Bella and Edward

"….not only would I recommend this rather awful film series but had I the authority I'd be tempted to make it required watching for teens."

To quote my favorite expression from the re-booted Dr. Who series, oft spoke by Dr. River Song: SPOILERS!!!!

I'm not a big fan of sappy stories. I've watched more than my share but it's not my favorite genre. There are a few exceptions. Jane Eyre was my favorite book as a kid. Helped that George C Scott did an amazing movie version back in 1970. But Jane Eyre is less romance than it is a tale of righteousness over romping – that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

And I did see Titanic a couple of times over the years but frankly enjoyed the rather droll How it Should Have Ended animated satire more.

Which brings us to the Twilight series.

Bella Edward 2

Is the movie badly acted? Why, yes, the acting is terrible. Kristen Stewart's whispering, sniveling, gasping response to EVERYTHING has become a cliché of pitiful thespian skills. The Everything Wrong With… Twilight is hysterical and worth watching for their "Breathing, Laughing and other Bella Noises Bonus Round" alone. IMPORTANT CAVEAT – while I LOVE the "Everything Wrong With…." series on, it is chock full of sexual innuendo and raw language, the latter of which is, while bleeped, pretty obvious.

Is Twilight well written? I'll let you judge:

Edward Cullen: I don't have the strength to stay away from you anymore. Isabella Swan: Then don't.

Edward bedroom

Edward Cullen: Uh, yeah this is my room.   Isabella Swan: …No bed?  Edward Cullen: Ah no I don't, I don't sleep.  Isabella Swan: Ever?  Edward Cullen: No, not at all. Isabella Swan: Ok, hmmm, boy you have so much music, what were you listening to. Edward Cullen: It's Debussy. Isabella Swan: Clair de Lune is great.

Edward Cullen: I hate you for making me want you so much.

And these are from as memorable quotes. Need I say more?

So, it's sappy, badly acted, awkwardly written, ham handedly directed but——-not only would I recommend this rather awful film series but had I the authority I'd be tempted to make it required watching for teens."

But, you might reasonably ask…………..WHY!?!?!?!

BECAUSE – This movie advocates powerfully for some of our modern culture's most vitally important but least present virtues and makes those virtues irresistible to the very demographic audience who most desperately need to witness them.

Edward Bella wedding

Edward is a 100+ year old vampire in love with the atheistic Bella. (Quick quiz: Edward is played by Robert Pattinson. What other iconic movie series does he appear in?) Edward is in a family of vampires who have sworn to abstain from human blood, led by the beneficent and altruistic father-figure, Carlisle. I could and probably will add Carlisle to the Back to the Father series but that's for another post. Bella is a child of the current age anxious to demonstrate her affections for Edward and not afraid to make those feelings obvious. Edward ——– refuses.

Edward in Bella's room

Not only does he refuse but states that:

1. He will not put her IMMORTAL SOUL in danger, especially as he is already worried about his own given that he is now a vampire, and

2. He will give in to her amorous desires ONLY after they are married. It is Bella who drags her feet on matrimony, having watched her distant-cop Dad and hippie free love mother destroy their own marriage through self absorption and cluelessness. But Edward is true to his word all the way (so to speak). And, atypically for a modern movie, nuptials are NOT had until the nuptials are — well performed by a minister at the end of the third book. Yes, dear friends there are FOUR books and FIVE movies!!

Now let's think about what Ms. Meyers has written. Her story involves a vampire. And vampires have been analogous to sexuality since the inception of the idea was made popular by Bram Stoker 118 years ago. Twilight proposes, if a VAMPIRE – who is the very embodiment of lust – can restrain himself for moral reasons for the woman he loves, then Mister-taking-his-girl-out-to-this-movie, so can you. If Edward can keep himself from both Bella's blood and bed, then you, oh mortal boy, no matter how much you may tell your girlfriend you love her, should too. Because NO one can emote more than the Bella-Edward characters about how devoted they are, how much they love each other, how thoroughly they would die for each other than this sappy over the top couple. Furthermore Edward is abstaining for the right reason – for Bella's soul, and he is clear and blunt about this DESPITE Bella's insistence that she does not believe in God.

I can just hear the after movie conversation – "If EDWARD can restrain himself then YOU should be able to, too! Don't you love me as much as Edward loves Bella?" And the more the young man may try to convince his lady friend that he wants to show his affection for her, the more he will be hoisted by his own petard of love. I can't help but chuckle.

The second reason I would advocate for this movie strongly comes in the form of the unbelieving Bella. In the fourth book/movie she discovers, soon after the honeymoon, that she is what everyone thought impossible – she has been made pregnant by Edward.

Edward had promised to make Bella a vampire, against his own better judgment, after they are married. Bella wants to start their honeymoon as a human. So subsequent to the mortal/vampire coupling and before the vampire changing process can begin, Bella finds herself with child. Rushing back to Carlisle, who is a doctor, they are told that a full term pregnancy will be terminal for Bella.

Bella, the atheist, in a welcome about face to her up to now single minded obsession with Edward, decides to die for her baby. And in a surprising but believable character shift, the life respecting Cullen family, so desperate are they to keep Bella alive, try emphatically to convince Bella to abort. Up to now Bella has almost worshipped the Cullens. But not only does Bella successfully fight them on this, she enlists the assistance of the one Cullen who hates her, Rosalie.

Rosalie and Bella pregnant

Rosalie is a vampire who was turned by Carlisle, in what he thought was an act of mercy, when he found Rosalie left for dead after a brutal attack. While grateful for the rescue she has grieved the loss of her  ability to bear children ever since. (Why male vampire have sperm which are alive enough to impregnate women but women vampires do not have living eggs is never explained, but is convenient to the plot, so just go with it.) And she hates Bella because Bella is voluntarily throwing away what Rosalie rightly sees as a blessing. So when Bella asks Rosalie for help to protect the unborn baby, Rosalie is more than willing to stand guard.

Bella alienates ALL the Cullens who love her and welcomed her to ally herself with the one Cullen who would be happy to kill her — all for the sake of her unborn child, whose continued existence is guaranteed to kill her.

Pregnant Bella

You really can't get a more pro-life scenario than that. With that one decision I became rather fond of the up-to-then rather annoying Miss Bella. You can't help but respect a woman readily giving up: the love of her life, the approval of the only real family she has ever had, and her best chance at immortality she believes she has, since she does not believe in an afterlife and the Cullens doubt they will be able to change her to a vampire after the birth of her child in time to save her — well, not life — but continued existence.

As it so happens they do, of course, save Bella, or it would have been a much shorter book, there would have been no fifth movie and the series would not have been NEARLY as popular with the teen crowd as it is.

So —- having created characters and a love story rivaling in the youth popularity pretty much every love story since Gone With the Wind and Love Story combined, Ms. Meyers makes a lust-representing vampire chaste, THEN turns a self-absorbed and atheistic modern female into a self-sacrificing pro-life mom.

Twilight fight

Then I'll go you one better – now this is a big spoiler so be warned. At the end of the series there is a climactic battle between the Cullens and their allies against the Volturi – bad scary vampires who want to take away or kill the Cullen child for her powers. But vampires from all over the world are enlisted to come to the aid of the Cullens. Those coming to fight side by side with the Cullens include: your traditional 1,000 year old vampires who snack on people as a matter of course, other "veggie" vampires who abstain from human blood, and…werewolves. OK they aren't your run of the mill werewolves, but more shapeshifters as they can change at will and are around to PROTECT humans rather than eat them, but these guys DO change INTO wolves.

Now many of the ancillary reasons these disparate groups have for fighting the Volturi include: vendettas against the Volturi, desire for autonomy from the Volturi, respect/affection/old debts owed to the Cullens. But all are drawn primarily under one simple principle: to protect the life of —- a child. An innocent whose one life is properly seen as more important than the dozens of grown ups who have pledged to protect her.

And you wonder why I endorse this series of books/movies? Stephanie Meyers takes virtues we need more desperately in this culture than Bella needs Edward – chastity, protection of the unborn child, and protection of child against the forces of evil – and plants them right into two characters who have fired the imagination of the very demographic part of our culture which needs to hear this the most – the teen and twenties. From a pragmatic view to culture change she has done an enormous good.

Twilight movies   Twilight books

God bless you Ms. Meyers. I own and have read every page of all your books and have sat through every single minute of all five movies – it's the least I could do to thank you.

Answer: He was in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire as the ill-fated Cedric Diggory.

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I am especially offended by the rampages through the movie theaters. Not that any incident of this kind isn’t a horrifying, appalling display of the most base cowardice by either the demon possessed or the terminally insane. But think about it – there is a random demographic of people in the theater – from elderly nursing home residents on an outing to a small child. Thanks to the idiot anti-Second Amendment liberal mentality these loonies can be sure that the people there are completely unarmed and helpless. They are in the dark, distracted, relaxed, planning on some casual entertainment and then – literally – Hell breaks loose. These are the kinds of people from whom Jesus would expel demons. This is Satan on display. But, of course, if there is no God then there is no devil and isn’t that terribly convenient for those who do not wish to be held accountable for anything. And they will sacrifice the rest of the world on their altar of self-indulgence. Like Verbal said in The Usual Suspects: “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he did not exist. ”

What this guy did in Lafayette was Satanic. There is really no other rational explanation for it.

Tell you what I would do:

If I owned a movie theater I would offer free movie tickets to anyone who brought a current concealed carry license and gun to my business. And I’d give them TWO free tickets if they brought a firearm and were active military or could show they were also currently working as police, security guard or fireman. That would discourage anyone planning this kind of c***. Like having an air marshal on a plane. Then these degenerates would not be able to stand there killing people as though they were targets in a carny fair game.

Life’s not safe. No one gets out of it alive. But this kind of mayhem would not go on for very long and many lives would be saved.

But of course the liberal moron politicians will force the exact OPPOSITE and start to treat theaters like the airports. The liberals will probably start frisking everyone to be absolutely SURE the theater is full of the completely unarmed and helpless so that the most possible people will die in case some crazy person gets by all their stupid security measures with some kind of a lethal weapon. And does it not occur to anyone that:

1. You could turn even a plastic spoon into a weapon?

2. A maniac that would kill innocent strangers will really NOT be impressed, daunted or in any way slowed down by laws preventing the sane citizenry from carrying measures of self-defense?

I wouldn’t be at all surprised to find out this guy was paid/encouraged/subsidized somehow by the same lot in our administration that funded and continued the ATF’s Operation Fast and Furious scandal – providing criminals with guns so they would kill innocent people just so they could further their anti-Second Amendment agenda.

Find me a movie theater who ENCOURAGES self-protection of its patrons and that’s a theater I intend to patronize.



Blacklist 1

SPOILERS – really. This show is cool but HAS to be watched chronologically. So if you have NOT seen the show and ever want to, just SKIP THIS POST until you have seen both seasons….OR  If you want to carry on reading anyway, I will be as spoiler-free as possible, but a few tidbits have to be revealed to make my point.

OK, this is a TV show but a darned good ADULT ONLY one and, arguably just a REEEAALLY long TV movie. All the elements come together at different points and there are complex character arcs and a background plot that even after two seasons is not complete.

Raymond Reddington (James Spader), a mastermind criminal and one of the top Most Wanted's on the FBI list, comes across a four year old orphan girl. The details of the how and why are still not clear even after two years but – never mind. To whom does he entrust this child? A strong woman? (And through the course of the show we run into a LOT of excellent candidates for foster motherhood for the child.) No. He brings her to a trusted male friend, Sam, who, even though unmarried and childless, takes Liz in and raises her as his own. She grows up to be a straight arrow: brilliant, beautiful, compassionate, confident and (excuse the expression) kicka** Federal agent but a by-the-book Girl Scout of an agent.

Liz’s problems begin after Sam dies and her allegiances begin to shift from her clean cut father, Sam, to the shadowy but protective Reddington. The moral here is that even Reddington, a kind of sane Moriarty figure, is created with an understanding that a child, even (I'd say especially) a female child, needs a strong male father to survive and thrive. And her morality begins to slip, even though an adult, even though an FBI agent, only after she loses her moral Gibraltar of a father and is forced to rely on the far more morally ambiguous Raymond Reddington.

Of course this is only a TV show. BUT the point here, again, is the expose of the Hollywood mentality. The Hollywood public persona is that of the politically correct liberal feminist. But when they create shows they want to actually succeed, the powers that be seem to understand that most audience members will respond to a scenario where there is a strong father or father-like figure.

Blacklist 2

Next Up –  The Patriot – Compilation of American Heroes but a Father First

Photo Credits:,



The Judge 1 by The Judge 2 by

Robert Downey, Jr. (Hank Palmer) contends with Robert Duvall (Joseph Palmer) in a head to head son-father contest in  The Judge. The story revolves around the contentious relationship between Downey's and Duvall’s characters. Hank is a very successful high priced criminal lawyer. Joseph is a renowned small town tough judge. At opening, Joseph Palmer – the Judge – has just suddenly lost his wife to a stroke and Hank comes in for the funeral. The reunion with these two is anything but cordial and the tension between them could have plucked out the high note in Mozart's Queen of the Night aria. Hank makes a hasty post-funeral retreat. But before Hank's plane has left the runway he gets a panicked call from his brother. Joseph has just killed a man with his car. Accident or vengeance? Hank becomes his father’s attorney and it’s not a pretty situation. BUT – the movie is filled with heart, humor and humanity.

I won’t give away any more than I have to but there is a brilliantly written moment in the film I must mention for this piece. During a hurricane quality storm – poetically sympathetic – Hank and Joseph STORM (and I DO intend this quite apt pun) out of the shelter and into the family kitchen to have it out verbally during the height of the maelstrom. During this auditory altercation we find out that Joseph sent Hank to reform school. Downey’s youthful history included drinking, drugs, and almost killing his brother in a car crash. The script (thanks to Quotes from speaks for itself (though I have taken the liberty of asterisking the rather colorful adjectives and invectives):untitled

Judge Joseph Palmer: Is that all you wanted, Henry, was a kind word? An 'atta boy? Then to use your words, you should have come the ***** home! We all waited, quietly, but you never came. Okay? And I was the one she'd <the mom> blame, because you wouldn't come home. Me. Now, was I tough on you? Yes. How'd you turn out, Henry? Waiting tables? A bum?

Hank Palmer: You put me in Juvenile Detention… you sent me to ******* Vanderburgh!

Judge Joseph Palmer: [Interrupting] No, no, no, no, no, you put yourself there.

Hank Palmer: Did I?

Judge Joseph Palmer: Yes.

Hank Palmer: The prosecutor recommended community service. That was your call!

Judge Joseph Palmer: No, no, no, it wouldn't have helped you!

Hank Palmer: I didn't need help, I needed you!

Judge Joseph Palmer: You were high, you rolled a car with your brother in it! He had a major league career ahead of him, a 90 mile-an-hour fast ball, and he runs a turnip shop! You crippled him, you stole his future, and you call me an *****?

Hank Palmer: What do you want from me? I was 17 when that happened. I was 17.

Judge Joseph Palmer: Oooh, "I was 13, I was 17." You were headed down the wrong path! I did what I thought was right.

Hank Palmer: [Holding back tears] You know, I didn't just graduate from law school, I graduated first in my class… I was first in my class… I did really well, dad.

Judge Joseph Palmer: You're welcome.

Hank "blames" his father for sending him to reform school as a youth. Instead  Joseph – the Dad – KNOWS that when Hank was a youth that he, as Hank's father, had to make that hard choice and apply some extremely tough love. Even as an adult Hank didn’t understand. What they did not bring up in the conversation was that Hank was now also a father, so this lesson is a difficult one to face. What Joseph did was absolutely critical to Hank. But it was also something your average mom is just not hard wired to do. I doubt my own ability to have the fortitude to do this and I have personally witnessed mothers who were similarly not equipped to make that kind of terrible, terrible but essential decision. That is what a good father does. He is the bad guy who must make the gut wrenching RIGHT decisions for which everyone will blame him later, but from which he can only pray his child will learn.

Duvall Duvall shake hands by

Next Up – The Blacklist – Even Girl Scouts Get Lost Without a Moral Compass

Photo credits in order:,,,


Mature George

At the conclusion of Back to the Future George's new found self-respect in 1955 cascades down to his family, instilling in them a respect for themselves, their family, their own lives, and for George all the way into 1985.

Before Marty's intervention, George was a punching bag – literally and figuratively – for Biff. And that malevolent dynamic followed him into adulthood, destroying his confidence and self-respect – until Marty gave him the chance and incentive to fight back. But self respect does not have to be beaten out of a man. It can be leached out, bit by bit, (paraphrasing Shakespeare) through a thousand unnatural cuts by the very people who are supposed to love and support him. In short – if you want a good leader, you must be prepared to be a good follower. This doesn't mean if your trailblazer does something wrong or stupid one shouldn't address it. But it must, even then, be done with a sense towards building up, not tearing down. But the media today revels in every opportunity to tear down or trivialize the institution of fatherhood.

If you want to undermine someone or something you can use the simple expediency of laughing at it – or him. Gone are the days of Father Knows Best Make Room for Daddy My Three Sons

Father Knows Best, Make Room for Daddy, and My Three Sons – all comedies, none took life too seriously and even Dad was occasionally the source of some humor. But it was gentle and respectful, showing that Dad is human and prone to mistakes like the rest of us, but generally demonstrating the importance of Dad in the family. Today the best you might get are shows like Tim Allen's Home Improvement, where Dad is there and involved but pretty much looked at more as one of the kids, but certainly not an especially strong authority figure. And when something goes wrong – who do they blame? Good old Dad. More the kids' pal than their father, he is seen, in today's society, as having all the responsibility but none of the ability to back it up. Kind of like an ill-treated babysitter who is given unruly kids to watch and rules to observe but none of the allowance to discipline which might make establishing some order possible.

Two of the more grotesque and iconic examples of media anti-family propaganda in the guise of entertainment are Married With Children and The Simpsons. Even though the fathers in those shows (Al Bundy in the former and Homer Simpson in the latter) are: married to the mom, faithful, employed, not abusive to their families, not alcoholics or drug addicts, they are shown to be completely idiotic and to fault for the poor upbringing of their children, financial insecurity and lack of social mobility. BUT does it not occur to anyone watching that the woman is not blamed for not stepping up to the plate, for redefining what is arguably a bad family dynamic and socio-economic situation? And, no, I'm not reading too much into these kinds of comedies.

How do you demean, or minimize a person or situation – you laugh at it. When the Dad is regularly the unkind butt of the joke then that diminishes the office of fatherhood. That's not to say that there isn't a LOT of room for humor in any family structure. And a perfectly legitimate sense of fun can be infused into the concept of fatherhood. There have been quite delightful comedies about Dads: the now classic Steve Martin version of

Father of the Bride,Father of the Bride the recent

Mom's Night Out,Mom's Night Out the very charming indie

Chef, Chef just to name a few, all treat fathers and fatherhood in a comic fashion but do so with a sense of respect and appreciation.

BUT, if a strong leader, good father, trailblazing partner is not your cup of tea — if you WANT to create a weenie George in your life – just laugh at him enough. That’ll do it.Dweeb George

Next Up – The Judge – Duvall and Downey, Jr Exchange Heroically Tough Love

Credits for photos in order:,,,,,,,


Sound of Music

The Sound of Music – this classic iconic tale has children, singing, nuns, the hills of Austria and nuns – did I mention it has nuns? The Sound of Music story hinges on Maria bringing the family Von Trapp back together after the father steps out of the lives of his children following the death of his wife. The solution, if you note, is not the arrival of Maria, but the recommitment of the dad back into the children's lives. Even when Maria leaves in the middle of the movie subsequent to her becoming aware of her infatuation with Captain Von Trapp, the family is fundamentally healed because the Captain has retaken the mantle of father. Maria's return is the icing on the cake but her return is not essential to the children's ultimate well being.

Kingsman              Kingsman2 by

Kingsman: The Secret Service could not be more in contrast. British comedy drama. Over the top semi-spoof, semi-homage to the spy thriller. Extremely violent, full of profanity. Not a nun to be found. Yet here too the theme plays out. Eggsy is the teen son of a deceased member of an elite secret squad of spy/troubleshooters. In the first 5 minutes of the movie his father is killed in the line of duty. When Eggsy's future mentor, Harry Hart (Colin Firth) brings the news to Eggsy's mom, Eggsy is a young child. Nice middle class home. Sensible widow. Fast forward 17 years and the sensible widow is now a slutty co-dependent case book definition of abused woman in a destructive relationship, living in a tenement with Eggsy and her illegitimate child of the live-in abusive boyfriend. Without the Dad – disaster. Eggsy will eventually step up to the plate but only after Harry has provided Eggsy with the desperately needed father figure.

Two movies with drastically different audience demographics. One's a family-oriented, religiously devout musical, the other a futuristic, somewhat dystopian, occasionally sexually crass, graphically violent action flick. (I'll let you figure out which is which. LOL) If you created a Venn diagram of people who would want to see either movie, you would have an intersecting sliver with little more than a tangent line connecting them.  (OK – I've seen both but, then I watch a LOT of movies.) You really cannot get much more of a contrast between styles than Sound of Music and Kingsman. The only thing they share superficially is the fact there are British accents in both.  But both share, unexpectedly, the EXACT same world-view on the family – that there is no real family without a strong father figure.

How is that relevant? Well, my point here is that there seems to be an instinctive understanding, even in film makers who do not have sensitivity for conventional morals, that a solid father figure, such as Captain Von Trapp in SoM and Harry in Kingsman, who has the best interests of the youth in their care, is vital to the well being of those young people. That a mom, while nice to have around, is NOT the lynch pin that a family should depend on. Sorry ladies. And I am the mother of six.

Next Up: Back to the Father – Part VIII: Laughing at Dad

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By and large, ideally, the most structurally sound family has a strong man at the helm. Strongly principled. Strongly spiritual/ethical. Strongly faithful. Someone who has a vision of growth and protection for those entrusted to him.

When was the last time you watched Mary Poppins? At whom is this movie aimed? Who is it that changes at the end? Who is it who makes the enormous character arc which defines the movie and his family? Well, let's see. His wife, Gwen, is a suffragette – frittering away her time while her children are being raised by nannies. George is a workaholic man who spends so much time at his office he barely knows his children and certainly doesn't understand their interests in kite flying or feeding birds. When George has his epiphany and presents his children with the mended kite, Gwen's contribution of her sash for the kite's tail is a clear indication that the dad has, once again, redefined the family's direction for the better – towards unity and putting their marriage and children above his career or her hobbies.

(Quick quiz: can you name the famous American singer/hoofer/actor who played the British chimney sweep Burt? Hint – had his own rather famous show named after him for years.)

The Pacifier was a movie about a bunch of kids whose father was a never-home scientist. The kids were kind of slackers and whiners. The father then is murdered for a secret invention and Vin Diesel's character is an agent assigned to protect them while the mom goes on assignment to aid the government in deciphering the clues her husband left. Diesel, never married and no kids, takes on the job of organizing the kids. It's a very funny "man becomes sudden 'Dad'" scenario. One of my favorite scenes is when the teenaged boy objects to being woken at 6 am and refuses to get up, Diesel, one handed, picks up both boy and mattress, flipping them effortlessly to the ground. (Reminds me of our tussles getting the kids up for morning mass. LOL) By the end of the movie, because Diesel's character steps into the role that even their biological father didn't, the kids blossom.

Next Up – What do The Sound of Music and Kingsman have in Common?

Answer: Dick Van Dyke. HIs show was, appropriately enough, The Dick Van Dyke Show which ran from 1961 through 1966, not counting the re-creation of it in 1971 and the reunion in 2004 of the surviving members of the original cast.


"As the king goes, so goes the kingdom," recognizes Arthur in Excalibur.

OK —— I LOOOOVE knowing that my core principles are often politically INcorrect, so, "fellow" girls, try not to get your panties in a wad over the following. Think now – did Lorraine, when George was kind of a weenie, emerge as a stalwart career woman – harried but carrying on? No, actually, her life was destroyed and she was rendered ineffectual and pathetic. It's funny how, no matter how liberal and feminist minded Hollywood claims to lean, they actually GET IT. They understand on a basic fundamental level that it is the husband, the father, who makes or breaks a family.

Now there is no offense intended to single women families – women whose husbands died or abandoned them. My grandmother was a single mom who brought up her three children and struggled through the depression singlehandedly after her husband, my grandfather, died. I also have two friends who lost husbands to early death and soldiered on to raise their children alone.

To me those lone moms are heroes: keeping their families intact, earning a living, being the backbone of their children's lives all the while dealing with grief, loss of income, and spiritual challenges. But is that the way they WANTED it to be? My mother, to the day she died, mourned the fact she did not have a father while growing up. He died when she was 12. I have other friends who are mothers today, divorced, widowed, or alone in other ways. They persevere – and I respect them and thank God every day I did not have to raise my children without a stalwart husband at my side. But is that what these single matriarchs prefer? Do they find now that their husbands were irrelevant luxuries? Not the ones I know.

But what does the media try to convince us that they believe: that men are as useful to women as a bicycle is to a fish, thank you Gloria Steinham. Have you SEEN the shows Married with Children and The Simpsons? The fathers are — well, wastes of space would not be an overstatement, even though they stay with the family and continue to provide for them.

The mantra today is that women do not need men. Women's Lib, government welfare, commercials, movies, songs and TV shows attempt to treat the Dad as jokes – useless, unneeded baggage, or worse: alcoholic, abusive and better off gone. When in fact, if you watch closely, even in the media entertainments which denigrate the father, it is the Dad whose personality informs the family he creates.

A good father/husband, even when gone, leaves a legacy of strength. A bad one leaves his mark too, whether on the moral character, religious faithfulness, work ethic, or respect for the law. And this reality is reflected in the movie media, even seemingly against their own will, to trivialize the very person, for better OR worse, whose personality will primarily shape the persona of the children and wife either in their care or that they leave behind

Mary Poppins and The Pacifier


In both the reference to a movie of the same name, and as an analogy for the fact we are taking a break from the ongoing much longer blog about Back to the Future and fatherhood —–

We interrupt this multi-post on Back to the Future to bring you – as John Cleese might say – something completely different.

I would venture to say that most, if not all of you, have never heard of the movie A New Leaf. Penned, directed and starring Elaine May, co-starring the iconic Walter Matthau, this is a small budget film made in 1971 based upon the short story, The Green Heart, by Jack Ritchie. The protagonist, Henry Grahame, (Matthau) is a self-absorbed, self-indulgent aristocratic heir who runs through his family fortune until, in his late thirties finds himself without friends or fortune. There is only one person in the world who cares anything about him, Harold (the delightful singer and Shakespearean theatrical actor, George Rose), Henry’s valet, who sums up the basis for his loyalty to Henry in this one speech: “How many men these days require the services of a gentleman’s gentleman? How many men have your devotion to form, sir? You have managed, in your own lifetime Mr. Graham, to keep alive traditions that were dead before you were born.”

Of course, Harold tempers this with the warning that if Mr. Graham continues to be poor, he immediately tenders his two week notice.

Henry quickly realizes that, for him, there are only two options: suicide…………….or marrying rich. With Harold’s aide Henry embarks on a quest to find a rich widow or single heiress who would be tolerable to his refined tastes and isolated ways. He soon discovers that while there are MANY candidates, he can’t stand any of them…until he finds the least suitable one of all. An extremely wealthy but ugliest of ugly ducklings. Shy, socially awkward, clumsy, naive, gullible – she is everything Henry would NOT want in a mate, aside from the money. However, it suddenly occurs to him, she would be quite easy to —— murder.

So begins the courtship and honey-murder, I mean —moon of one of the most charming little comedies I have ever seen. It is ultimately a film about the power of love, redemption and poetic justice, but told in the singularly most UN-conventional and UN-sentimental way I have ever seen demonstrated.

I REALLY am not going to spoil this one for you. You have to see it……if you can. It is quite hard to find and after much searching I located a copy on VHS.

But if possible, I recommend this movie as one of my all time favorites. This movie would be appropriate, with parental supervision, for even younger teens. Henry is quite chaste. There is very little profanity and no sex. Henry’s SOLE vice is avarice. The only questionable moment is when one socialite attempts to seduce him and Henry, in a breathtaking moment of humor, literally runs screaming from her.

Walter Matthau is at his finest in a brilliant example of miscasting gone right. Aside from Hello Dolly, I can’t think of a less appropriate vehicle for Matthau. But – as in Hello Dolly – he is such an amazing actor that he pulls off the deliciously arrogant and thoroughly self-centered Henry while making him – somehow – adorable.

Elaine May is perfectly terrific as the totally INcapable Henrietta Lowell. Vulnerable, dependent, socially oblivious and educated to the point of being a blithering idiot in everything except her one field of interest – botony – May creates a child-like character who is both endearing and extremely annoying at the same time. You come to understand why Henry would consider killing her yet dread her disappearance. May is probably not familiar to too many. She made her biggest mark with Mike Nichols as half of an improvisational comedy duo and did a good deal of stage work. She was in only about a dozen films, including a teensy part in The Graduate, wrote only 10 screenplays and directed only four movies, the last mostly because of her tendency to go way over budget. As an aside, one of her directorial efforts was Ishtar, the biggest financial flop in history at that time.

But she did manage to produce A New Leaf – this beautiful blossom of a movie.


Continuing our background on BTTF, Marty is friends with one Emmett Brown, (Christopher Lloyd) local brilliant eccentric inventor. Doc has no family and Marty has no father to speak of. Their friendship is quite touching as Doc is Marty's substitute father figure, but it is ultimately not enough.

(Quick quiz: Did Lloyd and Fox, who had such amazing chemistry together in this trilogy, ever reunite to act together again?)

Fast forward to the end of the movie. Marty has changed everything by getting George to punch Biff while defending Lorraine. George's show of courage by standing up to whom he was most afraid – Biff – has informed the next 20 years of his life, making him a financial success, an inspiration to his children, and even a published author in his spare time. Their two oldest children are confident professionals. And Lorraine has blossomed into a lovely vivacious athletic woman, truly in love with her husband and her life.

The Father Makes or Breaks the Family

(Answer: Yes: Spin City in 1999 and The Michael J Fox Show in 2014. Full disclosure, I have never seen either show but found this info on Wikipedia.)