Monday, February 28, 2011

I really wish they would stop doing this...

Will someone please PLEASE convince Hollywood that it is a terrible idea to make movies into t.v. shows or vice versa? Two of the few successes that comes to mind are Parenthood and Friday Night Lights. I haven't watched Parenthood but generally hear good things about it, and you all know how I feel about Friday Night Lights. (Which, if you haven't seen, please go to netflix and start watching. NOW.)

Beyond that, I keep having visions of The Dukes of Hazzard, The Beverly Hillbillies, State of Play, Miami Vice, and a slew of Saturday Night Live inspired skits. Okay, yes, The Blues Brothers is a classic. And Wayne's World was a commercial success. Does that really justify inflicting all of the other Saturday Night Live movies on an unsuspecting public? I think not.

Anyone else remember the Ferris Bueller t.v. show? For your sake, I hope not. It was a train wreck and almost ruined one of my favorite teen movies for me. Just thinking about it makes me cringe. Oh, and be sure to check out the hottie on the right. Yep, that's who you think it is.

The history of movies and television is full of crossovers. Most of the time they're a colossal failure, but when they're good, they're epic. Is there a t.v. / movie crossover that you're fond of? that you despise? What was good and/or bad about it?

re-makes suck

So, out of curiosity (and knowing that this year's Oscars were going to be a snooze), I decided to watch Let Me In, the Americanized version of Let the Right One In, to see how they compared.

I should have known better.

I was so hopeful! gave it an 89% approval rating by a wide variety of critics. That's a good sign, right?


Let the Right One In was just so fantastic, and I loved that it let you use your imagination and draw your own conclusions. Let Me In made unnecessary changes that spelled everything out for the audience and removed all of the subtleties that made the original so intriguing.

And, to be fair, Let Me In was hindered from the start (for me, anyway) by the presence of Cody Smit-McPhee. He aggravated the crap out of me in The Road with Viggo Mortensen. Something about that kid just makes me want to smack him. I feel guilty for having that thought, let alone sharing it, but in retrospect it definitely affected how I felt about both films that I've seen him in. It's a bad sign when you have trouble sympathizing with the protagonist.

It's not just movies, either. Television producers are just as guilty of corrupting source material. Anyone have fond thoughts of the Bionic Woman and Knight Rider re-makes? Oh, and NBC? Please make sure that your current remake projects, Wonder Woman and Prime Suspect, kick butt. You need them to be hits and the source material is pretty revered.

Speaking of Prime Suspect, there have been several other re-makes of British t.v. on U.S. airwaves this winter: Shameless, Skins and Being Human, to name a few. Of those three, Shameless came closest to being good t.v., but having been a fan of the original it just felt odd to see other actors portraying characters I care about - and not in a good way. Skins and Being Human just fell completely flat.

Can you think of exceptions to the re-makes suck rule? Battlestar Galactica comes immediately to mind, but beyond that I'm grasping at straws.

(I could get into t.v. / movie crossover remakes, but that is potentially another blog post.)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Stay home and make a difference! Part 2

You may remember a blog I posted a couple of weeks ago, encouraging you to stay home on Saturday night and donate the money you saved by not going out to a Facebook friend of mine who is working on the ground in Uganda to make a difference in Bugabo Village. Be sure and check out her blog here, where you can also make donations via Paypal.

Here's the good news: They've raised enough money for the borehole well for the village. Don't worry, I didn't know what a borehole was either. It's a well that sunk deep enough to tap an unending reservoir supply of water so the entire village can have easy access to clean, fresh water year round instead of having to walk miles during the dry season to find a water hole that hasn't dried up yet - and that may or may not have parasites in it. Isn't this awesome news? Clean, fresh water for everyone! Yay!

And now for the not so good news: There are still many items left on the list of things that need to be covered, including electricity for the school compound, transportation, housing for the teachers, and a refuge unit for those in need of a safe place. These are all things that we take for granted every day.

Will you join me in staying home another Saturday to raise the rest of the money? I hope you'll at least consider it, and even if you can't please lift Christy, her efforts, and the residents of Bugabo up in your prayers.

Here's the text from my original blog in case you need a reminder of what I'm writing about or have questions about what Christy is working on:

I'm ashamed of myself.

I'm facebook friends with Christie Cotney, a missionary who is trying to make a difference in Bugabo Village, Uganda, East Africa. You can read all about her story, her calling, her dreams for the village, here. It's really a very honest, interesting blog, written by someone who is truly walking the walk.

Lately, I've been vaguely annoyed by Christie's facebook posts. She posts status updates regularly to let us know how her efforts are going - or not. She, and her fiancee, George Magera, have come up with a "faith list." It's a list of various things that they NEED not WANT, but NEED to make their ministry in the village work. It includes things like a well for the village so everyone has enough water, even in drought. Serious things, not "administrative fees." Her idea is that if 1500 people donate $36, everything will be covered.

Lately, she's really been pushing making a donation to her list or at least "sharing" a link to her blog so that others can learn about it - and posting her aggravations when she isn't getting the donations she needs.

I've found myself thinking that I've already donated enough money to her cause - I've sponsored three children to go to school, paid for the desks they'll need at school, purchased the Ugandan jewelry she sells as a fundraiser, etc. What more can she possibly expect from someone she's never even met? Someone that has taken on faith that all of the money she's already sent is being used responsibly - especially in light of the bad news from the Global Fund?

And then came the realization. $40. FORTY DOLLARS. I'll spend that in one night when I go with friends to dinner and a movie. So, this Saturday night, I'm staying home. And I'm sending Christie $40 so that everyone in the village can have fresh water to drink. Really, what does it matter if they can go to school if they have no water to drink?

Please consider joining me in staying home this Saturday night and making your donation for $40 on Christie's blog. Everyone should have clean water to drink.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Sweet Sarah C.

Fourteen years ago now, I taught a class of two-year-olds part-time in a mother's day out program. I had just dropped out of college and was aimlessly looking for a job when this opportunity fell into my lap. It was a lot of fun and led to lots of extra babysitting jobs (gotta love that cash!). I even got along extremely well with my partner. It was a great year.

Anyway, one of my kids, Sarah C., was an absolute sweetheart. She had apple cheeks (I still want to pinch those cheeks!) with brown hair and eyes, and when she spoke it was with the cutest little lisp. Sarah got along well with the other kids or could entertain herself, and was eager to participate in every activity. In other words, she was a teacher's dream.

One day at nap time, I was rubbing the back of another child, trying to coax him to go to sleep. On the next mat over, Sarah poked her head up and piped up sweetly, "Mith Katie, will you wub me?" To which I replied, "Sarah, honey, of course I love you. I love all my boys and girls."

My sweet Sarah shot me an aggravated look and said, "NO MITH KATIE, WUB ME." You could practically hear the all caps in her words. When she saw that I still didn't get it, she grabbed my spare hand and proceeded to stroke it down her back. "WUB ME."

So, Sarah C., this story is for you. It's been 14 years since I saw you last and I still love you. :)