Monday, April 20, 2009

A personal update

I should've wrote something on March 21, my daughter's 4th birthday.

But since i procrastinated too much, how about a re-cap of the past four years....or at least enough stuff to let you know that i have a lot to be thankful to God about:

4 years & 1 month ago:

2 years & 5 months ago:

2 years ago this week: we closed on a beautiful bungalow in a good & vibrant yet working class (those qualities seem contradictory on the North side, at least in some people's minds)

1 year & 2 months ago: I was unemployed. Even the temp agency, where i got "Temp of the Year" in 1998 couldn't get me a temp job!

Sorry if it sounds like bragging...but ultimately, these things happened, not because of some amzing thing *i* did, but that God had done.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

My wife and i recently saw a film on DVD -- "Boy in the Striped Pajamas". It's a (presumably) fictional take on the Holocaust, seen through the eyes of the 8 year old son of the Auschwitz death camp director in 1942, and his friendship with the title character, an 8 year old Jewish boy who lives on the other side of the fence.

It's a very well done The two children, especially, are amazing.

Asa Butterfield portrays Bruno, the lead character. Physically, he looked to me like Hitler would have as a child. But his character is in fact a true human being, and while not at all perfect, definitely a protagonist.

Jack Scanlon, who portrays Shmuel, is so amazingly sad (as one would expect in real life), yet still has childlike hope.

Its a must-see movie.

While i loved Slumdog Millionaire & was glad to see it win so many awards, i am surprised this wasn't nominated for as many Oscars. Jack Scanlon, hands down, should've won Best Supporting actor.

Please note -- this movie is based on a book by author John Boyne. While in some ways different from the book, both the author & many readers were very pleased by the result.

The official site of the movie is here.

Just a rough thought here...but if you were to show movies about the Holocaust to students, I would do it in this order:

  • Boy in the Striped Pajamas - great "entry level" Holocaust film, which shows some of the horror, but enough for a child (i.e. grade school) to take in. Certainly lots of issues for people of all ages to discuss, however.

  • Life Is Beautiful - For middle schoolers...lots of humor, but again, getting into issues to discuss

  • Schindler's List - For high schoolers and above...some intense stuff, that certainly requires discussion. A great film...

This blog entry should probably sound deeper & more thoughtful than it is...i encourage you to check out this movie (we just saw it at our local RedBox DVD rental)...but you should actually buy it, especially if you're a teacher, or in some way work with youth.