Desperately searching through our redbox choices for entertainment, Barrett and I happened upon the movie Win Win with Paul Giamati. It is kind of about wrestling, kind of about family, and kind of about moral dilemmas. Win Win tells the story of a lawyer in New Jersey who doesn't quite have enough business to keep his practice open and support his family. He decides to become the guardian of an elderly client to earn some extra cash when the client's wayward grandson shows up and needs a place to stay.
The story is very interesting, and the characters are well acted. Paul Giamati is the quintessential normal guy, and in this movie he is not grumpy or cynical which is a lovely change of pace for him. His wife is played by Amy Ryan, who does a wonderful job.
The movie is funny and the characters interesting and lovable. It has a great sports side plot as the grandson turns out to be a star wrestler and Giamati coaches the loosing high school wrestling team. But the moral dilemma in the movie is interesting. I laughed out loud and loved the ending.
For a long time I considered how I was going to deliver some big news to my students. This is what I came up with. The response was surprised even me.
I started by telling the class that we desperately needed to review subjects and predicates because they did not do so hot hot on a quiz (which was true). So I told them I would write a few sentences on the board for us to practice. Then I wrote on the board:
"Today Mrs. Freeman told us that she was pregnant."
I moved to the side, waited a moment or two, then I saw their minds start to turn.
"Mrs. Freeman, are you trying to tell us something?!"
"Yes" was my reply.
At this point I expected about 3-5 minutes worth of excitement (mostly from the female side) and a few questions about how this would effect their lives.
Instead, I was bombarded 45 minutes worth of excitement from every angle of the classroom and one million questions. When is the baby due? How many months are you? Can we visit you in the hospital? Can we come to your house? Can you feel it moving? It is a boy or a girl? What are you going to name it? Are you excited? Is Mr. Freeman excited? How long have you known? Who else knows? Why aren't you going to find out if it is a boy or girl? Are we going to have a sub? Who will be our sub? Can it be someone nice? Does that mean we won't have any homework? Can we come to your baby shower? This is only a sample of the barrage I received.
But the prize comment of the whole day was: "I thought your stomach was getting round, but I just thought you weren't working out. Seriously, I saw you in the skirt yesterday, and it did not used to fit like that."
Seriously though, the excitement of my students over my expected little one rivaled that of our mothers, and that is saying something. I was so blessed by all of their comments and concerns and quandaries, and it helps to know that I have a group of kids that is so excited for their teacher. They even came up with some plans for me to bring in a play pen, strap the baby on, and keep teaching.
Since then, they love to comment on my growing stomach and give me name suggestions. Today's suggestion was Ro'Neesha. They have nicknamed the baby "Baby Freeman" (some even call it Morgan Freeman). Who knew a bunch of adolescents could be so sweet?
The other weekend, my husband and I rented Exporting Raymond and enjoyed every minute. It was light, smart, and fun, and those three things rarely meet in a single film.
The movie is a documentary about Philip Ronsenthal, the creator of the show Everybody Loves Raymond, and his struggles and success in trying to adapt and sell the American sitcom in Russia. Rosenthal, like Raymond, is rather dry but very likeable, relate-able, and funny. And his Russian colleagues are equally intriguing.
The most compelling parts of the film are watching Rosenthal try to explain humor that is at once uniquely American and universal to the Russians. Watching them try to cast the Russian version of these beloved American stereotypes was hilarious. And even if you don't like Everybody Loves Raymond, like my husband, I think this movie may surprise you.
We have only been back in class fro a few weeks so I only have a couple of share worthy quotes so far. But based on my limited experience with my current classes, I have a feeling that there will be many more to come.
Male Student A (using both hands to wipe down the lunch table after his friends): "I feel like a single mom."
Female student B to Female Student C after lunch in a state of panic-stricken alarm: "We forgot to brush our teeth!" Female Student C feigning distress: "Oh man." (I think I found this one humorous because it is so congruous with the vanity of middle schoolers. And you have to laugh at that sort of thing or else they will grow up believing that type of vanity is normal or even acceptable, and we simply cannot have that.)