Lamenting the Late Adam West

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Keith Farthington has some kind words to say about the passing of the original Batman, and it’s quite touching. Check out the YouTube link below:

Lamenting Batman’s Death

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Our Full Potential

Adam_Sandler_6818Sarabeth and I watched Adam Sandler’s Mr. Deeds last night. I (reluctantly) admit it’s one of the funnier movies in our small comedy collection. Watching it, I kept thinking, What happened, Adam?

As goofy as his movies are, we actually enjoy a small handful of his older ones.

Several years ago, he took a detour from his usual comedy routine and stared in a few dramatic movies, one of them being  Reign Over Me, one of my personal favorite movies. Besides telling a vivid post-9/11 story of pain and honesty in a broken world, it really showcased Sandler’s true talent and potential for what seemed to be the budding of his acting career.

The movie was timely because I, along with many fans, were growing tired of his slapstick hijinks and repeatedly silly antics. His next movie dealt with a serious issue alright, but not in a serious way. I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry was so offensive and filthy that I literally took a shower after watching just half of it. (It is very, very difficult to offend me.)

He then goes on to make several more silly movies, continuing to refuse to show any depth, and then, just to taunt those of us who would like to support him (if only he’d grow up), he stars in a movie called – of all things – Grown Ups (which scored a whopping 9% approval rating on Rottentomatoes – but don’t worry, that won’t deter Sandler or his producers from hawking out a sequel.)

Needless to say, with the exception of Chuck and Larry, it’s been seven years since I’ve supported or seen anything new by him.

But in that small stint of time between 2004 and 2006, Adam Sandler showed true potential. I’m reminded of my high school days. I scored an A in my Creative Writing class, which prompted my mom to say, “You see? I know you’re capable of getting A’s! This proves it!”

Adam Sandler proved to the world that he was capable of more than just joke repetition, senseless beatings, and fart jokes.

It wasn’t long ago when I said to Sarabeth, “We need some more Leo in our lives.” Leonardo DiCaprio is an actor whose career choices I highly respect and admire. He could have very easily remained as the pretty boy Hollywood made him out to be in his younger days, but instead, he chose to mature with the years. His movie choices are age-related, and aren’t just ones that will keep the girls storming after him like lemmings over a cliff (though, I’m sure they still do that). From Catch Me if You Can to Aviator, he has truly reached and kept his full potential over the years.

What about you?

Are you just sticking with what’s comfortable? Or are you stretching yourself, pushing yourself, to be better in your field, your hobbies, your dreams, your career?

Don’t settle for what you were good at yesterday. Discover what you could be good at tomorrow, and keep pressing forward.

Summer Movies

I have a few weird habits concerning my movie collection. First, I alphabetize my DVDs. I’m sure that’s one of those things that’s weird, but common. Second, I categorize them into Drama, Action/adventure, Comedy, and animated in four different cabinets throughout our loft (and of course a special shelf that exclusively displays my Pixar movies). Now, that’s getting a little weirder. But wait – there’s more! The weirdest thing I do is watch my movies seasonally. Most people have regular movies, and Christmas movies. I divide mine up into Christmas, winter, spring, and fall movies. Quirky, I know. I just can’t watch White Fang when it’s 98 degrees out, you know?

So with that said, I’ve just pulled out all of my Summer movies that we’ll be watching in the next few months and I realized that most of them have a recurring theme (no, this was not intentional). Most people have common themes that run through their DVD and book collections. For some, their themes might be romance, and finding your true love (Never Been Kissed, 10 Things I Hate About You, Bridgett Jones’s Diary). For others it might be the idea that death and blood and gore are glorified elements (Halloween, Freddy, Walking Dead). For many, the theme is mindless (and sometimes funny) 90-minute breaks from reality (Dumb and Dumber, Anchorman, Monty Python).

The theme for our Summer movie lineup, I discovered, is redemption. Bellow are films I highly recommend if you’re browsing through Netflix and just need to be inspired to get off your chair and do something meaningful for others and your family. Feel free to recommend some of your own. Enjoy!

The Last Samurai

I remember years ago when I saw the poster for this movie hanging up in the hallway of the movie theater, I thought instantly, “That has got to be a joke.” Tom Cruise as a Samurai warrior… really? But this film wows me the more times I see it. Though my wife and I quibble over the validity of this film’s origins, it is a wonderful reminder that no no matter how far we’ve sunk, how far we’ve fallen, or whatever we’ve done, there is always a reason to redeem yourself and a chance to start your life anew.

The Majestic

Say what you will about Jim Carrey, but he really does pull himself together for this one. It’s a perfect film to celebrate 4th of July or Memorial Day. This film is a testament to why we should stand up for what we believe in and not be so pacifistic as many of us have become. It reminds us that our freedom came at a very high cost and that there is shame in shrugging it off as no big deal. Our country was worth the fight, and if we agree, we will show a little more respect toward it.

Sweet Home Alabama

I’m not much into romantic comedies at all, and this movie is hardly a funny, though it is lighthearted. I appreciate this movie so much because it defends the honor and integrity of marriage. The main characters have been trying for a divorce for many years, but something in them just won’t let them go through with it, even if it means ditching the new boyfriend. Marriages are worth fighting for, and this movie shows that it’s not easy, but the rewards can be great.

Cinderella Man

Whenever you put Russell Crow and Ron Howard together, you’re in for a great time. Not great time as in, escapism. But more like, getting to see a movie for what, I believe, movies are meant to be made for – documenting the lives of otherwise overlooked, great personalities in our world’s history. Cinderella Man is a fine film that does just that. Our country is headed toward hard times, and this is a great film for fathers and husbands to see to give them a picture of how a real man handles difficult times.

The Sandlot

This is an oldie, but very much a goodie. And yes, the 4th of July scene with the fireworks makes me cry every time. With all this talk about putting a stop to bullying these days, this is a great film for kids to watch as it shows that we can’t expect to change society to accommodate our insecurities, but we must be willing to adapt to some surroundings if we want to be accepted into a group. Show ’em what you’re made of and you’ll earn their respect.

Other redemptive movies: Finding Neverland, A League of Their Own, A Beautiful Mind, Finding Nemo, Cars

Image credits: Last Samurai, The Majestic, Sweet Home Alabama, Cinderella Man, The Sandlot