’s description of Jackie when he walks out on the field.
Were there any characters I didn’t like? Absolutely! Every hateful racist who hurt Jackie or Rachel. Which one did I want to jump onscreen and smack? That would be Ben Chapman played by Alan Tudyk. Ben made me so angry at one point that I was upset with Alan. I loved you in 28 Days, A Knight’s Tale, Dodgeball and Suburgatory. How could you do this to me? You were awful! You were hateful! You were mean! And you tried to excuse it. I never want to see you in this kind of role again. EVER!
Next in line to Ben Chapman was the man whose son was so excited to be at the game. He was a huge fan of Pee Wee Reese, the short stop. When Jackie walked on to the field the game lost a little bit of its luster for the young boy. Not because of Jackie. The blame lays squarely on the shoulders of that horrible man.
There are so many other actors I want to mention but this will just go on and on and on. I think everyone who portrayed one of the baseball players was well chosen. Well done you, casting director.
I’ve already discussed some of the following with my sister so the break down is for anyone else who’s interested. If you’re wondering why I mention my sister it’s because these posts are meant to help her decide if it’s something she’s okay with my niece seeing. Anyway, here’s the breakdown.
Sex/Nudity – None. There is a brief bedroom scene in which Rachel gets kissed on her chest but that’s the worst of it.
Drinking/Drugs/Smoking – Drinking…yes. Drugs…no. Smoking…Branch seems to have a cigar in his hand every time we see him.
Violence – the benches are cleared for a good ol’ all-American brawl. That’s about the worst of it. Oh wait. No, it’s not. Jackie got hurt in one scene by an opposing player. I reacted strongly to that incident. I made people around me giggle. I couldn’t help it.
Cussing/Swearing/Racial Slurs – And then some. SOB, GD, S and H played small roles throughout the film but the biggest word of all was the N word. Mama taught me early on that that is NOT a word to be used in her household. Or out of it for that matter. I lost count at 53 and I know it was said a lot more than that. In 42…not our house. Ben Chapman was the worst offender. He needed to be punched. Soundly. I so completely hate that THAT word was used so much but I understand why it had to be. That’s how it was back then and what Jackie had to deal with. I don’t think the audience would have been quite as incensed if the bad guys yelled stuff like, “You’re a stinky poo poo head!” It’s just doesn’t have the same ring to it. Several other racial terms were used that were just as offensive but the N word was used most often so that’s why it was mentioned. The fact that Jackie was able to overcome such abuse makes me want to hug his mama. I don’t care that the movie portrays Branch as being the one who encouraged Jackie to be the bigger man. I’m pretty secure in believing that how he was raised made him the man he was.
I can’t/won’t discourage anyone from seeing 42. I plan on going again this weekend. Tonight was another free screening and though I loved that I didn’t have to pay for it, I now want to help it become number one at the box office. Please go this weekend. Opening Day at The Brick is this Friday and I didn’t want to miss one to see the other so this was yet another reason to be thankful for the pre-screening. Spike couldn’t get to the theater in time tonight so I think I’ll drag him along on Saturday or Sunday. Oh! I just thought of something. If you’re a dyed-in-the-wool Pittsburgh fan…you may not like this movie.
I have no idea if anything happens after the credits. The powers that be turned the projector off just as they started rolling.
P.S. If you’ve heard of Jackie Robinson but don’t really KNOW about him except the very basics, I encourage you to do a little research. He was so much more than baseball.
P.P.S. I would like to take a quick minute to thank my mama. If you’ve ever known her you know that, in her world, people aren’t a color. She raised us to look beyond the outside to the potential friend inside and that hate and fear are caused by actions, not race. Because of you, mama, this movie meant so much more to me than it could have. You are truly a tender-hearted champion and a hero. Thank you for raising us to know that the only color that matters is that of the blood pumping through our veins. Everything else is just a covering.
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Do you remember, as a teenage girl, going to slumber parties and staying up late watching scary movies and getting in trouble who knows how many times because of all the screaming said movies elicited? No? Well I do. And I loved it. I could watch anything or read any scary book and sleep like a baby. Friday the 13th? A Nightmare on Elm Street? Please. Stephen King? Yawn. Oh wait. I said “anything”, didn’t I? I meant almost anything. One movie from my formative years stuck with me. To be more specific, one scene from that movie stuck with me and can still send shivers down my spine just thinking about it. Unfortunately, after all these years I had forgotten what movie it was. I only remembered that scene. Tonight…I remembered the movie.
I went to the pre-screening of Evil Dead. It was another freebie and made me glad of two things. One, I didn’t have to pay for it and two, there were a lot of people there so I wasn’t sitting in the back row of the AMC Crossroads with nary another soul in the theater. I know that hard core horror fans will probably roll their eyes or laugh at my reaction to this film but it can’t be helped. I am proud to say that I didn’t cover my eyes even once during the entire movie though. Okay, so it’s not as pride-inducing when I remind myself that the only reason I didn’t is because we were told ahead of time that they might be filming the audience reaction and I didn’t want to be THAT GIRL. So, I clenched my hands around my purse and settled back (sort of) for the show.
Evil Dead is a remake of a movie of the same name that came out forever ago. Or 1981. It’s about five twenty-somethings who go to a VERY remote cabin to help one member of their group go cold turkey off drugs. From drugs? Anyway. She dumps the drugs down a well and begins the - what can only be super fun - withdrawal experience. While exploring a funky smell in the cabin, the guys stumble upon a Book of the Dead and, despite its being encased in barbed wire (!!!), one of them opens it, reads it and accidentally summons a demon. Creepy things starts to happen and everyone blames the main character’s fears and seeming paranoia on her desire for the drugs. Boy, were they wrong! This is a movie about possession. Not something someone owns. More like someone being owned. Have you seen those movies where an evil spirit sort of floats in to a person’s body and takes over? Yeah. This movie’s not like that.
This movie wasn’t just scary, it was gory. And then some. Fortunately for me, they took it way WAY over the top. Several parts were funny scary. Yes, it was gross but you couldn’t help but laugh. Those scenes may have saved my bacon. I needed the levity in the midst of the madness. The audience helped a lot too. One woman in particular kept things light by yelling at the screen like I do when watching movies at home. On more than one occasion she entertained us all by yelling, “Do NOT turn around!” A man somewhat close to her was heard to say, “Oh, heck no.” Okay so, I cleaned it up a little bit. It made me laugh and got me through. If the woman who sat in front of me could have, I think she’d have crawled in to the woman sitting next to her she was sitting so close. I hope they were friends.
Except for the bad acting at the very beginning of the movie it wasn’t too bad. They so needed someone else to play the dad. The opening scene was supposed to be scary but ended up cheesy. The initial scare wasn’t that scary either. I think it was supposed to be a sudden make-you-jump scare but…not so much. There were several instances in which I felt they were trying to do the same but I managed to not be startled. That is not bragging. That’s a lack in the film. Some people in the audience jumped or yelped at those times but it didn’t affect the audience as a whole. Those few moments aside they did include a scare or two. I did notice, during the credits, that my legs were shaking. I couldn't figure out why for a second and then realized I was having muscle spasms. Apparently I wasn't as unaffected as I thought.
I seem to be talking around everything while trying to not give away anything. Let’s talk about some of the characters instead.
The main character is Mia, played by Jane Levy. She’s the reason I wanted to see this movie. I DVR Suburgatory every week and thought it would be interesting to see how she handles horror. She handled it well. Her maniacal giggling was funny and spine-tingling at the same time. She got to be all kinds of creepy. That scene that I can't get out of my head??? It happens to Mia. I'm just sayin'.
Shiloh Fernandez plays Mia’s brother, David. David’s been kind of an absentee brother so we didn’t see a whole lot of love between the siblings but he’s trying. A couple of things happen that make you want to smack him for not double checking but that’s so typical in horror movies. Kudos to him though for his creative use of duct tape.
Lou Taylor Pucci plays the siblings’ mutual friend, Eric. I mention him only because, aside from Mia, his poor character went through the most trauma. Having said that, I should also mention that he totally deserved it. Pay attention to the holes on his face. Sometimes they move. Whoopsy. I’m also pretty sure that the doorknob keeps moving in the scene in which Eric goes to check on Olivia. I could be wrong.
The other two characters either didn’t get enough play or just didn’t affect me as much as the first three. Natalie’s (Elizabeth Blackmore) initial response to her peril caused a titter or twenty but her moments of glory involved so much spraying of blood and other ridiculousness that it became comical. I didn’t care much for Olivia, played by Jessica Lucas. And “that’s all I’ve got to say about that.”
We were told that this movie was not yet rated but according to IMDB it’s rated R. I’m not sure how else anyone would rate it. Do horror movies ever get an X rating? If so, I’m going nowhere near those films. The same person who said it wasn’t yet rated also said that it’s inappropriate for children. That really is the best word for it. No child should see this movie. At. All. If you liked the original Evil Dead you’ll probably like this. If you like scary movies, you’ll probably like this. If your favorite kinds of movies are like Sleepless in Seattle and You’ve Got Mail, you probably won’t like this. But then again…
Having mentioned sleepovers at the beginning of this post I should also mention that if you are a young person and are susceptible to nightmares after watching horror movies and you attend a slumber party at which this film is on the list of the night’s entertainment I would recommend calling your mom to come pick you up. You’re not going to be a happy camper. You may get teased later but I’d rather deal with teasing than what happens with an over-active imagination when the lights go out. If you’re the adult at said party, plan on not sleeping. There will be screaming.
If you’ve never seen any of the original movies then what happens after the credits, more than likely, won’t mean anything to you. If you have seen them, stick around.
P.S. One question for those of you who’ve seen this…does anyone else find the movie title placement in the poster a tad amusing? Just me again? I can live with that.
P.P.S. I would like to state, for the record, that I completely outgrew being unaffected by Stephen King books. It would take a lot to get me to read one now. No, thank you very much.