Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Ernest Saves Christmas

"Ahh, smell those Christmas trees. You can keep your 'Channel' Number 5, just give me a whiff of the old lonesome pine. That symbol of brotherly love, that centerpiece that all mankind gathers around to share the cranberry sauce shaped like a can." - Ernest P. Worell

Comic Jim Varney made a name for himself in the late 1980's and early 1990's as Ernest P. Worell, a hapless southern hokey. Most of his Ernest films became a cult following for parents looking for kid friendly films for their children to watch. Just think of Ernest as an early Jim Carey in The Mask cross pollinated with Pee Wee Herman and Larry the Cable Guy.

In this 1988 kid-friendly Christmas favorite, Ernest tries to help Santa persuade his chosen successor that "he is the one" to play the role of Jolly Ole' St. Nick. This is probably the first Santa film where we are first given the thought that even Santa gets old and needs to find a replacement.

"When the magic fades, it is re-energized through another Santa. The torch is passed on when the flames dies," Santa explaining to Ernest his reasoning behind finding a successor.

 I love the opening credits as the film shows nostalgic Christmas images from generations past; everything from Saturday Evening Post images to the 1980's images this film was made in.

Ernest plays a cab driver but mixes it up well disguising himself from an old lady to a snake farmer. He also comes across throughout this film as one who looks at Christmas in a special way even as an adult,

"You know, I don't tell many people this, but Christmas is just about my favorite time. Ever since I was a little kid, I always felt like it was my own personal holiday."

Santa Claus has chosen a children's tv show host named Joe Curruthers to be the next important man in the red suit.  But Curruthers agent has different ideas for his client, he would rather see him take on a major movie role in a horror flick called Santa Slay.

When Santa first arrives in Orlando off his plane, he appears just like any other human: dressed in normal clothes, although he has white hair and beard which resembles you know who. As cab driver Ernest picks Santa up at the airport, we see another North Pole fiasco for the people in Orlando: within the luggage cargo on the plane there are some crates containing moving animals...animals with horn and hoofs!

Throughout the film we get a glimpse of airport employee Chuck and his co-worker's amusing way of handling some rambunctious reindeer. These reindeer are able to hoof across the airport hanger ceiling upside down.
I love it when they call animal control for help and when they arrive to see the reindeer walking upside down:

  Animal officer #1:[they have just discovered the particulars of Chuck's animal control problem]
 "Oh... FLYING... reindeer. Um, that's not us. You want air traffic control."

Animal officer #2:     " Um... yeah." 

Some of the humorous conversations of Ernest in this film:

1. At Ernest's first discovery that Santa is indeed his cab fare, Ernest brags about his love for,
"Donner and Blister," and all the other reindeer on Santa's sleigh.

2. When Ernest tries to convince his friend, a teenager who calls herself Harmony Star, that he is helping Santa reach his successor, she obviously has her doubts,

Harmony Star, "There's no such thing! Think about it: a guy who flies around the whole world in one night. It just doesn't quite correspond to the laws of time and travel." 

Ernest,  "Now, now, now, now, now, it's possible. You take the International Date Line, multiply it by the Time Zones, divided by the accelerated rotation of the earth... uh, carry the 1, and, uh, allowing for the Vernal Equinox on the Tropic of Cancer, he might just pull it off." 

After Ernest drops off Santa, he realizes on his way home that Santa has left his magical sack of toys in his  cab. So, another conflicting story within this crazy merry-go-round circus is Ernest's attempt to save Christmas by returning the sack to Santa Claus.

Although I try to shy away from recommending films that include Santa Claus, this is just a good, wholesome family friendly film (I'll leave it up to the parents to explain the no Santa to their kids).

The one truly good message that will come across your mind when watching this film is the passing of the baton. If you come from a big, close family like myself, you can probably relate to this passing of the torch. I think it is important to have a successor in your family, whether it's keeping the family intact or being the spiritual leader of the family; keeping the torch lit is important.

I was fortunate that God had a plan in place before my grandfather, the spiritual patriarch of the family , passed away. Little did I know that God had been preparing me all those years to be that successor. It's a role I now enjoy and don't take lightly.

Whether you are a father or a grandfather, or maybe a mother or grandmother, it's never to early to start praying and spending time with the little one's in your life, bringing them up in the love and nurture of the Lord. And what better time to start than this holiday season.

As for Ernest Saves Christmas, (spoiler alert!!)  after the new Santa Claus rides off with his reindeer, a new crate appears in the airport hanger, can you guess who? Yep, a giant Easter Bunny.

Next week, Madea's Christmas.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

"Tis the Season

Next week I will begin posting for the 6th year in a row a collection of my own reviews of Christmas films.
It doesn't matter what kind of Christmas film you watch, there is always more than just the proverbial Christmas message within each story. And I think that's why I love watching Christmas films. We can watch a Christmas film over and over again, and yet each time we watch it we will come up with something new from it.

Sometimes I frequently look to see who is reading my posts from different countries, and which posts they are reading. In recent months I've found that my Christmas movie posts even draw an interest in the dead heat of summer.Which leads to what Christmas should really be all about; a Christmas Spirit that is carried with us all year around.

This season I plan on tackling some new Christmas stories that I haven't reviewed yet here on my blog. Sometimes I like to choose films that are not well known to everyone, ones that draw a specific purpose  within it's message; a message that delivers hope in a unique way.

So here's to yet another season of watching Christmas films, and another fun season of writing about them!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Eyes of a Child... Priceless

"Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory of our children."
- Charles Swindoll

One of my favorite things to do as this Christmas season fast approaches is participate in various Christmas Art Shows selling my photos. And oh, the joy of seeing Christmas through the eyes of a child is what brings me joy! 
One of the reasons why I love doing art shows at Christmas time is seeing the little kids eyes light up when they see one of my unique animal portraits. Whether it's a giraffe bent over drinking from a stream, or a lion looking to the sky with a growl and his paws crossed as if he were praying, you can't help but smile at a little child's reaction. 

This past weekend at my first art show to kick off this jubilant holiday season, it was a 6 year-old girl and her love for dolphins that wisked me away in joy.

As she oooh'd and ahh'd at the photo, the child tried valiantly in coaxing her mother into buying the photo for her. The mother gave her the old, "Let's look around first and see what else is for sell than we'll come back."
Obviously her mom's subtle way of saying,"No".

Needless to say, a little while later the woman came back to my booth by herself. She explained to me that her daughter's birthday coincided with Christmas and she wanted to get her something special, so she purchased the photo so she could surprise her daughter on Christmas Day. Of all the money I took in on this day, that was priceless. You cannot put a price tag on a mother's love for her child.

One of the unique features of  my photos is a Bible verse inscripted below them. On this particular photograph, the little girl will not only enjoy a great dolphin photo, but will be reminded:

And my soul shall be joyful in the Lord; and it shall rejoice in His salvation. Psalm 35:9

You can checkout all my photography at: www.davesphotoshop.com


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Hold My Hand, Please

I said, "Get up, and let me see you smile
We'll take a walk together
Walk the road awhile" 'Cause
'Cause I've got a hand for you
I've got a hand for you
- Hold My Hand, by Hootie and the Blowfish

A couple of weeks ago I attended a Chicago Blackhawks hockey game. It was an evening dedicated to children who are battling some form of cancer. The Hockey Fights Cancer evening brought tears to most of the crowd when the pregame consisted of Blackhawk players on the ice with some cancer stricken kids. The following picture says it all:

For these youngsters it was a night that they will never forget. Here we have some big, strong rugged hockey players holding hands with these precious kids and saying, "I am here for you."
Most of these hockey players do a lot of community work with children, and they will be the first to say they love doing it.

On the scoreboard they showed some interviews of these kids parents as they explained what they are going through. I feel for the parents, because they not only have to be strong, but they have important decisions to make when it comes to their child's life.

I've been thinking a lot lately about life,death,and the decisions people have to make. On Saturday, November 1st Brittany Maynard, the terminally ill patient who chose to take her own life through the Die with Dignity Act, passed away (her story can be read here on my blog from 3 weeks ago).

 What is so ironic is the following day after Brittany chose not to live with hope, Lauren Hill a freshman at Mount St. Joseph who has inoperable brain cancer, fulfilled her dream of playing in a women's college basketball game. She entered at the beginning of the game, shot a basket, then entered at the end of the game to make another basket. Lauren is expected to only live until December, but she has decided to live and has chosen to live with hope.

We all have tough choices to make in life, but then there are some who really have tough decisions to make.

It is important that we all find a way to lend a hand to someone in need, whether it's a person struggling with an incurable disease, or someone just struggling to survive in this crazy world. Especially those of us who are fortunate not to have to make life or death decisions.

As Hootie and Blowfish reminds us, again:

 With a little love, and some tenderness
We'll walk upon the water
We'll rise above this mess
With a little peace, and some harmony
We'll take the world together
We'll take 'em by the hand
'Cause I've got a hand for you