IT SOUNDED LIKE HE WAS PROUD to tell me he could eat anything; I congratulated him, telling him I had to watch what I ate. When we met in school, he told me he was diabetic. Later he told me he was surprised by my reaction when he initially told me. I said, “Oh, okay; but don’t think I am going to treat you special now.” Up until that moment most people he had told according to him started treating him differently, as if he could not make his own decisions. Please keep in mind, this happened back in time before we had the technology, we have now for tracking blood sugar levels. From that first meeting on our dorm floor, we became fast friends. We both had opted out of the meal plan offered at the school, instead fending for ourselves in the communal kitchen on our floor. Seeing what he ate on a weekly basis did make me curious how he managed to eat certain foods that I had thought would wreak havoc with his sugar levels. I remember asking him if he took the same amount of insulin each day, after seeing him inject himself in the stomach at the table before we started eating dinner one night. He said he could feel his sugar levels and adjust his insulin dosage accordingly; he would just wing the dosages each day depending on what he planned on eating. It surprised me because he would eat desserts, drink alcohol and snack between meals on an assortment of food items from natural to processed. ONE NIGHT WE WERE HANGING OUT, watching TV. After we had sat through a couple of sit-coms, the news came on. The newscaster listed the night’s news stories that were to be covered during the telecast and one of the topics was the use of service dogs for diabetics. Of course, my friend was curious about it as well as myself; so, we decided to sit through the news until the dog story was covered. I was familiar with the use of seeing eye dogs for the blind, but I could not imagine what service dogs would do for those with diabetes. Well, it turned out to be an interesting news segment. Service dogs were being trained to alert a person when their blood sugar level was out of range. Both of us could not believe what we were seeing, but it evidently was working; the dogs could smell when a person’s levels were out of whack. Though that was such a novel idea at the time, it turns out it was only the beginning to the variety of animals that would be put into use to assist people. Some would come from unexpected places, such as the one in this drama based on a true story. WHILE VACATIONING IN THAILAND A FAMILY experiences a horrific accident that would alter their lives. No one seemed to heal from the event until the children one day brought home an injured animal. With Naomi Watts (The Book of Henry, The Impossible) as Sam Bloom, newcomer Griffin Murray-Johnston as Noah Bloom, Andrew Lincoln (Love Actually, The Walking Dead-TV) as Cameron Bloom, newcomer Felix Cameron as Rueben Bloom and Jacki Weaver (Poms, Silver Linings Playbook) as Jan; the story behind this movie was unbelievable and difficult to watch at times. Naomi transformed herself into her character, that easily pulled me into the story. The gorgeous scenery was a bonus as I enjoyed the director’s light touch to letting the story play out in a real way. I am sure there were extra parts that were inserted into the script to manipulate the viewer, but I felt they were not done in a heavy-handed way. And if that was not enough, watching the animal in this film was so amazing and done in such an endearing way that I was captivated. Also, stay for the credits to see actual photographs of the family this film was based on.
Since I have seen it happen before I wonder or more accurately worry that the memories in my mind will slowly dissipate like deflating balloons, ever drifting downward towards a black abyss. I have read the latest studies about diet and exercise; I hope following them will, if the air in my memories has to leave at some point, at least slow down the leakage. When it comes to remembering loved ones both deceased and alive, I know there are many different ways people honor and maintain their memories of the person. Some make visits to the cemetery to replace previously left flowers with new ones. Other people make a donation to a charity or acquire something of significance to remind them of the person. I am not a believer in cemeteries or burials so my methods of remembering may not be conventional. I believe I have mentioned before the ceramic vase I have that is my memory about a deceased friend; for another friend I bought a few shares in the utility company that services the city of my friend’s birthplace. Every 3 months I receive mail that provides an update about the company. In the brochure there are always pictures of the city that remind me of my friend, keeping their memory active in my mind. The city looks beautiful and one day I hope I can go visit it to walk around the neighborhood where they grew up. Recently while talking with a relative, when they asked what I would want done with my ashes, I mentioned a few places I would like some of my ashes to be spread. With a straight face they asked if I expected them to do a year long tour of all the cities I wanted them to visit. Maybe I will have to narrow my list down; at least I would not ask them to visit a place like the beach that was in this dramatic, horror thriller. WHEN visiting a faraway secluded beach that had special significance for her family Nancy, played by Blake Lively (The Age of Adaline, Green Lantern), wanted to take in the location’s beauty. Sadly the place could become her last memory. This movie was pretty much all about Blake’s character; the other actors such as Oscar Jaenada (Cantinflas, The Losers) as Carlos and Brett Cullen (Red Dawn, Person of Interest-TV) as Nancy’s father were very minor characters. Luckily, Blake put in a strong performance that kept me interested in the story. Now as for the story, it was farfetched almost to the point of silly. However, for cheap thrills and good tense moments this picture provided these elements along with a couple of bloody scenes. Honestly I do not feel one has to run out right away to see this film; but if you have some free time with nothing to do, then this movie would do. If nothing else I thought the scenery was gorgeous; I would not mind seeing such a place in person. For now that is the most vivid memory I have of the movie, but it is not like I am going to frame my movie ticket to keep the memory alive.
2 3/4 stars
Not only can I appreciate a person’s determination, I understand it. In fact, I live and breathe it. When I was 7 years old I spent 1 1/2 years pleading with my parents to get me a piano. At every available opportunity I would remind (some would say nag) my parents that we needed a piano. Since two of my mother’s sisters had pianos, I cannot count how many time I sat at their pianos teaching myself how to play. Finally my parents rented a piano for me. I did not disappoint them since I took lessons for 8 years. With a similar determination, I understood the main drive displayed through this movie that was based on a true story. Jonny Weston (Under the Bed, Sugar) portrayed Jay Moriarity, a boy who simply wanted to be in the ocean and ride its waves. Before he even understood the ocean’s power, his fate was cemented when his neighbor Frosty Hesson, played by Gerald Butler (The Phantom of the Opera, Coriolanus) came into his life. Because of Frosty, Jay’s passion for surfing accelerated as he discovered mythical Mavericks (massive waves) not only existed in the world, but were found near his hometown of Santa Cruz. He wanted nothing more than to conquer these gigantic waves, but would he be able to do it on his own? With his mother Kristy, played by Elisabeth Shue (Hope Springs, House at the End of the Street), dealing with the breakup of her marriage and Frosty’s reluctance to take on the responsibility, Jay would have to go to monumental lengths to achieve his goal. As I said, I understood Jay and wished this movie went deeper into his psyche. My disappointment came from the bland dialog and predictability of the scenes. It seemed as if the writers just threw in things like an antagonist or love interest because it would make for a good story. It did not; instead, it came across like an afternoon special on television. In its favor the photography was amazing in some scenes. I only wished the studio worked on this movie with the same determination as Jay had in his life.
2 1/4 stars