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MOVIE REVIEW: “Ricki and the Flash” Gives Meryl Streep Her Biggest Challenge Yet

Ricki and The Flash is written by Diablo Cody, directed by Jonathan Demme and it stars Meryl Streep. You’d be hard pressed to find a stronger pedigree but unfortunately, the sum of this film doesn’t equal its parts.

Ricki was rock star who left a family behind to pursue her music. Now her career has stalled and her grown children are scarred from their abandonment. Ricki is summoned home when her daughter suffers a major loss but must mend fences before she can be of any help. It’s clear early on where the movie will go from here.

I hate to say it but we might have found the ONE role Meryl Streep can’t easily slip into. Continue reading →

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East Lake Pet Orphange Launches “Clear the Shelter Month!”

My kids and I have been volunteering at the East Lake Pet Orphanage all summer and have LOVED IT! One of the perks of volunteering is that you learn about big events as soon as they’re happening, like this one. I just got the email about Clear the Shelter Month today and had to share the good news. This is what is said:

“CLEAR THE SHELTER MONTH – NOW THROUGH AUGUST 31 – ADOPTION FEES WAIVED – $25 TO OFFSET MICROCHIPPING EXPENSE

ELPO is promoting our VIP orphans, those who have been with us over six months! This promotion will waive adoption fees, and the adoption cost will be $25 to offset the expense of microchipping. Application must be made and background check for approval completed. The following list is the orphans that qualify for the promotion. Continue reading →

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BLOG: The Joy of Saying “NO”

I found my youngest child crying in the shower the other night. Well, WAILING might be a better word because she was crying so hard, I thought she was singing at first. She was so overcome with back-to-school-heartache that she needed multiple hugs before explaining her meltdown.

What if my teacher doesn’t like me?
What if I don’t do well this year?
What if I don’t finish my Summer Reading in time?

But mostly “I REALLY DONT WANT TO GO BACK TO SCHOOL.”

I put on my best Wise-Mom-Face and said, “Honey, sometimes you just have to be brave and do the things you don’t want to do.”

I laughed to myself when I said it because I remember my own Mom saying those words. I also remember how little they helped during a crisis, but I said them anyway.

I found the other side of that coin today, while chatting with a girlfriend. Continue reading →

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BLOG: Ghostly Visits From Mom (Or Was it John Denver?)

The stories I’m about to tell are going to make me sound completely insane (this should come as no surprise to anyone). They involve 2 ghostly nighttime visits; One that happened over a year ago and one that occurred just last night.

The visit last year woke me with a tickle on the bottom of my foot. I giggled at it at first but stopped when I realized my husband was still asleep and my cats didn’t have fingers. I was on a radio show at the time, where we often talked to a “Psychic to the STARS.” I asked what SHE thought had happened in my room that night and she said, “Oh, that was John Denver. He’s your Spirit Guide and was just checking in with you.” Continue reading →

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MOVIE REVIEW: Can the new “Vacation” Top The Old One?

I’m not a fan of what I call “Disaster Comedies.” You know, those movies where everything that CAN go wrong DOES go wrong? The original Vacation of 1983 set the Gold Standard of “Disaster Comedies” for me and no others (including the Vacation sequels) have been able to top it. If you go back and watch the first one again though, you’ll remember how truly ridiculous it was. We forgave it at the time because the rest of the movie was so darn funny. The new Vacation follows that same pattern, with each plot twist growing more outlandish than the last.

Rusty Griswold (Ed Helms), is now grown, married and the father of two quarreling boys. He and his wife (an adorable & totally underrated Christina Applegate) are in a rut so for something new, he decides to take his family to Wally World. What could possibly go wrong? Well, everything of course. Continue reading →

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MOMMY-MOVIE-REVIEW: “Pixels” With My Kids

You know what’s great? Seeing a movie you THINK is going to be mediocre and then you end up having a blast. You know what’s even better? When you go with your KIDS and they experience the EXACT SAME THING. My girls weren’t excited about seeing Pixels. Why? I don’t really know. They don’t suffer from the same Adam-Sandler-Migraine their mother does so I don’t have a good answer. They ARE self-proclaimed gamers however and consider the games I played as a kid (Pac-Man and Tetrus specifically) as “OLD SCHOOL.” They also like the way I cringe whenever they call it that. But even they (the jaded-little-monsters that they are) walked out of Pixels with a smile on their face and a skip in their step. It’s hard NOT to when you see a movie that’s this much FUN! Continue reading →

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FREE MOVIE PASSES: See “Shaun the Sheep” on ME!

I’ve always been a fan of Aadmore Animations and their crude but surprisingly dear characters. That said, I was still stunned by the onslaught of GREAT reviews for their latest release, the Shaun the Sheep Movie. It was screened at SXSW this year and everyone walked out singing it’s praises. In fact, the last time I checked the Shaun the Sheep Movie was still getting 100% on “Rotten Tomatoes,” which means every Film Critic who has seen it LIKES it. That pretty much NEVER happens and guess who has FREE PASSES! Even better, we knew that you’d want to take the whole family (and maybe a cousin or a neighbor kid) so we’re giving away 4 passes a POP! Just click HERE to snag those then watch the trailer to see what it’s all about. See you there! I might even drag my husband to this one!

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FREE MOVIES PASSES: Meryl Streep Gets Sexy in “Ricki & The Flash”

I’ve been scratching my head ever since I saw the Ricki and The Flash movie poster. Meryl Streep as an aging rock star? Seriously? Then again, she looks incredible in that get-up and I LOVE it when she plays sexy. It’s also directed by Jonathan Demme and has a screenplay written by our favorite former-stripper, Diablo Cody. If that isn’t enough, Meryl is joined onscreen by her real-life daughter, Mamie Gummer, who plays her daughter of course. The cast also includes Rick Springfield (who has been CRAZY CREEPY on True Detective this season) and Kevin Kline so we HAVE to see it, right? Even better, I have free passes for a screening on August 4th at the Angelika in Dallas! Click HERE for those, then watch the trailer below and get all excited about seeing it!

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BLOG: Constructive Criticism Should Come With A Band-Aid

I had coffee today with someone who told me that a particular blog I wrote wasn’t funny enough. It was “constructive criticism” so it wasn’t supposed to hurt. Is that what “constructive criticism” actually means? Something that isn’t supposed to hurt but actually hurts like hell?

He was trying to help and maybe he did because I didn’t realize people were EXPECTING me to be funny. I never post a blog and question if it’s FUNNY enough. I have worried in the past about my posts being too grim, though. I sent a really depressing blog to my friend Kristi once and asked her if it was too sad. She wrote back and said I shouldn’t worry about that. She said that SOMEONE would connect with it and THAT’S what really mattered. I’ve been rolling with that advice ever since.

So, in honor of my Constructive Critic, I decided to issue this warning:

DO NOT READ MY BLOGS AND EXPECT THEM TO BE FUNNY! You will be sorely disappointed! Continue reading →

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BLOG: I’m A Grown Woman Who Can’t Do A Cartwheel

My daughter Lucy is going to a birthday party today and she’s a little anxious about it. She’s excited to see her friends and have some cake, but you see, it’s a gynastics party. She won’t tell me exactly why that worries her but I think I already know. Lucy can’t do a cartwheel, which is no big surprise since I can’t do a cartwheel either. Never have and I guess, never will.

I thought I could learn at one point. There was a girl at my school who could do jumps and flips all across our gym floor. She looked so strong and sleek when she did it, I just HAD to give it a try. Mom signed me up for gymnastics, but I quit after two lessons. I remember how HARD the instructors worked with me and how loudly they cheered after my first somersault. It was embarassing because even I knew that gravity would kick in eventually and pull me over. Mom didn’t complain when I asked if I could stop the classes, either. She probably looked at my basketball-shaped-body and understood why gymnastics would never happen for me.

I got older and the list of other things I couldn’t do got longer. I couldn’t ski (on snow or water) or play softball or volleyball. I never learned how to braid a fishtail, play tennis, or drive a jet-ski. I can’t even properly throw a frisbee. Don’t throw one to me because it will just come bouncing back. My big sister would stare at me dumbfounded and say, “What are you going to DO? How can you expect to go on without knowing this stuff? What if your friends want to go water skiing? What will you do THEN?”

It scared the CRAP out of me when she said that because I had NO IDEA what I would do! Fake it? Cry? Set myself on fire, maybe?

But…I guess I made it. I mean, I’ve reached middle-age (probaby beyond, given my family tree) and never had friends pick on me for NOT knowing how to ski. My husband thinks it’s pretty funny when I try to throw a frisbee but I’ve never been laughed off a volleyball court for not knowing how to play. And I’ve never once in my life thought, “If only I’d been able to do a cartwheel.”

So Lucy, I’m sorry you can’t do a cartwheel but you come by that inability naturally. I know it sucks NOW but before long, no one will ever ask you to do a cartwheel again. Your life will be filled with things you CAN DO though, and you should brag about those things frequently. I still can’t ski but I can bake a chicken pot pie and make all my own salad dressings. I still cower and close my eyes when I play volleyball but I’m great at cleaning up a red wine stain. And NO, I still can’t do a cartwheel but I gave birth to two little babies who are perfect in every way. Well, except they also can’t do cartwheels.