Friday Unwind #23: A Million Miles Away; The Peanut Butter Falcon; The Burial; Mongolian Throat Singing; Off The Grid
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Yes, it was a bit of a ‘Movie Week’. But be sure to read to the end… it’s not ALL movies!
🎬 GROOVIE MOVIE: A Million Miles Away
I had just finished watching actor, Michael Pena play a cold blooded killer in the final season of Jack Ryan and now he’s playing a migrant Mexican farm worker aspiring to be an astronaut in the true story, A Million Miles Away. That guy has some acting chops.
Jose Hernandez grew up in a migrant farming family, traveling each year from Mexico to the Salinas valley in California to pick crops. He was twelve before he learned English.
After noticing that Jose was extremely bright a teacher, Ms. Young told him that he could be whatever he wanted to be. Jose wanted to be an astronaut.
Embarking on a thirty year quest, Jose learned to fly, became a certified scuba diver, and learned Russian while applying eleven times to the NASA space program. He was denied all eleven times.
This movie takes you along on Jose’s journey in a beautiful story about determination.
For those of you who remember the Columbia shuttle disaster in 2003, you’ll appreciate the impact this had on Hernandez’s dream.
Pena is outstanding as Hernandez and Rosa Salazar is delightful as his wife, Alena.
🎬 GROOVIE MOVIE: The Peanut Butter Falcon
As a kid did you read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn? The Peanut Butter Falcon offers an interesting twist as Zak, a young man with Down Syndrome and Tyler, a misfit fisherman form an unlikely bond as they navigate the outer banks of North Carolina. Tyler is trying to escape the memory of his brother’s death and the sins of his past, while Zak, who has escaped from a state run facility, plans to become a famous wrestler after watching videos of his hero The Salt Water Redneck.
I cheered through all of their heartwarming misadventures in this feel good movie about the value of friendship. If you like southern blues, you’ll also love the soundtrack, which you can listen to below.
Shia LaBoeuf plays Tyler and Zack Gottsagen plays Zak, while Dakota Johnson plays Eleanor, the social worker who tries to chase Zak down.
🎬 GROOVIE MOVIE: The Burial
Jamie Foxx and Tommie Lee Jones team up in the true story, The Burial, a funny yet poignant David and Goliath story. Jeremiah… (Jones) is getting older. He wants to leave the legacy of his family’s funeral home business to his thirteen children, but some bad investments have forced him to sell off several of the funeral homes. After striking what he thought was a concrete deal with …… he discovers that he has been swindled. Jeremiah hires hot shot personal injury lawyer, Willie Jones (Foxx) to represent him in court in Hinds County, Mississippi. The stakes are raised as an 8 million dollar law suit becomes 100 million. Unlikely friendships are made, shady pasts are uncovered, and you’ll be along for the ride, wondering who will win and what really matters.
Foxx and Jones give stellar performances and the credits give you a glimpse of the real Jeremiah and Willie. The Burial makes for a good movie night.
Available with a subscription to Prime Video.
🎵 Mongolian Throat Singing
I love music. All kinds. Ok, in truth, I’m not 💯 into rap. But I need to give all the credit to one of our readers, Mr. Switter, who writes Switter’s World. He introduced me to Mongolian Throat Singing. What?
Sounds are produced from deep in the throat. Check out the video above for a sample.
And if you want to see a modern Throat Singing Group in action, listen to this video from The Hu Band. (This is the one Mr. Switter sent to me. Be warned!)
📚 Off the Grid: Children’s Book Illustrator, Shannon Cartwright
A graduate of the University of Michigan School of Architecture and Design, Shannon Cartwright lives ‘off the grid’ in Alaska. There are more than 1.5 million books in print that she has illustrated.
She has never had a computer or cell phone. Her ‘home’ was without indoor plumbing and for forty years, no electricity.
In the 1980’s she developed an essential tremor, a genetic disorder that damaged her motor skills. Eventually she could no longer draw. Her long time partner, Gary, was diagnosed with cancer. He passed away in 2014, leaving Shannon alone in the wilderness.
“This is not going to end well,” I thought as I was reading her story.
That same year, Shannon had surgery that placed electric stimulators in her brain. She was 65. The tremors stopped.
Friends helped her rebuild her life and after seven years without drawing, she began again. Her artwork filled her workspace as she created her new book, “Alaska Animals, You and I”, a detailed children’s book about animal anatomy.
Shannon sends her original artwork on the train, after rolling it up and placing it in plastic bags. Can you imagine sending off your ORIGINAL work this way?!
When she isn’t busy creating, Shannon sells her work to train tourists who stop for a few minutes at her little shop along the railroad tracks.
Her work is sold at the Dancing Leaf Gallery in Talkeetna and her illustrated books are available at Amazon. She continues to live near the Alaska rail line in a cabin that (finally) has solar panels and water that is pumped from the nearby river.
You can read more details about Shannon’s story, including when she was stalked by a wolf by clicking here. If you missed it, you can also read about the Hurricane Turn train that carries Shannon’s precious cargo.
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Were you worried that this post was going to be ALL MOVIES?! 📽
Have you seen any of these movies? Got some recommendations for us?
I wonder if there is such a thing as a Soprano Throat Singer?🎶
Hey there. Wishing you a happy Holiday Season.
How would you do with no computer, no phone, no lights….and especially no indoor plumbing…..in Alaska?😱
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Wherever you are, I hope life is sunny. 🌞❤Heather
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