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Archive for June, 2011

The tempting thing to do is to roll right into a full-blown movie review, especially when I find a film to be moving, disturbing or alarming.  But I’m not going to do that, despite the serious subject matter.  I’ll say this much: Trust was a fairly well done movie.  The acting, storyline and dialog were, for the most part, very solid.  While not terrifically graphic, the movie is disturbing.  At least five people walked out of the theater.  If you’re a parent, the movie will scare you.  It will also likely cause you to have very frank discussions with your kids about the dangers that lurk on the internet.  It will also tug at your heart a bit, especially if you have a daughter.  If you don’t mind emotionally challenging films, check it out.  Be warned that it is not suitable for younger children and might not even be right for older ones.

Now that that’s out of the way, I can talk about what I really wanted to say (on this blog) about the movie. When I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s, it was unheard of, at least here the Detroit area, to see your neighborhood in a film.  Sure, there would sometimes be shots of the Detroit skyline (e.g. Beverly Hills Cop) or maybe a landmark like Tiger Stadium would find its way into a movie (think: Tiger Town.)  I remember there was a buzz around the whole metro Detroit area when parts of Somewhere in Time were shot on Mackinac Island.  Back then, if a movie crew got within a few hundred miles of the city, it was news.

That, perhaps, explains my fascination with the filming that has taken place here in Plymouth in the last several years.  I was drawn to Trust, not by the storyline or the actors in it, but because it (not all of it of course) was filmed in town.  Seeing a neighbors’ homes, the storefronts on Forest Street, the front of the Coffee Bean and some other local spots gave the film a personal t0uch that I can’t quite explain.  When you see something on the big screen that you drive by everyday on your way to work, there’s a little bit (more) of your imagination that gets pulled into the film.   You feel a little bit like you’re part of the story, not because you know the characters, but because you imagine that all this stuff is happening around the corner.

You might not believe this given my reaction to this and the other movies shot in/around town, but I’m really not much of a stargazer.  I don’t read People magazine.  I tend not to care which celebrities are getting married, divorced having babies or dying.  I just don’t care much about knowing their personal lives and I wouldn’t go out of my way to seek their company.  But films still hold a bit of magic in them.  To see that “magic” taking place around you, at least for me, is fascinating.

I saw Trust at the Penn Theater tonight.  Fittingly, the preview for Scream 4, which is coming soon to the Penn, opened up the film.  I have not seen it yet, and I have no real interest in the so-called “Scream franchise.”  But I will see it because of its local content.  Hopefully it’s entertaining as well as familiar.

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The first of several movies shot in Plymouth last year which created a lot of buzz around town, Trust starring Clive Owen and Catherine Keener, returns to Plymouth this week.  The movie, about a family nearly torn apart by an on-line predator, will run at the Penn Theater this week.

I’ve seen the trailer and it looks good.  I’m not so certain it is good for younger kids to see, but it looks like it’s a good reminder for parents and older kids.  As to its local angle, just from the trailer I recognized a few places from town.

Check out the Penn’s website for showtime details.

http://penntheatre.com/

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I’ve said it in the past: “I hate soccer!”  I don’t think that was ever true, though.  Maybe I resented that soccer has replaced baseball as the sport that American kids grow up playing.   In some misguided mood of patriotism, I probably reacted to the encroachment of a “European sport” in our sporting culture.  Almost certainly I found watching it on TV a tad boring, so I expressed hate for the sport itself.

Somewhere in my youth, a love and fascination of soccer sprouted, flourished and then died.  In second grade I brought a half-deflated basketball to school and some of my friends and I started kicking it around.  Soon our jackets or sweatshirts were on the ground to mark out the goals.  That cheap, beat up old basketball was our soccer ball for weeks, maybe months.  We played everyday on one of the outdoor basketball courts.  Then Phil got a real soccer ball and started playing on a little league team.  We continued playing, probably until Phil’s skills far surpassed ours.  It petered out, probably at the end of that school year.  We returned to baseball, basketball, playing on the monkey bars and tetherball.  After that, I hardly gave soccer a second thought.

I paid attention when World Cups came around, probably because it was hard to ignore them.  But, other than rooting for the USA or Ireland (when she was last in it), I couldn’t be bothered.

All that changed when my daughter started playing soccer in the Plymouth Recreation League.  She just finished her first season, spring 2011, on one of Plymouth’s three U11 rec level — as opposed to “Select” which features much better players.  Our girl was on the Plymouth Rockets.  Not surprisingly, her coach was a father of one of the team members.  A handful of her teammates went to Smith Elementary with her.  Some were from other local elementaries.  The sister team, the Stingrays, was made up of some of her other neighborhood and classmates.  The Rockets and the Stingrays scrimmaged together; they also built a friendly rivalry.

Except for the game I could not make because I stood up in a wedding, I caught all the games in which she played.  We traveled to far away places (a bit of an exaggeration) like Highland Township, Walled Lake and Wixom.  The rest of the games were here in Plymouth, either at Lakeside Park or in Hines Park.

It was amazing which her grow into the sport.  She scored her first (and only) goal in the second game, the first played on the road.  That game was a 7-2 Rockets victory.  While it did not show up on the scoreboard, our girl contributed by playing solid defense and offense, especially for a first-time player.  She could hang with most of her competitors.  I was surprised at how proud I was of her prowess.  It was nothing to do with me, but I delighted in the fun she had and the success she enjoyed.

The Rockets went 3-3-2.  They suffered a couple tough losses, including in the first game (of two) they played against their sister team, and the game against Farmington Hills.  But they were otherwise always competitive.  They finished out the season by tying the Stingrays in a game they, the Rockets, probably should have won.  It was a nailbiter and had everything that is good about athletics.

Her team was not without its stars.  One of the girls is, quite frankly, amazing.  She was the best player on the field in every game I saw.  Another girl dominated, especially on defense, in the last game of the season.  She looked like a woman, or at least a teenager, among girls.  The excitement of watching some great individual performances by my daughter’s teammates and opponents, along with watching her play, was addictive!  I couldn’t wait to see her games.  For my own selfish reasons, I want her to continue to play, even though getting to the games isn’t always easy or convenient.

We got to know other parents a bit.  Some we already knew, we got to know better.  The whole experience had a very community feel to it.  It was really relationship-building for both our daughter and us.

I was and am thankful to Coach Dan for sacrificing his time and money to teach my daughter a game and, ultimately, life skills.  Anyone that has played organized sports knows that coaches can be the forgotten forgers of great memories, if not character.  So many people gave their time and energy to coaching me in sports; they really enriched my life.  Here’s to coaches everywhere, especially those that serve the kids in our community.

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I don’t want to sound complaining; I hate continuous grumbling about the weather. But we’ve had a very abbreviated traditional Spring. What we have had here in the city, and it comes every year like one of the four seasons, is a lot of road construction.

I grew up in a town that was very passive on road, street and sidewalk repair. Other than major county-run projects, I’m not sure our city fixed anything. This may seem like an odd word, but Plymouth is almost aggressive in its street and sidewalk repair initiatives. The last two years, especially, the city has had major intersections torn up for months at a time.  I’m a believer in having decent roads.  Sheldon Road in Canton is an example of what happens when there’s no initiative and/or money to keep roads in good shape.  I’m glad that Plymouth dedicates money to keeping streets, not only downtown but in the neighborhoods, in decent shape.  At least you know that our bad streets will soon be fixed.

That said, why must it take weeks or months to fix one intersection?  Why does a 300 feet stretch of road have to be torn up for so long? Perhaps there’s no money to pay overtime, but make quick repair part of the bidding process.  We’re talking about asphalt in most cases.  That’s laid down quickly.

If you’ve been downtown lately, you’ll know that it is hard to get to many of the businesses, even on a bike.  I s’pose the inconvenience will pay itself off for the longer short term (i.e. until next construction season.)

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