Saturday, July 22, 2006

Dear Peter,

I hope you are doing well. I have had a very rare, and much needed few days alone. No kids, Mom is in Dallas, and Dave and Jen work during the day. So, I did the house work early in the morning, and spent the day doing things that I have wanted to do for a long time. Stuff just for me. To relax, catch up on, etc...

One of the things I did was watch the movie The Outsiders. I read the book before I saw the movie. I LOVED the book, still do. It was the first book that ever made me cry while I was reading it. I saw the movie when it came out, and I enjoyed it, but to me it was never as good as the book. Recently Francis Ford Coppola went back and put in all of the stuff he edited from the movie, and re-released the DVD. My family bought me the DVD last Christmas, and last night I finally took the time to watch it. I have to say, “THANK YOU” to Mr. Coppola. THIS is the version that should have come out to begin with. It was so much truer to the book, and answered a lot of questions that arose for those who just saw the movie without reading the book.

This really showed the true personalities of each of the characters. Especially of Ponyboy, Soda Pop, and Darrell Curtis. I liked it so much that I spent today watching ALL of the special features, including watching the movie, again, with the cast commentary. I don't usually do that, but I really liked it. It gave me new insight that really made me appreciate the movie more. I understand, now, why Mr. Coppola filmed certain scenes the way he did, and the symbolism of certain events and the way things were shot. I never "got it" before, but I do now and I am very grateful for it. I even have new respect for the actors. I didn't always agree with the casting, and even last night I was saying that a couple of the people were cast wrong. I was totally comparing them to the way they were described in the book. They didn't "fit" physically. Now, that doesn't even matter to me. These actors are the characters. I don't care how they are described in the book. For example, Matt Dillon looks NOTHING like how his character, Dallas Winston, is described. But, now I will never think of "Dally" any other way except picturing Matt Dillon. Now, at this moment I only feel that one character could have been cast differently. I just never liked Tom Cruise as "Steve". I still don't. But, watching the new released version is like watching an entirely different movie, and it is 100% better than the original. I can't stress that enough.

For years my sister and I swore there was a scene at the end when Soda is having a "heart to heart" with Darry and Ponyboy, but it was never in the movie. I have no idea where we saw it. For awhile I thought that I dreamed it, but there it is. It is now in the movie, and it changes the dynamic of the whole thing. The whole story of the 3 brothers, who are trying their best to keep their family together, while still learning to "deal" with their respective "season" in life. It is so awesome, and moving. I love the way that the characters are supposed to be so "tough" and yet, underneath it all most of them are just scared little boys trying to survive.

Now, having given it all that "praise" I also stress that this is NOT a movie for kids. I wouldn't show it to anyone under 14, and that would only be AFTER we read the book together and that they are mature enough to handle it. It is more violent than I remembered. However, it is "timeless". This was supposed to take place in '67. But, the whole scenerio of "gangs", kids dividing over social and economic classes, clique's.... kids just trying to find a place to belong and be accepted, even it means being in a violent gang. It is relateable to kids of today.

I like to go back and watch the movies that came out when I was younger, and look at them now with “adult” eyes. I understand a lot more, and sometimes I think “Why on earth did I like that movie?” Some of them seem pretty stupid now, but some, like The Outsiders, I like A LOT better, because now I understand it more. I guess that is what happens when you grow up. 

Wendy Darling

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Dear Peter,

I hope you are doing well. How are things in NeverLand? I am sorry I have not written in awhile. Things have been very busy here. One thing has happened that I would like to tell you about. I think my dear nephew is maturing. :-) Let me explain.

I had changed the rules about his PS1 playtime. It used to be after school and chores he could play for 1 hour. Well, he wasn't practicing his karate or
exercising, so I changed it to "1 minute of PS1 for 1 minute of exercise,
and he had to earn a minimum of 30 minutes before he could collect his
reward". Then, he got grounded from it.

Yesterday he was talking about this thing they do on Nickelodean "the go
healthy challenge"
He said he wanted to exercise more and eat healthier, which we have been
trying to do for quite sometime`. I told him about something I saw on TV. It was a boy about his age who figured up how much time he spent in front of the TV and game
systems (he had several). It was A LOT. He decided to sell his systems and
TV. He used the money to buy some exercise equipment and healthy snacks,
then he took the same time he WAS spending watching TV and playing games and
used that time to exercise. He lost weight, obviously. David liked the
idea and asked for permission to sell his PS1 and TV. I said, "Ok". He
put it on the radio for $30 and it sold this morning. I took him to the
store and he bought several kinds of fruit, veggies, and rice cakes. As
soon as we got home I helped him clean his veggies so they would be on hand,
and ready to eat. He had raw veggies, ranch dressing, chicken salad and
crackers for supper. When he got home from karate he ate a rice cake with
cream cheese. He has done very well for his first day. :-)

I am also trying very hard to eat healthier and move more. He is inspiring
me. :-)

Tell Tink and the Lost Boys that I said, "Hello".

Wendy Darling