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Three Reasons Why I Like Star Wars

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Last night our family watched Star Wars – A New Hope (1977 PG) on the big screen of our local Salvation Army Community Center.  This was a fundraiser for their Hero’s Wanted Scholarship Campaign.  Fun evening!

Here’s why I like Star Wars:

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1.  Families can share it together.  People brought their small children to the movie.  My daughters sang along with the Cantina song (they knew it because their high school jazz band performed it). I reminisced about my favorite lines with my girls:

  • Han to Luke after he shoots down a TIE Fighter:  Great kid, don’t get cocky!
  • Obi-Wan Kenobi to Luke about Mos Eisley:  You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.
  • The Jawas when they steal R2D2:  Oo-tini!

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2.  Star Wars allows people to show their creativity.  Our friend is a new member of the 501st Legion, also known as Vader’s Fist.  He spent many months building his Storm Trooper costume, pouring over movie stills and schematics to get it just right. You can see him in the picture – pretty amazing, right?!

From Chewbacca to the Sand People, these creative adults spend their free time sharing their talents with each other and with the public.  For movie snacks, we even could chose from Light Sabers (large pretzel sticks dipped in white chocolate), Death Stars (round cocoa puff rice crispy treats), and TIE Fighters (s’mores shaped like the bad guy’s fighter ships).

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3.  The actors have become familiar to us.  I’ve read Carrie Fisher’s books – did you know she was only 19 when the movie came out, and used the money to buy her very own New York City apartment where she reunited with her estranged father?  Harrison Ford has grown in his four decades of movies, although I don’t think my daughters recognized him as the same person in 42 (2013).  Kids recognize Darth Vader’s voice (James Earl Jones) in The Sandlot and The Lion King and Jack and the Bean Stalk.

Fun movie!

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Baseball Wasn’t Always for Everyone

ImageIt’s Jackie Robinson’s birthday (1919-1972).  As an African-American, he broke the color barrier in major league baseball when he signed on to the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947.

In his memory, we’re going to watch The Jackie Robinson Story this weekend!  Released in 1950, it stars Jackie Robinson as himself showing his start in the Negro Leagues, his relationship with his wife, and ending up in the major leagues, with help from Dodger president Branch Rickey.  I watched it a while ago, and don’t remember much of it, so I’m happy to watch it again with my daughters.

It’s too bad the new Jackie Robinson movie, 42, wont be released until April.  But, I suppose a sports movie wont have a very good box office opening on Super Bowl weekend.  42 stars Chadwick Boseman as Robinson, and Harrison Ford as Dodger president Branch Rickey.

What other baseball movies feature this segregation issue?   Off the top of my head, I came up with these:

A League of Their Own (1992).  During WWII, women’s baseball leagues fill in the gap left by pro baseball players heading off to war.  Women are happy to have the chance to prove that they can play ball, too.  In one scene, a ball is hit out of bounds.  Two African-American ladies in denim overalls and ball caps are there to toss it back to Geena Davis, who plays the pitcher.  The throw is strong and accurate, and Geena’s character acknowledges the talent of the girl.  It’s a small moment, not even credited on IMDB, but beautiful in how it makes the point that white girls aren’t the only ones who can play baseball.

The Perfect Game (2009).  In 1957, a poor little league team from Monterey, Mexico amazes everyone by winning the American Little League World Series.  A great family movie for anyone who likes stories of the underdog who comes out on top.  At one point the team is eating in a Texas diner at the same time as another team.  One boy on that team is African-American, and is not eating with his team, but off by himself.  The Mexican pitcher, played by 14-year-old Jansen Panettiere (little brother of Hayden), invites the outcast player to eat with him, and they compare Mexican and Southern ways to eat hot sauce.

The Sandlot (1993).  A 1960’s summer spent playing baseball with the neighborhood boys.  Fun movie, but has a bit more language than necessary for a kid-friendly film.  James Earl Jones plays the mysterious neighbor with the evil dog.  When Jones is finally seen, we discover he played in the Negro Leagues.

Can you think of any other baseball movies that depict African-American segregation?

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