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When this movie ended, everyone in the audience just sat there for a few minutes, trying to pull ourselves back together. As we filed out, still blubbering, the theatre manager said she’d seen it three or four times and fell apart at each viewing. 

“Under the Same Moon” is the story of Carlito, a Mexican boy who will do anything to be reunited with his mother, who is working in the U.S. It’s a classic hero’s-journey tale, but it also puts a beautifully-drawn human face on the immigration issue. My friend Carol and I are both working on novels that touch on the issue of immigration in some way, so we had the perfect excuse to play hooky.

From the perspective of writing craft, it’s my favorite kind of story. It features classic archetypes–the plucky, unstoppable kid you can’t help but root for, the cranky guy with a heart of gold, various mentors, allies and enemies along the way. In the best possible way, this movie doesn’t care what you think of the immigration issue. It just presents this one situation, knowing you’ll draw your own conclusions. I bet there are reviewers out there who despise this movie, the way there are critics who despise commercial fiction. Some people are so uncomfortable with genuine sentiment that they can’t possibly be fair about a film like this.

There is a class of movies I tend to file under “Films every American Should See.” There aren’t very many of them. Off the top of my head, I can think of a few–“Hoop Dreams,” “Glory,” “Apollo 13,” “The Color Purple,” and “October Sky” come to mind. “Under the Same Moon” belongs on that list. Go see this movie. It’ll stick with you for a long time, guaranteed.

Wishing everyone a joyous Cinco de Mayo!

 

Top 3 ways to get me to watch a TV movie:

  1. Make it be about a writer.
  2. Play a Talking Heads song during the credits.
  3. Have the main character say, “If everybody could do it, don’t you think everybody would be a freakin’ writer?”

And that, my friends, is the TV trifecta. I love stories about writers. I’ve written a few myself. “Write or Wrong” with Kirstie Alley is funny, smart and watchable. There are also bonuses: A lap dog. Fear of cosmetic surgery. A main character who keeps her clothes in my closet [point deduction because she lies about being on the wagon]. References to Hemingway and Cyrano de Bergerac. A hero (also a writer) with a subtle Scottish burr. A BMW Z-4 Roadster. Oh, and a shocker happy ending. 🙂 This movie will re-air on Lifetime this Sunday, so set your DVR. Definitely worth a look.

Heads up. Friday Night Lights just showed up on Sunday. Past episodes of this drama will re-air on Sundays, which is a great way to get hooked. Friday Night Lights

I’m a very unlikely viewer for this show. I’m not a football fan and have managed to go through life without actually knowing the rules of the game. TV dramas about high school kids almost never work for me. This sounds like the last kind of program I’d tune into. It’s not about football the way Bull Durham is not about baseball.

I started watching Friday Night Lights because of a book. An amazingly good book–so good that, while reading it, I forgot that I don’t like or understand high school football. I found myself on the edge of my seat, invested in the characters and their storyline. I was interested to see how this lovely work of nonfiction would morph into a fictional TV drama.

My favorite parts–sharp, powerful character archetypes. The rebel, the princess, the hero and anti-hero, the bad girl, the good girl…They’re all beautifully portrayed. The women in this show get to be strong and smart and funny. That alone is enough to win my heart.

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