Review of Hyena Road

Zero Dark Thirty, Black Hawk Down, and Hurt Locker are three excellent movies that focus on the military. When I watched them I didn’t think about the fact that they are American, nor did it bother me. I’ve never thought about the lack of Canadian military in movies and TV because there has been so little for all of my life. But when I went to see Hyena Road yesterday afternoon with my teenagers, I realized that I’d been missing out. Seeing the fictional soldiers in the movie with Canadian flags on their uniforms brought out more national pride in me than our most successful Olympic games. The movie is “based on 1000 true stories” which made the three of us realize how much our fellow Canadians have sacrificed both for our country and for peacekeeping in the world. Paul Gross is a creative genius and in the midst of a somewhat ugly federal election right now, Hyena Road will make you stop and realize how truly great the men and women of our great country are. Seeing Canadian flags draped over coffins is a sight I wish was only in movies, but seeing them in the film reminded me of the times it has been real. The movie will also make you realize how much talent we have here in Canada for putting on an incredible show. I wanted to yell out, “This is Canada! These are our people!” through the whole show. Take a break from turkey and politics this weekend and go see it. 5/5

The Book of Life

If you came to my house, you would see stuffed Marvel characters and a number of super hero posters. Open my Netflix account, and you’ll see romantic comedies and my new favourite show, White Collar. Look at my Pinterest boards and you’ll see a board for Thor, one for Tom Hiddleston, and one for Chris Evans. But without a doubt the best movie of 2014 was The Book of Life, and it comes out on DVD tomorrow.

The Book of Life isn’t just about the power of enduring friendship. It’s not just about the love between parents and children. It’s not just about life and death. And it’s not just about a childhood crush that turns to love. And it’s not just about the pig, Chuy, as cute as he may be! It’s all of those things, put together into a beautiful animated movie.

In The Book of Life, there is the story of two friends that both love the same girl. There is the story of a boy wanting to make his father proud but hating the path chosen for him. There is the love of music. There is the sacrifice of a parent wanting to see their child but letting them go to be with the one they love. There is the pig, who is brilliantly animated to show it getting older. And there is the love story between enemies.

My son begged me to take him to see the movie when it came out in October. I reluctantly agreed, just to hear what Channing Tatum sounded like as an animated character. We both came out beaming, and we agreed we had to see it again. There is so much to enjoy in the animation alone. We saw it again, twice.

The Book of Life isn’t just a kids movie and it’s not a Halloween movie. It happens to take place on November 2nd but it’s an amazing movie for every age. Go get it – rent it, buy it, whatever. You will be glad you did.

DPChallenge: I am not your consolation prize!

Oh how I loved Trevor. He had red hair like me, always cut in a short preppy way that I adored. He wore Sperry Top Siders and he played football. He looked fabulous in the black and silver jersey that he wore on game days. Oh yah, I had my sights set on him for a long time. From early in grade ten through mid grade twelve, he was the only one I had eyes for. The feelings were not mutual however, he had other girlfriends: One was Goth, one was athletic, one went to another school, but none of them were me. He would come to me, asking me out when he was between girlfriends. I would swoon of course, with butterflies in my belly for days afterward.

I even asked him to my Uncle’s summer wedding in the country where we danced together to the sounds of Ian Tyson. Yeehaw! I can remember dropping him off after the reception and wishing the night would never end. It was warm outside and love was in the air. I sat on the hood of my Dad’s Excel hatchback wearing white Esprit pants that were oh so tapered from hip to ankle. Tucked into the pants was a mint green Esprit top that I had carefully untucked just enough to make a big billow at the bottom. I looked like an iced marshmallow but I thought I look like a fashion superstar. Who could possibly resist me? Trevor couldn’t that night, he leaned over and kissed me good night. Ahhhhh, he loved me. I bounced all the way home and didn’t sleep at all that night, glowing in my new relationship. The next day he called me to tell me that his buddy Darryl disapproved of him being with me so we couldn’t be together. What? How could this happen? Was I a bad kisser? Ouch. I was numb. I showed up at school Monday morning completely spent after the ridiculous highs and lows of the weekend and couldn’t look at or talk to Trevor. At all. And he was in almost all of my classes! As time went by, I learned to love him again, often leaning forward in biology class to get a sniff of his neck. I waited eagerly before each dance to be asked to go but to no avail. He never even asked me dance with him.

While I was in high school, my favourite movies were Real Genius, Top Gun, and When Harry Met Sally. There is a fabulous moment in When Harry Met Sally where Meg Ryan says to Billy Crystal, “I am not your consolation prize”. I watched this movie for the 27th time one Saturday morning in April of my grade twelve year and realized that I had been acting as Trevor’s consolation prize. It was time to be Sally. He happened to phone me later that day, asking me to attend some event with him because his Goth girlfriend was unavailable. Normally I would have jumped at the chance, but I was empowered by Meg Ryan and her fabulous hair and great clothes. She carried her bag across her shoulder with such confidence. “No,” I said, “I am not your consolation prize”. He was stunned. We said our goodbyes and my Mum just stood there in the kitchen looking at me. Raw chicken in one hand and a knife up in the air with the other, she was frozen, looking at me. I felt better than ever. It was a turning point in my life and my Mum remembers it perfectly as the moment when she knew that she never needed to worry about anyone pushing me around. Trevor and I remained friends until the end of the school year but I never ‘liked’ him again. I could never go back, and I never did. That moment paved the way for me to eventually meet my perfect husband, who treats me every day like I’m the one who is perfect.

Thank you Meg Ryan.

In response to today’s Daily Prompt.