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YOU WENT WHERE?! THE STAR MOVIE PREMIERE (without kids)

The magic of films, the power of storytelling and the glitter of Hollywood remain a few of the reasons I choose to live near Los Angeles. Films entertain and educate us, they change our perspectives, and expand our views of our world – or what exists beyond. My favorite trend right now revolves around telling historic or well-known stories from a different perspective – whether showcasing a lesser known person who had a significant role in history, telling a side of history that we’re not familiar with, or telling historic stories through fictionally-enhanced side-stories. My new fascination with history lies not with people’s outcomes, but with their journeys.

When invited to the world premiere of Sony Pictures The Star, the twin angels on my shoulders, Oprah and Shonda, eagerly responded: Year of adventure! Year of Yes! Despite working at a film studio for many years, I rarely participated in a project’s release. What a fun opportunity to see a film first and a festive way to ease into the holiday season! Plus this was another amazing destination on my journey this year. With two of my #OMagInsiders blogging pals – Camesha [MamaMotivator] and Rachel [RachelSimmondsFitness] – we set out to support Oprah in her film project, and hopefully thank her in-person for inspiring my Year of Adventure in person.

Approaching the Westwood movie theatre, crowds of fans outlined the streets huddling to catch a glimpse of their favorites from this star-studded cast. The snowy white carpet glistened as elegantly decorated Christmas trees reflected the flash of paparazzi bulbs.

Glimpsing the well-choreographed dance between the celebrities and the press fascinated me – especially the young media with a larger camera and staff than ours.

To our surprise, we effortlessly walked past the will-call line and crowds to the back of the festival set up along the white carpet for the guests and their families! Stocked with comfort finger-foods and carnival games, smiles shone bright from all who lingered in this carved out Winter Wonderland before heading into the screening.

This film exceeded my expectations in so many ways because of the balance in the film. While it’s a familiar story, this film presents the stories of many less-visible characters, little obstacles we hadn’t thought of before and the shock of experiencing it first-hand. While it’s a story of great magnitude, it’s presented in a sweet, simple way that people of all ages can follow with a great balance of good, evil, struggle, humor, skepticism and faith. While it’s a religious story, the amount of religion infused in the story isn’t too much, or too little – it’s just right. I highly recommend this film for families this holiday season. I can’t wait to take my mom, children and my niece!

Seeing The Star film in this huge theatre filled with the magic-makers – who took months, even years to complete this film – escalated my excitement for this project. I always try to sit through credits but in this moment we could applaud the creators as they closed this chapter in their amazing journey! Plus this amazing soundtrack had us dancing in the aisles!

There were a few messages from the film that resonated with me, especially reflecting on my personal journey this year, yet will benefit all ages. Whether your destiny remains unclear to you so far or it shines like a beacon as obvious as the star in the sky, it’s not just reaching the point of achieving your goal that defines you as successful. Equally as valuable are how well you stay your course, face fears or evolve when unexpected things happen or undesirable situations are put in your way. If your faith in your journey and in your goals persevere you rise above the naysayers and reach your goals.

No, we did not congratulate Oprah this time, but I left the afternoon with amazing memories, new life experiences tucked under my belt – shared with my newest best friends, and a new holiday family film tradition (to balance out our tradition of watching Christmas Vacation)!

For more shots of who I met on the white carpet check out my Instagram!

What about you?

  • Have you seen The Star?
  • who was your favorite character?
  • Who is your favorite celebrity voicing a character in this film?
  • What was your favorite holiday song/performer from the film
  • What holiday film do you traditionally watch?
  • What is your favorite holiday tradition?
  • What is your favorite role that Oprah has played?
  • What was your last new experience that you were excited about saying yes to?
  • Are you ready for the holidays?

#thestarmovie #sonypictures #Oprah #OprahWinfrey #TylerPerry #TracyMorgan #Sony #AnimatedFilm #Animation #HolidayFilm #ChristmasMovie #ChristmasMusic #ChristmasCarols #Soundtrack #MerryChristmas #FirstChristmas #Mary #Joseph #Bethlehem #Thestar #film #movie #premiere #makesmewander

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SMURF HAPPENS! The Premiere

My kids and I rarely visit the Westside of Los Angeles. Traffic and rampant Bruins make it less-than-desirable for us. Last Sunday, we were noticeably blue because we got invited to Sony Pictures’ blue carpet premiere of The Smurfs 2! My kids didn’t grow up on the Smurfs like I did, but we loved the first movie and were thrilled to see the sequel!

Smurf Happens!

Smurf Happens!

We grabbed Lauren’s friend and set off on an adventure!

Smurfin' Street Scene

Smurfin’ Street Scene

Within a block from the parking lot, you saw Men In Black positioned at key positions along barricaded streets.  According to my friend, with Katy Perry and Britney Spears attending, the security detail was going to be a clusterfoccacia!  The first sign that we’d arrived at a premiere, not an alien invasion, was a huge Smurf melting in reverse positioned for his shining moment at the head of the blue carpet.

Where the Action Is

Where the Action Is

The street was a sea of blue laid with Smurfing custom cars,

Smurfin' Smart Cars

Smurf My Ride!  Smurfed Out Smart Cars!
I finally realize who fits in those cars!

and a Smurfing tiered cake.

My favorite Baltimore Baker - Duff!    Getty Images

My favorite Baltimore Baker – Duff!
(C) Getty Images / Sony

Fans and paparazzi were already lined up warming up their flashes or their voices.

Smurfin' Tour Eiffel

Smurfin’ Tour Eiffel

I yelled to my friend and, after making eye contact, started to move towards her. The security twitched in my direction ready to pounce.  Seriously, do we look like we will body slam people to get pictures with them?

Cheyenne Jackson is so hot it's startling - obviously! Really?!

Cheyenne Jackson is so hot it’s startling – obviously! Really?! I couldn’t muster a smile?!

MMmmmKmaybe.

Neil Patrick Harris and family (C) Getty Images/Sony

Neil Patrick Harris and family
(C) Getty Images / Sony

We waited to see celebrities inside the lobby. On the carpet, stars were moved along, but once inside, they had a moment to relax before entering the theatre. For my son and myself, the highlight was seeing various personalities and meeting a super polite kid who stars in one of my kids’ favorite shows!

Dylan Riley Snyder from Kicking It!

Dylan Riley Snyder from Kicking It!

For the girls, tchotchkies, ushers with bottomless boxes of treats, a Smurfing Happy Meal with 2 toys plus chocolate milk was more valuable than free-flowing champagne.  Then came the Staff lanyards!  With the power of executives flowing through them, the youngsters could stand in the lobby where they wanted, ignore the wishes of security, and walk the blue carpet!

WTF: Wave towards Faces The power of the lanyard!

WTF: Wave towards Faces
The power of the lanyard!

Seeing the film before it opened, star-gazing and being thrown in with such a creative crowd was such a fun experience for us all!  Bonus:  Finally knocked a big item off my 101 in 1,001 list!

Grandma Perry's shirt was classic:  I've got the hots for Grandpa Smurf!  Check out the blinged out cane too! (C) Getty Images / Sony

Grandma Perry’s shirt was classic:     I’ve got the hots for Grandpa Smurf!
Check out the blinged out cane too!
(C) Getty Images / Sony

Pop Princesses Britney and Katy! Love them!

Pop Princesses Britney and Katy!
Love them!
(C) Getty Images / Sony

Thanks Pal! We had a blast!

Thanks Pal! We had a blast!

See you next time Katy!  Or in 30 min. when we go home and watch "Part of Me!"

See you next time Katy!
Or in 30 min. when we go home and watch “Part of Me!”

SUPERMAN OR SAVIOR?

Hot Henry

Did I just want a good excuse to have pictures of Henry on my blog – absolutely!

Who saw Man of Steel last weekend [I did!!] contributing to their record breaking Highest June weekend opening in the USA EVER! Did the story seem familiar to you because this may have been Jesus’ story.  Super sacrilegious storyline, Superman!

super2

My views of film marketing encompass what I call the Hot Hero Heuristic.  If he is hot, women’ll stampede the theatre doors.  For men, it is an Action Hero Heuristic. With superheroes, action scenes extend far beyond the limits of our reality.  Some people take a more central route reading industry magazines, critics’ reviews, and research the stars.  I do for indy films, but for a superhero film – again, it’s just light-hearted entertainment.

super3

Apparently, there’s a heavier message.  So much so that Warner Brothers made a Resource Site for churches to better use the platform of our all-American hero to help sell the idea of the world’s savior. They hired a christian marketing firm, Grace Hill Media, to help spread the word.  They offered free pre-screenings for pastors and outlined sermons for pastors to parallel these stories.

super6

Still skeptical? Focus your heat vision here:  A hero from elsewhere, comes to Earth with powers he’s struggling to understand. His message is Hope and his powers are for good, but people here are frightened by what they don’t understand and are frightened by his potential power.  He leaves his family and goes in search of his “heavenly” (as in Space) father and winds up saving the world.

He descended from Heavens

I know, right?! Apparently I haven’t been to church recently because if I’d known Superman would be the sermon, I’d have gone to see how receptive parishioners are to this suggestion. The WB certainly doen’t mention it in articles celebrating their record-breaking opening! They’re just bringing people in with one image then using parallel direct and indirect messages to share Jesus’ story with viewers.

Super4

Do you feel that the WB is helping churches gain new, possibly younger, members because of an easier, perhaps more “appealing,” story? Or are they going straight to Hell for purposefully capitalizing on their knowledge that Christian audiences are large and very influential to their congregations to support or resist certain things in the entertainment world?

super5

WTF: Way to Fly! (No Capes!)

All Images (C) Marvel and Warner Brothers

WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE: CALVIN AND HOBBES

OK, who didn’t just love the combined wit, perspective, adventure and love of the most adorable  boy and his ever faithful tiger?  I loved Calvin and Hobbes, my son now loves them, and soon – if I can pry my comic books from his hands – my daughter will love them.

Well in this town, when you have a passion for something, you make a film to pay tribute.  A friend’s husband is directing a film called dear mr. watterson and I can’t wait to see it because of the topic and because of the sentiment behind it.  I tend to prefer movies where I know the “back story.”  For me it makes it a 4-D film experience to know what went in to making it.

Check out their page, learn about the creators of the film!

Thankfully the comic strip has many adoring fans so the film is funded and under way. Heeding Calvin’s words: “As far as I’m concerned, if something is so complicated that you can’t explain it in 10 seconds, then it’s probably not worth knowing anyway;” I’ll simply ask you to wander along with me, check out the film website and eagerly await the film!

In the website’s words:
“This film is not a quest to find Bill Watterson, or to invade his privacy. It is an exploration to discover why his ‘simple’ comic strip made such an impact on so many readers in the 80s and 90s, and why it still means so much to us today.”

 

 

 

 

WHEN THE KIDS ARE AWAY, MAMA’S GONNA PLAY!

When I was a kid, what was the first thing I did when I heard my parents would be out of town? Mom, if you’re reading this, the answer is Picked up my room, Asked for extra credit homework assignments, Rested, Told my friends no parties when my parents were gone, Missed You! I’ve heard of an unspoken rule that you wait 15 years until you tell your parents the truth about things you’ve done.  I personally enjoy my position as the eldest that means, for the most part, my siblings don’t have much dirt on me because they were too young to be tattle-tales when I was a teenager having fun.  I relish in my “shining example” role so in most cases, I’ll never admit to anything.  (I guess we’ll see if my parents read the blog!).

Just in case me, all alone, nobody else here, really mom!

Perhaps this next statement will be more telling as to what I truthfully did back then, because I still do it now!  My kids will be out of town next week so with evenings all to myself, I am planning ways to have fun:

GET CAUGHT UP! Life has been so crazy lately that I need to get caught up with paperwork, housework, friends, blogging, etc.  I will dedicate 1 evening to do what I have to do before doing what I want to do – catch up with friends!  See kids, I lead by example!

Just a fun idea to make me want to go through paperwork and turn it into something new and exciting! What pile of paper drives you the most crazy?

SEE A MOVIE! Whether it’s at home or at the movie theatre, it’s a great excuse to not cook, just eat popcorn for dinner like I did in college and be entertained!

What are the hottest flicks in theatres/rental right now?

READ A BOOK AT THE BEACH!  This is my new favorite to take a book to the beach and not leave til I’ve damn well finished it!  Next time I’ll be sure of more accurate coverage with sunscreen.

What book shall I read next?

BE CRAFTY! Pinterest is my new favorite toy!  I’m going to make 1 meal completely from pinterest recipes and do 1 craft project inspired by something I saw on there.  Give me a link to propose your favorite ideas in the comments below and don’t forget to follow me on Pinterest!  (Button to the right!)

Such a fun and simple idea – wait, don’t have a sewing machine. What’s a fun and simple one you recommend?

Well, tell me what you would do!

SATISFYING MY HUNGER FOR A NEW SERIES

My inner tough-chick self hungered to see The Hunger Games to validate the feverish frenzy surrounding me. I loved the premise of kids sacrificing for another while making huge life-changing decisions towards their own futures. I got hung up on kids fighting to the death but went to see how this translated to screen.

WTF: With this, Fearless!

I gripped my seat constantly because the movie built upon itself so well. I found many great messages delivered by a great film with a kick-ass, intelligent, loving female character. I can’t wait to introduce her to my daughter later on.

May the odds be ever in your favor
This saying writes off most of the tributes saying, “You don’t stand a chance but we’ll pretend you do!” Katniss mentors teach her she’ll have to strategize and make her own odds. The saying reminded me of another famous saying but even the Force was of no value until Luke figured out how to manipulate it. She can’t rest on her laurels, nor rely on luck.

They just want a good show
Mimicking what we frequently see in the media these days, as long as good conflict and attractive players are involved, people become famous “winners.” While Katniss learned and followed the rules to ensure her victory, she did it her own way. Peeta stated, too, that were he to die, “I want to die as myself, I don’t want them to change me.” Turns out Katniss, who felt she was no good at playing games to win sponsors over, instead earned their respect.

WTF – Wearing the Flames
Photo Credit: Murray Close (C) Lionsgate

Hope… the only thing stronger than fear While Katniss may have been an underdog since she hailed from the poorest district that rarely produced winners for The Games, I never doubted she had the skills and ability to win. I only worried about the unknowns waiting for her on the battlefield. Still, she had hope and, even more powerful, love creating fierce determination to stay focused. Her power inspired the sponsors and worried the government. I loved that she appeared strongest when giving others hope.

What touched you? I know everyone else has seen this movie, so share!  Who’s ready to sign up for archery lessons with me?

WTF – With Two Fingers
Photo Credit: Murray Close (C) Lionsgate

PULLED MOM RANK TO SEE DISNEY NATURE CHIMPANZEE

Somewhere along the way, my kids became jaded before their time. When I wanted to see Disney Nature Chimpanzee and my kids refused, while regularly quoting Zombieland or pointing out when real artifacts resembling those in games, something had gone awry.

(C) Disney

From the moment I bawled during the trailer, I knew I’d make my family see this film. I get it, for kids the film smacked of “educational.” When I told the kids and their guest which tickets I bought, protests arose – some more polite than others. Walking through the movie theatre lobby, another friend that asked what he was seeing approached my son. My son’s meek response and the child’s apologetic look confirmed, “Mom was officially uncool!” I pressed on.

The film was visually stunning. Seeing breathtakingly untouched parts of this world committed me to ensure their future. Witnessing the detail of the alive and threatening jungle contrasted with the slow-motion chain reaction igniting raindrops inspired me with views I could not have dreamed up, much less captured. I knew the gist of the story from the trailer, and knew where conflict might occur but the film was shot very tastefully showing real danger and emotion but without the raw, last quiver of nature films.

(C) Disney

I highly recommend this movie! Watching the amazing family structure, behavior, and interaction of the chimpanzees, especially the baby named Oscar, was enlightening! The shots were so close you felt like family. It revealed awesome things about nature, nurturing, family structure, animal hierarchies, and movie making. During the credits they shared the experience of the film-makers. It amazed me how close they were to the family and that when the chimpanzees charged by the camera, both camera operators turned their faces away and backed up slowly – to avoid eye contact that might provoke the chimpanzees. Learn more Chimpanzee survival tips here.

In the last 50 years 80% of the chimpanzee population vanished. A percentage of ticket sales from this opening weekend go to the Jane Goodall Institute! Go, today, and share your impression of this movie.

Oh, the kids reviews ranged from “I admit, it was pretty good” to “I want to see it again!” See, listen to your mother!

(C) Disney