It’s a Wonderful Life!

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“It’s A Wonderful Life” (1946)

iheartfilm is dedicating the month of November to the lesson of Gratitude in films; the quality of being thankful.

“It’s a Wonderful Life” is the ultimate gratitude film. George Bailey (James Stewart) facing jail and the demise of his beloved father’s savings and loan business, decides that his family would be better off without him so decides to take his life.

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George Bailey (James Stewart)

Thank goodness for the rookie guardian angel, Clarence ((Henry Travers) Love him! “Everytime a bell rings an angel gets his wings.” Clarence grants George’s wish to have never been born and shows him exactly how different life in his community of Bedford Falls would be had he never been born. In doing so, he teaches George a tremendous lesson on gratitude and helps him realize it is and he has a wonderful life.

Clarence (Henry Travers)

I bet we’ve all had that moment when we go, this is just too hard and messed up. Some come to the conclusion that life just isn’t worth living, and nobody would miss me anyway so what difference does it make.

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Not everyone has a support person to hold them and say – it’s going to be alright – we can get through this together. I wrote a post about Robin Williams after he took his life because of how he touched me with his incredible talent. I cried not only for his family but for the countless others who’ve lost loved ones to the pain that is suicide.

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George Bailey’s pain was real. James Stewart’s portrayal felt real and no matter how many times I watch Frank Capra’s enduring classic, I ball at all the same scenes. The love and compassion of George’s wife Mary, (Donna Reed) family and friends lift us all to a level of gratitude that just can’t be contained.

Wow! Even just writing and remembering that final scene brings tears to my eyes. Sixty-nine years later this movie still tugs at the heart strings.

What a blessing!  What a Gift!  What a Wonderful Life!

Liebster Award Nomination!

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I am so honored that Affyyia – siuquxemovies.wordpress.com – thought enough of my blog to nominate me for this award. I enjoy and go back to read her posts often because of her passion for films and books. Make sure to check out her awesome blog!

The Rules: 

  1. Acknowledge the blog that nominated you and display the award.

  2. Answer 11 questions that the blogger gives you.

  3. Give 11 random facts about yourself.

  4. Nominate 5-11 blogs you think are deserving of the award that have less than 200 followers.

  5. Let the blogs know you have nominated them.

  6. Give them 11 questions to answer.

RULE 2: My 11 questions and answers are:

  1.  Who is your favorite actor or actress and why? Bette Davis because she was a ground breaker. Many actresses feared playing unsympathetic characters, but Bette viewed it as an opportunity to show the range of her acting skills. In “Of Human Bondage” (1934) she made herself look horrid because that’s what the role required. Other actresses didn’t want to do that kind of portrayal.

  2. Name two books you have read this year?  The Four Agreements and the Bible.

  3. What is the name of your best friend?  Carmen

  4. Mention about six blogs you visit often: 

    1. mixedgirlvibe.com

    2. Harsh Reality – aopinionatedman.com

    3, assholeswatchingmovies.com

    4. Live to Write – Write to Live – nhwn.wordpress.com

    5. fromthestickstothebricksandbackagain.wordpress.com

    6. empress2inspire.wordpress.com

  5. List four languages you wish to learn:  Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese

  6. Movies and picnic, which one would you prefer?   Picnic

  7. Is this your first time of getting nominated for Liebster Award?   No

  8. Mention any African country you have visited before or wish to visit and why:  I’d like to visit Seychelles because of its’ luxurious beaches.

  9. What is your own personal definition of wealth?  The love of family and friends.

  10. Share with me any incident that happened in your high school days that you might never forget?  When my counselor told me I was accepted at The University of Michigan.

  11. Five things that inspired you to start  your own blog?  My passion for writing, the opportunity to share my love of film, designing a website,  sharing the history of film, feedback from the blogging community.

RULE 3: 11 Random Facts About Myself

  1. I love Minions

  2. I hate spiders

  3. I have to watch “Miracle on 34th Street” before any Christmas festivities can begin.

  4. I’m a clothes horse.

  5. I’m a stage actress.

  6. I’m a vocalist.

  7. I love film trivia.

  8. My car was struck by lightning.

  9. I’ve watched “A Charlie Brown Christmas” every year since it premiered.

  10. I’m known as the “human jukebox” because of my vast knowledge of music lyrics.

  11. I’m a Christmas Tree decorating master.😄

RULE 4: My nominees are:

RULE 5:  My 11 questions are: 

  1. What’s your favorite film and why?

  2. Tropical or Ski vacation?

  3. What inspired you to start your blog?

  4. What’s your favorite post?

  5. Pumpkin or Sweet Potato Pie?

  6. Favorite animated film.

  7. Where have you always wanted to visit but haven’t?

  8. Your best day?

  9. Dog or Cat?

  10. Five blogs you follow?

  11. Favorite cartoon?

Gratitude and Miracles 💛

 

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iheartfilm is dedicating the month of November to the lesson of Gratitude in films; the quality of being thankful.

This is a re-post from last year. It so fits the theme of gratitude and is my official movie to kick-off the holiday season. We lost Maureen O’Hara (Doris) last month (more on the late actress here) so this is also a tribute to her career and role in this holiday classic. Enjoy!

Today marks the start of the holiday season, but it doesn’t officially kick off for me until I’ve watched the Thanksgiving Day Parade and one of my favorite holiday films, Miracle on 34th Street (1947).

 

 

Until I see Santa arrive at the end of the parade there can be no Christmas Tree, tinsel, ornaments or stockings. This has been a tradition of mine since I was a kid. Without a doubt, Edmund Gwenn is Santa Claus. No matter what other films he’s made, each character turns into Kris Kringle. (he won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor) Gwenn played a cockney assassin in Hitchcock’s Foreign Correspondent in 1940, but all I could scream was “Santa, don’t throw that man off the ledge!”

 

Edmund Gwenn

Miracle Kris

(September 26, 1877 – September 6, 1959)

Natalie Wood was precious as Susan, the precocious daughter of Maureen O’Hara (Doris) who doesn’t believe in fairy tales and attends a “progressive” school. Natalie Wood had an illustrious career until her death in 1981. She was able to make the transition from child star to ingenue starring opposite James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause (1955) and Warren Beatty in Splendor in the Grass (1961). Known as a loving, giving person, as well as a star, she’s always had a special place in my heart.

Natalie Wood

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(July 20, 1938 – November 29, 1981)

miracle DorisDoris is cynical as a result of a bitter divorce so she’s raising her daughter to be practical and sensible. None of this believing in fairy tales and Santa crap. All was going well until Doris – the Macy’s parade coordinator – asks Kris to replace the drunken Santa originally set for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade. Kris is a big hit and becomes Macy’s official Santa resulting in a personal relationship with Doris and Susan.

Maureen O’Hara (August 17, 1920 – October 24, 2015)

 

Kris is an immediate influence teaching Susan it’s okay to pretend after she tells him the other kids don’t play with her because she won’t join in their game and act like a zoo animal.

The production took flack from the Catholic League of Decency because how dare you depict a divorced woman with a successful career and a young child as a “normal family.” Yep, 1940’s mentality and morality were hard at work.

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Susan learning to act like a monkey!

Just as Doris is learning to have more faith in life and Susan is embracing imagination, Kris’s sanity is questioned and a legal battle ensues to prove that not only is he sane but the one and only Santa Claus. Fred (John Payne) who is Kris’s lawyer and Doris’s boyfriend, understands the importance of the spirit of Santa especially in the lives of Susan and Doris.

John Payne (on left)

(May 23, 1912 – December 6, 1989)

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Kris is exonerated and Christmas day has arrived. Susan has asked for a very special present and is disappointed at the Christmas party to see it isn’t under the tree. Doris, in a refreshing change of heart, tells Susan she must have faith.

But, Santa Claus moves in mysterious ways and in the end teaches them both the true value of faith and miracles.

 

 

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Cheers to Faith and Miracles!

Trading Places in Gratitude 😎

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“Trading Places” (1983)

 

iheartfilm is dedicating the month of November to the lesson of Gratitude in films; the quality of being thankful.

“Trading Places” (1983) is a tour de force example of Gratitude meets “walk a mile in my shoes!” Dan Aykroyd is (Louis Winthorpe III) the typical “privileged” ivy leaguer with a twist. He’s not as “top drawer” as he thinks and his life is truly in the hands of the callous Duke brothers – Mortimer ((Don Ameche) and Randolph (Ralph Bellamy).

His perfect world is turned upside down by the $1 bet by the brothers to settle the debate of nature vs nurture. Because we’ve got nothing better to do, let’s strip Louis of everything he knows and see if he’ll sink or float.

 

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Randolph and Mortimer Duke

 

What better “brother” switch than with (Billy Ray Valentine) Eddie Murphy, the wily con man who sees the brothers straight up for what they are – numbers runners.

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“Billy Ray”

 

 

 

 

 

 

The parable wouldn’t be complete without the lovely damsel in distress (but in this case with a plan for her own escape). One of my favorite actresses, Jamie Lee Curtis plays “Ophelia”, the classy hooker with a heart of gold.

 

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Jamie Lee Curtis – “Ophelia”

 

 

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Denholm Elliott – “Coleman”

 

Louis’s butler/valet, “Coleman” (Denholm Elliott) is hilarious trying to juggle the Duke brothers’ sick plan.

 

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Louis’s abrupt experiment in poverty forces him to get his nose out of the air and think twice about judging people based solely on their socio/economic situation.

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After a stint in jail, being reduced to stuffing a whole salmon into his Santa suit (don’t ask, you have to see) and attempting to take his own life, he realizes how shallow his life has been. By coming together with Billy Ray, Coleman and Ophelia he finds out it’s friends and the love of a good woman that really counts.

An incredibly important life and Gratitude lesson!

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However, if you can get rich with your friends and give payback to those who’ve done you wrong (Dukes) go for it! 😎

 

“Looking good Billy Ray!”

 

 

Buddy Love’s Gratitude

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“The Nutty Professor” (1963)

iheartfilm is dedicating the month of November to the lesson of Gratitude in films; the quality of being thankful.

“The Nutty Professor” (1963) (loosely based on Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”) is a classic tale of insecurity, social ineptitude and wanting to be somebody, anybody else. Professor Julius Kelp (Jerry Lewis) is a sweet but awkward, book type that is constantly blowing up his lab (and students) to the frustration of Professor Warfield (Kelp’s boss). Fed up with his lot in life, Kelp decides to take matters into his own hands. He has to learn the lesson of Gratitude the hard way.

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Professor Kelp

Professor Kelp goes to extremes to become the “big man” someone no one would dare bully because he’s the typical “90-pound weakling” getting sand kicked in his face at the beach.

Being a Science Professor, he comes up with the ingenious idea to concoct a potion which will turn him into the suave, ladies man that commands a room. Enter alter ego, Buddy Love. Buddy is the complete opposite of Professor Kelp. He’s a rude, ego maniac who thrills the kids at their hangout the “Purple Pit” with his musical prowess singing and playing “That Old Black Magic” on the piano. There, as Buddy Love he can hook up with one of his students, Stella Purdy, (Stella Stevens) who he’s secretly had a thing for.

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Buddy Love

“The Purple Pit”

However, Kelp collides with his alter ego when his formula wears off while parked with Stella after they leave the “Purple Pit”. The next morning he’s left with the most horrific hangover in the annals of hangovers.

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Kelp’s Hangover

 

Professor Kelp’s whole world comes crashing down when he’s told he must be a chaperone at the graduation dance while he’s also supposed to perform as Buddy Love.

This is when he publicly learns the lesson of Gratitude. His Buddy Love formula wears off at the beginning of his graduation performance and he’s forced to confess his deceit and mistake of trying to be someone else. He’s learned to be thankful and appreciative for his true self.

Moral of the story, love yourself. If you don’t, how can you expect anyone else to.

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Scrooged and Grateful 😇

“Scrooged” (1988)

iheartfilm is dedicating the month of November to the lesson of Gratitude in films; the quality of being thankful.

The Dickens’ classic, “A Christmas Carol” is brilliantly updated in this 1988 adaptation – “Scrooged.” The hilarious Bill Murray stars as the infamous”Scrooge” aka Frank Cross. “Scrooge” has messed over everyone in his life, his employees (Bobcat Goldthwait) (Alfre Woodard), his brother (John Murray – Bill’s real-life brother) and especially his one true love, Claire (Karen Allen).

Claire

Frank Cross (“Scrooge”) represents everything that’s wrong with thoughtless people. He’s an angry, bitter, selfish a-hole. By grace, he’s given the opportunity for a second chance at life with the help of ghosts from “Christmas Past” (David Johansen), “Present” and “Future”, re-visiting the good, the bad and the ugly of his life. A hardcore lesson in Gratitude!

My favorite ghost has got to be (Carol Kane) as the “Ghost of Christmas Present,” When she knocks Bill Murray upside the head with that toaster, I’m cracking up right now just thinking about it!

The ghosts do a phenomenal job because ultimately Murray gives his testimony and not only feels Gratitude but tells people if you want to understand what being thankful is all about, give back, “make your miracle happen.” It’s an incredibly moving moment.

“God Bless Us Everyone” – Tiny Tim

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“Think of your fellow man, put a little love in your heart.”

 

 

 

 

Forrest Gump Gratitude 🏃

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“Forrest Gump” (1994)

 

iheartfilm is dedicating the month of November to the lesson of Gratitude in films; the quality of being thankful.

“Run Forrest, Run!”

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Every time I think of the movie “Forrest Gump”, that’s the first quote I hear. Then, “Life’s like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.”

 

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Quotes galore plus Lieutenant Dan (Gary Sinise) and Bubba (Mykelti Williamson). Love this movie!

Forrest Gump’s (Tom Hanks) life is a testimony to gratitude. He understands his challenges but is not hesitant to live his life to the fullest, including telling his childhood love, Jenny (Robin Wright) how he feels about her.

He gets it. Life gives you what you get, so don’t whine, go for it and make the most of your journey. Thank God for his mother, (Sally Field), she didn’t listen to what the”experts” had to say. She did whatever she had to do to provide Forrest with the foundation that he could do anything. With his braces, he had “magic” legs. Turn every so-called obstacle into an advantage. Once again, attitude is everything!

 

Forrest is a true inspiration and proof that with support and love we can overcome adversity. Love and compassion make the difference.

Mama, Jenny, Bubba, and Lieutenant Dan. Forrest loved and was deeply loved by those whose lives he touched.

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“Despicable” Gru – Gratitude

“Despicable Me” (2010)

 

iheartfilm is dedicating the month of November to the lesson of Gratitude in films; the quality of being thankful.

Every viewing of “Despicable Me” rekindles my child’s heart. Those of you who’ve read my “About” page know that I love Agnes and her tenacious spirit. She’s total love incarnate, wearing her gratitude on her sleeve. Despite the challenges of Agnes’ life at Miss Hattie’s Orphanage, she is thankful and hopeful every day. Plus, she loves unicorns. 😄  

 

 

Meet Felonius Gru, who thinks he’s a hardcore “Supervillain” but is blissfully unaware of how his life will be changed forever with the fateful meeting of sisters, Margo, Edith, and Agnes.

Gru and Agnes’ first meeting

 

Gru’s convinced that by using the sisters (selling of cookies for mean Miss Hattie’s Orphanage) as a decoy, he’s come up with the masterplan for his evil plot to foil his nemesis, Vector.

 

 

 

 

After adopting the sisters – part of his master plan – Gru begins his awakening to the lesson of gratitude while dealing with the day to day activities of parenting like dance lessons, girl scout type cookie deliveries, and an unfortunate Unicorn melting accident – Edith!  Even though Gru’s evil partner, Dr. Nefarious tries to interfere, Gru’s heart begins to melt with each parenting challenge culminating in his masterpiece, “One Big Unicorn”, the sweetest children’s book ever for the girls; turning Gru and the book into the sisters’ beloved and treasured bedtime ritual.

Agnes’ unconditional love also forces Gru to realize that all he’s ever wanted is his mother’s love and approval and the heartbreaking thought of losing Agnes and her sisters trumps the ultimate supervillain prize of capturing and shrinking the moon.

Little Gru and Momma

Even the skeptical Margo and Edith come to be thankful for the love and somewhat different lifestyle of Gru. “You Should Be Dancing” by the Bee Gees is the perfect ending to the perfect union of love and supervillain dom.

Here’s what I’m grateful for – Minions! They bring me joy, happiness and fill my heart. 😘

Ferris Bueller’s Day “On!”

iheartfilm is dedicating the month of November to the lesson of Gratitude in films; the quality of being thankful.

“Gratitude turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity…it makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”  Melody Beattie

 

“Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” (1986) is my next pick and this is the reason why:

Ferris Bueller gets the meaning of life. He’s the type of person who lives in the moment and shows gratitude every day for his life and the endless adventures that it holds. He squeezes every last drop of living, is grateful for it and is always thirsty for more!

He loves his girlfriend Sloane and best pal Cameron, who’s his complete opposite, and wants desperately to breathe life into him and show how great each day can be, despite Cameron’s tempestuous relationship with his father. 

Ferris’s Moto:

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I love this kid! To him, there are no limits, only incredible possibilities!

“Twist and Shout!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gratitude of the Heart

The Wizard of Oz (1939) – “There’s No Place Like Home”

 

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iheartfilm is dedicating the month of November to the lesson of Gratitude in films; the quality of being thankful.

To quote author Melody Beattie:

“Gratitude turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity…it makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” 

 

My first pick, “The Wizard of Oz”, is overflowing with gratitude! Dorothy (Judy Garland) accompanied by her little dog Toto, seeking a better place in the world comes to understand what home really means and her compatriots – The Scarecrow (Ray Bolger), Tin Man (Jack Haley), and The Cowardly Lion (Bert Lahr) wishing to be more than they perceive themselves to be, learn to appreciate their unique gifts. The Great and Powerful Oz (Frank Morgan) realizes the blessing and value of truth and in his case the truth truly does set him free.

 

It all starts with a wish to be “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and results in unexpected consequences – the terror of being caught up in a twister, inadvertently dropping a house on the sister of the Wicked Witch of the West (oops) and inheriting both the wrath of said Witch (Margaret Hamilton) and a pair of coveted ruby slippers.

 

Sadly, “Over the Rainbow” doesn’t materialize into the idyllic place of which Dorothy sings, which becomes her vision quest. Dorothy’s longing for home dovetails with the wishes of  The Scarecrow, Tin Man, and The Cowardly Lion. These three, also wishing for what they believe they don’t have – a brain, a heart, and courage – join the quest to the Emerald City to finally have their dreams realized through the power of the omnificent Wizard of Oz.

The trio’s perilous journey to get Dorothy home leads to the self-realization that they possessed the traits they sought all along and didn’t really need the wizard to bestow these attributes upon them.

Dorothy also learns a valuable lesson we all tend to forget, “there’s no place like home” and if we can’t find what we’re looking for there, then we won’t be able to find it anywhere. Home exists within us and it’s our outlook and attitude that dictates whether it’s a black and white existence filled with worries and that ole Gulch “heifer” or a technicolor world filled with musical munchkins and the love of three very special friends.

 

 

 

With Gratitude, we can appreciate and give thanks for the joys and blessings in our lives because the truth is we could be far worse off. My spiritual goal every day is to be mindful and thankful for the bounty which I’ve already received.

 

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Always remember!