A Shy Rose & Bright Coreopsis: “Rain Man” & “Driving Miss Daisy” — The Best Pictures Of 1988 & 1989

On a day the cold returns to spring, the first shy bloom of an antique rose peaks out to wonder at the weather.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is still Texas and shifts from 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32.2 Celsius) to 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4.4 Celsius) are really not that uncommon.

There is a natural shyness to autism. I say that with care and respect. I saw it recently with Raymond in the movie “Rain Man.” The film won the Oscar of the movies of 1988, the 61st show to be voted Best Picture by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

The summary and tabulation of the comments and ballots of the EthnoFamilyMovieOgraphy audience say this about the picture:

The “Rain Man” movie follows the transformation of Charlie Babbitt (Tom Cruise) from callous to caring in his changing relationship with his rediscovered autistic older brother Raymond Babbitt (Dustin Hoffman, playing the “Rain Man,” which was young Charlie’s pronunciation of older brother Raymond’s name before the two were separated in their youths); the acting of Hoffman and Cruise is superb, believable, harrowing, exciting and sweet, and it is the acting of the two leads that carries the show and makes the film a success; we watch Charlie transformed from an arrogant, self-centered individual to a loving brother, so that in the end Charlie has become Raymond’s “Rain Man”; the EFMO audience awarded the movie an 8.93 average rating, placing it #13 in the listing of the first 61 Best Pictures, an excellent outcome that may have been even better had the ending been more encouraging with a greater assurance of reunion, which may not have been possible for the autistic Hoffman staying in character as the train pulls out of the station.

Even in quiet sadness, there can be encouraging transformation and a brief shy smile that shines hope.

Around the corner and through the gate, an older lady bends to tend a bed of flowers, sits back on her heels, wipes her forehead and stares up to the blue sky and the sun shining like the bright yellow bloom of a coreopsis.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Miss Daisy is hardly shy and she doesn’t need anyone to drive her. Until she wrecks the car and her son insists. The bloom may fade with time, but not the spark in that lady’s eye or the friendship that grows between her and the driver she never wanted and at 97 never wants to miss.

How did our EthnoFamilyMovieOgraphy audience react to “Driving Miss Daisy,” the Oscar winner and Best Picture of 1989?

The big like of the audience was the developing relationship and growing friendship between Miss Daisy (Jessica Tandy, who won the Best Actress Oscar) and Hoke Colburn (Morgan Freeman, her black driver); overall, the movie was recognized to convey a positive moral message (we are all human and we are all one), coupled unfortunately with a negative awareness of the failings of human nature (lingering prejudices, hateful mean acts), a growing recognition of the frailty of life itself (the amazing aging makeup of the leads, Daisy, Hoke and Boolie, over a span of 25 years), and the ending sadness of Miss Daisy’s dementia in her last-days; there really were no substantive dislikes, except perhaps Boolie’s (Dan Aykroyd’s) makeup; with an average rating of 9.08, Miss Daisy soars to a tie for #9 of the first 62 Best Pictures — great acting, great lines (Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay) and great makeup (Oscar for Best Makeup) in a great film (Oscar for Best Picture).

A lasting relationship is a friendship beyond boundaries and endings.

Rain Man and Miss Daisy have done something that has not been done before in 62 films. Together in their bright shyness, they have beaten the odds. For the first time for two consecutive films in the first 62 EthnoFamilyMovieOgraphy movie-night showings and survey-form fillings, no one, not one person, chose “Leave” to answer the question “Assume hypothetically that you are angry with a person and considering leaving that person out in the freezing cold on a bare hillside in the snow without food or water or retrieving the person to the comfort of a warm cabin, which way would this movie influence you to act?” There were zero leaves. And, no one chose “No” or “Maybe” to the question “Do you feel the message of this film is still relevant today?” There were zero no or maybe messages. This is the first time we have had two such positive, uplifting, encouraging and entertaining best pictures back-to-back.

Can the trend possibly continue? Have we reached a new high or zenith in film-watching.

Check back for the next blog post to see and hear the results for the next show.

I can hardly wait. Can you? I hope to see you here soon.

Jim, the wonderingly entertained.

 

 

An Arboretum Walk: Azaleas, Tulips, Kangaroo Paws, Helleborus, Sweet William, Larkspurs, Dogwood, Snowballs — The Colors of Eastered Spring

A tour of Easter blooms for a time of spring, surprise and rebirth.

Yesterday, we walked the Dallas Arboretum. Ours has its trees, but below and all about are aglade with bud and bloom. In any season, swashes of color take the breath away; and in every season, there is the mystery of the unknown that waits beyond the gates.

A background word: this Arboretum was first a dairy farm, then the rambling estate of a wildcatter drilling for petroleum, and now the much and ever groomed domain of local horticulturists. It has moved from milkmaid to oilman to gardeners. Today its bevy of plant persons would make Peter Sellers proud — remember him as Chance the gardener from the 1979 film “Being There.” This place is awash with Pink Panthers waiving their trowels in the air and punching pH meters wildly into the earth to ensure that all is just so.

We were met this beautiful bright sunny morning by the Azalea, particularly the Formosa. This was the first azalea I encountered years ago in Houston, and it is an old and trusted friend.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nearby was a young acquaintance, a violet dancing ballerina of an azalea.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I appreciate the many glowing hues of this flower family and their willingness to mix in palette from whites to purples and new-grown pinks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes, these beauties are all on the same plant. Amazing.

We move on, past a Wave of Tulips.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The tulips were beginning to fade, but not so the exotics.

How about a Kangaroo Paw for your garden?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Or bird’s nest soup resting amid the strange berry blooms of the Leatherleaf Mahonia?

 

 

 

 

 

 

I soaringly wondered, watching a shy winged purple dragon Helleborus, where its home might really be?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then, back to earth, I bent close to the tear drops on a pretty Sweet William.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And wished well the troupe, too many here to chronicle, yet to name a few more.

Stalking columned Larkspurs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Forest padding Dogwoods searching patiently for their masters.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And giant puffed Snowballs floating overhead in the blue-skied breezes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are too many. What a glorious chaos of color. And that’s just the flowers. What about all the boys and girls dressed in their Easter finery and dragging Mom and Dad to just the right spot for just the right picture to send to Grandma and Grandpa. I must stop before my palette tips and tumbles and I collapse in wide-eyed wonder at the stunning dance and bursting sun of an exploding Eastered spring. It is enough. We stumble past the waving goodbye of the last orange tulip of parting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And sigh in hope to remember the roses will be out in two weeks and we must return.

May the beauty in your life never end.

Have a Happy Easter!!

Gardener Jim

Pickle Relish, Jupiter & The Best Pictures From 1928 to 1988: Pantries, Planets and Pictures — Enjoy The Flight

Now are the times of momentous, memorable and truly exciting events.

The Dallas Quilt Show was only a couple of weeks past.

Here is a favorite from the showing:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This quilt is entitled “Five Ninety Two” and it was done by Mary Beth McCormack of Keller, Texas. (You can take and share pictures but you have to attribute the quilts.) I like this one because it is an old “Pickle Relish” design pattern, and I like and have canned pickles on a farm. Quilt patterns are like that. Stuff around the farm, family and house. Other patterns are “Log Cabin” and “Wedding Rings.” I am sure there are many more, and I am sure many are as down-home as this one.

But not all.

Here is a mini-quilt from this year’s auction for charity:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not your traditional quilt, right? Yep, that is Jupiter, the fifth planet from the sun in our solar system; and appropriately, this little quilt is entitled “Fifth From The Sun.” It was quilted by Daphne Huffman of Dallas, Texas. If you look closely, you can see the word “five” quilted in a number of languages (I counted five: French, Catalan, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian). And of course, you can see the great Red Spot giant storm on the surface of the monstrous planet. And what are those floating balls in front? You got it: the first four moons of Jupiter discovered in 1610 by Galileo peering through his telescope and named by him: Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto. Today, upwards of 69 moons of Jupiter have been sighted and a number of those have yet to be named. So submit your suggestions, and your choice may be emblazoned in the sky and your orb remembered on a quilt somewhere over the rainbow, way up high.

There is much that can be seen and found in a simple quilt.

Perhaps not momentous, but surely memorable.

Now it is the time for something momentous, memorable and exciting. Now is the time to remember and list the best Best Pictures of the first sixty (60) Best Pictures (1928 – 1988) – as viewed, rated and ranked by our EthnoFamilyMovieOgraphy audience. I promised I would do this, and I now share with you the listing of our top Oscar-winning films of the first 60 years of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. Fanfare please. Focus your telescopes below:

1. Ben Hur (1959)

2. It Happened One Night (1933-34)

3. The Sound of Music (1965)

4. Gone with the Wind (1939)

5. Casablanca (1943)

6. My Fair Lady (1964)

7. On the Waterfront (1954)

8. Going My Way (1944)

9. The Godfather (1972)

10. Mrs. Miniver (1942)

11. The Bridge over the River Kwai (1957)

12. Gandhi (1982)

Many of you would ply the skyways and probe the planets for bounty such as this. Now you have it in your grasp. And a bonus. You get twelve (12) because the last three tied for the #10 position.

If I may, a word or two going away as we fly back to the real universe. Would this list be different for a different group? Yes, of course, perhaps. This is ethnofamilymovieography, a new and trailblazing area of study. Part of the study is to appreciate, as the lead ethnographer, the elements at play in the selection of the best Best Pictures as utilized by this particular community of viewers and by others, including the Academy voters. It appears at this stage in our study that there are three predominant elements in the evaluation of a best picture: 1) entertainment value; 2) artistic value; and 3) political value. More, of course, needs to be said about all three; but at this stage, it can be recognized that these elemental values may vary in appreciation and application between groups of viewers and the voters of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. Here we truly ascend to the outer reaches of our solar system. Suffice for now to have attained the 60-picture level and to have shared with each of you the results of this ongoing study.

May you enjoy your own flights of fancy and may you find in this listing a new map for your adventures.

See you next with #61 “The Rain Man” and #62 “Driving Miss Daisy.”

Until then, have a blast, watch out for the moons, and have a truly momentous, memorable and exciting time.

Astronaut Jim . . . on . . . the . . . way

 

Spring, Sprung, Sayings And The Shows Continue: Best Pictures #58 “Out of Africa” (1985), #59 “Platoon” (1986), and #60 “The Last Emperor” (1987)

 

Spring is about to “sprung.”

Here is the first dandelion:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The word “Dandelion’ derives from the French “dent-de-lion” meaning lion’s tooth, and as you can see the flower has many not particularly ferocious teeth — but they are a bright yellow. Every part of the dent-de-lion is edible. The wild flower also has herbal uses, which is probably why it received free passage on the Mayflower with the pilgrims to the new world. Bees love dandelions — the blooms are some of the first sources of pollen to the buzzing bands of insects in the awakening spring. To the USA lawn culture aficionados, the dandelion is often viewed as a weed. The bright, welcoming little flowers are so much more; and the yellow teeth make a very passable and memorable dandelion wine. You must try a glass when you are out visiting the countryside in the new spring.

Today, we stand over the little flower and wave a welcome farewell to winter. Yes, I had the flu twice — in October and again in February. And, yes, February was the wettest month ever in the meteorological history of Texas. We had fourteen inches of rain the last two weeks of the month. Two days from now, we may hit 80 degrees Fahrenheit (about 27 Celsius). Stuff is getting better everyday. With the receding rain and ascending sun, we now approach the budding, blooming and bursting time of our young year. Spring is very welcome, very welcome indeed.

Stuff is getting better.

On Thursdays, I attend an early-morning men’s study group. I watch, talk and listen. There is one among us who has a natural gift for words. I don’t think he knows this, but he does. He drops lines as flowers drop petals. They are little gifts. Today, it was: “You KNOW where to go back to.” A budding of universal truth in a few consonants and vowels. We all do KNOW where we have found the calm joy of remembrance. Sometimes it helps to do just that and go back to where we know and remember.

And sometimes it helps to study just that together: to be part of a company and to study ourselves and what we are doing from the inside so that we can document and savor the calm joy of the remembrance of what we did, saw and experienced later. . . . That is ethnofamilymovieography, the just emerging branching of ethnography that we are now doing and have been doing for 60 movies together — with you reading reports of some of those films here on this website.

EthnoFamilyMovieOgraphy is a family of viewers watching and studying themselves and the Best Pictures together from the inside and reporting out the results to a broader audience and to themselves.

Now we are up to the 60th Best Picture awarded the Oscar by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. We started two years ago and we will next be viewing “The Last Emperor,” the  winner for 1987. From 1928 to 1987, members of our company have joined together to squint through the dark at the moving pictures, cogitate their meanings and our reactions, survey the results in the rising house lights, and wander home wondering what we did, are doing and will do. That’s ethnofamilymoviegraphy at work.

“The Shape of Water” won the 90th Oscar for Best Picture among the movies released in 2017. That is our target, our finish point, to have viewed and reviewed the first 90 Best Pictures. We are two-thirds of the way to that goal.

The last two movies in the seriatim were #58 “Out of Africa” (1985) and #59 “Platoon” (1986). For our study, “Out of Africa” ranked #33 of the first 58 Best Pictures; and “Platoon” ranked fourth from the bottom of the first 59 Best Pictures. That’s not the whole story. It’s just the beginning. We hope to move on and learn more. Tonight is #60 “The Last Emperor” (1987). That’s where we are.

There is a simple joy in knowing and remembering where we were and knowing we can go back there.

Next time, we will go back and share a simple snapshot of the top and bottom of our survey results for the first 60 Best Pictures.

It is one thing we can do, fleeting like the first wildflower. It may have little meaning in itself, but perhaps it does herald something more to come. It is somewhere we know we can go back to.

As we hope you do with us at the next post.

Thank you,

Grandpa Jim

 

The Gong Show (1976), Terms of Endearment (1983), Amadeus (1984) & The Postman (1997): “Stuff is getting better” — “Like an old gray cat,” Jerry Jeff Walker (1972)

“Stuff is getting better, stuff is getting better everyday.”

Kevin Costner as the “The Postman” says that for Richard Starkey, the President of the Restored United States, in the 1997 film about a future gone haywire with a wanderer spouting Shakespeare for a bowl of soup and a bunch of kids delivering the mail to set things right. It is a good film.

“Stuff is getting better.”

Christmas was a blur, January was Israel and Jordan, and February was the flu.

Back in 1976, they had a show that gonged acts when they were really bad. The flu felt like The Gong Show that wouldn’t stop gonging.

But, “Stuff is getting better.”

With Holidays, travel and flu, only two Best Picture showings survived the hiatus.

“Term of Endearment” won the Oscar for Best Picture among the films released in 1983. Shirley MacLaine and Jack Nicholson are an unlikely duo, but somehow they work well together. Shirley received the Best Actress award; and Jack, despite or perhaps because of his devilish behavior, took the Best Supporting Actor trophy.

The film is set in my former hometown, Houston, Texas, but without the humidity. You can do that at the movies.

At the movies, our EthnoFamilyMovieOgraphy audience had this to say about the show:

A funny, entertaining, well-acted, sad show about a aging widow, a dying daughter, the daughter’s loser husband and the mother’s ridiculous astronaut next door; the morality is lousy, the timing superb, the interactions farsical, the acting excellent, and the outcomes somehow unsettlingly inevitable; with an average EthnoFamiyMovieOgraphy audience rating of 8.38, the film ranks at #19 of the first 56 Best Pictures viewed to date, defying all odds, obstacles and outcomes to end quite nicely — as only the movies can.

Yes, Jack Nicholson plays a retired astronaut. You gotta see it to believe it.

With that, the single word for the film is: Inevitable.

I guess it is, as only the movies can be.

That was the single show that snuck under the door for January.

In February, only one has crept in — so far. “Like an old gray cat in winter, keeping’ close to the wall.” As Jerry Jeff Walker sings so well in the 1972 tune “That Old Time Felling,” you never know what will happen next.

Salieri didn’t. Antonio Salieri is the Court Composer to the Emperor in Vienna when a giggling Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart romps under the table as his, Mozart’s, music plays divinely in the other room. Salieri, played by F. Murray Abraham, spends the rest of the movie plotting the early demise of the naive and unsuspecting “Wolfy” so that he, Salieri, might acquire fame and fortune for himself. Which he does not. Mozart dies a sad and untimely early death but his music lives on and on and on, while Salieri ages badly and wheels madly into oblivion, his wooden tunes to be lost forever if it were not for this movie.

As course and odd as it sounds, this movie is — but so well played . . . and so very sad. Despite the quirkiness of its actors’ portrayals, “Amadeus” was acknowledged to be the Best Picture of the shows of 1984, and Mr. Abraham received the Best Actor nod for a very deserving performance by an actor of a very undeserving character.

What more can be said?

The EthnoFamilyMovieOgraphy audience had this to say:

For the movie “Amadeus,” three words predominate: music, acting and sad; Mozart’s music is grandly presented, but the excellently acted portrayals of his life are so sad — to the point of being depressing; the aging child prodigy is destroyed by the callous abuses and petty jealousies of those surrounding and stifling his genius; the film, despite the exuberances of its score, is difficult to watch, ending prematurely in a pauper’s grave, as a gravely unhappy, if appreciative, audience skulks back in the rain, sighing a 7.86 rating and leaving the show at #35 of the first 57 Best Pictures — the movie and the artist deserve more.

And, the one word for the show: Jealousy

Which sounds like a Grade B movie.

Perhaps that is why the film did not perform so well. I don’t know. I do know there is more to the movies than meets the eye.

Until the next show, “Stuff is getting better.”

Thank you for reading,

Grandpa Jim

 

Three Films — From Chicago to Paris to India: Ordinary People (1980), Chariots of Fire (1981) & Gandhi (1982)

Life has been ordinary. I had the flu, and “Yes” I did have the flu shot. We ran into snow in Minnesota and ran back to Texas and warmer weather. Halloween had its cadre of costumed candy-seekers. Thanksgiving arrived with welcome relatives and plenteous foodstuffs. The Christmas lights are up on the house, the street is alive with Santa, elves and snowpersons, and the first freeze is expected soon. Yes, life has been ordinary and busy. It has been difficult to schedule Best Picture showings and even more difficult to return to you with the results of those filmings. I apologize and I am sorry, but sometimes the ordinary can be quite extraordinary.

So here we are with the results from the Best Pictures for 1980, 1981 and 1982.

As a scene set, I will note that for each movie a survey is completed by each member of the EthnoFamilyMovieOgraphy audience. As part of that survey, the viewer is requested to rank the film from 1 (low) to 10 (high) and to write out their likes and dislikes for the film. For each of these three shows, a summary sentence was prepared reflecting those likes and dislikes, and a single word was chosen for the film. In addition, the combined average ranking for the movie is tabulated and compared against the other Best Pictures viewed to date.

“Ordinary People” is not ordinary. Set in suburban Chicago, Illinois, USA, in what I would call the 1970’s, the show tracks a father, mother and younger son who has made a suicide attempt after the accidental death of the older son. Though their setting is fairly well to do economically, the family members are distant and apart.

“This is a very sad movie about a teenage boy recovering from a suicide attempt; the family is emotionally disrupted and does not recover as a family; wonderfully acted by son (Timothy Hutton – Best Supporting Actor Oscar), son’s girlfriend (Elizabeth McGovern), psychiatrist (Judd Hirsch – nominee for Best Supporting Actor), father (Donald Sutherland) and mother (Mary Tyler Moore – nominee for Best Actress), everyone liked the acting and no one liked the acted character of the mother (sad hat’s off to Mary Tyler Moore); the growing relationship between son and girl friend, the recovering relationship with the father and the healing relationship of the psychiatrist are the upbeat parts of the show, but they are not enough to save the audience from an emotionally draining experience and an unresolved ending; when the final credits played, the film managed only a 7.73 average rating, placing it #34 down the list of the first 53 Best Pictures.”

That’s the summary sentence for Best Picture #53. My high school English teacher required 100-word sentences and I still have that bug. I notice no mention of the older son in these words. That bothers me. I think the show is meant to bother its viewers. The single word for the show is “suicide.”

“Chariots of Fire” centers around the 1924 Olympics in Paris, France, and follows members of the British track team as they prepare for, journey to, compete in, return from and live on after those Olympics. The Americans are there as a counterpoint to add conflict and tension, but the show is for the British and they do marvelously. The summary sentence is:

“This film was most liked for its main message: Put God first, honor Him and He will honor you; next liked were the teamwork, hard work, friendship and comradery evidenced among and between the runners — they lifted each other up even when they were racing against each other; cinematography, music and costumes followed closely as additional big likes of the audience; the major dislike was the difficult to understand English and Scottish accents of the actors while a few viewers singled out the discrimination practiced against the Jewish competitor; overall there were few dislikes, the positive, uplifting, inspiring story won out, and the average rating of 8.87 places the film tied at #12 of the first 54 Best Pictures from 1928 to 1981, a very commendable showing for a very entertaining show.”

An extraordinary show of extraordinary people in extraordinary circumstances behaving in an extraordinary fashion. For all of that, there is a quite ordinary element. The single word for the show tracks that: “comradery.”

In India, there are many sayings. One of those is a single word, the name of one very ordinary extraordinary man, the name “Gandhi.” The 55th Best Picture released in 1982 attempts to tell the story of that life and opens with these words, “No man’s life can be encompassed in one telling.” From there, it attempts the telling, and “Yes” it is too long, but the telling despite its length is that of marvelous person presented by a marvelous actor in a film reflecting the momentous events of its time.

“This is Gandhi’s movie, the man and the actor; Ben Kingsley won Best Actor for his portrayal of the man, and the man presented was instrumental in securing the independence of India from the English — together they become one in the film and they were the most liked aspect of the show for the EFMO audience; curiously, this movie depicting the very successful non-violent protests instituted by its lead character was most disliked for the violence portrayed, the English who largely perpetuated that violence, and the hopelessness and helplessness of the violent ending in a divided country where one might say nothing had really changed; nevertheless, the likes won out and the movie achieved a 9.00 average ranking, placing it tied at #10 of first fifty-five Best Pictures; on top of that, everyone retrieved the person they were angry with from the cold bare hillside (only the 10th time this has happened), thereby securing the film’s high and virtuous stature among the Best Pictures screened to date.”

One of the survey questions places you angry with another person and considering leaving that individual on a cold bare hillside or retrieving the rascal to the comfort of a warm cabin. After viewing this show, it asks, which way would this movie influence you to act? To his credit, after watching Gandhi no one left that unruly personage out in the cold. Such can be the power of a single name. And, the single word for the show: “non-violence.”

Enough, there you have three films for three years in three different places. From Chicago to Paris to India, we find no one is ever really ordinary. And that is as it should be — quite extraordinary.

Thank you for reading,

Grandpa Jim

“Kramer vs. Kramer,” The 1979 52nd Best Picture: The Movies Of The 1970’s And The Storms Of 2017 — There Is Hope

Transitions can be rough, and the transition from the summer of 2017 to the fall of 2017 has been just that: horrible hurricanes, devastating flooding, terrible earthquakes, property destroyed and lives lost. The last weeks have been very challenging for so many and very sad for all of us. We thank God for the responders, the selfless and unselfish people, who have done so much for so many. Thank you.

It is difficult to predict the future: the weather and our personal lives

It can happen that someone doesn’t notice that things aren’t going well until they aren’t and it’s too late to stop what’s going to happen and then it gets even worse.

Ted didn’t notice. Ted is a young father, an advertising executive in busy New York, and a workaholic. He’s having a great day, one of his very best days ever, when the storm hits and his life comes crashing down. His wife, Joanna, can’t take him any longer. She walks out, into the hall and leaves Ted with their 8-year old son, Billy, as the elevator door closes. Ted looks around for support and finds a demanding and uncaring boss who fires him and a recently divorced gossip of a neighbor buried under the weight of her own grief. Ted has no one but Billy, and Billy has no one but Ted. The father and son are their only responders. Isolated in the wreck of their lives, they struggle and fight and laugh and somehow manage to stay standing together. Despite insurmountable odds and recurrent obstacles, they somehow manage to survive and grow closer. At show’s end, the elevator door closes on Joanna who leaves father and son to their new-made relationship.

It’s just a show. “Kramer vs. Kramer” is a film, a movie that won the Best Picture for 1979. Dustin Hoffman plays Ted, Meryl Streep plays Joanna, and Justin Henry plays Billy. It’s not real. What it portrays is.

Storms hit and they hurt, and then it’s not about what the storm did, it’s about what the people do — in the movies and in real life.

The 1970’s had some great movies: Patton, The French Connection, The Godfather, The Sting, The Godfather Part II, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, Rocky, Annie Hall, The Deer Hunter, and Kramer vs. Kramer. Of all those very good movies, our EthnoFamilyMovieOgraphy audience rated Kramer vs. Kramer #3 behind The Godfather and Rocky. Why?

The summary sentence derived from the like and dislikes is this:

Most liked the acting of father Ted (Dustin Hoffman), mother Joanna (Meryl Streep) and young son Billy (Justin Henry), while most disliked the uncomfortable topic of the mother leaving her child, the portrayal of divorce in today’s society, the uncaring attitudes of the attorneys and the overall unfairness of the judicial system; the father-son relationship is the focus of this film and the story of that growing and often humorous relationship is what makes the movie and holds the audience.

It’s real, it’s timely, it hurts, and it leaves you with hope for the future.

To all those who suffer the storms of life: Stay Standing.

There is hope — at the movies and in real life.

Stay Standing. We are with you.

There is hope.

 

Grandpa Jim