Journey 293: San Andreas

Movie night was very special to me this evening. I watched the recently released San Andreas, at the recommendation of my granddaughter. Aubrey, who will be seven years old at the end of the month, is already an avid movie buff. She began watching animated films at a very early age and quickly accumulated a vast collection of DVDs. I share this love of the movies, and we have been going to the theater and watching DVDs together since she was a toddler.

Aubrey the photographer

This is the first time that this bright girl has recommended a movie to me. I spent time with Aubrey Sunday evening and as soon as she hopped into my car, she gushed about the disaster movie, San Andreas. Without giving away spoilers, she shared some of her favorite scenes and the general storyline. She was so insistent that I watch this movie, that we stopped at my favorite rental store on the way to Joey’s football game and picked up the DVD. “Watch it and write your comments”, she implored me, referring to my blog. And so, delighted by her request and intrigued by her enthusiasm, I watched the movie, and here are my comments!

San Andreas stars Dwayne Johnson, Carla Gugino, Alexandra Daddario, Ioan Gruffudd, Hugo Johnstone-Burt, Art Parkinson, Archie Panjabi and Paul Giamatti. The action adventure film was directed by Brad Peyton and carries a PG-13 rating for intense sequences (lots of them) and mild language. It has a run time of 2 hours and 54 minutes.

San Andreas Fault movie poster

We are introduced, at the beginning of the film, to LA Fire & Rescue pilot Ray Gaines (Johnson) as he carries out a daring rescue, north of Los Angeles. Mission safely accomplished, Ray intends to spend the next day with his daughter, Blake (Daddario), driving her back to college and spending time with her. His family is splitting apart, as his estranged wife Emma (Gugino) is filing for divorce and preparing to move in with her new boyfriend, Daniel (Gruffudd). Ray’s plans are changed when a series of minor earthquakes in Nevada escalate to a major quake that destroys Hoover Dam.

Seismologist Lawrence Hayes (Giamatti) from CalTech was on site with his colleague testing equipment that can predict an earthquake based on magnetic pulses that spike right before a quake. After the disaster, Lawrence returns to CalTech to study readings with his team. A reporter, Selena (Panjabi), arrives for an interview, and becomes an impromptu colleague as readings show strong spikes in the magnetic pulses, all along the San Andreas Fault that runs the length of California. Lawrence knows that a record breaking earthquake is about to happen. With Selena’s help, he uses broadcast tv to warn the residents of California.

Ray leaves to fly his rescue helicopter to Nevada, while Daniel agrees to take Blake with him to San Francisco for a meeting and then escort her from there to school. While Daniel is in his meeting, Blake meets brothers Ben (Johnstone-Burt) and Ollie (Parkinson) from England, who are visiting San Francisco. Ben is applying for a job in Daniel’s architecture company and he is quite struck by the beauty of Blake. Ollie is not shy about asking for Blake’s phone number, to help his older brother out.

San Andreas Fault movie still

And Emma is having an uncomfortable lunch with Daniel’s sister in a posh, high rise building with a restaurant on top, back in Los Angeles. She is on the phone with Ray when the building begins to shake. The first high magnitude earthquake strikes, setting off a domino effect of powerful earthquakes along the San Andreas Fault. Ray diverts from his flight plan to Nevada to rescue Emma from the top of the crumbling building. In San Francisco, the first quake there is bringing down buildings, including the one that Daniel, Blake, Ben and Ollie are in. Daniel panics, leaving Blake trapped in the car in the underground garage. The brothers come to her rescue and the group heads toward high ground. Blake trusts that her dad will find her….they just have to survive long enough for him to arrive.

Ray and Emma are desperate to get their daughter, by any means possible: helicopter, car, airplane, boat. They lost another daughter, who drowned while on a rafting trip with her dad, and they are not going to lose another child. As they fight their way to San Francisco, while earthquakes continue to devastate the area, the couple finds their way back into a relationship with each other.

Scene from movie 'San Andreas'

This was an intense film! I had one of my coloring books with me and my pencils near by, thinking I might color as I watched the movie. I never opened the book. I couldn’t take my eyes off the devastation and the action. This is definitely a disaster movie, and very well done with amazing special effects and long action sequences that kept me on edge. At the core of the movie, as buildings collapsed and a tsunami washed away every thing in its path, was a story about relationships, and overcoming a devastation of another kind, the loss of a child. The impact that loss had on the family was difficult and touching as each surviving family member handled it in a different way. And the secondary story involved a relationship as well, the budding romance between Ben and Blake.

I enjoyed the movie, and marveled that Aubrey loved it so much, due to the intensity. It did not seem to scare her.  It did me! I found myself thinking, “I don’t ever want to live in California.” I’ve heard of the San Andreas Fault all of my life, and heard as well the predictions that someday, California will fall into the ocean due to a horrific earthquake along the fault. Watching the movie was like watching those predictions come true, even if it was a fictional account. Why would anyone live in that seemingly doomed state? And then I remembered May 22, 2011. Massive destruction. Unbelievable loss. Tornado Alley. I’ve been asked the same question: Why do you live in an area that is frequently hit by severe storms? Because this is home. I love my city. My family is here.

And what did Joplin do, after such devastation? We rebuilt. And thus the final sentences in the movie made perfect sense to me. They apparently made sense to Aubrey too, a child who watched her community survive the worst storm imaginable and rebuild, stronger and better. I think the movie appealed to Aubrey also because the main character is a hero, a public servant, like her daddy is. He will do anything to protect his family, just like her daddy. And Blake, the daughter, has pretty blue eyes, just like Aubrey, who told me that fact herself. Aubrey loved this movie so much, after watching a rented DVD, that she purchased it for herself, using birthday money she received early. I believe this is the first time she has bought a movie using her own money, and she selected San Andreas. That’s my girl. I look forward to watching this movie with her, and observing her reactions to various scenes, learning from her. Thank you, dear girl, for sharing your enthusiasm with me and recommending a film that touched you. I am honored.

San Andreas pic

Journey 292: Dash to Eureka Springs AR

Today’s journey took me to Arkansas. Greg and I spent time working in his father’s house, preparing it for market. While Greg worked in the garage, I tackled the master closet, sorting through and discarding clothing. We both felt Dad’s absence keenly. As I folded his shirts or tossed an old belt, I found myself listening for his voice calling out from the family room, telling me to stop working and come sit by him. I miss our chats and holding his hand. As I was finishing in the closet, Greg made the decision to be done for this day, and to drive east and enjoy what was left of the beautiful afternoon. I agreed! 

 

We ended up in the pretty little town of Eureka Springs, AR. Once known for its healing springs, this town with a population of about 2100 is a popular tourist destination. Its steep winding streets are lined with Victorian style homes and quaint shops. Eureka Springs supports a strong creative community and has very interesting energy. I love this town tucked into the Ozark Mountains and normally visit at least once a year, often renting a cottage for a weekend retreat. However, it’s been two years since my last visit.  It was time to rectify that. 
 

I’m almost embarrassed to admit that as we arrived, Greg and I were fervently hoping that the fudge shop was still open. It was! No visit to  Eureka Springs is complete without stopping by Two Dumb Dames Fudge Factory. They have a mouth watering selection of handmade fudges with such choices as pumpkin, maple and rocky road, along with traditional chocolate, peanut butter and vanilla. We never properly celebrated Greg’s birthday at the end of September, because he wasn’t feeling well. To remedy that, I treated Greg to half a pound his favorite maple fudge, along with a few other chunks in different flavors. We tried an old fashioned brown sugar based fudge, and a salted caramel and vanilla swirl. All were delicious! 
 

Another favorite spot is The Catfish Cabin on the edge of town. This homey restaurant features, as one would surmise, catfish plus shrimp and other wonderfully prepared meals. I always get the catfish dinner. The perfectly fried fish comes with golden hush puppies and a baked potato and family style sides. The staff is friendly and happy to chat as they stop by the table to refill drinks. We left full.
  
The sun had set, while we enjoyed our meal. It was time to head back to Joplin. I’m so glad we took the time to visit Eureka. I left feeling inspired to return soon and spend the whole day, exploring the shops, sitting in the park, driving through the charming neighborhoods. And there’s another place I want to visit, for the first time. Mindy, who passed away last January…my traveling companion, my cousin who toured Scotland with me and embraced the custom of tea time…told me about a tea room in this town that she loved. We said we would come together and have tea sometime. I found it in the twilight. Simply Scrumptious Tea Room. It was closed for the evening. And it looked attractive and inviting, just as she described. I’ll be back. I’ll have tea, for both of us. 

  

Journey 291: Sunday Night Tiger Football

I got to watch grandson Joey’s final football game of the season late this afternoon. Picking up granddaughter Aubrey, we joined Megan, Oliver and Joey at the Webb City football stadium. The sun was shining and the temps were a bit warmer than yesterday. It was perfect football weather. 

  
The 4th grade Tiger team has been beset with injuries this year. One of their key players has been out since game 1 and Joey suffered a knee injury as well, which temporarily sidelined him. But this team learned amazing things this year…to overcome adversity, to share in the victories and the defeats, and to step up and shine as they explore their strengths. 

  
Joey has made several touch downs, in the last couple of games. He was the team player who put  6 points on the board tonight. I’m very proud of his determination and his persistence. It’s not always fun to play when you aren’t winning. But there are so many other truths to learn, about oneself and the team, when you are losing while doing the very best that you can. 

 

 I enjoyed the game and being outside on this gorgeous fall day. I enjoyed watching Oliver and Aubrey playing in and around the  bleachers with other brothers and sisters of the boys in blue. At these games, there’s a little community of people present, held together by a common bond. It’s always interesting to watch how people interact and respond to what’s going on, on the field. And I enjoyed chatting with Megan, who is very present for her kids, cheering them on, capturing the moments with her camera phone, storing away these treasured times in her heart. 

  
It’s another finish to another season of football. I’ve watched Joey gain confidence in his abilities and step up as he’s mastered the basics. It’s totally up to him whether he plays football again next summer, or turns his attention elsewhere. Whatever he decides, I’ll be there, along with the rest of his family, cheering him on. 

  

Journey 290: Maple Leaf Parade

What a fun morning, jump started by a big parade! The air was crisp with a definite fall chill to it and the sun not quite up when I headed east to Carthage, MO. This is the 49th Maple Leaf Festival, held annually in this beautiful Ozark town. The highlight of the festival is the Maple Leaf Parade, touted as the largest in southwest Missouri. 

I marched in this parade while in high school, with the Mustang Marching Band, and more recently walked the route as a realtor. Now I enjoy watching from the sidelines. And today was a special event. Four of my five grandchildren were in the parade. And my son Nate, a police officer with Carthage PD, led off the parade with the Honor Guard. Daughter Elissa, son-in-law Josh, grandson Jonathan and daughter-in-law Megan sat with me on the west side of the square. Greg joined us just as the parade was starting. 

Here are highlights of the parade, captured in photos:

 

Elissa and Jonathan

 Jonathan sporting his Link costume. 

 

Josh

 Megan and Nate

 

Megan and me

 Nate was in charge of the Honor Guard, which led off the parade

 

 One of the winners in the float category

  

This dog, wearing a hat, cracked me up. He seemed to enjoy all the attention. 

 Grandsons Joey and Oliver, with Tiger Football

 

Lots of scary floats, advertising local haunted houses for Halloween

   The Flip Shop with their trampoline on wheels

  

Grandson Dayan with the Carl Junction Marching Band, which sounded great! There were lots of bands in the parade, as there is a band competition in the afternoon. Carl Junction was awarded first place in the parade! Latest update is that they are in the finals for the afternoon marching band competition. 

 

 

 Granddaughter Aubrey, and her mom Brittany, Nana Shelby and brother AJ, with the Donate Life float. Aubrey’s Nana is a liver transplant recipient, celebrating her 6th anniversary! 

 

One never knows where a kilted man will show up!

 Or Darth Vader 😃

 

This guy was cool!

 The crowd pleasing Dancing Cobras from Springfield MO

 

Horses and mules signal the end of the parade, with the city street sweepers behind, for obvious reasons! 139 units passed by…bands, floats, businesses and organizations. 

I enjoyed the morning immensely, sitting with family, watching for grandkids in the parade, smiling as I watched my son carry out his responsibilities with dignity and ease. On the way home I found myself humming the song “I Love a Parade”, so I looked the words up. The lyrics are a fitting conclusion to this blog post. 

I love a parade, the tramping of feet,

I love every beat I hear of a drum.

I love a parade, when I hear a band

I just want to stand and cheer as they come.

Yes! 

 
   
  

Journey 289: Travel Money Jar

Monday, while I was on my way to Wichita to listen to Elizabeth Gilbert speak, she serendipitously posted an intriguing article on her Facebook page. Her post was inspired by this meme:

 

Liz did her own research and discovered the $600-$750 a month was high. But she did find that Americans spend an average of $7.50 a day eating out, mostly on lunch. By packing a lunch or eating at home every day, at an average of $2 a day, one can save $5.50 a day. That’s $160 a month and $2,007.50 a year…more than enough to buy an international plane ticket to anywhere. 
  
Liz pointed out that dropping $4 every day into a travel fund, rather than spending it on a Starbucks coffee, would result in $1,460 in a year, enough to buy a ticket as well. Giving up one luxury item a day could launch a travel fund. 

I was captivated. The number one reason people don’t travel is because they don’t feel like they have the money to do so. That’s been my main reason as well. The truth is, I’m choosing to spend my money on other things. I’m not talking about the necessities. I’m talking about discretionary income. I have a busy schedule that doesn’t always conform to a 9-5 workday. I eat lunch and dinner at odd times. I most often grab takeout or fast food on the way home. At least once a day I pick up a large unsweetened ice tea. 

  
By choosing to eat at home, cook more, drag out the crockpot so dinner cooks while I’m out, I can put money saved toward something I’d love to do more of…travel. I can also brew tea at home and carry it with me in a travel mug. Or better yet, drink water. It’s about shifting my awareness and choice. I’m allowing convenience and immediate desire to eat up extra cash, rather than putting it toward a larger desire. 

  
Tonight I created a Travel Money Jar and seeded it with two $5 bills and a handful of change. It was a full day. I ate two meals. I threw the money I would have spent on meal number three into the jar. Over the weekend I’ll make a grocery run and stock up on supplies so that I can eat at home most of the time. I’ll still enjoy a meal out occasionally but it will be more of a treat rather than a daily occurrence. 

  
Rather than think I can’t afford to travel, I choose to makes changes that free up the funds to do just that. Travel. See the world. Explore. Italy, England, Ireland, New Zealand and my beloved Scotland, here I come. 

  

Journey 288: Wave of Light

I discovered this tender international observance last year, through the Facebook page Prayers for Shane. Shane Michael Haley was diagnosed with anencephaly in April, 2014, a fatal condition. He was born October 10 and lived for four hours, held by his parents, loved for every moment of his short life. 

  
Today, October 15, is International Pregnancy & Infant Loss Day. The Wave of Light on this day, is observed in remembrance and honor of all babies who did not survive pregnancy or died shortly after birth. A white candle is lit at 7:00 PM, in each time zone, and allowed to burn for an hour. In this way, a wave of light circles the earth. 

  
In October 1988, President Ronald Reagan, after declaring the month Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month, said, “A wife who loses a husband is called a widow. A husband who loses his wife is called a widower. A child who loses his parents is called an orphan. There is no word for a parent who loses a child. That’s how awful the loss is.” 

I lit a white candle at 7:00, in memory of my first baby, Daniel, lost in miscarriage. And in memory of Shane and all those who have known the heartbreak of losing a child, including several members of my family. These spirit babies are still held in our hearts, loved, cherished, and never forgotten. 

 

As I was preparing to light the candle, a strong breeze kicked up, ahead of a line of thunderstorms moving into the Joplin area. I made the decision to place the candle within a glass hurricane lantern, so the candle could remain on the front deck and not be blown out. The holder happened to have lighthouses etched into the glass. I lit the fall candles as well and turned off the porch light. 

The white candle blazed brightly. Lightning forked from dark clouds to the ground and from cloud to cloud, surrounding the house. The wind blew, thunder rumbled and soon the rain was falling. The white candle flame wavered not, a beacon of light in the darkness, untouched by the storm swirling around it. It seemed so symbolic, that candle in the lighthouse lantern, so full of hope and promise. I love how that worked out this evening, how all is connected, and the story being told. Shine bright little light, just as those sweet souls continue to do. Shine bright.   

  

Journey 287: Bits of Fall

Most of my day revolved around showing property and follow up work on the computer. In between shutting down the lap top and dinner, I had a burst of energy and creativity, and added a bit more fall décor to my home. Redoing the chippy entry table was quick and fun and satisfied my urge to create. 

 

I loved this little project for three reasons:

1) Other than the purchased gourds, I created this table vignette using items I already had on hand. It’s great fun, for me, and expands my creativity, when I pull pieces that I own together in new ways. All my decor gets reused and combined in endless ways. 
  
2) The stack of mini pumpkin-like gourds in the metal cloche was a happy accident. When I created the vignette in the vintage wooden sieve, I had one white gourd left over. I popped it into the cloche, so it had a temporary home. A few days later, I stood studying that cloche and visualized a stack of orange and white gourds, rising in decreasing sizes within the wire cover. Would that work? Only one way to find out. I purchased more mini pumpkins, paying attention to the sizes of the gourds. My idea came together perfectly and became the focal point of the table top. 

 

3) On the bottom shelf is a favorite quote on a plate with autumnal colors. “A friends knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words.” I cherish my friendships. How amazing it is to share the journey with those who know my heart so well. And nestled there in the front, is a little marble owl from Italy. That treasure came to me from my Aunt Annie, who passed earlier this year. He seems right at home as part of my vignette. 

I enjoyed listening to Liz Gilbert speak Monday evening, on creative living. I’m reading her book on the subject, Big Magic. One of the things she shared was that it’s important for creativity to be able to trust us. She explained that creativity is set free in us by being creative, every day, in big or small ways, wonderfully or imperfectly, for a few minutes or for hours. By expressing our creativity, consistently, joyfully, doing what we love to do, we send out the message that creativity is fostered by us, appreciated, honored. I so agree.  As with so many things, the more we express and explore creativity, the more creativity flows to us. I love spending even a few minutes allowing my soul to hum with that vibrancy that being creative brings. And those days when I can spend hours in the creative process, then my soul opens wide and energy flows, and anything is possible. 
  

Journey 286: Run Toward Danger

What a great journey today, that began in Wichita, KS and finished in Joplin, MO at Regal Theater. After grabbing pizza at Cici’s, Dayan and I settled into our seats in the darkened theater for the final movie in The Hobbit trilogy. The extended edition of The Battle of the Five Armies played for the first time this evening, ahead of its upcoming DVD release. 

 

We loved watching the other two Hobbit films again on the big screen. However we highly anticipated tonight’s conclusion to the epic story, with its 20 additional minutes of footage.  The film’s rating changed from PG-13 to R, with the new scenes, which caused us to speculate about what was coming. 

Since the DVD isn’t available yet, I don’t want to include spoilers. I’ll say that Dayan and I greatly enjoyed this longer version of TBOTFA and we were so glad for the opportunity to see it in the theater. This is a big, BIG story, full of complex characters, transformations during the journey and huge good verses evil confrontations. The biggest clash of all results in the final battle, and it was there that most of the extra footage was reintroduced. I loved seeing more action from Thorin’s Company of Dwarves. And scenes that didn’t quite make sense in the theatrical version…like where did those goats come from??…now completely integrate with the story. 

  
While Dayan and I found several of the additional scenes to be humorous, many heightened the intensity level. I found myself gripping my armrests tightly! And there was a deeply moving scene added after the tragedy that befell Thorin, King under the Mountain, and his sister’s sons, Fili and Kili. This movie delivered an emotion wallop before. Tonight, just as I could see through tear filled eyes again, I was overcome once more. 

What a powerful story these Middle Earth films portray. I was inspired, impacted and called into a bigger life. I couldn’t help but notice tonight that for the third day in a row, I have received the message of running toward danger. Thorin and Company certainly did. Bilbo, Gandalf, Galadriel and Saruman did. The elves of Mirkwood, Thranduil, Legolas and Tauriel did. And Bard the Bowman did. All stepped up, embraced their courage and ran forward, for their own good and the good of all. They risked their treasures, their relationships, their very lives and engaged, handling what was before them. Bilbo even said, “I am glad to have shared in your perils, Thorin.” Peril…the threat of danger. 

  
When something shows up repetitively in my life, especially from different sources, I pay close attention. Courage. Running toward danger. Running toward my power, my dominion. Reclaiming my power, my “home”, which was the ultimate quest of the Dwarves of Erebor. In three days I’ve come full circle, back to the movie I watched Sunday night…Home. I’m not sure yet what it all means but I know from experience, it is an important message. It’s an ongoing conversation with the Divine. I haven’t figured it all out yet. But I’m open. I say, “Yes”. I say, “Tell me more”!

Journey 285: Liz Gilbert Offers Big Magic

I’ve been a fan of Liz, ever since I read her best selling book, “Eat, Pray, Love”, and saw the film adapted from that true story. Her authenticity, her sometimes painful growth as a result of the challenges in her life, and the transformations that she shared as she journeyed, spoke deeply to me. I connected with Liz on her Facebook page and read her posts daily, drawing inspiration from her often humorous and always spot on observations of life.   

  
In January of this year, as I was creating my vision board for 2015 with my mom and sister, I talked about Liz and the impact she has had on my life. I consider her my mentor, my teacher, even though she doesn’t know that. She is, nonetheless. A few minutes later, my mom found a photo of Liz in a magazine. What are the odds of that? Chatting about a woman I greatly appreciate, and there she is, moments later, smiling from a magazine page. I cut out that pic and added it to my board, creating the intention to hear Liz speak, in person, or meet her. How or when that happened was not up to me. 

 

In September, Liz’s newest book, titled Big Magic-Creative Living Beyond Fear,  released. I saw on her Facebook page that Liz was doing a book tour, across the US and in several countries. I checked her tour schedule, thinking she might be in Dallas or Kansas City. I knew if she was speaking within 300 miles of me, I’d do my best to be there. I was so excited to see Wichita, KS on the list. The time and place had been decided. I could accept the invitation or not, my choice. You know what I decided. 

Tonight I joined 400 – 500 other people in a church auditorium in Wichita. As I waited for Liz to appear, I read the first two chapters in Big Magic. I am going to love this book. In her open and honest style, Liz invites the reader to move past the fears that keep creative living at bay. In the first section, called Courage, she asks this question: ” Do you have the courage to bring forth the treasures that are hidden within you?” She goes on to say, “The hunt to uncover those jewels…that’s creative living. The courage to go on that hunt in the first place…that’s what separates a mundane existence from a more enchanted one. ”  I was already captivated. 
  
Liz arrived, amid cheers and applause, and for the next hour and a half, shared about courage, and overcoming fear (she presented a long list of fears and excuses that hinder us) and living the creative life. Her energy was amazing.  I laughed. I nodded in agreement. I teared up. My heart expanded in my chest and my beliefs expanded as well. With her characteristic transparency, Liz spoke from her own experiences of dealing with crippling fear and feelings of inadequacy, about learning extreme self care and how she won the trust of her creativity, and how she said no to things that stole her time and instead engaged joyfully in creative pursuits. I have such a full and overflowing heart tonight, that I need to process it all for a time, and perhaps share insights and ahas later in future blog posts. I left the event encouraged and inspired, my own creative life calling sweetly to me. 

  
I am eager to embrace that calling. And I am not immune to fear. As I pondered Liz’s powerful words, the movie Home, that I watched last night, rose in my mind. The Boov ran away from danger, and also from opportunity and life and growth. Oh, the hero of the story, learned to run toward danger. Doing as Liz encourages, and following my curiosity, I looked up the word danger to discover its origins. Danger originates from the Latin word dominus, which birthed such English words as domain and dominion. Its common meaning was “power of a lord” and was used to mean one was in someone’s power. It later included the meaning of someone’s power to hurt. 

What if, in running from perceived “danger”, I am running from someone’s power and domain? What if that power and domain are my own? I am done with running away. Like Oh, like Liz, I am moving beyond fear, and running toward danger, running toward my own power, regardless of risks, running headlong  into a creative life. This is Big Magic, indeed. Liz Gilbert, I am grateful. 

  
This ticket is going on my Vision Board, next to the photo of Liz, to remind me to dream big, stay open and let go of outcomes. 

Journey 284: Home

After working yesterday and today, showing property, I decided a movie night was the perfect end to the weekend. Movies often choose me, rather than the other way around. A couple of days ago, as I was waiting for Aubrey to get changed so we could head to Annabelle’s Fun Farm, I watched a few minutes of the animated film, Home, which happened to be playing on her home TV. I was intrigued and made a mental note to watch the entire movie soon. Soon arrived this evening, as I picked up the DVD from my favorite rental store.

Home movie poster

Home, a DreamWorks Animation, stars the voice talents of Jim Parsons, Rihanna, Steve Martin and Jennifer Lopez. The comedy adventure was directed by Tim Johnson.  The screenplay was written by Tom J Astle and Matt Ember, based on the book “The True Meaning of Smekday” by Adam Rex. The movie has a PG rating, for mild action and mildly rude humor, and has a run time of 1 hour and 34 minutes.

Oh (Parsons) is a Boov, a loveable alien from another planet, who doesn’t quite fit in with his own people. The Boov, led by Captain Smek (Martin) are known for doing one thing really well….running away. When trouble shows up, and it usually does in the form of the nemesis Gorg, the Boov flee, “borrowing” planets to occupy until they must run again. Earth is the Boov’s newest home, which they take for their own.

Home Oh and Pig

The Boov don’t see what they do as wrong. They relocate the humans to new homes in various locations on Earth and then move into their vacated dwellings. Oh, so named because whenever he shows up, the other Boov groan, “Ohhh”, is different. He is friendlier, more free thinking, ready to try new things. When he throws a “warming of the house” party to celebrate their new home, no one shows up. His party e-vite went much further than he intended for it to….the whole galaxy is invited…and that means the Gorg will soon find their new home. Captain Smek has run out of patience with Oh. He has made too many mistakes. The Boov want to take Oh into custody, so he can be erased.

As Oh is fleeing from his own kind, he discovers a human girl named Tip (Rihanna), who is on a quest of her own. When the Boov took control of the planet, Tip’s mother, Lucy (Lopez), was relocated, while Tip was left behind with her pet cat, Pig. Oh and Tip form a team when the squishy purple alien promises to help her locate her mom, whom he mistakenly calls Mimom. As the pair travel to Australia, with Pig, they learn about each other and that making mistakes and being different is part of being human. Ultimately, Oh uncovers darker secrets about the Boov and the truth behind Gorg’s pursuit of his people.

Home family

This film was perfect for tonight. Jim Parsons, best known as Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory, is wonderful as Oh. Using an endearing mish mash of English, and changing colors to show his emotions, Oh is the most honest and curious of the Boov, even though he is considered a misfit. There are the usual comedy situations around an alien learning earth customs, such as what’s edible and what’s not….he cautions Tip not to eat the blue mints in the bathroom…and typical bathroom humor….Boovs make number 1 and number 2 and once a year, number 3. They need a day off after that!

What I found touching about Oh was that he questioned his beliefs. The Boov run away from perceived danger, which would appear to be a good thing. But by always running, they never face challenges, they never learn to grow. They consider the Gorg to be a taker, but Oh begins to wonder if it is the Boov who are the takers, not the Gorg. Oh dances for the first time, a hilarious scene which was played often in movie trailers, and learns not to lie, which is another form of running away. Tip, the bright and brave human girl who befriends Oh, is the perfect companion on this adventure. I love that her friends call her Tip, while her formal name is Gratuity. Cute! Tip misses her mother and refuses to give up looking for her. Faced with a problem, she chooses NOT to run away, or play the victim, but to take action. From observing her, and learning to keep his promises to his new friend, Oh learns that sometimes, it is necessary to run toward danger.

This was a great film, and I didn’t mind at all that I watched an animated film, sans kids. Often, movies geared toward children contain deep truths. Home is one of those. I am so glad I watched it tonight.

Home hands in the air quote