Thanks(4)giving

It's all about the little things…

Tag Archives: movies

Week 34-Decades, Day 2-1990’s

Who doesn’t love the 90’s?  I loved it because it represents the time when the only worry I had in the world was what time supper was, and making sure all my homework was done.  Even though I was way too young to appreciate it then, there were so many great movies and music during this decade.  You may have heard of Pulp Fiction, Goodfellas, Forest Gump, Braveheart, Titantic, American Beauty, or Tombstone, and the list goes on and on.  Music taught us in the nineties that we were “too sexy for our shirts”, that you’ll have to tell it my heart “my achy breaky heart”, and lastly that “you can’t touch this.”  So maybe it wasn’t all good, but it was definitely a decade full of diverse achievements in the entertainment industry.  Word.

You tell her Jimmy!

One of my all-time favorite movies is A League of Their Own.  I was a total tomboy growing up so it can as no surprise that I immediately loved this movie when it came out in 1992.  Everybody knows, “There’s no crying in baseball!”  Like a lot of folks out there Dottie, played by Gena Davis was my favorite character of the movie.  She was everything I wanted to be when I grew up; smart, beautiful, talented, and loyal.  I also wouldn’t mind being like Geena Davis herself, and supporting the Geena David Foundation, which works to ensure better gender balance among children’s role in the media.  GDF has a unique program called See Jane that focuses on working with entertainment creators and educate the public about the need to increase the roles of women and girls in media aimed at kids.  Even though females are half the population, research by the GDF has shown that for top-grossing G-rated films there are three male characters to every one female.  What kind of message are we sending to our children?  I know I want my son or daughter to know that their gender isn’t going to stop them from being a successful actor.  Geena inspired me almost twenty years ago as a little girl, and she’s inspired me again tonight as a big girl.  I will have to admit that my taste in music during the 1990’s was not the best.  I was just developing my chops and I didn’t really know where I fit in between country music overload being from the South, and the classic rock my Dad always had the dial tuned in to.  Musicians On Call was formed in 1999 (bonus point for that one!) to bring smiles to the faces of patients through live and recorded music.  MOC uses music to help supplement the healing process for not only patients but also the family and caregivers.  Where do you go to get the music you need to heal your soul?  The CD Pharmacy of course.  This incredible program provides hospitals with a huge collections of CD libraries and disc players for the patients to use.  And if the patients are in the mood to listen to something more original, Project Playback gives them the chance to have their very own music recorded and produced.  Just writing about MOC is making my day, and I’m not even sick!

Geena Davis Foundation Donation

Musicians On Call Donation or Donate your old CDs to a CD Pharmacy (seriously you don’t need that Chumbawamba CD anymore)

So here’s to the nineties!  You weren’t the decade I was born in, but you did nurture me during my youth.  You gave us Britney Spears, Friends, Power Rangers, grunge, PlayStation, and slap bracelets.  You were the “Information Age” when we learned that we could clone sheep and surf the world-wide web.  You taught us how to make the world a better place, and party like it’s 1999. 

Week 17-Music, Day 1-Mr. Holand’s Opus

March is Music In Our Schools month so I didn’t want to miss out on the opportunity to spread the word to my faithful blog readers.  Believe it or not, I actually played the clarinet in the middle school 7th grade beginner’s band.  Even though it was the only year I played (middle school is a cruel, cruel world), I secretly loved every minute of it.  I was actually not too bad, taking first chair (there were only 4 of us clarinet players to be fair) pretty much all year-long.  Even though I didn’t stick with it for the next year I still gained an appreciation for the power of music in schools.  I’m thankful for that hand-me-down clarinet and the influence the music I played left on me for a lifetime.

One of the great music-in-the-schools movies is definitely Mr. Holland’s Opus.  Glenn Holland finds comfort and fulfillment as he takes a part-time music high school music teacher, and puts his composing on the back burner.  Anyone who has seen this 1995 tear-jerker would probably donate to the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation without me typing anything else, but what kind of blog would that be?  The film’s composer was so inspired by the movie that he started the foundation with the same name in 1996.  MHOF is dedicated to ensuring the future of music education in schools around the country.  They make sure they accomplish this goal by donating new and refurbished instruments to schools, creating and helping after school music programs, and providing scholarships for talented musicians who can’t afford the proper instrument.  Over 10,000 children are touched by MHOF every year and I have a feeling their opus isn’t finished quite yet.  In the Big Apple, the non-profit Education Through Music shares the same mission as MHOF.  ETM firmly believes that all children deserve a well-rounded education, which includes music.  Unfortunately a lot of schools that served underprivileged children can’t afford to maintain a music program all year-round for all of their students, so ETM steps in.  Started in 1991, ETM has a lot to celebrate as it turns 20 this year.  Over 13,000 children in New York City in 25 different schools are being reached this school year alone.  Music will never die with these great organizations around.

Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation Donation

Education Through Music Donation

So here’s to you Mr. Holland’s Opus!  You made a lot of movie lovers cry like babies, and young kids join the school band.  You were nominated for multiple awards, you even won a couple, and inspired an entire foundation that touches the lives of thousands of kids.  You made us believe that we all have an opus living in us somewhere, and all we need to do is get it out.  Here’s to putting a couple of notes of giving in your music.

Week 13-The Oscars, Day 7-The King’s Speech

I wanted to see The King’s Speech before the Academy Awards on Sunday night, but the Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Original Screenplay accolades it won motivated me to put up my money where my mouth is.  Luckily Scott’s interest in history was motivation enough for him to come see it with me.  We were two of the five people in the entire theater, which made it even more perfect.  It was one of the best movies I have seen in a very long time and definitely deserving of all the awards it has racked up over the past couple of months.  I’m thankful for my voice, and the courage that Bertie showed is living in each of us.

The Parish School has been working since 1983 to identify, educate, and empower children with language and learning disabilities.  TPS maximizes the success of each and every student by keeping class size low and making individualized treatment/education plans.  TPS is the only school of it’s kind in the Houston area serving kids from 18 months old to fifth grade.  If children with learning differences go unresolved they can suffer severe academic and self-esteem problems that can cause major problems for the rest of their lives.  TPS is taking little acorns and nurturing them into mighty oaks.  Bertie’s courage inspired a speech therapist and an entire nation during a time when they both needed it the most.  The Courage Center empowers people with all types of disabilities to realize their full potential every single day of their life.  CC was founded in 1928 and strives to provide as many services as possible to improve the quality of life and independence for those with a disability.  CC has inpatient rehab, aquatics and fitness programs, and vocational and community living courses that let people take that first and second step to independence.  “We are guided by the vision that one day, all people will live, work, learn and play in a community based on abilities, not disabilities.”  One of the best and most inspiring things I’ve heard all day.  Heck all week!

The Parish School Donation

Courage Center Donation

So here’s to you The King’s Speech!  You were entertaining, interesting, and inspirational all wrapped up in one.  You are one of those films that is truly timeless and never seems to get old no matter how many times you are watched.  We all have a voice and a right to be heard just like Bertie.  We may not all be the King of England but there’s no reason we can’t believe in ourselves enough to give back royally. 

Week 13-The Oscars, Day 5-Actor in a leading role

Yesterday we talked about the women behind all these great movies this past year, but today let’s give the boys a hand.  I mean their roles were no walk in the park.  A guy who cuts his own arm off, a one-eyed-gun-slinging Marshall, a King with a stammer, a Spanish criminal, and the guy who invented Facebook, are all tall order to fill but James, Jeff, Colin, Javier, and Jesse did it.  Men like to pretend like they’re all rough and tough but there’s really a big heart under all those muscles.  I’m thankful that these guys aren’t afraid to be their wonderful, giving, mushy selves.

Here's to you boys!

Mr. Colin Firth has made it known that he believe celebrities should use their star power to highlight worthy causes.  Oxfam International is one of those causes that Firth is a big believer in.  OI is a collaboration of 14 different organizations coming together to end poverty and injustice as a part of a bigger global movement for change.  OI focuses on key areas like agriculture, climate change, conflicts and emergencies, health and educations, and fair trade.  What’s so great about OI is that there is something for everyone to be interested and involved in.  They are working to make the world a better place for everyone.  I like the way you think Colin.  He may not be British like Mr. Firth but Jeff Bridges is no slouch in the charity department.  He founded the End Hunger Network in 1983 because he believed that no child deserved to go hungry.  Today there are still 16.7 million children who are at risk for hunger in America.  President Obama has challenged our country to wipe out child hunger by the year 2015.  Can we do it?  Of course we can!  When you have the star power of Mr. Bridges on your side only good things can happen.

Oxfam International Donation

End Hunger Network Donation

So here’s to you actor in a leading role!  Obviously you’re  handsome.  Obviously you’re talented.  Obviously you’re capable of big things.  The part that’s not quite so obvious is that big heart and giving spirit that is much more important than any physical attributes you possess.  I know as a man you’re taught to bottle up those silly feelings and only let them out once in a blue moon.  Let me remind you that giving is sexy, so very sexy.

Week 13-The Oscars, Day 4-Actress in a leading role

Let’s’ face it, behind every really good movie there is usually an awesome actress.  The women who are nominated this year are beautiful, talented, and extremely giving.  Natalie, Nicole, Michelle, Jennifer, and Annette are all in the running for a tiny little gold man and a lifetime of bragging rights.  Sometimes they are mothers, sometimes daughters, and other times ballet dancers, but I’m always thankful for them.  No matter who they end up playing in the movies, these women play an even bigger role off screen.  Giving back.

FINCA Ambassador Natalie Portman

There are two women who seem to be heading up the pack in this race for best actress.  Natalie Portman may be raking in dollars hand over fist but she’s the first to realize how lucky she is.  Natalie helped launch the Village Banking Campaign for the non-profit Foundation for International Community Assistance, FINCA.  FINCA works to provide financial assistance to low-income entrepreneurs so they can create jobs, build assets and improve their standard of living.  Since their inception in 1984 they have helped hundreds of thousands of people in over 21 different countries.  FINCA has been lending a helping hand in Haiti for over 20 years, long before the earthquake in 2010.  FINCA is in the business of helping other help themselves.

You can bid on this shirt!

Annette Bening is right there with Natalie at the top of the favorites list for this category.  She is also willing to give the shirt off her back to help out.  No really, she is a big supporter of Clothes Off Our Back, which is a non-profit who auctions off the clothes of the hottest celebrities around.  Annette is even giving one of her outfits from the Oscar nominated, The Kids Are Alright.  The auction is on until tomorrow so you still have time to get a little piece of Hollywood and help charities at the same time.  COOB uses the funds raised to give back to a couple of charities that we’ve talked about here like Feeding America and Malaria No More.  Over $7 million has been raised by COOB since 2002 with the help of over 700 celebrities and 300 designers.  Get a new outfit and give back?  Sign me up!

Foundation for International Community Assistance Donation

Clothes Off Our Back Donation

So here’s to you actress in a leading role!  Whoever ends up taking home this very prestigious title is more than deserving on and off screen.  Budding actresses everywhere watch these women perform and aspire to be just like them one day.  If they do grow up to be just like them then they’ll be really successful actresses, as well as incredibly giving human beings.

Week 13-The Oscars, Day 3-The Fighter

Marky Mark may not be a part of the funky bunk anymore but I don’t he’s losing any sleep over it.  Even though I haven’t actually seen The Fighter I’m thankful that such a great true story is nominated for best picture of the year.  And I’m also a little thankful that we get to see the great physical specimen that is Mark Wahlberg without his shirt on for long periods of time in the movie.  Plus I think we can all relate to our families being a little crazy at times.  I mean we love ’em, they are our kin, and they always mean well but you gotta cut the cord sometime.

Marky Mark and the charity bunch

When Mark isn’t making killer movies or producing award winning series he’s starting foundations to help youth everywhere.  No, seriously he is.  The Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation works to improve the life of inner city kids, and eliminate any barriers that keep them from succeeding.  MWYF works with other organizations like Boys & Girls Club of America to make the dreams of inner city children come true.  Mark was one of nine children and spent a lot of time at his local club during his childhood, and accredits a lot of his success to the time he spent in such a positive and nurturing environment.  A couple of years ago when they were making The Fighter they auctioned off a walk on non-speaking role in the movie for the charity The Felix Foundation.

Darryl McDaniels put the D in DMC

Co-founded by Darryl McDaniels (of RUN DMC) and Shelia Jaffe (casting director of The Sopranos and Entourage), FF provides enriching experiences and new opportunities for children who are growing up in the foster care system.  Both McDaniels and Jaffe were adopted and realized how they lucky were to be raised by such loving families.  “We were taken home.  We wanted to give back to those who didn’t get taken home…”  Since 2006 FF has sent over 500 kids to Camp Felix in upstate New York for a week or two of basketball, softball, arts, drama, and crafts.

The Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation Donation

The Felix Foundation Donation

So here’s to you The Fighter!  You took a true story about life, family, and loyalty and turned it into an Oscar nominated film.  You’ve been called the best sports movie of the decade, hard-hitting, powerful, and remarkable.  But when it comes down to it, The Fighter is just a movie about fighting for the people that you love.  I think these are a couple of great charities worth fighting for as well.

Week 10-Groups of tens, Day 6-Things I Hate About You

Nothing to hate about Heath...

Many of us first fell in love with Heath Ledger in Ten Things I Hate About You.  We all wanted to be Kat, aka Julia Stiles, and have a diamond in the rough kind of guy like Patrick, Mr. Heath Ledger, sing to us on the bleachers and buy us fancy guitars.  It has been just over three years ago since Ledger’s tragic death, and I am thankful to have experienced what he was capable of as an actor and a humanitarian.  I hate the way I don’t hate you, not even close, not even a little bit, not even at all.

Two bucks for a heart? That's a steal

Variety-The Children’s Charity has adopted the mission of improving the lives of children in local communities and around the world.  Ledger and his Brokeback Mountain co-star Jake Glyllenhall shared this mission, and auctioned off a couple of their shirts from the screenplay for Variety.  Over 80 years ago a group of eleven men from the entertainment business gathered in Pittsburgh, PA (better luck next time Steelers) to discuss their newly formed charity to help children.  Today they have their Kids on the Go! program that helps families afford walkers, wheelchairs, specially-designed adaptive bikes, strollers, prosthetic limbs and other devices to help kids gain mobility and confidence.  You can also bear a heart of gold like Yogi starting next month.  Patrick used music to win Kat over, but Ledger believed that the power of music can educate young people about HIV/AIDS prevention.  Enter Lifebeat, the non-profit charity that was created nineteen years ago to bring awareness to a terrible disease through beats and lyrics, and some famous faces.  Britney Spears, John Mayer, Dave Matthews Band, Jay-Z, Tina Turner, Ozzy Osbourne, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Moby, OutKast, Sarah McLachlan, and Destiny’s Child have all invited LB to be a part of their tours and distribute condoms, and life saving information about HIV/AIDS prevention and testing.  LB also harnesses the talents of singers to lift the spirits of those living with HIV or AIDS in New York City.  Even Jewel and LL Cool J have crooned for LB’s Hearts and Voices program.

Variety-The Children’s Charity Donation

Lifebeat Donation

So here’s to you things I hate about you!  You gave us a movie to watch again and again, and a beautiful boy to fall in love with over and over again.  You gave us a catchy poem that has it’s own web address so people who didn’t memorize the words from watching the movie can enjoy it as often as they like.  How do we love charities?  Let us count the ways! 

Week 4-Holiday traditions, Day 6-Movies

It always seems like at someone, or multiple people,  in my family gets one of the best movies of the year as a Christmas present.  This year Clay, my brother, got Inception.  Last year it was The Hangover.  Naturally when you get something new for Christmas you want to break it out and use it, and that’s exactly what happens with all these movies floating around the house.  That’s how we get to the holiday tradition of watching a ton of movies.

It was a little challenging for me to find charities that I thought really reflected my thankfulness of family movie nights over the holidays.  Charity Films is one of those great organizations.  You are able to go to their website and watch inspirational and entertaining short films for FREE!  Who doesn’t love free?  Let’s say you like the movie and want to buy it.  You can buy the DVD and CF will donate 30% of the profits to the charity sponsoring the film, or donate to the charity directly.  It also dawned on me while searching for charities that a hit film isn’t a hit without the actors.  The SPIRAL (Spinning Potential Into Resources and Love) Foundation is a celebrity favorite.  Everyone from the Jonas Brothers to Steven Speilberg are behind this humanitarian charity whose work is focused in Nepal and and Vietnam.  Oh did I mention Oprah is a fan too.  Is anyone noticing a pattern with the charities I seem to pick and the big O?  Yea, me too.  Since 1999 SPIRAL has worked diligently to promote “aid from within the country” by employing over 1000 Vietnamese and Nepalese locals with fair salaries and a multitude of other projects.  These projects are funded by the profits of the SPIRAL store which sells a wide variety of hand crafted goods.  All of the products are also very environmentally conscious and usually made with recycled materials.  Celebrity approved?  Check!  Green?  Check!  Totally worth checking out and donating too?  Check!

Charity Films Donation

The SPIRAL Foundation Donation (donations made by purchasing hand made goods)

So here’s to you family movie night!  You always seems to bring us together around the television during the holidays.  We get to see some of the best films of the year from the comfort of our very own living rooms.  The popcorn is cheaper, the seats are more comfortable, and we never miss a scene due to a potty break.  This is one family holiday tradition that I will definitely be participating in for years to come.