It is challenging to sum up 2014. One poll found that about 53 percent of Americans say race relations are worsening. Ebola fears stirred mandatory quarantines throughout the globe, and national protests were widespread against police use of force. And our Saints did not fare very well.
And it does not stop there. Leading up to the Christmas season, cyber attacks threatening the release of a major motion picture fueled talks about national security, and thousands of children and teens, including my 10-year-old son and 19-year-old stepson, could not connect their new XBox systems online following a cyber attack on gaming systems.
This year’s headlines were indeed often unforgettable, if not shocking, inconvenient or disappointing.
I guess that is why going to the movies this holiday season proved comforting for my family.
A well-told story can help us forget, if only for a while, how troubled and dangerous our world has become.
I was about 13 years old when the 1982 version of “Annie” premiered. It featured Carol Burnett, and I loved it. And while there were plenty of woes in the world in 1982, there were no cyber threats.
My daughters, who are 12 and 8, watched that version of “Annie” at least a half-dozen times on DVD and know the songs “Hard Knock Life” and “Tomorrow” by heart.
The release of the latest “Annie,” starring Houma native and Academy award nominee Quvenzhané Wallis — who wore a kinky and curly hairdo — won my daughters’ hearts, too, her hair reminding them of their own on some days.
The movie was a fun, multicultural version, sprinkled with modern techno gadgets, smartphones and Instagram.
Instead of Daddy Warbucks, billionaire Will Stacks is the updated character, whose penthouse is equipped with a fingerprint scanner, digital kittens and star projections on the walls of Annie’s room.
My 8-year-old was impressed. “I want that in my room,” she whispered.
We instead settled on repainting hers’ and her sister’s room with a splashy new color and floral stencils.
Other scenes that resonated with my children included one in which Annie sang “Opportunity” to express her thankfulness for having a family again. I felt a lump in my throat during that scene.
After the movie, my girls cranked up their new karaoke machine and belted out their own versions of “Hard Knock Life” and “Tomorrow.” It was loud, but sweet.
In the meantime, I’m following a bit of good advice I read. Those who do not dwell on problems were better able to cope with conflicts. So I guess running away to the movie theater can in some small way give us a little reprieve from today’s difficult headlines.
Chante Dionne Warren is a freelance writer. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.