Thursday, August 22, 2013

Milestone

I knew on July 26, 1995 that someday this day would come. This was the day my beautiful daughters were born. First came Jenna. She hardly made a sound. She weighed 5 lbs and had more hair than my Dad. Then came Katie. She weighed in at 2 lbs, 12 oz. She was gray and not breathing when she was born. The staff were all trying to be positive, but I could see their faces and concern. After two of the longest minutes of my life, Katie let out a scream that I believe was heard all the way to God's throne! She announced to the world that she was alive! She has not slowed down since. Jenna was laid back, just taking it all in. They were premature, so they spent some time in the NICU. Jenna stayed two weeks; Katie stayed for a whole month. Their first year was filled with doctor visits, home heart monitors, and very little sleep.

As they grew, I fell more in love with my daughters each day. Watching them play, listening to them laugh, and cuddling with them were the high points of my life in those days.They were both so much fun! You could tell early on that they would always be close.They did everything together. I have so many stories I could tell about fun times I had with my girls, or "skwirls," as I called them. There were some scares along the way, but I wouldn't trade those days for anything.

This year the girls graduated high school and last weekend they left for college. Separate colleges. It is the first time in their lives they have been apart. Granted they are only about 45 minutes apart, but it is still a milestone for them...and for me. My son Cody is a junior this year; my son Timmy is also in college. But Jenna and Katie are my babies, and now they have officially "flown the nest." 

I am happy for my girls. They have come a long way from the NICU. I could not be more proud. At the same time, I am heartsick. It is a big, cruel world out there. To turn them completely over to the Lord in this way has been a challenge. I have faith that He is with them even as I write, keeping them safe, drawing them into His presence. My prayer is that ALL my children lean on Jesus each and every moment of each and every day. 

This year I decided to do something I have never done before. I have begun writing letters to each of my children for milestones such as this. In the letters, I offer some advice and a piece of my heart. I hope that one day they will treasure them. I also hope that one day this blog will be something my whole family can look back on after I am gone and get a glimpse of who I was. My hope is that they will all see Jesus in me.

For now, I am the father of FOUR college students. ::faints::

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Movie Review: The Three Stooges Movie (2012)

My review of the Three Stooges reboot can be summed up by a play on Curly's famous line, "Yuck, yuck, yuck!" I debated for months whether I would even watch the film. I honestly think it should never have been made. I have been a fan of the Stooges since childhood. My Dad introduced me when I was five. I introduced my own son to the original Stooges. The Three Stooges didn't need a reboot. The classic Stooges have stood the test of time, five US wars, and fifteen US Presidents. The new movie, just as I feared it would, cheapened the legacy of the original Stooges.

Will Sasso stood out for me as giving proper tribute to the original Curly. I was pleasantly surprised to see Sean Hayes as Larry. That is, until the movie started. Hayes' portrayal of Larry Fine was more like a stoner with clown hair. The original Larry was the heart of the Three Stooges. He was the connective balance of the act. When they needed someone to play violin, Larry was the guy. When they needed someone who could play ANYTHING on the piano, they turned to Larry. When they needed someone to fetch the tools from the truck, Larry was on it. Moe and Curly were both very strong characters, and Larry brought the needed balance to the act. No one else could have done it better. Curly was replaced four times. His character, while legendary, was not irreplacable. Joe DeRita and Joe Besser did okay. Shemp was brilliant, of course, but even he was replaceable. When they tried to replace Larry (following his death in 1975) with Emil Sitka, Moe died shortly thereafter.

The new movie started out okay. There was the expected slapstick, which made me laugh out loud. Larry David as a nun didn't hurt the film for me at all. Then it just got weird. Moe (played by Chris Diamontapoulos) ends up on a reality TV show, and the movie just died for me at that point. It was here that I regretted watching the film at all.

Let's face it, there are some legends of Hollywood that will never be duplicated or rebooted. The Three Stooges are at the top of that list for me. They are followed by Johnny Carson, KISS, Elvis, Michael Jackson, and Al Pacino's "Scarface (which I just heard is in talks about a possible reboot)." Hollywood, why don't you start pitching new ideas and creating new legends? You don't reboot Pacino; he reboots you. Leave it alone!

As for Moe, Larry, and Curly, the chemistry they created in 1925 has sustained itself for generations. The Farelly brothers took something legendary and cheapened it. This is a movie that I believe wanted to pay tribute to the legends, but if Hollywood had any honor at all, they would have left well enough alone. Maybe a big screen biopic would have been a better idea.

My allegiance is to the original trio, whose legend lives on and will live on. I look forward to watching "Disorder in the Court" with my grandchildren one day. If they ask me about the 2012 Stooges and why we don't watch the movie, I am prepared with my, "Sometimes grown ups make really bad mistakes..." speech.