Archive for the ‘Movies’ Category


March 9, 2014 10 comments

ruby slippers

“…And the dreams that you dare to dream
Really do come true.”

Last week as I was watching the Oscars, a childhood memory was invoked when Whoopie Goldberg said she had to wait a whole year to watch The Wizard of Oz on television when she was a kid. Me too! In fact, when it finally did come around it was an epic household event that called for the taking of early baths, wearing feetie pajamas, snuggling up to cozy blankets carefully laid out on the living room floor and resting excited yet sleepy, little heads on bedtime pillows. In its original form, the movie was a startling 2 hours and 15 minutes! It was tradition, a childhood favorite that was met yearly with much sweet anticipation.

There’s something to be said for experiencing the emotion of anticipation. That good and excited feeling you get when you are looking forward to something; waiting for it, expecting it to happen. With today’s access to immediate alerts and notifications, instant messaging, texting, emailing and Face Booking communication capabilities, I don’t think kids have the opportunity to feel that enough nowadays. Often the answer to their question pings, dings or rings on their phones before they’ve had time to ask or even think it. Other than having to wait for Christmas and their birthdays, there’s not a whole lot they don’t have at their fingertips. Netflix and On Demand have pretty much ruled out having to wait a whole calendar year for the repeated viewing of anything.

It makes me a little sad. Having to wait for something, is not the worst thing. Anticipation invokes longing, another important emotion and along with that comes patience and appreciation. Not bad character traits to have.

dorothy sings

Every year as The Wizard of Oz began in classic black and white film I would wonder why I remembered it in color and then I would be surprised and elated all over again, like I was watching it for the first time, when Dorothy would step out onto a colored landscape after the tornado landed her house in Oz. Spectacular! The munchkins were favorites and the monkeys feared. Always, the scariest but most thrilling part for me was when Dorothy finally defeated the Wicked Witch of the West. Her journey from Kansas to Oz and back again inspired hope that dreams really can come true and there really is no place like home.

The purpose of Whoopie’s stage appearance at the Oscars was to introduce the singing artist, Pink who was performing Over the Rainbow in commemoration of The Wizard of Oz‘s 75th Anniversary. It’s always dangerous when someone “new” attempts to sing something as “old”, cherished, ingrained and beloved to so many. I got teary every time I heard “Dorothy” sing that song and admittedly, I cringed slightly when I heard Pink was going to sing it.

Did you catch it?

Pink’s unique rendition of Over the Rainbow was stellar!


It respectfully paid beautiful homage to the original, Judy Garland version and reminded me just how much I truly love that song.

It inspired hope that somewhere, out there, over the rainbow, the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true.

What do you think?

Photo Credit #1 & 2:  Google Images/Ruby Slippers/Dorothy

Moonrise, Mistakes & March of the Penguins!

July 8, 2012 4 comments

Ever since I took my boy to see March of the Penguins, in 2005, he’s been “scarred” not to mention very skeptical of me when I say,

We’re going to the movies!

March of the Penguins, produced in part by the National Geographic Society is a French documentary film that depicts the yearly journey of the emperor penguins of Antarctica. It follows penguins of breeding age as they leave their natural habitat to participate in a courtship that will hopefully end in the hatching of an egg.

I was excited! My son was seven. My daughter had recently turned five. The three of us went to a matinee showing. Ten minutes after the movie began and both kids realized this was not a cartoon and there were no actors and no speaking parts, other than the soothing voice of Morgan Freeman’s narration, something extraordinary and completely unexpected happened.

     She fell into a deep sleep and he began to cry.

It was one of those parenting moments that creeps up inside your head and blind-sides you, hitting you at the exact moment of no return.

        What, was I thinking? And what was it again that made me think the 7-year old wearing the Spiderman suit would be interested in a documentary about penguins?

As I looked around the crowded theater, it struck me that not only was I the youngest adult (by about forty years)at this movie but there were no other children in the theater. Not one. Now, my daughter was sleeping and my son, with tear-filled eyes, was frantically begging  mouthing the words:

           I don’t like this! Please, I want to go home! Can we leave?

No, I thought in a panic! We can’t leave. Don’t you understand I’m caught between two generations and paralyzed here? Waking a nearly comatose toddler would be like calling in a storm, a very loud and disruptive, disastrous storm! It wouldn’t be fair to all these, well, elderly people that came to see the movie. I couldn’t carry her out either. At five, she was now too heavy for me.

We had to wait it out.

I spent the next 70-minutes dodging my son’s anger and avoiding his pleading glares, hoping my girl would awaken any minute, gently, quietly, happily, so we could sneak out without incident. She didn’t and he’s never forgiven me.

    How could I have been so wrong? I thought for sure, he would love this movie.

He hated it.

He’s thirteen now & seven years later, history repeats itself — or some people never learn.   I’m a repeat offender. Well, kind of.

This week I announced, “We’re going to the movies!”, the three of us, again, with my mom. He of course was skeptical and rightfully, so. Although, while he hadn’t heard of the movie, Moonrise Kingdom, in this case, it was the theater I was certain he would have a problem with and not-so-much the movie.

With a stellar cast of stars he actually knows and likes, including Bill Murray and Bruce Willis, it had to be good.

The Downing Film Center is a very cool, very small, non-profit theater in Newburgh, NY that shows about 50 independent and/or international films a year. The theater boasts 58 thickly, cushioned seats, most of which recline, all of which come with a pillow. It’s like being in a large living room. Even nicer, the tickets and snacks are affordable! With one showing a day during most week days and two showings of a single movie during the weekends, it’s advised you come at least 30-minutes early to get a real comfy chair. Seating, is first come, first served. Heading the warning, we arrived early and chose mid-center.

As the theater began to fill however, I couldn’t help but notice that the patrons were reminiscent of that day so many years ago. Apparently, so did my son.

Mom, this is “March of the Penguins” all over again!

He said with fear and anxiety in his eyes.

Once again, I found myself to be the youngest adult in the crowd, only this time it was by about thirty years and mine thankfully, were NOT the only children in the audience. There were two other kids there!

It turns out however, I was wrong — again.

It wasn’t the theater that the boy didn’t care for, in fact he later admitted,

It was cool.

No, it wasn’t the theater, it was the movie — again.

Come on mom. Boy, girl first crush  = total chick flick!

Oh, well. He’s thirteen. At least he came! Besides, the girl stayed awake the whole time, this time. She loved the theater and the film and so did my mom and I!

Two thumbs up for Moonrise Kingdom — smartly written, humorous, off-beat and highly recommended. Go see it!

Have you seen any good movies lately?

Photo Credit #1 March of the Penguins

Photo  Credit #2-5 ©2012 Karen Szczuka Teich &

Photo Credit #6 Moonrise Kingdom

The Boy Who Lives…On

July 17, 2011 8 comments

If you haven’t heard of Harry Potter, you must live under a rock. If you have but haven’t read the books, what are you waiting for? If you’ve read the books and didn’t like love them, I may have to re-think our acquaintance. 

I’ve read all seven Harry Potter books, to myself, to my kids and then re-read some of them to myself, again. I immediately fell in love with the wide-eyed, innocent boy who spoke to snakes and had no idea he was special. I was equally drawn to the large and hairy, Hagrid who charmed me with his sincerity and devout loyalty to the Headmaster and to Harry. Then of course, there is the Headmaster; wise, beautiful and fiercely powerful, Albus Dumbledore. I don’t know how anyone could not love him. From the Weasley family to Dobby the house elf, the secondary characters are just as endearing and as important to the whole story.

My favorite character however is the Half-Blood Prince himself, Severus Snape. I was overcome with emotion when I realized I’d misjudged him. I hadn’t trusted my instincts and instead, I judged him. Lily was kind to Snape. She befriended him and forever, he loved her.

Kindness, is incredibly powerful.

Now, when I think of Snape, the image of a silver doe comes to mind and I could easily cry.

In her books, J.K. Rowling explores the power of love on multiple levels; how to love, who you love, what you do for love, what happens when you love.

For the past seven years, I’ve been getting lost in the friendships and the adventure, first in the words, then on the screen, submerging myself in the details surrounding this boy’s life. Watching him grow and learn through lessons of life and love. While the books don’t lack in humor, as a mom, I totally appreciate J.K. Rowling’s lack of fluff. Things don’t always go right and right doesn’t always win out. Things don’t come easy to Harry. They don’t come easy to most people. That, is life. And even though we overcome our struggles, our successes are often short lived, lasting only long enough for us to realize we are strong enough to overcome them.

J.K. Rowling also repeats the real-life-fact (over and over again) that things are not always what they seem, not with friends, family or strangers, reminding me again, to try not to judge people, their lives or actions but instead, to continue to strive to be true to myself.

Regardless of your age and despite the fact that the story takes place in a world of fantasy, everyone can relate on some level to some of the emotions these characters experience. Life is unpredictable and even painful. Sometimes things just don’t make sense but there is another side, a better side and when you fight for what you believe in, eventually, you get there. Perseverance.

You may love and you may lose people you love in the meantime but no matter what, you go on because life and love are worth it.

It’s so healthy to get excited about something and this weekend, boy was I excited! Not only did I LOVE the movie but I LOVE spending time with my kids too, so it was truly a win – win for me. Thanks to this gender-generation, transcending phenomenon, I had a date with my 10-year old daughter as well as my twelve-year old son who frankly, would otherwise, rather spend time with just about anyone else but me – but because we all share this common bond, this love for all things Harry Potter, any obstacles that would normally keep us at odds or apart, magically vanished for nearly three, whole hours and together we shared the experience of watching Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, at midnight!

Harry Potter, the movie epic has come to an end on the screen anyway but is it over? Hardly. In my lifetime, I can’t recall a phenomenon such as the Harry Potter series and how its appeal really has transcended genders and generations. Harry has already proven to have the same kind of staying power as the likes of Dorothy, Alice and even, Scrooge. J.K. Rowling’s story of “the boy who lived“, has earned its rightful place among the Classics. Harry Potter will live on and be read, over and over and over again, for generations to come.

Thank you, J.K. Rowling.

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