The Case for Christ

I always find it interesting that when a catastrophe hits we are inundated by prayers.  I couldn’t believe the first few days after 9/11; the church pews were full of Americans praying for the victims, their families, and the country.  You can call it fear, concern or just getting back to our primarily-Christian roots, but it happens.  Even our recent hurricanes and wild fires had Facebook and Twitter humming with prayers for the victims. 

I am wondering if the answer to these phenomena could be found in the movie, The Case for Christ. Lee Strobel wrote the best-selling book of the same name, and this story is his story, well, his and his wife, Leslie.

Lee (Mike Vogel) graduated from the University of Missouri and went on to receive a Masters of Studies in Law at Yale Law School…no lightweight.  As an award winning journalist, he worked for the Chicago Tribune. He had “arrived,” or was well on his way as an investigative journalist.

After Leslie (Erika Christensen) became a Christian, Lee almost walked away from their marriage. Instead, he was challenged to not prove her belief right but to prove her wrong. This investigative journalist and self-proclaimed atheist decided he would do what he was trained to do: disprove the existence of God.

He attacked this goal with the fervor of the pit bull investigator that he was. He left no stone unturned; no expert or worthy opponent not interviewed.  

Lee has since written more than twenty best sellers and yes, he is on staff at the megachurch where Leslie found God when it was still holding services without even a building of their own in which to worship.They are happily married and Lee, as you might have guessed, is a believer.

Don’t stop here!

The United States of America, as well as most European countries was founded on Judeo-Christian beliefs. Our very system of government reflects the depth of those very beliefs, despite some recent erosion. Most of us, when we reflect back, had parents or grandparents who were “believers.” We can get all uppity and say that we’ve become more enlightened, but come on, really?  It’s more likely that we’ve become too busy and became detached from the question.

I met a lovely young woman the other day who shared that her father had been a pastor but her husband didn’t like to go to church so they didn’t attend as a family. She also shared that both of her teenagers not only attended a church youth group, but two different church youth groups—voluntarily. Hmmm.

I not only suggest that God is real but that Christ is real, and challenge you to watch The Case for Christ.  Remember, the movie and the book it was based upon was written from the vantage point of an atheist—a place you might recognize. You might be surprised at which side of that argument you find yourself on. At the very least, it might clarify the argument in your head, when you do take the time to think about it.

As always, I welcome your comments or questions at Carolyn@CarolynHastings.com

Gifted

Summer Break is over and all the kids are heading back to school. While most of our kids are within the spectrum of normal intelligence, once in while a child is born with sheer brilliance; they just see certain subjects from a whole different perspective. Mary Adler (McKenna Grace) was that child. 

Mary’s mother (mom would indicate something different) was a gifted mathematician.  Sheltered her whole life by a mother who herself was gifted, Diane Adler really didn’t get much of an opportunity to truly experience life.

Pregnant and single, she confides in her brother Frank (Chris Evans), who sees her through the birth of Mary. Depressed and confused Diane puts Baby Mary to bed one night and goes into the bathroom and kills herself. Now before you start thinking this is some “downer” movie, let me assure you it’s not. This beautiful film starts with six year old Mary living with her uncle Frank in a loving though not affluent neighborhood in Florida. Frank loves boats and makes his living repairing them in this coastal community. He’s not rich, but he and Mary are happy. 

Frank has been home schooling Mary, but at six years old this former university professor has to admit that she needs to go to a “real” school. He knows she needs friends her age and to live a life as close to normal as a budding genius can—a gift her gifted mother never received.

Things are a little dicey at first but Mary settles in at school until the Principal takes it into her own hands to contact Evelyn Adler (Lindsay Duncan), Mary’s Grandmother. Well, the proverbial “you know what,” hits the fan and Evelyn shows up to do what she feels is right for Mary—as she did with Diane, Mary’s mother.

The amazing Octavia Spencer plays Roberta, Frank’s landlord, neighbor and best friend. She just happens to be Mary’s best friend as well. Roberta loves, protects and fiercely defends the little family. Every Saturday night Mary has a sleepover at Roberta’s. They dance and sing and they do girl things and act silly. For a gifted child, Mary has a fairly normal life.

Bonnie (Jenny Slate) is Mary’s teacher and has a relationship with Frank; you had to see that one coming (Chris Evans is pretty hot!).  She’s okay but not really pivotal to the plot. Oh, yes, there is a plot but I don’t want to spoil it.

Mary is too smart to not see the battle brewing around her that actually started with her mother and before that, her grandmother. She seems to understand intellectually, but is still emotionally devastated. 

I don’t know what it’s like to have a truly “gifted” child, so I can only speculate. I do know that if a child is blessed with brilliance at six, they are still going to be smart at 16 or 26. I believe we have to protect them with as much normalcy as they desire. The problems of this world will still be there for them to solve, when and if they are ready.  Life is meant to be lived, not spent in a room with a board and a marker pen. That is a decision to be made only by the person in the room.

I truly enjoyed Gifted. It was a compelling and intimate story. If you have experienced this dilemma and don’t agree (or do) with me, let me know. I look forward to your comments at chastings@rockcliff.com.

The Book of Henry

Once in a while, I love seeing a movie that I know nothing about ahead of time. This was The Book of Henry. I wasn’t sure I wanted to risk a friend’s fifteen bucks in case it was a bust, so I saw it by myself. This is one of those films that you truly aren’t sure how you feel about it until the credits have rolled. 

In case you’re wondering, I loved this movie. Going into this review, I’m not even sure what I’m going to say about it. It’s a little hard to explain but just maybe that’s the exact reason I liked it so much.

Sometimes things aren’t always what they seem, especially in Henry’s world. The Carpenters, single mom, Susan, and her two son’s Henry, eleven, and eight-year-old Peter, live in a small, suburban town. Susan works in the local diner with her best friend, Sheila. Peter is a playful little boy who adores his older brother Henry, and the feeling is quite mutual. 

Protector to Peter and tireless supporter of his often-self-doubting mother, Henry goes about taking care of everyone and everything in his world. Henry is a genius who spends his days and nights arranging things, including the family finances by investing.  At Henry’s insistence, Susan discovers that the family next door, which includes Henry’s classmate Christina, has a dangerous secret and Henry has devised a surprising plan to help. As his ingenious plan to help Christina takes shape, Henry falls ill and Susan finds herself at the center of the plan.

This film is different—definitely not run of the mill. Once in a long while, you find a movie that was made for the sheer beauty of the film. This is one of them.

The Book of Henry takes you down one road and the next thing you know, you’re down another road.  It certainly keeps you on your toes, so just let it play out and by the end you’ll see that all the roads lead to the place that only a young genius can take you.  The reviews I bothered to read were all over the place. The critics, for the most part, didn’t like it, but that’s what made me want to see it. 

The cast is wonderful. Naomi Watts as Henry’s mother is so believable, and Jaeden Lieberher, as Henry, is truly amazing. Christina, the girl next door, is quite accomplished. You may recognize her from her five-year stint on Dance Moms.  Younger brother, Peter, was played by Jacob Tremblay. Director Colin Trevorrow should be applauded for his work but also for the sheer risk of making this movie.

I ask you to view this movie with an open mind. If you are the kind of person who criticizes a film for being different, then your experience with this film will be flawed and you might want to skip it. But if you do watch it, you will be amazed. 

I would suggest care when viewing with younger children. It’s rated PG-13 and that’s about where you should start. While not graphically so, it does deal with subject matter that may not be appropriate for younger children. 

I am truly interested in finding out what you thought about this one! Let me know at Carolyn@CarolynHastings.com

Last Man Club

More than 415,000 men and women lost their lives on the lonely battlefields of the world during WWII. Quite literally, a dying breed.  Now our WWII veterans are almost gone, but certainly not forgotten.  This review offers up a movie that runs the gamut of emotions for me—at times it was sad; at times it was funny, but mostly, it was just precious. 

Last Man Club is a glimpse of getting old through the eyes of four war heroes.  WWII veteran, John “Eagle” Pennell, is a day away from being sent by his well-meaning family to a retirement home. He escapes in his late wife’s 1958 Ford Fairlane, in spite of not having driven since his wife died, some ten years earlier. “Eagle” embarks on a cross country journey to find the last surviving members of his B-17 crew with the help of Romy, a young woman he meets on the way running away from a dangerous relationship. The fulfillment of an oath is “Eagle’s” goal, but what he discovers along the way is a life affirming view of himself and forgiveness for his family who is trying to stop him.  

Once reunited with his remaining crewmen, they venture through the backroads of America, in a race to complete their mission as the police, the FBI, a dangerous gangster and “Eagle’s” family try to figure out this band of “old dudes’” next move.  (Scene Stealer: it involves an old airplane and a runway!)

The cast of Last Man Club includes well known faces, if not names. Their acting is good, if not great, bringing an almost childlike (or elderly) performance to the film. They unpack the story of once proud and brave beyond measure men who manage on their own terms to regain their dignity. As it was in their “glory days,” they find that sometimes bravery comes one step at a time and that triumph conquers fear.

If you’ve read my reviews before, you know me as a Patriot. I can’t say I have sacrificed for my country as many have, but I do try to do what’s right.  If all I can do is honor those who have, I will do it to the best of my ability.  I believe in standing for my flag and yes, putting my hand over my heart, where it belongs, when I’m pledging my allegiance.  I owe my life and the lives of my children and grandchildren to those who have fought our nation’s battles!

Watch Last Man Club.  Whether you’re 19 or 91, I believe you’ll enjoy this glimpse into the heart of our brave men and women in uniform. By the way, even the elderly who didn’t serve have a valuable story to tell. If we’ll just pause and listen, there are lessons to be learned. So next Independence Day or Memorial Day, if you find yourself watching a parade or barbecuing a steak on your day off… thank a Vet!

This film is definitely worth watching. It’s PG-13, so appropriate for most families.  I look forward to your comments at chastings@rockcliff.com.

 

 

Hidden Figures

I’m a native Californian.  I live in a “nice” area of California.  I have only experienced a race riot on television.  I will admit to not truly understanding being a minority. I did live in Louisiana for a very short time in 1967; still no riots, just a surreal feeling. I didn’t understand it then and I don’t understand it now. I do have friends who are African-American and I love them dearly.

Hidden Figures is a slice of history.  Virginia in the early 60s.  NASA. A slice of history from a different perspective; racism is front and center, yet all are working hard to contribute to their country, in spite of the barriers of race and gender.

John F. Kennedy was President and we were in a race for dominance in space. NASA was newly formed and didn’t even know what they didn’t know. Hidden Figures is based on the true story of three African-American women. All three had brilliant minds and ended up being critical in the quest for space travel.  It wasn’t easy in 1961. 

These ladies worked in the West Computing Group, an all “colored” group of ladies known as Computers—as in, “they compute.”  Computers (machines) were just starting to be introduced into the workplace. Educated to as high a level as they were allowed, these ladies got dressed up and went to work, all using not just separate bathrooms and lunch rooms, but in fact, working in an entirely different building form their white co-workers. When their computing skills were needed, a white woman entered their building with an assignment. 

Al Harrison, NASA Director, was played by the one and only, Kevin Costner. I don’t know him, only saw him once, but he seems like someone I’d invite to a backyard BBQ.  I loved him in this movie. He has scenes that make you want to jump up from your seat and cheer! When on assignment, the ladies of the West Computing Group had to return to their own building a half mile away to use the Colored Ladies facility. My favorite Harrison quote is, “Here at NASA we all pee the same color.”

The casting is excellent.  Along with Costner we have Oscar winning, Octavia Spencer playing Dorothy Vaughn, as well as Taraji P. Henson as Katherine G. Johnson, and Janelle Mona’e as Mary Jackson.

Kirsten Dunst does well as Vivian Mitchell, the woman in charge of the “Computers.”  Toward the end of the movie she tells Dorothy, “Despite what you may believe, I have nothing against y’all.”  Dorothy simply answers, “I know that, I know you think that.” Somewhere in that statement is the truth about racism.

I love true stories, even if they are only ‘based’ on the truth. This film certainly did not disappoint.  The story line is both insightful and redeeming and with this talented cast it is a home run. 

The music is inspiring and upbeat.  There are actually lyrics to the songs that fit perfectly with the story. It certainly adds one more dimension to the film and scored (pun intended) it a Golden Globe nomination!

I would definitely recommend this movie to anyone. Three Oscar nominations as well as other accolades were well deserved. Hidden Figures is fun and you actually get a history lesson. This trio crossed all gender and race lines to inspire generations to dream big!

As usual, I would love to hear your thoughts at chastings@rockcliff.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hacksaw Ridge

Crazy, brilliant, destructive, genius, passionate…all words that could well describe the amazing Mel Gibson. From his Mad Max and Lethal Weapon days to Hacksaw Ridge, you never quite know what to expect.

I have to admit I waited for Hacksaw Ridge to come out on DVD to watch it.  Did I want to watch it?  Not really, but once again I was drawn to a film that I believed I needed to see. Movies are like traveling, sometimes you go to just soak up the sun, drink a Pina Colada or two and unwind. Other times, you go to explore, learn and see things you’ve never seen before; things that will teach you about the big wonderful world in which we live. 

Hacksaw Ridge was based on the true story of Pfc. Desmond T. Doss, a humble boy from the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Growing up with a violent father and a religious mother taught Desmond a few things—faith in God and a strong belief in “due no harm.” 

When WWII came around all the boys in town were volunteering for service, Desmond volunteered as well.  He was told he could be a Medic and not fight or carry a gun.  With patriotism running high, the military didn’t honor that promise at first. Des fought for the right to go to war, but as a Conscientious Objector he just didn’t want to carry a weapon. 

Having gotten married to the love of his life during his first leave, he was off to war—Okinawa to be exact. The 1945 battle was bloody.  I’m kind of a “wuss” when it comes to movies so now you know why I waited for it to come out on DVD.  This movie is bloody, gory and tense, but then again, like Passion of the Christ or Braveheart, that’s what Director Mel Gibson does best.  I only paused Hacksaw Ridge twice. I was very proud of myself!

There is no other way to tell this story. The real event had to be even more bloody and gory. They don’t make commemorative statues out of less. The taking of Okinawa was a turning point in WWII. Long after the others had pulled off the ridge, surrounded by Japanese, Private Desmond (Des) Doss stayed, saving the lives of 75 wounded soldiers.

Exhausted, hurting but determined, Des prayed. His cry to God, “What is it you want me to do?  I don’t understand. I can’t hear you.” A quiet moment; then he returns to save more lives with his mantra of, “One more. Help me get one more.”

Hacksaw Ridge, the movie, is a slice of history; a moment in time that should never be forgotten.  Mel Gibson has honored our valiant soldiers of one of the bloodiest battles of the bloodiest war in history with this movie.

Young actor, Andrew Garfield plays Doss brilliantly. He actually looks like him. Des was the only Conscientious Objector to ever be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. Doss lived with his lovely wife to a ripe old age; humbleness was still a vital part of his character.

Gibson’s directing was genius. His film was awarded Oscars for Best Film Editing and Best Sound Mixing. It was nominated for Best Picture, Best Actor in a Leading Role, Best Directing and Best Sound Editing and that’s just the Academy Awards.

While it’s R rated and may not be appropriate for the whole family, I highly recommend Hacksaw Ridge.  Thank you, again, Mel Gibson.  Send your comments to chastings@rockcliff.com.

One Night with the King

In case you think I’m getting prematurely dotty, I willingly admit that I reviewed One Night with the King in early 2008.  For Judaism it is time for the Festival of Purim and for Christians, it is Easter.  It’s time to dust off my review, add to it and bring it to you again.

I am not Jewish but as a Christian, I have an admiration of the ancient religion and culture. It is simply, yet magnificently beautiful.

There is always turmoil in the Middle East and Israel seems to be a lightning rod.  To even begin to understand that turmoil you have to look back thousands of years; be a student of history.  Megilah of Esther, is an ancient scroll that recounts the heroics of Queen Esther in ancient Persia. If you don’t know who Esther was or about her pivotal role in history, you need to watch this movie.

You take one young orphan girl and one hunky king and you have the making of a luscious tale. This one is a true tale, chronicled by history. The life of Esther is one of the most inspiring Biblical accounts found in the Old Testament.  Much beloved by Jews, Christians and Persians alike, Esther is the story of deliverance for the Jewish people. 

One Night with the King has lavish costumes, giggling harems, a vast, ancient city, huge armies, black riders, and blood feuds. Yet, it is truly the story of a young woman, a Jew, living in exile in Susa, Persia, with her cousin in about 485 BC.

There is a back-story of a 400 year old feud between the Jews and the Agagites that intertwines throughout the movie. This is a part of the story I had never heard that helped me have a better understanding of this period in history. This is an intricately-woven story with intrigues, treachery and comeuppance a plenty, but you need to pay attention to the first few minutes because it sets the stage for the story.   

Esther, played by, Tiffany Dupont is fresh and beautiful and offsets King Xerxes (did I mention that he is hunky?) played by Luke Goss. There are stunning performances by screen legends, Peter O’Toole, Omar Sharif and John Rhys-Davies that rounds out the cast nicely. 

Based on the best-selling novel “Hadassah: One Night with the King” by Tommy Tenney and Mark Andrew Olsen, this dramatic big-screen adaptation chronicles Esther’s (Hadassah) rise from peasant to queen, her courageous role in the redemption of her people from destruction and death, and her winning of the love of the most powerful man in the kingdom—by seeking his heart rather than the riches of his kingdom.

One Night with the King was shot entirely on location in Rajasthan—India’s very own land of kings. Digital vistas were added to this Indian castle to recreate the ancient capital, Persepolis. One Night with the King exudes exotic splendor.  I have yet to figure out what catches the attention of the “Academy” but in my humble opinion this movie should have at least been nominated for an Oscar for costume and set design.  The costumes alone are worth your time and money to rent this movie. Hope you have a big screen—this movie is majestic!  As always, I welcome your comments at chastings@rockcliff.com.

Dirty Dancing: A Movie Review

Has it truly been 30 years?  Was I only…oops I almost did it!  Did I really see it 13 times, in the theater?  At least thirty years ago it didn’t cost what it does today to go to a movie! 

As I was thinking about doing this review, it took me down a lot of rabbit trails.  Why do some movies affect us when we see them and others don’t?  Down the road a few years and the same movie may affect us totally differently. 

Dirty Dancing was set in 1963, at Kellerman’s in the Catskills.  If you’re a native Californian like me you probably don’t understand the mentality of leaving the city and spending three weeks, or maybe all summer just a drive away from home. It’s an East coast thing. Family cabins scattered about, taking meals together in the dining room and nightly entertainment possibly by your daytime waiter or the couple at the next table reminds me of a cruise ship. 

Johnny Castle, ahhhh, Johnny Castle.  Dirty Dancing was Patrick Swayze’s big break.  The movie that everyone thought would last a week in the theaters, had what could only be explained as an immediate cult following. I’m not sure anyone could ever put Swayze in the best actor category but the guy sure could dance and after all, it was Dirty Dancing. 

It was the 60s and freedom was front and center.  I will today, unapologetically admit to a pro-life belief system and quite frankly, 30 years after this movie, I didn’t even remember that being a central theme. I guess during that 30 years I moved on from “Women’s Rights” to what, in my personal opinion, comes down to, what is right. I wondered what I would say but when I watched the film again for this review, I realized that what the writer felt was the heart of her story was again from a 30 year vantage point.

The eighties had an obsession with the 60s and Dirty Dancing is representative of that era.  The dancing was amazing; controlled sensuality when compared to Miley Cyrus and some of her cronies. It’s about the entertainers, mostly young people from the wrong side of the tracks, and the guests; upper class kids from wealthy families tempted to fraternize. Dirty Dancing is one of the best movies about the love of dance and music ever made, and while it’s definitely associated with the chick flick genre, it’s a movie that just about anyone can enjoy. 

While it was the first film to ever sell over one million videos the soundtrack was worth the price of admission and still is. Even Swayze wrote and sang She’s Like the Wind for the soundtrack.  Be My Baby and (I Had) The Time of My Life were just part of why this soundtrack sold over 32 million copies and was #1 for 18 weeks.

Dirty Dancing has a lightening-in-a-bottle timelessness that works as a time capsule of the decade, and a very entertaining and beautifully composed film that packs in drama, comedy, and an iconic finale that’s still quite riveting. It will make time fly on a rainy night!  It is PG-13 but it doesn’t really cross the line.  Watch it, you’ll be singing the songs for weeks. Let me know what you think at chastings@rockcliff.com .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sully

Most of you know that Chesley Burnett Sullenberger is a bonified hero. You probably also know that he’s a local (Danville) hero. Because of that, you may have ventured out to the big screen (not your new 70 incher that hardly fits in your living room) to check him out, bigger than life!

Well, no matter the size of the viewing screen, Sully is a hero. Like everyone else, I saw all the hoopla on the news when it happened back on January 15, 2009.  There is not much more to say about those few minutes but WOW…and then we go back to doing what we do every day waiting for the next big news story. 

I am so glad that Clint Eastwood and Malpaso Productions chose to bring this movie to the viewing audience, because it truly took far more than a few minutes on TV to tell the story of our hero, the passengers on US Airways Flight 1549 and the “Miracle on the Hudson.”

Let’s start with Sully the man. He seems like a quiet man who truly knows who he is, even before his fame. He received his Bachelor’s Degree at the United States Air Force Academy.  He also later earned two Masters Degrees. What you may not know is that by the time he was twelve years old he was in the 99th percentile and qualified for Mensa (genius IQ) not in one subject but in all academic categories.

I don’t mention this to glorify, or embarrass him. I mention it so you can truly appreciate what brilliance it took to make the decisions he made that day in the time he had, mere seconds. What it took to evaluate, create a plan and execute that plan in time to save those 155 people on that flight was nothing short of amazing. That is what Sully, the movie revealed to us. 

Little did he know that he would later have to defend his evaluation, plan and perfect execution of that plan? I love the quote from the movie, “It’s been a long time since New York had news this good, especially with an airplane in it!” He managed to miss flying into the buildings and even missed the George Washington Bridge by a mere 900 feet as he wrestled the Airbus A320, whose engines failed when they ran into a flock of Canadian Geese shortly after take-off.

He and his First Officer, Jeff Skiles, successfully landed their plane in the Hudson River in the heart of New York City within three minutes of the incident.  I’m not a big city girl, but you just have to stand in awe of the residents of this city. While the plane was still on its short trajectory, ferry boat pilots saw and headed into the midst of the fray.  They surely didn’t know what the situation would be when they got there, but they were on their way. The evacuation was sheer beauty. There were people helping people, clearing the plane, caring for each other, standing strong on the wings of that plane or sliding down into rafts in freezing cold water. And then there was Sully going back twice into a water filled cabin to check that every passenger and crew member had been evacuated while stopping to grab blankets from the overhead bins for those waiting to be rescued.

Sully has a long history of advocacy for airline safety and continues this today. 

While the real star of the story is Sully, I would be remiss if I didn’t applaud the brilliance of Tom Hanks. I believe the casting choice was impeccable.

Don’t miss this slice of history. Watch it.  Buy it!  Let me know what you think at chastings@rockcliff.com

 

 

 

A “Rocky” Road

I had this idea. I was going to write a review about Sylvester Stallone; a little about the man and a little more about his movies. The reason I was going to write about Stallone was because he had been approached by Donald Trump to be Chair of the National Endowment for the Arts. Low and behold, before I could get the article written and published he had declined the position.

When I think of Sylvester Stallone I think Rocky, or maybe Rambo. While most of his most acclaimed films have been action hero genre, Stallone has done a variety (some successful, some not so much) of films from hard core, edge-of-your-seat action films to animation.

Stallone’s father was born in Italy and was a hairdresser and beautician, his mother was (you can’t make this stuff up) an astrologer, former dancer and promoter of women’s wrestling. When he was born, the delivery went awry with the misuse of forceps severing a nerve and leaving his face partially paralyzed. His signature snarl and distinctive voice were the result and have come to be the persona of many of his characters.

Two tremendously successful movie franchises is quite a legacy. Both the Rocky and Rambo Franchises have put Stallone in an elite group. These two are considered his best and brightest. My count shows him at 54 movies—all the way from Rambo to Rhinestone Cowboy with Dolly Parton. He was also in the Spy Kids series. His early career included Lords of Flatbush with Henry Winkler. He even starred in Tango and Cash with Kurt Russell. Stallone’s movies have entertained audiences for five decades.

The first Rocky movie received ten Oscar nominations and won Best Picture, Best Directing and Best Film Editing. Sylvester Stallone was nominated for Best Actor and Best Original Screenplay. His more recent 2015 Rocky movie, Creed, added an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor and a Golden Globe win for the same category.

In the majority of his movies, he wrote about and performed tough guys. This is where I have to admit that I did not see ALL of his many action movies. What I do like about his films is that his characters are usually heroes in their own right. They are the “walk softly and carry a big stick” kind of guys, much like John Wayne characters in earlier films. 

Stallone has defied the mainstream. He’s held strong to owning his own scripts and often didn’t take the easy road, instead opting for the “rocky road.”

Having said that, let’s go back to his job offer of a different kind—Chair of the National Endowment for the Arts.  While he decided he would pass on that opportunity, he highly praised our new President and respectfully submitted that he would like to have a position working with our military veterans. Laudable. So, for now we’ll wait to see what this next chapter brings for such a talented man.

While his movies might energize a dark, dreary winter night, I would also like to caution you to check the ratings. Some may not be appropriate for children because of the violent nature of the subject matter. As always, I welcome your comments at chastings@rockcliff.com