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Entries in Moday Movie Meme (154)


You’ll never Leave Africa… – The Danny Archer Effect #atozchallenge

*Spoiler Alert: This post contains information that reveals important plot points in the film it references. If you have not yet watched the movie and plan to do so in the future, some of the following content might spoil the plot and your viewing experience. Read at your own risk.

In Honor of Letter A marking the first day of the A to Z Challenge, I would like to say a special thanks to Arlee Bird at Tossing It Out, for starting this blogathon. He makes it possible for thousands of bloggers from around the world to meet new people, build confidence in their writing, expand their knowledge and keep the fun in blogging. Thank You Arlee!

“You’ll never leave Africa” is what a ruthless military colonel says to a diamond and gun smuggler named Danny Archer in the dramatic thriller “Blood Diamond” starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Djimon Hounsou and Jennifer Connelly. These discouraging words are delivered in such a matter-of-fact way that one would believe Archer doesn’t stand a chance. A combination of business savvy, determination, warfare survival skills and compassion are what leads him to a kind of promise land that is much more valuable than the destination he initially set out to reach. Although Danny Archer is a fictional character, we can learn a lot from him in regards to selflessness, creating a legacy and making our every breathing moment count no matter how much time we have left.

While in jail, Archer met a mine worker named Solomon who possessed a large diamond. So he manipulated Solomon’s interests in finding the miner’s kidnapped son (who has now become a child soldier), upon their release from jail, to get access to this diamond. Archer considered the diamond to be his ticket out of “this God forsaken country” we call Africa. Archer then met a journalist named Maddy who challenged his intentions, as lives were placed in danger – and even destroyed -- in the process of this man’s selfish quest to do whatever is necessary to retrieve the precious stone.

When Archer’s colleagues start acting shady and turn on him, he starts to realize that there are other people who deserve just as much (if not more) of a chance at a ticket to freedom, as he does. The dangerous mission to find Solomon’s hidden diamond also brings Archer in contact with people whom he never met before – yet suddenly became his new allies. Although a rare diamond turned Archer into a greedy monster at times, he used his very last moments to bring change to the brutal realities that Solomon – and people like him face in the wake of political tensions and war that ravish the very place they once called home.

Since the diamond never belonged to Archer in the first place, he paid a heavy and unimaginable price to obtain it, which goes to show that one person cannot rightfully find peace, happiness or riches through the fruits of another person’s labor – especially when these things are sought after in a self-absorbed manner. It is something that Archer may have realized when he chose to sacrifice himself -- and his dream of leaving Africa – for Solomon’s benefit. Solomon found peace, happiness, safety and riches through the fruits of Archer’s labor via connections with Maddy and a pilot who – in addition to the diamond – were Solomon’s “tickets” to a better place.

Archer and Solomon’s experiences are an example of how sometimes, the best way to get to where we want to go is by taking actions that work for the greater good of more people beyond our own reach. Danny Archer helped another man survive war, reunite with family and start a new life in another country – one not laced with conflict and devastation. It is because of Archer that Solomon was able to escape a tragic and possibly deadly fate. So in a sense, Archer did get what he wanted -- his body may not have left Africa but by helping Solomon, he reached his destination – in spirit. Archer’s memory lives on through the survival of a fisherman-turned-miner and his family as well as through Maddy’s telling of the trials and corruption that got them to a new, more promising land.

Danny Archer gained fame, friendship, character, integrity and a legacy that affects the lives of other people – individuals and families he will never know.

Through his actions, he made his life more valuable than one piece of jewelry or plane ticket could ever bring him. It is a prime example of what the Leesburg 33 survivor said, about there not being any human gains without somebody sacrificing, in Shari Thompson’s documentary.

So the next time you long to relocate or have a healthier lifestyle or achieve some other type of goal, I ask you to consider the possibilities of reaching it by using your knowledge and/or resources to help someone else.

Do YOU have an “Africa” that you want to leave? If so, what is your “ticket” out of there?

After slacking off on The Monday Movie Meme last week, it returns today but is going to be quick throughout the month while I do the A to Z Challenge. This week’s theme is based on Danny Archer’s quest described in my A to Z Challenge post above: One-Way Ticket.


Share on your blog or in the comments section, ONE movie featuring someone who is depending on one key thing to change his or her circumstances.

My selection for this week’s One-Way Ticket theme is: “Children of Men. The main character in this movie risks his life to save the human race by aiding in the transport of the world’s only pregnant girl. The girl’s baby is his and the world’s “ticket” to a better existence.

What ONE movie have YOU watched that features someone trying to change their circumstances by obtaining one particular thing?


My Top Ten Movie Countdown - Girl Power Edition!

Alex J. Cavanaugh’s Top Ten Movie Countdown Blogfest highjacks this week’s Monday Movie Meme. In honor of Women’s History Month, I’m remixing the Ninja Captain’s blog fest instructions for a spotlight on lady directors – in a countdown of my Top Ten Movies Directed by Women – at least, the ones that I can remember.

Some of the films on this list do not make up a comprehensive representation of my ultimate favorite movies.

What they do have in common, however, is the fact that they meet both of the following criteria: I would watch them again and I would recommend that they be watched at least once. So, the theme for this week’s Monday Movie Meme is inspired by my fellow A to Z Co-Host’s blogfest as well as Women’s History Month: Top Ten Movie Countdown - Girl Power Edition!

Share on your blog or in the comments section, your top ten favorite movies directed by women that you can think of at this moment. Also link back to this post and visit the blogs of fellow Monday Movie Meme and/or Top Ten Movie Blogfest participants.

Here are my selections – in no particular order -- for this week’s Top Ten Movie Countdown – Girl Power Edition! theme.

10. Born into Brothels

The children of Kolkata’s (or Calcutta) prostitutes learn how to use cameras and tell stories about their surroundings through art in this Oscar-winning documentary, directed by Zana Briski.


9. My Tehran for Sale

An aspiring actress is forced to lead a double life due to her country’s ban on the arts in this Australian-Iranian film directed by Granaz Moussavi. Actress Marzieh Vafamehr was arrested and sentenced to one year and 90 lashes in Iran, for appearing in “My Tehran for Sale” without a hijab.

Although she was eventually released – not without appeals from Amnesty International and the movie’s producers, there is something to be said about a person who literally risked her life to make art and aid in the freedom of expression.

8. Middle of Nowhere

A young woman’s life is turned upside down when her husband’s prison sentence creates a rough future that she didn’t ask for in this Sundance Film Festival-winning drama, directed by Ava DuVernay.


7. Player Hating: A Love Story

As he prepares for the launch of his album, Brooklyn-based rapper Half-A-Mill introduces viewers to an environment that many people would like to deny even exists in this documentary directed by Maggie Hadleigh-West. Maggie went through a heck of a time to make this movie. Hats off to her! Expect my long overdue interview with this director to be posted here soon.


6. Humpday

Two heterosexual male friends embark on making a gay porno in this comedy, directed by Lynn Shelton. What started as a drunken dare at one late night party gets serious enough to almost ruin one guy’s marriage. It also motivates both friends to question their state of overall happiness and where they fall on the quality-of-life scale. I wanted to see this movie so bad when it was showing at Rooftop Films Summer Series a few years ago – particularly because the film’s star Mark Duplass was in attendance. He is also a filmmaker and has made some funny movies himself.

Duplass aside, can you guess what’s so inappropriately awesome about “Humpday?” I especially like how at first glance, you’d have the impression that a man directed this movie. If I showed the poster and movie trailer to five random people on the street and asked them to guess the director’s gender, I’d be willing to bet my $5 IndieGoGo perk that most, if not all of them go the testosterone route.

5. Our Rhineland

Two sisters are faced with making the toughest choices of their lives in this short film, directed by Faren Humes. It is a beautifully shot and well-crafted story about an ugly part of history – the sterilization of mixed-race women. WATCH IT.



4. Just Another Girl on the I.R.T.

An around-the-way girl dates an older guy (I think…haven’t watched it since grade school) and all hell breaks loose in this movie, about teenage pregnancy, directed by Leslie Harris.


3. August Rush

A runaway orphan follows music wherever he can find it, hoping that doing so will lead him to his parents, in this drama directed by Kristen Sheridan. Despite this movie being as cliché as they come, I think it’s cute and have a soft spot for Kerri Russell, ever since “Felicity” graced the tube. I can still recall the day I went to see “August Rush” at The Roxy, a small movie theater that was independently owned until one of the local arts organizations bought it in 2012 – my bad to digress…

2.Too Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar

Who knew that Patrick Swayze could parlay a wardrobe of dresses and high heels into a Golden Globe nomination?! If you don’t know, now you know – this road trip comedy about drag queens, directed by Beeban Kidron, is one of my all-time favorite movies…I mean, ever!!! I could not only watch this flick multiple times but would definitely recommend it to anyone in need of some afternoon laughs.

1. The Leesburg 33

This documentary, directed by Shari Thompson, is about the 33 teenage girls who were locked in an abandoned military stockade in Georgia, for protesting during the Civil Rights Movement. Adding “The Leesburg 33” film to this week’s Monday Movie Meme/ Top Ten Countdown list almost has me in tears – frankly because it seems like it was just yesterday – well, more like five minutes ago that I watched this movie.

I only saw it once, yet, experience the same thoughts and emotions when the movie comes to mind – not because of the subject that it touches on, which includes racism and the illegal incarceration and abuse of minors.

To this day, I may not remember most of the details of what the girls endured during those six weeks that they were held – but I do remember something that one of them said in a scene when asked if she was angry when looking back, now as an adult, on what happened: “No human gain is every made without somebody sacrificing!” For many reasons, some that I might not even be able to explain, “The Leesburg 33” is one of the films that sticks to me – one that I will likely hold dear for the rest of my days on this earth.

What are YOUR Top Ten Movies directed by Women?


3 Things Movies Taught Me About Fundraising

My IndieGoGo campaign to raise funds for the film festival and television premieres of “Abyss” continues to be in full swing, with lots of work, sleepless nights and surprising sources of support. On Sunday, I started thinking about movies where people are collecting donations for a particular cause -- there are some Do’s and Don’ts that could be learned from fundraising campaigns on the big screen. So, it’s become the inspiration behind this week’s Monday Movie Meme: Show Me the Money!

Share on your blog or in the comments section, movies featuring some type of fundraising. The campaign could be a one-time occurrence or an ongoing effort led by one person or an entire group of people. Remember to link back to this post and visit the blogs of fellow Monday Movie Meme participants. Here are my selections for this week’s Show Me the Money theme, based on three things that movies taught me about fundraising.

DON’T - Lay Claim to another Man’s Generosity

As Seen in “Coming to America” Starring Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall

The scene where Akeem dumps a wad full of money into the collection plate at church is unforgettable, for reasons other than cash. You see, Lisa assumes that her hot-shot boyfriend Darryl gave this large donation to the church. Darryl a.k.a Mr. Scumbag himself, takes all the credit for that money, knowing darn well that he passed the collection plate to the next person without offering Lisa’s church one dime.

DO - Be Transparent with Donors on How their Funds Will Be Used

As Seen in “A Time to Kill” Starring Samuel Jackson and Sandra Bullock

While in jail, Carl Lee makes it clear to his pastor that he will reveal the church’s misuse of funds raised by the congregation. The pastor took a special collection for Carl Lee’s legal expenses and to help feed the jailed man’s family. Apparently, that money did not go toward those two causes and then the church had the audacity to bring in the NAACP with intentions of replacing Carl Lee’s current lawyer with one of their own preference.

DON’T – Choose a Market that is Difficult for You to Compete In

As seen in “Dodgeball” starring Vince Vaughn and Ben Stiller

The staff at Average Joes gym hosts an all-male car wash to save their business from being bought out by a conglomerate competitor. Unfortunately, their timing and location choices put them up against a group of hot women in bikinis that drove most of the traffic to their own all-girls car wash. After sizing up their competition and realizing that this gym fundraiser’s sole customer was a perverted trucker, the staff cut their losses and accepted defeat.

What fundraising campaigns have YOU seen in movies?