Award Show Weekend Prep

Award Show Time

Today marks the start of Golden Globes weekend and though I’d much rather be in Hollywood interviewing artists on the red carpet, I’m still excited for the telecast regardless of my location. Granted, I don’t watch any of the nominated TV shows nor have I seen any of the film nominees, but this is the time when I decide which ones interest me enough to spend my time or money.

I originally planned to host a viewing party, as I’ve done in years past. However, this year’s viewing will be a low-key event involving my couch and some themed desserts. As I look ahead to Sunday’s telecast, I included some of my earlier blog entries regarding award shows and why they fascinate me so.

Enjoy!!!!

CHAMPION THE ARTS – “...So while my friends and family may plan for the big play-off party I’ll be waiting with excitement for the upcoming entertainment award show season.

A GOLDEN REQUEST – “I have no desire of ever attending a Super Bowl but I do have a goal of going to each major award show at least once in my lifetime.  And the Golden Globes are the ones I seek to attend next!

REQUEST DENIED – “I arranged to visit my sister and her family in Los Angeles once I found out the date of the Golden Globes.  I figured I’d multi-task; spend time with family and check off “attend the Golden Globes” from my bucket list.

*DISCLAIMER: No endorsement by anyone associated with the Golden Globes telecast, the HFPA, or their affiliates/sponsors/subsidiaries is implied.*

 

Goodbye REVENGE: A Fitting Series Finale

REVENGE viewers spent the past week speculating as to how this four-year journey would end. Who’d make it out alive? Would Amanda be able to say goodbye to Emily Thorne, the identity that defined her for over a decade? Were happy endings in store for Nolan, Jack, David, and Emily? How would the epic rivalry between Emily and Victoria finally come to a close? Tonight’s final episode of the series answered those questions and more.

I sat, riveted, on the edge of my seat throughout the entire episode.  I laughed, cried, and grinned from ear to ear.  I will miss watching this show but am so grateful for the four years of stories created by the REVENGE team, on-screen and off.

Instead of dissecting the episode, I decided to use this forum as a way to celebrate the show and all those dedicated and talented individuals who brought it to life.

It takes a village to raise a…TV show.  While the cast (I’ll get to them in a moment) become the face of the program, so many artists are involved to make the magic happen: set designers, prop masters, script supervisors, stunt coordinators, production assistants, and more. We would easily pass them in the grocery store and never recognize them, though their work left an indelible impression on our lives.

The journey of these characters has come to its end, but my respect and admiration for the cast only grows. Without their talent, we would never have cared about what happened each week. We wouldn’t have rooted for “Emily/Amanda” and loved to hate “Victoria”. One of the saddest parts about REVENGE ending its run is that I won’t see this talented group of actors portraying the characters that I adore. Each of the gifted artists deserve their own blog post, but let’s focus on the dynamic trio:

  • NICK WECHSLER (Jack Porter) – With a combination of gentlemanly charm and raw emotion, Nick made us care about “Jack”. We felt for the man on the outskirts of the truth, and understood his actions. We wanted him to find out that “Emily” was really “Amanda” and when he finally did, Nick steered his character through the choppy waters of that revelation. His character endured tremendous loss over four seasons, and its due to Nick’s talent that we grieved with him. “Jack” was not only “Amanda’s” safe place…he was ours, too.
  • GABRIEL MANN (Nolan Ross) – It takes tremendous skill to flow in and out of comedy and drama, yet Gabe made it look easy. One moment we’re laughing at one of his quotable one-liners, and the next, we grasp the gravity of the situation in which these characters lived in for four years. It’s fitting that it didn’t take long for “Emily” to trust “Nolan”, because we’d already fallen for him by episode 1×1.
  • EMILY VANCAMP (Emily Thorne/Amanda Clarke) – An actress whose work speaks volumes without uttering a world. That’s how I define Emily’s talent. She can say so much through a quiver of the lips, tear-filled eyes, and revenge-focused glare. We wanted “Emily Thorne’s” plan to succeed, because her portrayer maneuvered effortlessly between scarred little girl whose childhood was shattered, and a determined young woman on a mission. We cheered her on when she exuded control and fearlessness. We wept with her when loss hit home. Emily VanCamp’s work throughout the series is not only worthy of viewers’ praise and respect, but of acting awards too.

REVENGE may have set sail for the horizon, but it will live on with its viewers infinity times infinity!

**DISCLAIMER: No endorsement by anyone associated with REVENGE implied.**

Thank You to the REVENGE Cast and Crew

ABC’s primetime drama series, REVENGE, will end its run May 10th when the fourth season finale equates to the series finale. Revengers around the world will miss this beloved show, and I proudly include myself among them.

Goodbye Revenge

For four years, REVENGE was the one show that I could NOT miss watching each week. I looked forward to finding out what would happen next and anticipated episodes full of twists and turns. My fellow REVENGE fans will no doubt find ways to say “Thank You” to the cast and crew through photo collages, video montages, memes, sketches, playlists and more – I decided to use my love of the written word to convey my thanks for an amazing four years of must-watch television!

TO THE CREW:

  • Mike Kelley, you created a TV show that became beloved by fans worldwide. You gave us characters that we rooted for and against, sometimes simultaneously. Thank you for bringing something new to the canvas filled with shows about doctors, lawyers, and cops.
  • Sunil Nayar, thank you for guiding us through the past two seasons, and for starting season 3 with a bang!
  • Maybe it’s due to my long-standing belief that music plays an important role in art, but Fil Eisler’s original music caught my attention time and again. His exquisite work during pivotal moments (i.e. Daniel’s death and Victoria’s final act) accentuated the emotion in the scene and the aftereffect each would have on not only the other characters, but the show overall.
  • Jill O’Hanneson (style guru and costume maven) – you are a genius in your craft. You didn’t just dress the actors; you outfitted the world in which they lived. I frequently caught myself saying, “I love that dress!” and “Where do they come up with Nolan’s outfits; that’s fantastic.” From Emily’s gorgeous wedding dress to Victoria’s fiery red gown, the pieces are embedded in our memory.
  • To all the directors, DP’s, producers, production assistants, hair, makeup, story editors, script supervisors – your work behind the scenes did not go unnoticed. The show could not have been made without you!!!!

TO THE WRITING TEAM:

I’ll admit it – I’d likely have a fangirl moment if I ever had the opportunity to chat with any of the REVENGE writers. I hold them in very high regard. Here’s why: the hard work, dedication, time, energy, creativity, and attention to detail that it must take to write 39-48 minutes of dramatic television each week deserves my respect and appreciation. This writing team consistently left me guessing what would happen next and anticipating the next chapter in the story. They gave us memorable one-liners and plot twists, and created characters that won’t soon be forgotten. I wish you all the best in whatever the future holds. *UPDATE MAY 2016: In the past year, writers from REVENGE moved on to new and established dramas such as LIMITLESS, SUPERGIRL, CASTLE, and HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER. Brava!!*

TO THE ACTING ENSEMBLE:

Dear Emily, Gabriel, Nick, Josh, Madeleine, Henry, Christa, Barry, Karine, Elena, Ashley, Conner, James, Margarita, and the rest of the REVENGE cast – What can I “say” about this tremendous acting ensemble that you’ve not already heard? The greatest compliment I can bestow upon such a talented group of actors is this: you brought to life characters that will live on long after the finale. While you excelled in your craft on an individual level, your talent shined through your on-screen interaction. We loved watching the brother/sister relationship develop between Emily and Nolan throughout the seasons – their goodbye in Season 3 still moves me. Regardless of what romantic pairing the fans “shipped”, each of the men in Emily’s life had issues, complexities, and drama all their own. As you keep moving forward toward the next journey in your career, I wish you continued success – on both a professional and personal level!

Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone involved with bringing REVENGE to the small screen for the past four years.  While I don’t presume to “speak” for the entire fandom, I think it’s safe to say that we’ll support all the projects that this REVENGE team pursues in the future. Whether Agent 13 joins her S.H.I.E.L.D counterparts or a Hamptonite conquers the Broadway stage, you better believe the Revengers will assemble!

*DISCLAIMER: My opinions are just that…mine.  No implied endorsement from anyone associated with this show is intended.

REVENGE Recap: “Burn” Episode 4×20

With now only three episodes remaining in this season of REVENGE, my anticipation for the May finale is ablaze with curiosity after last night’s game-changing hour of drama!

**SPOILER ALERT: If you have NOT watched up to episode 4 x 20 of REVENGE, stop reading and go watch!**

Now, let’s get down to the business at hand…Victoria’s hand, that is.

REVENGE "Burn"

FIRESTORM

Have we truly said goodbye to the Queen of the Hamptons?! If our eyes can be believed, than yes.  The end sequence (written by Ted Sullivan, directed by Kenneth Fink, and featuring a hauntingly-beautiful score by Fil Eisler) showed Victoria Grayson taking control of the situation and turning Grayson Manor to rubble with the help of an open flue and a lighter.

Throughout the episode, Victoria appeared to take the brunt of Emily’s Amanda’s plan of revenge. First, she got a not-so-nice greeting in the parking garage when a masked figure attacked the matriarch and searched her purse for some unknown item. Though she claimed that Emily was the culprit, she seemed too fearful to retaliate by handing over the incriminating flash drive to authorities.  Then, Emily adeptly retrieved said flash drive through a plan that involved pickpocketing a FBI agent and impersonating a firefighter.  Victoria’s mental state became unhinged as the minutes progressed until she donned a fiery red dress, sat on her throne, and flicked the lighter. She put the power back in her own hands, quite literally.

Victoria’s decision and motivation could not have been believed without the sheer talent of Madeleine Stowe.  She brought to life a character who was both tormented and strong, brave yet scared, and dedicated to her children.  Thank you for an incredible four years of Victoria Grayson!

GIRL FIGHT

I said this from the beginning of the season, but I’ll say it again: I like Margaux, and I think she’d make an amazing ally for Emily. Two smart, brave, passionate, and determined women fighting for a common cause would be a fierce duo no one should cross. However, I find myself enjoying the Margaux/Louise frenemy dynamic. Neither of these fiery women could agree on how best to protect and support Victoria, which led to loads of snarky comebacks and exchange of power until they finally decided to let their history be just that.

With Mama Grayson’s last act, she put into motion events that will pit Margaux and Louise against Amanda Emily. Ultimately, I still want our beloved heroine to outwit, outmaneuver, and outsmart the new tag team, but I’ll enjoy the ride in the meantime.

TAKING FLIGHT

“Don’t go, Jack!” That’s what kept running through my mind as our protagonist rushed to stop the man she loved (but has yet to tell him so) from leaving the Hamptons.  After Nolan attempted to convince his best guy friend of Emily/Amanda’s feelings, the two said a heartfelt farewell.  *Sidenote: The Nolan/Jack friendship has always been one of my favorites on REVENGE.  Kudos to Nick Wechsler and Gabriel Mann for making us love this bromance.* Nolan then booked it directly to his bff’s house, scolding her for not admitting her feelings sooner and prodding her to take action before it’s too late.

These two wounded characters hurt one another time and again, sometimes intentionally and other times due to misunderstanding and miscommunication. They’re both struggling to figure out who they are and how they fit into each other’s lives as adults. It’s a beautiful love story, based on friendship and developed over time.  As Amanda Clarke faces her past and an uncertain future, she’ll need Jack all the more in the present. I look forward to seeing how it develops in the final 3 episodes of the season.

As season four comes to a close, I anticipate a conclusion that will keep me glued to my seat and leave me momentarily speechless!

*DISCLAIMER: No endorsement by anyone associated with Revenge, its parent company, affiliates, sponsors, or artists implied!*

Revenge Season 3 Finale Recap

Season 3 of ABC’s Revenge started with a bang and a splash, keeping our interest the entire season through.  So, it’s no surprise that the finale would not only match the opener but take it to the next level of anticipation and intrigue!

Let’s recap, briefly, because there’s a great deal we need to discuss:

  • David Clarke was framed for a crime he didn’t commit
  • He was framed by Conrad and Victoria Grayson
  • David’s 9-year-old daughter Amanda was there the night her father was forced to the ground and taken into custody.
  • David Clarke died while in prison
  • Amanda Clarke, now grown, returns to the Hamptons as Emily Thorne, moving in next door to the Graysons.  Her plan – seek revenge for those who framed her father.
  • She married Conrad and Victoria’s son, Daniel, only to be intentionally shot by him on their wedding night (long story involving a fake pregnancy, alcohol, and a subplot about an ex-girlfriend).
  • Along the way, Emily/Amanda was helped by a handsome trio – David’s protegé (Nolan Ross), another revenge-seeker due to the David Clarke set-up scheme (Aiden Mathis), and her childhood sweetheart who only learned of her true identity during last year’s jaw-dropping season finale (Jack Porter).

WARNING: Spoiler alert!  Spoiler alert!  If you are not up to date on the last two episodes of Season 3, be forewarned that spoilers will follow.  Proceed at your own entertainment “peril”!

 

When we last left the Hamptons, Victoria had figured out that Emily was not all she claimed, Emily and her trio of helpers successfully trapped Conrad into admitting his long list of crimes and he was arrested, Charlotte Grayson Clarke (product of Victoria and David’s affair) finally opened her eyes, metaphorically speaking.  Oh, and Jack informed Emily that there’s a teensy-weensy possibility that David’s still alive.  And that brings us to tonight’s phenomenal season finale…

An entire hour of twists and turns, all lead up to a final few minutes that set an entirely new game in motion.  In summary, Victoria killed Aiden (I sobbed), Charlotte realized Jack was the “kidnapper” (darn it), and Emily had Victoria hospitalized in a mental institution (well played, Ms. Thorne).  Oh, wait…did I forget something – or someone?  A very much alive David Clarke climbed out of that van and revealed himself to a flabbergasted Conrad.  That is, right before David stabbed his former employer and drove away.  This sets up a multitude of directions for the show to take when it returns in the fall.  And I, for one, can’t wait!!  When does the full Season 3 DVD set come out, so I can watch them again? 🙂

Television programs receive my high praise when they keep my interest each week.  They hook me in with intriguing characters and surprising plot twists that ultimately create an added level of dimension to the story and the players.  Revenge is one such television drama series.  I’ve seen every episode from the pilot on through and look forward to seeing what happens next!

Award Show Viewing Parties: Sharing in the Excitement

I took a leap of faith by traveling to Los Angeles to celebrate the film industry’s beloved award show, and it inspired me in ways different from what I expected.

As I’ve stated before, award shows are to entertainment fans what sport competitions are to devout followers of athletic teams.  I might cheer on my local team if they make it to the play-offs, but I’m not very engaged in the world of athletics.  I’d much rather spend my time conversing about my favorite television shows, catchy Broadway musicals, or memorable films.

It got to be quite lonely sitting on my couch, eating popcorn, and cheering on nominees  with no one who was as excited about the results as I was.  My parents and siblings gave me the “Oh, Kelly” looks and went to bed long before the host stated “That’s a wrap!”  I wanted desperately to share my excitement with others, so I started having viewing parties at my (aka my parents’) house and invited close friends.  I’ll never forget the first viewing party I threw about ten years ago when my friend made cupcakes decorated like clocks in honor of “The Hours”.

Last year, my mom made “Shepherd’s Life of Pi”, and I made “Pretzel Lincoln Logs”, bruschetta with a French baguette, and other themed menu items.  I decorated my apartment with streamers, clapboards, gold/silver stars, and created a red carpet for guests.  While attendees enjoyed the appetizers, we watched the pre-show activities and played games.  It was an evening filled with laughter, good fun, and great company – all that a party should include.

This year I decided to fly out to California and attend a viewing party in Hollywood.  The day before the awards, my sister, brother-in-law and nephews took me to the area where the award show would take place.  I stood in awe at the gold statues covered to protect them from the rain.  I cried tears of joy as I stared at the red carpet and understood the enormity of putting such an event together.  I felt at home in a way I can’t quite comprehend or express without further reflection.  As impressed as I am with what occurs on-screen, I’m even more intrigued by what goes into the behind-the-scenes preparation.  To know that you were part of such an incredible event, that must be a proud moment whether you stapled the red carpet or stood guard in front of the theatre doors.

Award Show ready

The day of the big show, my sister and I got all dressed up and headed out to mingle with others who would be as excited to watch the awards show as we were.  The main dining area (VIP seating) was decorated rather elegantly with gold chairs, pristine table settings, and beautiful accents.  Attendees followed the “black-tie preferred” request, and cocktails were served as we waited for the show to start.  Once the show began, we got directed to the “No Seating/General Admission” area and mingled with some very engaging individuals.  About halfway through, our feet told us it was time to go.  We stopped to grab something to eat on our way home and watched the last 30 minutes of the show from the comfort of a couch.

While it’s an experience I’ll have forever, I realized that I’d prefer to spend the next award show differently – either working the event, sitting in the theatre, and/or celebrating with friends and family.

Block your calendars now for my Broadway party in June!!!  Themed menu to be planned upon the nomination announcement.

TV insights: The “Shipping” Industry

That ship has sailed! Fans of TV romantic pairings are quite familiar with the term “ship” for reasons that differ greatly from what may be your understanding of the word.  They champion a certain pairing, send letters, start campaigns, and write post after post after post in “support” of the fictional coupling that moved them more than others.

California coast

While I acknowledge there are certain fictional couples that I root for more than others, I don’t get as passionately involved (pun intended) as my fellow “shippers.”  I sit back, watch the show, read the fan postings and either roll my eyes or chuckle at some of the absurd remarks.  I’ve spent many years observing, and sometimes partaking in, the entertainment “shipping” industry. From all my years of observation, I’ve come to the conclusion that “shippers” fall into three categories:  Smooth Sailing, Bumpy Ride, or Lost at Sea.

  • SMOOTH SAILING:  You know they’re going to pair up one character with another.  You know it’s coming!  It makes perfect sense from a story purpose and character development.  It’ll add intrigue, conflict, and perhaps set the pairing on a journey all their own.  You enjoy the characters on an individual level but when they are in a scene together, the chemistry is palpable.  You may follow a website dedicated to the pairing or comment to a blog when the writer is blatantly disrespectful, but you wouldn’t take the time or effort to bombard head writers or actors with postcards, gifts, or letters.
  • BUMPY RIDE:  Hold on tight now, because you’re in for quite a ride when your favorite TV pairing hits a story pothole.  “They broke them up?!  Noooooo!!!!!”  Okay, I’ll admit it; I’ve uttered those very words a few times.  But that’s only because the Powers-That-Be were wrong.  Sarcasm aside, passengers on the “Bumpy Ride” ship hold on for dear life while forging friendships with others dealing with the same ups and downs of the journey.  They are passionate, determined, but never prone to cruelty just to make their point.
  • LOST AT SEA:  Some “shippers” have left port and are so far out to sea that they’re on their own deserted island.  They’ve lost the know-how of communicating with others.  They are always right.  Their wants and needs supersede anyone else’s.  So, if they believe that the TV couple they “love” is getting the shaft, they come out claws sharpened and tongues wagging.  They slash at you, pounce on you, and couldn’t care less if they stepped over you just to achieve the goal they deem to be of more value than yours.  They use insults, hurl accusations, and misquote everyone associated with the show if that will prove their point.  They twist words and write with tunnel vision.  They are so far out to sea that they wouldn’t see the buoy if it was floating right in front of them.

Whether you are, or know someone who is, part of the 3 “shipping” groups, don’t worry…there’s plenty of others out there who are on the same boat!

General-ly Speaking: Why Claire Labine and Wendy Riche Inspire Me

Writers, executive producers, directors.  Individuals whose skills, talents, and artistry are frequently overlooked by the general public, yet without them our favorite films and television programs would never exist for us to adore.  Actors and actresses graced my screen, big and small, mesmerizing me with their talent.  Most of the time, I didn’t care one bit about who directed the episode or what an executive producer did.  I was only concerned with what was on my screen.  Twenty years ago, I started caring about those who worked behind the scenes.  My mind opened and my creativity flourished thanks to two exceptionally gifted women who helped bring my favorite daytime drama series to excellence.

In the early 1990’s, General Hospital excelled in not only the daytime drama medium but throughout all of television.  The writing was superb, the acting brilliant and the storylines heart wrenching and uplifting at the same time.  During this time, the teenage me was intrigued to learn more about those who worked behind the scenes.  Who wrote the storylines and dialogue?  Who was making the decisions that created such excellent television programming?

As head writer, Claire Labine took GH and its characters to emotional levels that left the viewers exploring their own lives.  If we didn’t care about the characters, then why should we care about what happened to them?  With Claire and her writing team, GH viewers knew that we’d be in for a combination of beautiful everyday moments between friends (“Lois” and “Brenda” or “Brenda” and “Robin”) or in-depth serious issues (“Maxie” gets “B.J.’s” heart / “Stone’s” death and “Robin’s” H.I.V. diagnosis).  When these characters cried, I cried.  When they examined their own prejudices, I re-examined by perspective on important issues.

During my Media and Society class in college, I had to pick someone or something that made a substantial impact on media.  I chose Ms. Wendy Riche, the Executive Producer of General Hospital at the time.  “How many of you know who {insert well-known primetime series mogul} is?”  All hands went up.  “Now, how many of you have heard of Wendy Riche.”  The latter question prompted only a few raised hands.  I proceeded to discuss the impact that GH had at the time, the ground-breaking issues and critical praise it received.  An excellent television program is deemed so, in my opinion, only if each part blends to create an exquisite piece of entertainment.  Each and every aspect of General Hospital excelled, allowing none to supersede another.  Writing, acting, editing, music selection, cinematography, etc…all played a part to bring about a finished work that deserved the critical and viewer appreciation it received.  Without an Executive Producer who values the medium and seeks to help it flourish, General Hospital would not have been the brilliant drama series it came to be.  And I attribute its brilliance to Wendy Riche – a woman I still hold a great deal of admiration and respect for twenty years later.

Both of these women showed me through their craft that high quality and artistic passion are not mutually exclusive.  I respect them for not only the work they created but the evident love of industry.  As a fan of all things entertainment and a writer of various genres, my artistic career would be one step closer to fulfillment with an opportunity to work with either Claire Labine or Wendy Riche.  Perhaps once my novel is complete, Claire will write the screenplay and Wendy will produce the film.  A girl can dream!!

*SIDENOTE:  I wrote one of my first fan letters to Ms. Riche in the mid-90’s and was elated to receive a postcard back.  I kept that card tacked upon on my inspiration board and thankfully it was part of the collection of items that were spared in my apartment fire earlier this year.*

Film Review: “Saving Mr. Banks” touches the heart and imagination

If you have yet to see Saving Mr. Banks, do so faster than you can spell S-U-P-E-R-F-R-A-G…

As a lifelong fan of anything Disney-related and an author who cares very much for the integrity of her characters, this film moved me.  Inspired me.  And had me both laughing and crying.  The world that Walt Disney created played a significant role in my childhood development and remains firmly intertwined in the woman I am today.  The ideals of hope, love, belief in oneself, kindness to others, and a combination of magic and art, guided my actions and reaffirmed my view that all is possible if you believe hard enough.

Saving Mr. Banks is more than a fictionalized telling of how Walt Disney acquired the rights to turn P.L. Travers’ “Mary Poppins” into a film. It’s a heartfelt examination of family, love, imagination, and our own inner turmoil.  How do we overcome that which keeps us frozen in time and place?  Can we find the strength and solace in our imagination and creativity?  This beautifully made film answers the above and so much more!

Director, John Lee Hancock, guides the motion picture with care, allowing the viewers to understand and appreciate the emotions and actions of both Walt and Mrs. Travers. The seamless transitions between present day and the author’s childhood are juxtaposed in such a way that they make complete and utter sense.  From the blending of speeches/song lyrics, to the mirroring of conflict, Hancock and a gifted editing team prove that the past is sometimes so ingrained in our present that the two become intertwined in our reality.

Kelly Marcel and Sue Smith’s screenplay provides not only an inspiring tale but also one filled with warmth, love, laughter, and creativity.  These gifted ladies pay tribute to an author’s plight – caring so immensely for their characters that letting go seems impossible to do.  They easily could have made Walt or Mrs. Travers a villain, having us root solely for one over the other.  However, through heartfelt dialogue and imaginative storytelling we understood the struggles that each character faced and the consequences of what might happen if they failed.

All of the above sets the scene, giving the actors ample material to work from.  And that they did, with elegance and grace.  Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson are flawless in their portrayals of the two determined storytellers.  As brilliant as these two beloved actors are in their work, I was wholeheartedly taken with the powerful performances of Ruth Wilson and Colin Farrell.  (After seeing the film, I am disappointed and surprised that Farrell or Wilson have yet to be recognized this award season for their phenomenal portrayal of the complex Travers and Margaret Goff.)

Great acting makes us forget that they are doing so.  They simply become the characters they are portraying.  We don’t think, “Oh, there’s Tom Hanks talking with Emma Thompson.”  We can believe in that moment that Walt Disney and Pamela Travers are having an animated (pun intended) discussion.  The gifted actors in Saving Mr. Banks fused together a range of emotions, never once making them appear one-dimensional.  When they disagreed, we understood why.  When they failed, we felt for them.  In this reviewer’s opinion, the most impressive show of their talent is that I cared about these characters.

This film deserves the critical praise already received and will hopefully garner more in the coming months.  It’s absolutely worth seeing more than once and will no doubt become a favorite for years to come in households all over the world!

Visit the website for more info, videos, and photos!

**DISCLAIMER: No endorsement of actors, production companies, or other groups/individuals associated with this film is intended or implied!**

Still Golden

Okay, I’ll admit it – last year, while visiting family in Los Angeles, I had an ulterior motive.  In addition to spending time with my sister, brother-in-law, and nephews, I held out hope that I’d find a way to attend the Golden Globes.  I’m a dreamer and positive thinker with a tendency to raise my hopes too high sometimes.  I hoped, prayed, and pleaded for my Golden Globe request to be answered. Despite my positive attitude and hopeful outlook, nothing magical occurred.

My wonderful trip involved going to the beach nearly every day, drinking coffee and looking out at the Pacific Ocean from the Starbucks by the Sea (that’s what we call it anyway), and playing chess with my eldest nephew.  The weather was perfect, the days filled with laughter and love, and my heart overwhelmed with peace and joy.

Pacific Coffee Time
Pacific Coffee Time

The California coast radiates with a low-key atmosphere.  Despite the congested highways and busy tourist attractions, there’s an appreciation for life’s little moments.  Just when I get a taste of it, my vacation ends and I’m back to the hustle and bustle of suburbia.  Upon returning to work after my week in L.A. last year, I struggled to keep that laissez-faire atmosphere in cubicle city.  It wasn’t always easy until I realized that I needed to change my perspective.  When I did so, the world around me smiled and I found joy in the smallest of details.

I am a writer.  I make my living based on my love of the written word.  There are so many other artistic individuals who can not say the same.  They are existing from day-to-day, waiting for a big break that will take them out of their current situation.  I write because doing so matters, not only to me but to others.  To know that the words I choose make a difference in even the smallest of capacities, reminds me that I am a part of something more profound than sitting at a desk.  I am part of a community.  I am proud of the work I accomplish and the outlook I strive to maintain, even in the midst of challenges.

As I make plans for my next Los Angeles vacation, I do so with the understanding that life is what you make of it.  I look forward to going back to the beach, laughing with my nephews, shopping at Hollywood & Highland, and having my picture taken with the TV Guide logo in the background.  Instead of putting my effort into the unlikelihood of getting tickets to an award show that doesn’t sell tickets, I’m planning to spend the day in the company of family.  Maybe we’ll even do a themed dinner again in honor of the award show.