Sunday, February 27, 2011

AMC, Shame On You!!!

A woman I grew up with sent me the following picture of a notice she saw posted at the Quail Springs Mall AMC movie theater. For those of you who don't know where this is, it's in northern Oklahoma City.

There are so many things wrong with this sign. Let's start with the small problems. Nice grammar. I'm wondering if the powers that be did it intentionally so that people would think someone low on the totem pole posted this sign.

Second, it's usually not the children but the adults who are so distracting. The people who leave their cell phones on and have long conversations IN THE THEATER if someone calls them. The people who text in the middle of the movie. Yes, your light is distracting. The people who decide to take forever getting their candy out of the plastic wrapper because they're trying to be quiet. You're not! Rip it open and let us get back to the movie! The people who want to discuss the movie during the movie using their outside voices. I vote that we have ushers who escort any of these people out if it happens more than once during a film.

Third, they mention a 6:00 cut off. You can't imagine how many times I've been to the movies after 10:00 p.m. and seen people there with young children, some even school age...on school nights!!! Teachers, if you ever wonder why Johnny or Janey can't pay attention in class and has trouble staying awake you might want to check out the local theater the night before. I strongly believe the theaters should take some initiative in protecting these kids from their not-so-bright parents. If the movie a child is taken to will be showing after 8:00 p.m. no children should be allowed. I know this wouldn't be popular with some parents but it's one thing to mess up your own mind. Give your children a chance to develop theirs.

Fourth, please note the following paragraph borrowed from the Motion Picture Association of America website:

R — Restricted. Children Under 17 Require Accompanying Parent or Adult Guardian. An R-rated motion picture, in the view of the Rating Board, contains some adult material. An R-rated motion picture may include adult themes, adult activity, hard language, intense or persistent violence, sexually-oriented nudity, drug abuse or other elements, so that parents are counseled to take this rating very seriously. Children under 17 are not allowed to attend R-rated motion pictures unaccompanied by a parent or adult guardian. Parents are strongly urged to find out more about R-rated motion pictures in determining their suitability for their children. Generally, it is not appropriate for parents to bring their young children with them to R-rated motion pictures.

If the people who rate the movies feel that they are not appropriate for a child 17 or under then why should being accompanied by an adult make a difference? What on earth do they think the adult is going to be able to do if the movie terrorizes said child and gives them nightmares. I can see how you'd sit back and say, "That's the responsibility of the parents. If they allow it, they can deal with it." What ever happened to protecting our children!!! It's bad enough that children go behind their parents' back, like I did, and read violent/scary/sexually explicit books and watch the same type movies. We don't need theaters encouraging the furthering of that type of "education". I will be the first to say that these affected my way of thinking. And I have a cousin who, as a pre-teen/teenager got so in to movies he watched they sometimes carried over in to real life for him. They just took over his way of thinking for a while. Do you really want to encourage that? I do NOT want any generation of children to grow up numb to violence, horror, cursing and sex. And, let's be honest here. How many theaters actually card teenagers who try to get in to R-Rated movies?

I made the mistake of showing P.T. Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video before she was ready to see things like that. It stuck with her for a long time after and she had nightmares because of it. I know some of you may think this is crazy because you feel the video isn't so bad. It isn't crazy if her parent had protected her from the TV shows/movies that would have gotten her used to that kind of video. I could have kicked myself for scaring her like that but I was thrilled to discover that it did, indeed, scare her. I think that makes sense. And yes, it did get turned off the minute she voiced her discomfort. And yes, my sister had a word or two to say to me for scaring P.T. Good for her!

And fifth and finally, what kind of irresponsible parent/movie theater is allowing children 6 years old and younger in R-rated movies?!!! Do you not get that the first few years are the most important for a child? These are the years that begin to shape who they are. Anyone who has young children knows that they are little tape recorders. They remember EVERYTHING they see and hear. EVERYTHING!!! Don't believe me? Say something bad within their hearing about an adult they know then sit back and watch the fun. It will be mentioned at some point in time to that adult or someone close to them. No, the child is not repeating things out of malice. They're repeating things because their parent said it so it must be okay.

In case you were wondering, no, I don't have children. Then why I am arguing so vehemently for them? Because it would break my heart if the child of someone I know was affected by the numbness these movies/TV shows cause. There are enough people in the world who don't think twice about maiming/raping/murdering someone without adding to those numbers. You think I'm overreacting? Go talk to the parents of children who've intentionally killed other children. I've noticed that in a lot of the interviews the parent was completely shocked that their child had been planning these deeds for a long time. Why? Why weren't you there? Why didn't you know? What happened in their lives that made them okay with hurting other people?

So no, AMC (or any other theater for that matter), you cannot control what happens outside your business but you darn well can control what happens inside. Shame on you for hurting our children and encouraging their reckless parents. Go home and hug your kids and pray they get through another night with only good, innocent dreams. Let them wait until they're much older to decide whether or not to allow anything worse in. You owe it to them.

Monday, February 21, 2011

I Am Number Four

I just got home from watching "I Am Number Four" and this was one of many times I wish I could have had the theater all to myself. This was a good movie but not good enough to keep my attention amidst all the distractions, i.e. the cell phone that kept ringing, the man and woman who not only brought the smell of smoke (not the good kind) in with them but talked through the entire show and finally the man who needed to shake his popcorn. I'm guessing all these people thought they actually had the theater to themselves. I have no other explanation for their behavior.

But, enough of that. I spent most of this movie thinking it would be a really good cartoon...pardon me...anime film. I had to look it up when I got home to see if maybe it already is. It's not. It is, however, based on a novel that I am definitely going to read. In most cases I believe that movies won't be able to live up to books. I have a feeling this is just such a case.

If you haven't heard of this movie yet, you're just not paying attention. I avoid television as much as possible and even I heard of this. The basic plot is about a teen alien who came to earth as a young child after his planet, Lorien, is destroyed. He is one of nine kids who escaped and is now being hunted down by the Mogadorians. I'm sorry but that name just cracks me up. Not sure why. The Mogadorians are the ones who destroyed his planet and now want earth. All that stands in their way are the nine Loriens. The movie begins with the third of the nine being killed. Stupid Mogadorians!

The acting, while not Oscar-worthy, is good. I would watch any of these actors, on purpose, in other movies. The lead character, John, is played by Alex Pettyfer. I like him. He made me feel for John. I especially loved that he stood up for the underdog. Except for being an alien he is pretty much the cute boy next door. I will definitely watch other movies in which he plays. P.T. and I are waiting for his movie "Beastly" to come out in March. Yea!

Playing the role of John's guardian is Timothy Olyphant. I already liked him from "Catch and Release". And I just read that he's married with children and has managed to keep them out of the spotlight. I can't even begin to imagine how difficult that would be. Oh! And I've decided that he's going to be one of those guys who just gets better looking with age. He's got the whole salt and pepper thing going on in this movie and he's all kinds of cute. Anywho, he does a good job of playing the nagging guardian of an alien teenager.

Callan McAuliffe plays the part of John's trusty side-kick, Sam. He gets picked on by the bullies at school and John stands up for him. I haven't seen Callan in any other movies so I just have this one to go on. If he doesn't get any other decent rolls then Hollywood isn't paying attention. The one thing I wish had happened in this movie but didn't is that John didn't knock Sam's step-father down a peg or two. Poor Sam was being bullied at home and at school. He could have been a gunman-in-the-clock tower waiting to happen but turned out all-right despite the people who were determined to make his life miserable.

And for the romance portion of this movie we have Dianna Agron playing the part of Sarah Hart (groan), John's girlfriend. Why do they give them names like that? Her part came dangerously close to cheese territory but never quite fell over the edge, thank goodness. And she didn't play the helpless/clueless lady love either. Sarah is intelligent and can stand up for herself. Okay, maybe not against Mogadorians so much. But you get the point.

The other good alien, Number Six, is played by Teresa Palmer. I didn't think I'd seen her in any other movies but it turns out she played the female lead in "The Sorcerer's Apprentice". So there. I liked her in both films but wish she'd had more screen time in this one. You pretty much know who she is throughout the movie but don't really get to meet her until the end.

And finally, playing the Mogadorian commander was Kevin Durand. During the film I couldn't quite figure out who was playing the part though he did look very familiar. For a while I thought it was Jake Busey and having looked at both their pictures, they look nothing alike. Oh well. Most of you probably remember Kevin as Blob in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. I've also seen him in "Robin Hood" with Russell Crowe and "Mystery, Alaska"...with Russell Crowe. Even though he seemed to have difficulty talking around his villainous pointy teeth I was still glad that he didn't play the part of the foil in the movie.

There is violence in the movie but not a lot of gore. Close to the end of the film one of the monsters bites into the neck of another monster and while bloody it's not gag me bloody. And that's about as bad as it gets. There was also some cussing with s#!+ being the word of choice. You have to consider though what you would say if you were being chased and shot at by evil aliens. I'm pretty sure you wouldn't be asking if they want a spot of tea. There is absolutely no nudity. Sorry boys. I saw several young kids in the theater and they didn't seem upset by anything that happened. I can't decide if it's because the "scary" scenes weren't that scary (they won’t bother most adults) or if kids today have just become numb to violence. I'm hoping it's the former and not the latter. Oh! And besides the Haunted Hayride scene where you sort of expect things to jump out there is only one jump-out-at-you scene and it’s at the very beginning. I tell you this because I am not a big fan of jump-out-at-you scenes. They are the reason I cover my eyes during scary movies.

I will watch this movie again and don't really see any reason why P.T. shouldn't be able to see it. It's a good get-away-for-a-bit movie. I didn't feel like sitting at home tonight so I decided to see this instead. I'm glad I did. Now…back to reality.

P.S. I so want a dog like the one in this movie. I'm just sayin'.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Last Song

I just finished watching "The Last Song" starring Miley Cyrus as Ronnie Miller, Bobby Coleman as her little brother, Jonah, Greg Kinnear as her dad, Steve and Liam Hemson as her boyfried, Will. While it was great in concept I found the finished product lacking. Being a Nicholas Sparks novel we automatically know that someone is going to die. I feel so sorry for the characters in his books. I mean, you know they're just sitting there thinking, "Oh crap. Which one of us is the expendable crew member?" And although I will admit to shedding a tear or three I guarantee I cried more in all of the rest of the films made from his books. Why? Sorry to say it...Miley Cyrus.

I get that the casting director probably thought since Miley is so popular she'd bring in the crowds. Unfortunately, I think the crowds that she would bring in are too young to have to deal with this kind of movie. Yes, it deals in reality but when you're the age of most of her fans shouldn't we, as adults, protect them from that reality as long as we can? Life, and in some cases, death, is going to hit them soon enough. Once again using P.T. as an example, I would love to be able to protect her from every harsh reality of life. Can I? Nope. First of all, I live over 700 miles away from her. Second, even if I lived in the same house I wouldn't be able to. Life happens. But I refuse to encourage her to soak in this part of life before she absolutely has to.

Wow! Got off on a HUGE tangent there. Where was I? Oh yes. Miley Cyrus. While her rainbows and lollipops acting/singing is great for The Disney Channel/Radio I felt it fell short here. Way short. Crawling the last mile to the finish line short. There are so many other actresses that could have played the part. And played it well. Amanda Seyfried would have been a great choice. Oh wait. She already was. It's so sad that "Dear John" came out around the same time. It really must suck to have that comparison out there. I will admit that I've seen several episodes of Hannah Montana. It's a great way to get a big dose of silliness. I imagine, though, that Miley doesn't want to always be known as Hannah Montana. Maybe this was supposed to be a stepping stone. Maybe baby steps are what's needed here.

I really like Greg Kinnear and thought he was great in this movie until the last few scenes he was in. Once again, something was just missing. And Kelly Preston...why has she just been relegated to the rarely seen mom lately? I don't get it.

I would really love to see more of Liam Hemsworth. No. Not THAT way. But then again... Take a moment with me. I picture a movie starring Liam, Chris Klein, Josh Hartnett and Channing Tatum. And for some reason they go everywhere without their shirts. Even restaurants let them in topless. But they have to wear shoes in the restaurant because that would just be gross. And there should be a pivotal scene in the movie involving Dwayne Johnson, Vin Diesel and Jason Statham. Also shirtless. Just take a second and imagine it with me. Okay I'm back. Sigh.

There were times I really like Liam in this film then other times, not so much. But he did really well with what he had to work with. I would love love love to see him in another movie with Bobby Coleman. I could so easily picture them as brothers. Actually, thinking back on it, Bobby seemed to bring out the best in the actors with which he shared scenes. I even liked the scenes Miley was in with him. And don't get me started on the scenes in which he cried. I was a mess. He must give his parents a run for their money.

This was a good one-time watch for me. Had different actors been involved I might have liked it enough to watch it again. I wouldn't recommend it for young teens. Enjoy life before you start depressing yourself. Being a teenager is hard enough as it is without adding bummer movies to the mix. Maybe wait and watch after you fall in love for the first time. It would be perfect to add to all the other drama going on. It's a good older teenager, just had a fight with your boyfriend, sitting on the couch wallowing with a pint of ice cream and a bag of Twizzlers kind of movie. Then go and get on with your life. It gets better. At least that's what I'm told.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Seven-Layer Cookies

I think more people would put this in the "bar" category but since we've always called them cookies in my family that's how they'll stay. I think these are best right out of the oven with a glass of milk. Chewy, gooey, goodness!

And today's line-up is:

1/4 C. Oleo (butter for you youngsters out there)
1 C. Graham Cracker crumbs
1 12 oz. pkg. Chocolate Chips
1 12 oz. pkg. Butterscotch Chips
1 Can Eagle Brand
1/2 C. Pecans (Chopped)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt butter and pour over the (inside) bottom of a 9 X 13 pan.

Next, crunch up your Graham Crackers. I usually use just regular Graham's but this time I accidentally grabbed the cinnamon ones. They are just as good!!! I've found that one of the easiest ways to crunch up the Grahams is to put them in a Ziploc, get a drinking glass and pound away. This time though, they tried to escape. Oh no! Please note the pot holder underneath the escapees. P.T. made that especially for me. Wasn't that sweet?

Pour your crunched Grahams over the butter and completely cover bottom of pan.

Next, cover the Grahams with the chocolate chips. You might have too many so feel free to grab a few to snack on.

The butterscotch chips are next. Yum! As mentioned before feel free to snack away! Isn't this a cool little "pan"? I found it at the Antiques Barn in Castle Rock, CO. I love it!

On top of the butterscotch goes the coconut. Add as little or as much as you like. I LOVE LOVE LOVE coconut so I went a little overboard. Except for one little corner. I made these cookies to take to work and my office mate can't stand coconut. How un-American! But because I'm nice I left one corner coconut free. She was very happy.

Next comes the Eagle Brand. Pour the entire contents of the can right over everything. Doesn't that look healthy? And if you have cats you might share a dollop or two. And if you're a vet please act like I didn't just type that. Thank you.

Finally, add your chopped pecans. The recipe calls for 1/2 C. but as with the coconut it's really a matter of preference. I just chopped up a bunch and threw them on top.

My mom has had this type of pecan chopper (yes, I know it can chop other things) for years and I always enjoyed being the one who got to use it. I found this one at a garage sale and grabbed it up. Nostalgia is a wonderful thing. And, as you can see, I was watching TV while baking. Ghost Hunters cracks me up!

Bake for 30 minutes then enjoy the melty, yummy, goodness.

These are the only two I ate. That day.

And now since I'm hungry and bored because Oklahoma is snowed in today and I have plenty of milk I really want to go make some more of these. I think I will.