Classic Movie Re-Watch Review – It’s A Wonderful Life

it's a wonderful life movie
The meaning of Christmas in black and white.

I have to watch It’s A Wonderful Life (IAWL) every year during the holidays. It’s just one of those movies like that annoying drunk uncle at the family reunion…. it never goes away. I revisited Bedford Falls yet again, and this time with my husband (Scott) because he had never seen it (I know, clutch my pearls). Every time I watch this movie, I discover something new. Hold that thought; I’ll come back to that.

[pullquote]IAWL is a movie that makes you laugh, cry, and think.[/pullquote] Released in 1947…I didn’t see it until the late 70s, or early 80s. It’s about a big dreamer’s (George Bailey’s) plan to see the world, but his plan gets derailed when “life happens.” (pun intended).

Here’s the 30-second or less snippet: George saves his brother. George’s hearing is impaired. Angel Clarence saves George’s life. George discovers his leadership niche. Old Man Potter is evil. Wifey Mary is a superwoman. George learns the meaning of a meaningful life.

Now, here are a few things I discovered during this viewing: (1) Violet was a thirsty (a desperate hoochie. Always up in George’s face trying to vie for his attention); (2) The #MeToo movement started in Bedford Falls, when Harry slapped the maid Annie on the butt as she walked in the kitchen; and (3) The movie started with the big bell ringing, and ended with the same bell ringing.

Favorite line this viewing: Potter says to George, “Are you running a bank or a charity ward?”

Best love moment: When Mary leans over George, as children in the store, and says in his deaf ear, “I’ll love you until the day I die.”  Love that part.

Leadership at its best: during the deposit run, when George uses logic, patience under pressure, persuasion, and interpersonal skills to calm the community members that were demanding a withdrawal of their money from the bank.  He gave them a reason to trust him, to trust themselves with taking only what they needed and not what they wanted.

If you didn’t read this before, It’s a Wonderful Life is one of my favorite Christmas movies.  As a child, it was the first encounter I had with hearing about a “bank examiner.” I never knew bank examining was a job or career until that movie. Then I went to college and low and behold the FDIC was recruiting when I was 18 years old for bank examiners on my college campus.  Long story short — until you read it in my book — at age 21 FDIC hired me.  I’ve been employed with them for over 26 years and lived in 5 states via promotions and special assignments.  Interesting, uh?!?!

[pullquote position=”right”]Enjoy the movie this year and for years to come.  [/pullquote]If you notice something different about the movie when you watched it, comment below.  I’d love to hear your insight.  Happy holidays!

Movie Grade: A  

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Movie Review – Mary Poppins Returns

Movie Review - Mary Poppins ReturnsCan I start by saying bravo?! I’m a huge fan of Mary Poppins (MP), and Mary Poppins Returns (MPR) did not disappoint. While we all knew that filling Julie Andrews’ shoes as MP would be nearly impossible, Emily Blunt nailed the role.  I enjoyed this movie so much because of the animation, storyline, cast, and the soundtrack. The Sherman Brothers rocked the music, yet again.

Many people thought this movie was a remake of the original 1964 movie. However, this is a continuation of the original storyline.

This storyline could stand-alone if you had never seen the first installment, but it was very exciting to recall scenes from the first MP to understand the narrative of MPR. For example, let’s start with how Mary Poppins arrived the same way in this movie as she did in the first movie—-with a strong wind. Jan and Michael Banks are portrayed as adults, with Michael living as a widow in their childhood home…with three children and a housekeeper. Jane works as an advocate like her mother, and Michael is an artist and works at Fidelity Fiduciary Bank like his dad.

Side note: when the bank chairman sent the attorneys to Michael Banks’ house to demand payment of his loan or the house would be repossessed, that scene reminded me of It’s A Wonderful Life, when George Bailey experienced a similar scenario as the bank examiners arrived.

It was so funny that Admiral Boom used to be so precise with time when blasting the canon, but in this movie, his old age has impaired his precision. Do you remember the kite scene from MP along with the song “Let’s Go Fly A Kite?” Well, that same kite is crucial to the plot in this movie. Then there’s that scene in MP where Michael is shocked with his mouth open; MPR recycled that line with Michael as an adult…and MP said “Close your mouth Michael, we still are not codfish.” LOL Now as for Meryl Streep, she played MP’s second cousin named Topsy. I don’t care what role Meryl plays, she’s going to kill it. Her dance moves were on point too.

Cousin Topsy’s scene put me in the mindset of the scene from MP with Uncle Albert’s flying giggles to the song “I Love to Laugh.” The scene with the song “Follow the Light” reminded me of the chimney sweepers scene to the tune of “Step in Time” from MP. And yes, the penguins are back in the broken antique bowl scene.

One last similar scene I’ll mention is that the children disrupt the bank lobby like young Michael did, when he ran out of the bank because he didn’t want to deposit his tuppence.

Speaking of tuppence, the tuppence that Michael was forced to deposit into the bank comes full circle in MPR in a major way.

As I said earlier, the Sherman Brothers rocked the songs again, and my favorite song in this movie is “The Cover is Not The Book” especially Jack’s (Lin-Manuel Miranda) solo, because it was sang/rapped in his iconic Hamilton-like tempo. Sweet!!!

Familiar terms used by MP that always bring a smile to my face were of course in her vernacular in MPR; such as spit pot, come along now, and pish posh. Furthermore, there were three moments when the audience applauded, which is a good indication of iconic scenes — especially when both parents and children are applauding enthusiastically.

I speak for myself when I say it was pleasing to see black casting in MPR. MP did not have any blacks (if I remember correctly) and in MPR, two of the major characters were black: one of the attorneys, and the bank chairman’s secretary, and another appearance of a black milkman. Woohoo! It was also nice to see Angela Lansbury as the balloon woman in the park at the fair, when Dick Van Dyke returns as Mr. Dawes, Jr.

Let me close by saying I almost want to raid Mary Poppins’ closet. She is the best-dressed nanny on the planet. Her exit from Cherry Tree Lane was the same in MPR as it was in MP—-slow, holding her open bird umbrella, fading into the sky, with a subtle look back at the Banks’ house with a slight smile. Mary Poppins Returns is epic and practically perfect in every way!

#MaryPoppinsReturns #EmilyBlunt #Disney #Movies #NewReleases #MovieReview #RunPee #FemaleMasterpiece #Hamilton #LinManuelMiranda

Grade: A+

About The Peetimes: It was a little difficult to determine Pee Times because it’s a children’s movie — but adults love Mary Poppins as well — so determining when’s a good time for anyone to pee took some creativity. I recommend the 2nd Peetime, because it’s a very slow scene of the children sleeping and merely a lullaby song.

There are no extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of Mary Poppins Returns. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

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Classic Movie Re-Watch Review – It’s A Wonderful Life

AMC Movie Theater Review: Naperview, Illinois

Napierville AMC, IL
Yet another great AMC location!

Hey Peeple: as many of you know, I go to the movies quite a bit and there are three AMC Theaters I frequent. For this review, let me start with my AMC Showplace Naperville 16, because it’s my most frequented location in Illinois.

Of course, we at RunPee know you’re concerned about restrooms. The restrooms are conveniently located between the 16 screening rooms; there’s a good flow of traffic in and out, and they’re usually clean. I have not been inclined to inform management that the restrooms need attending,  but I will if necessary.

What’s great: 
I really love this theater because it’s a good size for the amount of people and crowds it receives. Parking is well-lit, plentiful, and free. This facility is situated as the back anchor of a two-sided shopping strip. The strip encompasses lots of restaurants, service facilities (e.g. cleaners, grocery store, UPS, salons), a bank, etc. The theater sits in the back of the shopping complex, which helps isolate the movie traffic from rubberneckers looking for a particular store. The facility is handicapped accessible, with ample seating for wheelchairs. This single floor location has plenty of exit doors and a central entrance. During the holiday season and summer months, the lines can be long, so plan accordingly by getting your tickets through the AMC app or the kiosks in the foyer.

The concessions menu contains a variety of great items; of course, a little expensive though. Warning: chicken tenders are made to order and take almost 7-10 minutes, but they are sooooo yummy.

The theater overall is clean and in good repair every time I’ve visited. The stadium seating is very good. The ambiance is nice and up to date. There’s also a small video arcade area. I really like the Dolby screening room; the sound is amazing! This location also offers any of the AMC promos, double features, and limited showing screenings. As a matter of fact, I’ve attended numerous Oscar Best Picture Events at this location. It’s so much fun spending 12 hours for two Saturdays watching incredible movies, in a clean facility, with a great event host supplied by the theater.

I’ve sponsored a free screening to 100 girls and women, and the layout of the lobby accommodated my event smoothly without disruption to the concessions or ticket area. Another thing I love about this theater is that the customer service desk is right in the middle of the lobby, at the ticket booth area for easy access to management.

How could this theater improve?
AMC Naperville could improve by ensuring all kiosks are working,  and there are ample staff at the counters (ticket and concessions). When there are large crowds, the manager should be visible to assist customers with issues or merely just to watch the flow of concession lines and hallway traffic, often  filled with unaccompanied teenagers.

Overall, this AMC is perfect for families, friends outings, and something to add between errands to just chill.

Movie Theater Grade: A-
Located:
2815 Show Place Drive, Naperville, Illinois 60564 (630) 303-5922 www.AMCTheatres.com

What to know more about DanaSimone!…?  Here are her personal links, describing her personal mission to make the world a better place for humanity: 

#FemaleMasterpiece #DanaSimone #MovieUrinologist

Movie Review – The Hate U Give

 

Movie Review - The Hate U GiveI expected this movie adaptation of Angela Thomas’ book of the same name to be exactly what it was—-racially tensed and enlightening. While many people are aware of a few victims involved in police altercations that led to their deaths by police officers such as Trayvon Martin, Botham Shem Jean, Sandra Bland, Freddie Gray, and Laquan McDonald, what I noticed about this movie are the “other” victims. I specifically mean those present when the victims are killed by the police officers. When 16-year-old Starr’s childhood best friend, Khalil, gets shot and killed by a police officer during a out-of-the-blue traffic stop, she becomes a victim in her our mind, her school, and her community as she finds her voice to speak up for what’s right.

Let’s start with the title, The Hate U Give. The first letter of the title spells THUG. Why is that important?

Remember the late famous hip hop rapper Tupac Shakur and his large abdominal tattoo saying “Thug Life”? There are several references to Tupac that define the plot development of this movie, that the director purposely includes. Tupac’s tattoo was an acronym standing for ‘The Hate U Give Little Infants Fu$%s Everyone.’

Other Tupac similarities include Maverick ordering the kids to learn the Black Panther Ten-Point Program — which recalls how Tupac explained one time in an interview that he was a militant, and his definition of thug came from his street side and his Panther side (his mom’s activism with the political Black Panther Party).

Another not so obvious reference was that the car (the neighborhood drug dealer leader) King drives is a black BMW 7 Series sedan with chrome and custom rims. On the night of Tupac’s murder, he was riding in a black 1996 BMW 7 Series sedan with chrome, custom rims.

I think that people will assume that this is just a typical black movie with commonly known stereotypes about blacks, but I think you should also view it from a different perspective, and pay attention to scenes that remind you of the patterns you see during a few of the real-life police shootings.

For instance, when Khalil was pulled over by the police, he responded to the officer by saying things like “Why are you pulling me over?” “Why turn my music down? I can hear you” and “I have rights.” This scene reminded me of the aforementioned Sandra Bland who made similar comments during her police stop, and was then arrested because she refused to put out her cigarette.

This movie right out the gate made me smile as it portrayed something very common, or uncommon, in black households, and that is the family eating dinner together and having deep life conversations. The not so common part is that not all black families have a mom AND a dad present. One other thing I’ll mention that I loved about the film — is the role played by hip-hop rapper Common, as Starr’s uncle, who is also a police officer in the same department as the officer that killed Khalil.

Towards the end of the movie, Starr draws an important distinction out of her uncle, and that is the action taken by police officers when they stop a black guy, versus when they stop a well-dressed white guy. Uncle Carlos admits that his behavior and reactions ARE different and racially biased, even as a black police officer. EPIC scene!!!!!

Let me speak to how Starr’s victim role was so robust. This was not Starr’s first experience with a BFF being killed; this is her second experience, and all before the age of 16. Starr lived two lives as she eloquently states it: Garden Heights Starr Version 1, and Williamson High School Starr Version 2. She had to bounce between the hood and the upper class private school she attended. Those scenes with her black friends and then her white friends, including Starr’s white boyfriend, was very well written and portrayed, and will be very familiar to many of your lives.

Spoiler below

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I’ll point out somewhat of a spoiler. Don’t miss the very climactic hairbrush scene between Starr and her Williamson High good friend Hailey. It gives you a glimpse of how some white people really think, but just don’t say it to black people out loud like Hailey did. Pray church! It got ugly. LOL

On another note, Starr bounced between two life roles that silenced her for many reasons. It’s so ironic, because 19-year-old Amandla Stenberg herself played similar roles in real life. She struggled with not being black enough (her father is Danish), and bounced between being straight and bi-sexual for a few years before finally embracing her designated sexuality (lesbian), and breaking her silence thereof. I think it’s so rhythmic, using “her voice” to make an impact onscreen, as well as off-screen.

Watch this movie without your “backpack” of pre-judgments of what you think you already know. Stay Open-minded. Be Empowered. Stay Woke.

#TheHateYouGive #AmandlaStenberg #PoliceShootings #Movies #NewReleases #MovieReview #RunPee #FemaleMasterpiece #BlackGirlsRock #TheHungerGames #LGBT #LGBTQ

Grade: B+

About The Peetimes: It was a little difficult getting Peetimes, because each one contains a little dialogue or dramatized scene that may appeal to somebody. However, these are 2 good Peetimes, both lasting 3 minutes. The 1st has an Alert flagged on it for people who might feel triggered by funerals/death. . .

There are no extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of The Hate U Give. (What we mean by Anything Extra)

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Movie Review – Night School

I rate this movie a B because the comedic chemistry between Kevin and Tiffany was great! I laughed through the whole movie. The plot was meaty between the different characters. Each student really had their own reason for going to night school and some type of personal struggle thereof. The scenes developed around those personal weaknesses, to expose the character’s drama, capture our empathy or sympathy, and then quickly conquer the struggles — without taking away from the main imperfect journey between Teddy and his fiancee Lisa.

The relationship between Teddy and Lisa will be viewed by many of you as “that’s me,” or “see, that’s why I can’t find a good man.” Teddy did what a lot of men do (and sometimes women) which is what I like to call “introducing me to your representative” during the first few dates. Teddy did not work a “corporate” job per se like Lisa, and their friends viewed that as Teddy and Lisa dating out of their league. Teddy gave the impression that he was doing great with a flashy car, nice clothes, and plush apartment. He was able to cover up his successful facade for a long time until his nemesis, Stewart, set him up and burst his bubble.

There are multiple lessons to learn from this movie that you may be able to relate to, such as being someone that you’re not, being overwhelmed by conspiracy theories and unfounded perceptions, letting your mate bully you and destroy your personal identity and greatness, or even thinking your good looks will carry you all your life.

I’ll stop here, because I don’t want to give away too much. No matter what you glean from this movie, you will enjoy the abundant laughter and the life lessons. Enjoy, and don’t forget to let me know what you think.

TTFN (Ta Ta For Now), DanaSimone!

Grade: B

About these PeetimesIt was hard getting Peetimes for this movie due to the ongoing comedic scenes. Don’t dilly dally on your pee runs. Most scenes were funny and added something to the plot. Just when I thought I had another good Peetime at about 1 or 2 minutes, plot happened and ruined another opportunity. If you’re a “reel” Kevin or Tiffany fan, you don’t want to miss any of their scenes together.

The 1st Peetime is a good one, if short. The 2nd is fine, but you’ll miss some humor. That’s just unavoidable in this film.

Alert: Excessive profanity around 35 minutes in, lasting about 5 minutes.

Movie Review – A Boy. A Girl. A Dream

I rate this movie a C, because the dialogue is really slow throughout, and takes some time to build the plot.

I also thought the numerous dead spaces of no dialogue got a little boring, based upon the peoples’ faces in the theater audience. It also seemed as though the ending was a little abrupt, or left you hanging. My friend I was with actually said out loud, “Is that it?” when the credits began to run.

The movie was relatable though, in many ways: from the devastation of black people after hearing Trump won, from strong and independent women being hurt by their previous boyfriend, and the emotions one can have for not pursuing their dreams (due to setbacks and perceived limitations).

For you Omari Hardwick fans, Omari’s character is nothing like his role as Ghost on the TV show Power. In this movie, he is intentionally sensitive; he meditates, and he’s extremely close with his son. Oh, he doesn’t kill anyone in the movie either. LOL!

Cass’ soul needed Frida, and Frida needed Cass. Both of them were struggling with — shall I say — misplaced dreams. Pun intended. Frida’s role portrays her desperately seeking liberation from her boring job as an attorney, and her ex-boyfriend. It was ironic that Frida is an independent, well-established, beautiful woman that flies to LA alone, then meets Cass.

On the first meeting, she kisses him, accompanies him to a night club, rides in an Uber with him, then goes to (what she thought was) his house. All that is completely opposite behavior for independent women. There’s no way we are going anywhere with men at a first meeting, swap saliva, then travel across town without first Googling you, pulling a background report, checking the pedophilla database, and then discussing it with two of our sis-boos. I’m just saying!

But I think that was another meaning behind the movie…take chances when it feels right, deep down in your gut.

Overall, the movie makes you think, which is why there is all the dead space with no dialogue. If you walk out of this movie reinventing yourself, or recalibrating your goals and objectives, then the movie probably did its job — by getting you to realize why you should give birth to that dream of yours right now.”

Grade: C

About the PeetimesDanaSimone! is our awesome Chicago resident Peetime Trainee. This is one of the first movies that she has done “live” for RunPee. This is a job that takes some time to get comfortable with.

She writes that overall the Peetimes were easy: “The movie had many dead spots with no narrative —  just atmosphere.”

If you feel that there are better choices for Peetimes in the movie, we would love to hear from you ([email protected]).