Author Archives: Annette Palmer

The Polka King – Movie Review

The Polka King is based on the true story about local Pennsylvania polka legend, Jan Lewan, who develops get-rich quick schemes in order to enjoy the finer things in life. Starring Jack Black as Jan Lewan and Jenny Slate as his wife, Maria, the film depicts a time in Lewan’s life when his gift shop business is failing. Lewan takes it upon himself to start building investors, with himself as the brand. Using the money from unsuspecting victims, he creates, among other things, a recording label and a travel agency. Even when the government comes knocking on his door, warning him to “close up shop” on his illegal dealings, Lewan is determined to keep the money flowing.

Fans of polka music might enjoy the songs, and some of the acting, particularly that of Jack Black as an immigrant looking to make his fame and fortune in America. Black gets it down, right to the accent, the larger-than-life dreams, the big personality, and even the extensive hand gestures when he talked. Jenny Slate gave a passable performance as his wife. However, whether due to the writing or just her interpretation of her character, there seemed to be a lack of connection with her husband, both in on-screen chemistry as well as in the relationship itself.

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The Greatest Showman

Inspired by P.T. Barnum’s vision, The Greatest Showman is a musical masterpiece that delivers both in song and dance. With the Academy Award winning lyricists of LA LA Land at the helm, this is one soundtrack that is definitely worth getting.

Hugh Jackman as P.T. Barnum, a man with big dreams looking to make his fortune with his wife Charity, played by Michelle Williams at his side, is inspired by his daughters, (Austyn Johnson and Cameron Seely) to turn his museum filled with dead things into a place filled with living “oddities” that the world would pay money to see. Among the various people who join him in his plight are midget, Tom Thumb (Sam Humphrey), a bearded woman, Lettie Lutz (Keela Settle), and beautiful trapeze artist, Anne Wheeler (Zendaya) who’s only “oddity” aside from her remarkable skill is the color of her skin.

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Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle – Movie Review

Taking place twenty years after the events of the first film, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle evolves into a video game set in a jungle complete with human-eating albino rhinos and a deadly mission for the protagonists to complete before they can return to the real world. While the film is a nod to late actor Robin Williams, who starred in the original version, the modern approach it takes by turning the game into a video game and its players into avatars feels fresh and relatable.

The film begins by introducing the four main leads in their predictable and ultra clichéd lives. The geek, Spencer Gilpin (Alex Wolf), is the smart one, always striving for approval and attention. His best friend Anthony “Fridge” Johnson (Ser’Darius Blain), is the high school football star who can’t seem to stay out of trouble. The beautiful blonde, Bethany Walker (Madison Iseman), a self-absorbed teenager obsessed with her looks and her cell phone. And of course, the nerdy red head, Martha Kaply (Morgan Turner), who thinks sports are a waste of time, and prefers to spend her days in pursuit of an Ivy League education.

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Do Ivy League Schools Expect Too Much In Their Application Essays?

I was recently asked to help an 18 year old write an Ivy League college entrance exam essay. And maybe it’s because I haven’t written one in a while, but I found it absolutely ridiculous how much experience Ivy League schools expect young people to have before even reaching the legal drinking age.

The questions they ask teenagers to answer, such as life changing and altering experiences in travel, leadership, honesty, and other things are so overrated, especially for someone who is barely legal to vote or marry. Many haven’t had the opportunity to engage in one meaningful relationship, let alone many and in various circumstances.

How many life altering things do they think really happen to the average kid before they turn 18? Or do they only hope to admit those who have lead difficult, broken, and abused lives?

But if that’s the case, then they are in fact promoting all the things that no child wants to endure – divorce, poverty, alienation, etc.. Because let’s face it, those questions require answers that come only from challenges and hardships that most parents try to shield their children from.

College should be a place where kids learn about these things. This is where kids should be exposed to all these coming of age milestones, when they are legal adults, and more physically, mentally and emotionally prepared to handle these sorts of situations.

As I was reading the question choices and considering the kinds of answers that would be most appropriate and impressive to the admissions committees, a thought dawned on me. I was the most qualified to write these essays. My life and life challenges, failures, successes and overall experiences are what would make these essays interesting and even get me into these schools.

The only problem is that I’ve already graduated with a bachelors in Communications and have no intention of continuing my education or applying to any of these universities.

Do Ivy League schools expect too much from our kids, or do we just not expect enough from our teenagers, who are constantly struggling to be treated more like adults? Perhaps if we gave kids more hardships and challenges to deal with, they would have a better chance of getting into all these prestigious universities.

But if an 18 year old had to endure all that I have gone through in over 30 years, what would that person be like when he or she finally reached true adulthood?

Perhaps in their quest to find the brightest, smartest and best individuals, Ivy League schools are actually promoting kids and their parents to engage in and lead unhealthy and dangerous lifestyles.

 

Dogs Are Tortured & Killed in Houston and Florida Redlands for FUN

Every day, I read stories about people abusing, neglecting and even killing dogs, and it makes me so sad. Dogs are the purest souls, with so much love to give. I look at my two dogs and I can’t imagine anyone ever hurting them. Places like Houston’s 3rd Ward and the Redlands in Florida, are just two of the places in the United States that need to be addressed on the treatment of dogs. Anyone who has ever had a dog, knows the pain and suffering of losing a beloved friend and family member.
 
The dogs in these places may not be your family, but they are just as sweet and lovable as the ones that sleep on your couch and cuddle with you in bed. It’s bad enough that they are forced to live in the streets, unprotected from the elements and starving most of the time. They don’t deserve to have heartless people shooting them, running them over with their cars, poisoning them or throwing acid on their backs for fun. This is pure cruelty and it needs to stop!
 
Please, let’s work together to bring this senseless suffering of all animals to an end. If Sea World can stop their Shamu shows, surely we, the people of the land of the free and the home of the brave, the citizens of the United States of America, can stop mistreating the animals in our own front and backyards. All these dogs want is a little food and loving touch – can’t we find it our hearts to give them that, and so much more…
 
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