Annie 2014: Another Snubbed Reboot   Leave a comment

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…And it really is a shame.

I bought the movie via The Playstation Network  on my Playstation 3 over the weekend (in Standard Definition so I could also put it on my Playstation Vita) along with Selma. After watching the movie, I immediately downloaded the soundtrack from iTunes.

As I’m sure folks can guess, the songs they brought from the originals were redone for the 2014 version BUT they are recognizable to those who’ve seen the 1982 version (By the way there was a 1992 remake that had been done to celebrate the movie’s 10th Anniversary but who remembers that one?). The songs that were brought back are:

  • Tomorrow (Obviously)
  • Hard-Knock Life*
  • Maybe
  • I Think I’m Gonna Like It Here
  • You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile
  • Little Girls
  • Easy Street
  • I Don’t Need Anything But You

*Some of you may remember Jay-Z did a remix of this song 20 years ago. They did NOT use that version for this movie.

The rest of the soundtrack from Opportunity to Who Am I? to The City’s Yours fits with the film. Like the 1982 version, the soundtrack shines. When you differentiate the eras each movie is set in–the original is set in 1930s Depression New York While the 2014 version is set in 2014 New York–it becomes much easier to enjoy the 2014 version on its own.

Of course, there are nods to the source material in the 2014 version:

  • At the very beginning of the movie, one of Annie’s classmates with red hair also happens to be named Annie. This Annie played Annie on a recent Broadway production of Annie (see picture below).
  • Annie’s (Played by Quvenzhané Wallis) report at the beginning of ther film is about President Franklyn D. Roosevelt, who makes an appearance in the 1982 version.
  • Grace proposes the tagline “Little Orphan Annie”, which is actually the name of the original comic book series the 1982 version is based on.
  • In the original movie (as well as the comic book series) the Billionaire who adopts Annie is named Warbucks. In the 2014 version it’s WIll Stacks (Played by Jamie Foxx), who made his fortune as head of a cellphone corporation.
  • Annie’s parents dropped her off at an Orphanage/Foster Home in both movies. Also in both cases, Annie’s parents left her with a locket broken in two, leaving her with one half. In the 1982 version it’s revealed Ms. Hennigan had the other half the whole time. In the 2014 version her fake parents conveniently have it. The question is “where did it come from?” It didn’t look like 2014 Hennigan (played by Cameron Diaz) knew it even existed.
  • In the 1982 version,  Annie’s (Played by Aileen Quinn) fake parents are played by Ms. Hennigan’s brother Rooster (played by Tim Curry) and his girlfriend. Guy hires two random people to play the part in the 1982 version.
  • In the 1982 version, Annie and Warbucks take a helicopter from New York to the White House. In the 2014 version, Annie and Stacks take a helicopter ride over Queens and The Bronx.
  • In the 1982 version, Annie’s fake parents take her after she is adopted by Warbucks. In the 2014 version she’s adopted after her fake parents take her.
  • Sandy is a Shepherd in the 1982 version. He’s an Akida in the 2014 version.
  • In the 1982 version, Annie lives in an orphanage with dozens of other girls. In the 2014 version she lives in a Foster home with 4 other girls and goes to school.

And of course in both movies, one mystery is left unsolved: What DID happen to Annie’s parents? In the 2014 version it felt far less plausible her parents couldn’t have been found given Stacks runs the most powerful cellphone company in the world. That and Annie’s last name is Bennett in the movie (she didn’t have one in the 1982 version). Add to that her birth certificate and Social Security Number (both referenced in the movie) that’s more than enough to at least get her parents’ names.

Ah, well. It’s just something I couldn’t ignore.

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Another thing the 2014 version did a great job at was highlighting the fact there are alot of kids in foster care who are not babies. Many are between 10 and 17. All of them are in need of loving families. A moment that stuck out to me was when Annie revealed she doesn’t know how to read. I’ve worked with adults who are functionally illiterate: Unless you put a book in front of them and told them to read a page, you’d never know they couldn’t read.

Of course, the 2014 movie is not without its share of criticism. Some folks felt the 2014 version changed too much from the source material. From making Annie a black girl with an afro (see the above picture for a comparison) to casting Cameron Diaz as Hennigan to the use of Auto Tone in some of the songs (very noticable in Tomorrow and Maybe) to not giving President Obama even a mention in the whole movie. Yes, some folks too issue with that last one because As I mentioned above, FDR appears in the 1982 version.

While I can see diehard fans of the 1982 version dismissing the reboot as “Annie for black young people”, it is so much more than that. No one questions Jamie Foxx’s range as an entertainer. He started as a comedian but then got into acting. Then he picked up music. Most notably, he played Ray Charles in the Bioflick Ray 10 years ago. So yeah he can sing, act and do comedy all at the same time and look good doing it, too.

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Now me, I have no problem with the movie as-is. Like I said earlier, it helps when you don’t keep comparing it to the 1982 version. Like the Robocop reboot, Annie 2014 was made for the current generation. Like the original versions of both films you can always go back and watch them if you want to so…yeah.

Retired Surgeon Dr. Ben Caron announces Presidential Bid   Leave a comment

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I’m going with the assumption everyone reading this has at least heard of him before he decided to get into politics. He’s famous for performing the world’s first successful separation of twins conjoined at the head. By successful meaning both survived the operation. As you guys may know, there was a similar operation that was attempted with adult conjoined twins a few years ago in Egypt but they died on the operating table. While it’s easy to say now Dr. Carson would’ve suceeded where their doctor failed, brain surgery period is nothing to take likely!

Anyway moving on.

Dr. Carson announced he’s running for president yesterdsy. He’s running as a Republican Candidate and on the platform “Things need to change”. I have nothing but the utmost respect for Dr. Carson the Surgeon but as a Presidential Candidate, that’s another matter entirely. I’m sure those of you who support his candidacy will just dismiss this post as “another Adventist who does’t want to give a fellow Adventist his support” but that’s not the point. I just read the comments made to Adventist Review’s publication of a statement made by The Church in response to Dr. Carson’s presidential bid. It’s chilling to say the least. For the most part, the majority of the people who commented said “we should support Dr. Carson because he is our only hope”. I know they mean in the context of American politics but that kind of rhetoric is why the SDA Church, unlike the other denominations avoids politics like the plague.

As I said on Facebook earlier this morning, American Politics are divisive by design. It will be no different with Dr. Carson. A fact I’m sure he’s well aware of. At the very least, I can say unlike the other candidates he (and Bernie Sanders) doesn’t have a hidden agenda. He’s honest to a fault and the only thing going against him is his inexperience in politics. A detail the media will constantly remind its viewers.

That said, while Dr. Carson does have my support for the Republican Nomination, Bernie Sanders has my support for President. Looking ahead to this time next year, I don’t see Dr. Carson winning the Republican Nomination. There are too many millonaire-backed candidates and career politicians he has to contend with in the Repblican field. The question is weather or not he’ll consider running as someone’s Vice President. If he’s open to the idea, Bernie Sanders would be good fit since I think they could agree on alot of things. I don’t think any other Republican Candidate would pick Dr. Carson as a running mate personally so…yeah.

As I mentioned 3 paragraphs ago, Dr. Carson is a Seventh Day Adventist. As am I. That doesn’t mean I should feel obligated to give him my support in his political aspirations. I hope others don’t feel the same way when I officially run for an elected position in Boston in the very near future.

 

Last weeks’s CNN coverage of the Baltimore Protests: Part 1   Leave a comment

To be fair to CNN, I’ll break my analysis up by day starting on Monday. Ok here we go:

 

  •  Monday: They got roasted for the coverage by Social Media and the people of Baltimore so…yeah. You can’t try to portay the whole city as descending into chaos when it was concentrated in 3 intersections of one neighborhood. Putting local leaders under fire for dealing with a crisis of this magnitude for the first time doesn’t help either. yes Mayor Rollins-Blake and Governor Ford were annoyed. WITH YOU, CNN. That’s why the walked away from the interview.
  • Tuesday: It was clear after the sun went down they decided to focus the bad apples and the negative side of what was going on. They clearly didn’t get the message when the mayor and the governor walked away the night before.
  • Wednesday: This is when they switched to “Neutral for now” mode. By now, everyone has reaired The Baltamore Mom to death for 2 days straight. CNN got their turn interviewing her today as well. It was clear CNN decided to start treating the people of Baltimore like people for once. Erin Burnett or Ashleigh Banfield (can’t remember which it was at the moment) pressing that State Rep to say “Just Call the Niggers!” and then trying to look innocent…no one’s gonna forget that anytime soon.
  • Thursday: A smart move being quick to dismiss the “leaks” by the Baltimore PD.  A major development yes but smart to not call it credible new intel. Some people didn’t like the sound byte but Dom Lemon made a good point when he said those getting arrested for breaking the curfew shouldn’t be surprised. Civil Disobedience.
  • Friday: The indictment that shocked Black America. The important point made by the people of Baltimore is this isn’t a Black Problem. It’s an AMERICAN problem. And I think the American people are starting to get that. Freddie Gray was murdered for no reason. The DA made that clear with her decision to indict. The racial makeup of the defendants–who by the way posted bond and are on the streets–
  • Saturday: I loved how CNN finally admitted there WERE outside agitators on the ground trying to make the people of Baltimore look bad. They pushed back hard against their own Analysts in this regard and with good reason: All of the CNN correspondants have spent almost 2 weeks talking to the people of Baltimore off-camera. They know what the truth is. They’re not THAT irresponsible. I’ll give them credit for that. I didn’t like how they pressed the mayor when it was obvious she was doing volunteer work. She walks away after saying “I’ll only answer one question” and CNN turns around and says she didn’t want to do an interview in one breath but then admit “She did say she’d only answer one question” in the next.
  • Sunday (Today): A panel of “CNN Experts” once again accused the Governor and the Mayor of not being on the same page because they didn’t do joint press conferences. That same shit talk from last Monday that pissed me off. Ford’s responsible for the whole STATE. He’s under no obligation to take time out of his VERY busy schedule to please the media any more than the mayor does. They were just mad they didn’t get what they wanted yes but it’s very dangerous to make these kinds of accusations with no proof.

 

Overall, I give CNN’s coverage of Baltimore so far a B-.  They stuck around  Ferguson well after most of their counterparts left, came back and left again (LOL) so…yeah. Considering this is American History the whole world is watching, you can be sure they want to get it right. At least that’s what it looks like to me.

Part 2 of my Analysis of CNN’s Coverage comes at the end of the month or after they leave Baltimore, whichever comes first. Speaking of which, the Earthquake in Nepal happened one week ago today. CNN was preparing to send its correspondents overseas when the riots happened. Nepal took a back seat as a consequence. Not just CNN but everyone prettymuch forgot about Nepal. All because of the riots last Monday.

“Riots are the language of the unheard.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

This quote’s been said alot over the last week and it’s the truth. The 2015 Baltimore Riots could happened in any American city except Boston. The low turnouts to marches and demonstrations I’ve seen around Boston are why I say that. There was a march yesterday from Mattapan to Roxbury of about 100 people. Everywhere else, it’s at least a few thousand strong. That doesn’t mean Black Bostonians are cool with the status quo. More like “we’re not directly effected” and that’s the wrong mentality. A casualty of being in Boston I suppose!

Like I said before, this is The New Civil Rights Era   Leave a comment

 

Abolitionists like Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman fought to end Slavery during the 1800s. Martin Luther King fought to end Jim Crowe Laws, which was the American equivalent of Apartheid. August 2014 was when The New Civil Rights Era truly began.

Pastor James H. Bryant

 

This is one of the leaders of The New Era at least for right now. The comparisons being made between Pastor Bryant and Dr. King have been going on since Monday though it looks like the media hasn’t picked it up yet (no surprise). Dr. King started out as a small town pastor and ended up becoming the face of the Civil Rights Movement not by design but by necessity. He came in at a time he was greatly needed to bring calm and to help (then) young people channel their energy to bring out change by using peaceful methods.

Jessie Jackson and Al Sharpton were supposed to carry the torch in the 70s and 80s but they were proven to not be up to the task. The movement needed a strong voice willing to talk not just to the black community but to the world.

It finally came this past week when Pastor Bryant announced he would be doing Freddie Grey’s funeral. On Monday he came out in front of the media and called for calm on the streets of Baltimore, telling young people to come to his church so he can teach them how the protest peacefully. Yesterday, he was instrumental in bringing rival gangs together and become a part of the solution, not part of the problem. Last night, he held a town hall meeting at his church for the public to talk about their concerns and their issues with the police.

Like Dr. King, Pastor Bryant didn’t ask to take on the role he is now in. The people of Baltimore will be looking to him for guidance. Let me pause and set something straight: I’m not saying he’s the new Dr. King. Only he is stepping into a role very similar to MLK.

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Democratic Presidental Candidate Hillary Clinton made it clear in comments she made this morning the system is broken and is stacked unfairly against African American men. President Obama said in comments yesterday federal legislation needs to be passed to stop the cycle. The Left has been loud and clear. Other than Maryland Governor Larry Ford (Republican), the Right has been silent. Governor Ford moved his office from Annapolis to Baltimore in 2 days’ time so he can better help its citizens. Major props for that.

No surprise. When it comes to Civil Rights, the Right has always been reluctant to act. Lyndon B. Johnson waited until Bloody Sunday in Selma to pass voter registration laws. Abraham Lincoln waited until the Civil War in a stalemate before he freed the slaves. So yeah. If the Right wants any hope of improving their image, they know what they need to do. As a reminder, this is HISTORY being made. The last thing they want is once again being recorded as being on the sidelines. They need to get out there and show they can be a part of the solution.

…I will grade the media’s coverage so far in a separate post.

 

Trust between Police and Minority Communities are Important   Leave a comment

Eric Garner (New York City), Mike Brown (Ferguson, MO) and now Freddie Grey (Baltimore). Three black men who died at the hands of police officers in the last 8 months. For once, the pundits and community organizers are on the same page: We can no longer call these killings isolated incidents. I’ll stop short of saying “it’s open season for black men by law enforcement” but the facts speak for themselves. We can no longer dismiss testimonies from people across the country as just “You did something to deserve it”.

Context is everything.

 

That said, I’m going to share something that happened with me this past Thursday afternoon. I’d just stepped out of the Bank of America in Cleary Square when a Police SUV pulled up onto the sidewalk inches from the steps of the bank. I was at the bottom of the stairs when the SUV jumped the curb and stopped next to the steps. I jumped back thinking it was going to keep going and motioned for the vehicle to keep going. A police car pulled up a moment later and two cops jumped out. One of them told me they’d just been notified moments ago the bank was being robbed.

I’m going to pause it there to tell you what I was thinking in that moment: Is the suspect still inside and are they armed? My second thought was to stand right there and wait. I wasn’t thinking “I’m black and these cops are white” (which was the case) . I wasn’t thinking “Do they think it was me?” and mind you I had my backpack with me. In that moment, my only thought was my own mortality. I only saw them as cops doing their jobs.

So I waited for about 3 minutes before the all-clear was given. The cops didn’t ask me anything. No guns were drawn. As I walked back toward the square a couple black guys asked me what happened and if I was ok. I’m sure that for both them and the cops, what happened in Baltimore was fresh in their minds.

Even so, my main point is what happened in Baltimore, New York and Ferguson would not have happened in Boston. Former Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis deserves alot of credit for working hard to repair the culture of distrust between police and minority communities. When he took the job, the first thing he did was get officers out of patrol cars and walking around the streets of Boston. New Officers and Veteran Officers were encouraged to talk to community members and visit businesses to build thrust. It worked. While Ed Davis’ work during the Marathon Bombing investigation and the ensuing manhunt is what he will always be known for nationwide, his work to close the rift between police and minority communities should not be overlooked. In fact, it should be used as a blueprint nationwide.

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Boston was one of the few American cities that didn’t burn during the 1968 riots when Martin Luther King was asassinated. When Baltimore burned, the damage was never restored and the businesses that were destroyed never came back to this day. A state of the art shopping center was built at New Market Square in Dorchester in 1995. Stores have come and gone but it is still there 20 years after being built. A new Commuter Rail Station was built and Four MBTA bus routes were rerouted to service the shopping center that contributes millions in commerce and job to the neighborhood.

To say there is a vested interest in giving the people of Dorchester, Roxbury and Mattapan what they need would be a bit of an understatement. I can’t say the same about New York and Baltimore. If anything, Baltimore city and state leaders should be held accountable for failing to meet the basic needs of ALL of their citizens. Boston definitely isn’t perfect but there is alot it can teach nearby major cities.

 

Hillary Clinton FINALLY makes it official   Leave a comment

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She will be the next President of the United States. The Campiagn and Election are just formalities.

For once in a long time, I’m not being sacrastic. On the subject of politics, anyway. Putting partisan politics aside, she literally IS the best person for the job at this time. The “best” the Republican Party has to offer (so far) are all Tea Party-backed right wing extremists: Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and Rick Santorum. All three like Clinton are former Senators.

Jeb Bush, who is pulling a Hillary (teasing the media before he throws his hat in the election) literally has his last name working against him: His brother George technically wasn’t elected in 2000, looked the other way while his inner circle fixed the 2004 election in his favor and left the country trillions of dollars in debt with two wars by the time he left office. His father George’s record isn’t much better for that matter. And he is the Republican Party’s best candidate.

While the Republican Party was quick to point out H. Clinton and Bill Clinton’s faults, they pale in comparison to the war crimes and blatant civil rights violations committed by the Republican-controlled Congress and White House over the last 15 years. Unlike 1992, the new generation of voters remembers 2000-2008. They lived it. TRUST ME, they DO NOT want to go back to that.

While my preference for 2016 was an Independent with popular support getting in the White House, as of right now Hillary Clinton is our best shot at avoiding this country’s implosion. Paul, Cruz and Santorum are all anti-establishment and that’s fine with me. What I do have a problem with is their affiliation with the Tea Party and their extremist viewpoints. I actually don’t have a problem with Jeb Bush as a candidate but like I said before, he’s got his last name working against him. He has no chance of actually getting elected and deep down, I’m sure he knows that.

So, now that the Election Cycle has picked up I will begin my usual self-imposed TV Blackout for the next 18 months. I already know who I’m voting for so…yeah.

So, White Hat’s been convicted (No Surprise) 2 Years Later   Leave a comment

You know who I’m referring to. The Media’s said his name to death–no pun intended, LOL–for 2 years now so I’ll leave it at that. He was found guilty on all 30 charges against him.

…That’s like losing to all 30 NBA teams in a row XD

All that’s left is to find out if he’ll get life in prison or the death penality. That can go either way though I think he will get Life. For the Death Penality, the jury must vote unanimously. If even one of them disagrees it’s automatic life.

Justice has been done. All that’s left is for the period to be written.

That said, remember that I never used the surviving Boston Marathon Convict’s name in ANY of my blog posts. As I said in the beginning, this is something I feel very strongly about.  I’ll say the same two things now that I said then:

  1. White Hat’s name should NOT be remembered. He should be forgotten to history once the sentencing phase is completed next week. The only people who should care are the victims, their families, the suspect’s family, law enforcement and/or the Attorneys involved.
  2. Four people were murdered and 178 people were maimed for no reason. THEY are the ones who should NEVER be forgotten.

(Left to Right from the top): Kristine Campbell, Martin Richard, Sean Collier and Ling Zi-Lu

White Hat and Black Hat’s actions were prettymuch Boston’s 9/11. The people of Boston are a hardy bunch. We are the epitome of what it means to defy expectations. It’s what we do.

This is the last time I will talk about the Marathon Bombing on my blog. I will do what those who were directly effected by that day can never do and move on.

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