Cinema Sundays: My Picks of Great Flicks: PLAYING THE GAME

Andy Griffith, Tony Award-nominated and Emmy A...

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Last night, my husband and I watched “PLAYING THE GAME”, a 2009 romantic comedy starring Andy Griffith as an 80+ year-old grandpa who has recently lost his beloved wife and is now living in an assisted-living facilityPaul Campbell plays his concerned grandson, a player of women who wants his grandfather to start enjoying life again.  When Paul meets Maria Sokoloff, his player days are numbered and when Andy meets Doris Roberts (of Everybody Loves Raymond fame), a resident of his senior home and grandmother of Maria, he finds a new reason to live again.

Some people may be offended by the sexual scenes (you never really “see” anything) and by the blatant sexual desires of some of the “older” folks (and some may be sad to see Andy Griffith, icon of morality in the Mayberry RFD series, taking Viagra and enjoying the sexual favors of one of the older women at the home for seniors)…but I think it was a realistic depiction of how life is for some elderly people…defined in their youth by sexuality, they feel if they can’t “perform”, then life is not worth living.

Andy Griffith does provide some wonderful advice to his grandson…advice we might all benefit from:

  • Defining a “real” companion, he says, “You’ll know when you meet her and you’ll know when you lose her.”
  • Asking his grandson about his relationship with his love interest, he says, “Are you a player or were you just playing.”
  • Telling his grandson to stop his step-by-step procedure that gets women to fall for him, he says, “To win the game of love, you have to stop playing games with women.”

If you are looking for a light-hearted romantic comedy and won’t be turned off by seeing some elderly people looking forward to sexual pursuits, PLAYING THE GAME is for you.

 The movie also highlighted how we need to pursue our dreams and goals and not get sidetracked by just “working for the money”.  The grandson had put aside his dream of working in the health-care field and was earning a LOT of money, selling cars in his father’s dealership…but he was very unhappy and hated what he was doing.  When he becomes involved with Maria, he realizes that he needs to quit his job and go back to helping people.   How many of us put our dreams aside because of money…either because we don’t think we have enough for our needs or we just think we need more?

This past Thursday, I met with two 4th grade students who wanted to “job shadow” an author…the advice I gave them was to follow their dream and never give up on what they believed in…hard work and persistence do translate into success!  During my years as a teacher, daycare provider and mom, I accumulated lots of ideas and experience…and I was able to use those when I finally wrote my book last year for parents and teachers of preschoolers.  If you are interested in picking up a copy of this unique resource of picture book suggestions and easy fun-filled educational activities, please visit my website at where you can take advantage of the half-price sale and enter to win a GREAT PRIZE for your preschooler.

I hope you’ll stop by tomorrow for Make-A-Meal Monday.  Based on today’s movie pick, our theme for the week is Companionship.

Cinema Sundays: My Picks of Great Flicks: VIVA CUBA

Mass-produced colour photolithography on paper...

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Most countries and communities have emergency plans in place, but the earthquakes and tsunamis in Japan and their far-reaching effects on the rest of the world are natural disasters on such a large scale that they were impossible to plan for.  Japan, and the other areas affected, will have to accept help from many different countries and organizations in order to provide what is needed for the survivors and to make the cities habitable again.

Perhaps that is the silver lining in this cloud of disaster…perhaps, as Dr. Robert Schuller used to say, this is an opportunity for heroes to step up to turn “scars into stars”…a chance for neighbor to help neighbor and people who don’t know each other to become friends.

Friendship is my theme for this coming week…and my movie pick today is “VIVA CUBA”…a past winner of the Cannes Film Festival.

In VIVA CUBA, we have a modern-day Romeo and Juliet.  Filmed in Cuba, the 2005 movie is in Spanish, with English subtitles.  It tells the story of Malu, a young girl from an upper-class family and Jorgito, a boy whose parents are poor socialists, but proud of their family’s social standing.

When her mother decides to leave Cuba, Malu and Jorgita run away, trying to reach the other side of the island where Malu’s father lives.  They hope that he will refuse to grant permission for Malu and her mother to leave Cuba, therefore enabling Malu and Jorgito to remain friends.  When the children and all the parents are finally together however, the parents use the opportunity to continue arguing and fighting, ignoring the children and their concerns.

The film won 34 national and international awards and explores the question of emigration and the effects on children who have to leave friends and extended family behind.   I don’t think this is a “family” movie…but it is definitely a movie for parents.  In my opinion, this was the ultimate movie about friendship…but I think it is also a film with a wake-up call to parents who are separated, divorced or just not getting along.  When children are involved, we need to make them aware of what is going on (they already know much more than you think) and give them the opportunity to voice their questions and concerns.

We need to encourage our children are to offer their opinions and voice their questions and concerns without the fear of being judged or yelled at.  This builds their self-esteem and enables them to feel comfortable coming to us with their problems.  For 99 other gentle parenting tips like this one, please check out my new book, now on sale for HALF-PRICE on my website.  When you purchase a copy of the book, you are automatically entered in the drawing for a CRAFTY EASTER BASKET filled with craft supplies for your preschooler.  If you’d like to enter to win with purchasing, just fill out the contact form on my website.

Please stop by tomorrow for MAKE-A-MEAL MONDAYS.

Cinema Sundays: My Picks of Great Flicks: The American President

Seal of the President of the United States

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In honor of President’s week, I’ve chosen one of my favorite movies about a president, THE AMERICAN PRESIDENT, starring Michael Douglas and Annette Benning.  Not only is it my favorite movie about a president…it is also in my top 10 favorite movies in any category. 

The first time I saw it, I wanted to nominate Michael Douglas to be the REAL American president.  Ethical, yet human and not above making mistakes, the character he portrayed was willing to do ALMOST anything for what he believed in…and was able to listen and process what he had heard and then change his mind and his tactics, if necessary, FOR THE GOOD OF THE PEOPLE. 

Ahhhhh….isn’t that why we elect a president…to look after the good of the people in our country? 

He was a loving father and a thoughtful lover…the scene where he tries to order a bunch of flowers for Annette Benning is priceless. 

I’ve seen this movie quite a few times…and never tire of the hope it inspires in me.  I do believe that each president we elect really does want to do his best for the country…and I understand that politics and the economy and the world situation often get in the way of each president carrying out their original plans.

If you would like other movie suggestions about presidents, check out an article written by two editors of Metacritic at  They list their top 5 best and top 5 worst picks of presidential movies.  I was happy to see my favorite made their top 5 best list. 🙂

What is your all-time favorite movie about a president?

Stop by tomorrow for Make-A-Meal Mondays and another recipe from my new parenting book…something with cherries, of course, in honor of George Washington and his famous cherry tree (which, according to research today, was probably just a made-up story….more about that tomorrow).