Lennie Freeman

Taking a movie break

In Uncategorized on June 17, 2011 at 6:28 pm

Just to let you know all, I am taking a little bit of a break- doing a bunch of stuff related to real job (teaching and advising) for the next two weeks. I will have plenty more when I get back.


That’s what I said

In Movies from childhood on June 17, 2011 at 4:01 am

“The Goonies” 1985, Amblin Entertainment and Warner Bros.

Originally, I planned this post to be all about the quirky wonderful reasons I love “The Goonies” so much, but events in the last 24 hours have changed that. I still love it, and I still think it’s quirky wonderful, but the theme of my post has been adjusted. Instead, I want to talk about the friendship that binds the characters in the film together.

The title Goonies¬†comes from the area that the main characters live in. It’s called the Goondocks, and the people who live there tend to be a little off. You’ve got Mikey- the asthma geek kid, Mouth- can’t keep his trap shut, Data- invention fail, and Chunk- food, delusions a-grandeur and the truffle shuffle. Brought along for the ride are Mikey’s athletic brother Brand, the cheerleader Andy that Brand has a crush on, and Andy’s best friend Stef. They are what appears on the surface to be a ridiculously mismatched group of friends, but somehow, through their shared experiences, they are bonded together.

Real, true, friendship is one of the best relationships we can ever have in life. Sometimes, friendships can even surpass our other relationships. I have known my best friend Shellie for over 25 years, longer than most people are married, and while I hope to one day find my ultimate best friend in a spouse, I know that she will be there in ways my future, dreamy, millionaire, pulitzer prize winning, professional football player husband can’t be. Friends are just, well, different. They support us unconditionally. They laugh at our shared inside jokes. They bring us ice cream and Diet Dr. Pepper at 2 in the morning when we call in tears. It’s not that they are better or worse than a romantic relationship; they are just different.

I have no doubt, that while Brand and Andy ultimately hook up in the end and probably live happy ever after, Mikey will be friends with Andy for years and years. I mean, they discovered a pirate ship together!

I do know its possible to find kismet with a friend. It’s one of the most rewarding friendships you can ever have. Sometimes though, friendships can falter, and it can be heartbreaking. However, I like to imagine that twenty years after Mikey recovered the rich stuff¬†from One-Eyed Willy’s pirate ship, Chunk, Mikey, Brand, Andy, Stef, Data, and Mouth still hang out together and still call each other goonies. We would all be so lucky to have a friendship like that.


Summer Shakespeare

In Uncategorized on June 14, 2011 at 6:12 pm

Today’s post will be a little bit different from the rest. Today I am not going to watch a video, but am actually going to a live action play with my friend Ryan. Although, it kinda does apply because I do actually have a DVD version of the original performance at school, but I had not planned on including it with my 125 dvds in this project.

The show is called “The Complete Works of Shakespeare, Abridged.” It consists of three guys in costumes that resemble Shakespearean clothing, minus the Converse tennis shoes. Together, they tackle every Shakespeare play and his sonnets. The DVD version makes my face hurt from laughing so hard, and I have very high expectations for the live version. The Idaho Shakespeare Festival is marketing the show as a Shakespeare for people who love him and hate him, and it is soooo true. I keep this DVD at school because I like to use it in order to pull my students into the wonderful world of the Bard, and it very rarely fails. Kids get hooked and sometimes even request a viewing outside of class. It’s moments like that, that I am sooo glad I am a teacher. There is nothing quite like hooking the big burly football player on iambic pentameter and rhyming couplets.

I get to teach one Shakespeare play each year, Romeo and Juliet, but it would be a dream come true to teach a class exclusively on his works. Some kids still moan and groan their way through the unit, but it is those few that grab hold that make the whole thing worth it. At the beginning of the unit, I have the students memorize and perform the first 8 lines of the prologue

“Two households, both alike in dignity/in fair Verona where we lay our scene/ from ancient grudge break to new mutiny/where civil blood makes civil hands unclean/from forth the fatal loins of these two foes/a pair of star-crossed lovers take their life/whose misadventurous piteous overthroes/doth with their death bury their parents strife”

I have been at my school for three years now, and this last year when the kids were memorizing, several of the juniors and sophomores commented on what they did when they were working on the assignment. I’d come around a corner and there would be three or four kids all reciting the lines.

So why do I make them do it? What is the learning purpose here? Well there are some edu-speak reasons like objectives for an understanding of rhyme scheme and iambic pentameter and the prologue summarizes the entire plot of the play, but the main reason I make them do it is to give them a much needed boost in confidence. When first presented with the assignment, I hear over and over “I can’t do it. It’s impossible to memorize all that in three days.” But you know what? They do it. And they do it proudly.

For many of my students, Romeo and Juliet is their first full on exposure to Shakespeare. I was lucky enough to have mine when I was just six years old. My parents took my brother and I to England for Christmas, and we went to see Hamlet at the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford. Our seats were in the balcony, and I honestly don’t remember much of the event, but I do know from that point on, I was hooked on the magic of his words. I will be thrilled to pieces, if one day, one of my students feels the same way.