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Nostalgia: Hollywood Can’t Seem to Get Enough

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Disney’s recent live-action remake of “Beauty and the Beast” broke records, even before it was released. The CGI-reboot of the 1991 animated film of the same name, began outpacing superhero movies like “The Avengers” in box-office presales and the industry took notice.

When anything does better than a superhero movie, everyone takes notice.

The success of Disney’s latest live-action fairytale has further cemented the love affair Hollywood has with the past.

It’s been long known that sex and violence sells but it seems as if Hollywood has only just realized that nostalgia may sell even more.

The remake, reboot, sequel, and prequel culture of the movie business seems to be at full force, showing no signs of stopping any time soon. Like the “Fast and the Furious” franchise, Hollywood’s practice of re-using and re-packaging seems to have no end.

Disney began remaking their beloved animated fairytales in 2010, with the live-action adaptation of “Alice in Wonderland”. A continuation of the original 1951 film, Alice was aged up and thrust back into Wonderland again in a nosy, 3D, extravaganza.

The film appealed to people who had fond memories of the animated film from their childhoods and to a new generation who was dazzled by the glitz and glam of the movie’s over-the-top production. The film grossed over a billion dollars, being one of the only films to do so with a female lead. Fast forward 7 years later, and Disney has done the same, this time with Emma Watson at the forefront.

The success of “Alice and Wonderland” came as a surprise. Sure, Disney intended for the movie to be successful, or else they wouldn’t have dropped 150 million dollars on it. However, I don’t think anyone over at The Mouse House thought “Alice”, a story already digested by much of the public, would do big business a second time around.

Disney began what would come to be a series of live-action remakes of animated stories told before, with their next installment, “Maleficent”.

“Maleficent” hit theaters with a bang; Angelina Jolie woke up “Sleeping Beauty” all over again as it retold the story of the original 1959 film from the villain’s perspective.

The movie grossed a pretty 700 million dollars at the box office and proved that while Jolie could carry a tabloid headline, she could carry a blockbuster, also.

After “Alice” and “Maleficent” stole the hearts and wallets of moviegoers, other studios joined in on the gold rush. Why should Disney be having all the fun, anyways?

Other studios began taking old properties, slapping huge budgets on their new versions, and repurposing them to unsuspecting audiences.

What we have today is something more intense than the space-race itself with studios battling it out, Hunger Games-style, to acquire and reboot old properties with built-in fan bases.

In the last decade, every single one of the top grossing films, perhaps minus one or two, has either been a remake, reboot or other entry in a continuation of films. “The Force Awakens” which is the 7th Star Wars installment, is still banking on the allure of the original 1977 film. “Jurassic World” which flung Chris Pratt into eternal stardom, is a reboot of the original series that seemingly ended, in 2001.

Has the industry grown tired of this cycle, if not bored with it? The answer is yes – and no. Surely writers must be tired of it, since they can’t employ their creativity to establish new properties with new concepts, characters, and worlds. But big studio-heads, those seemingly omnipresent figures who greenlight the movies that reach us, aren’t tired just yet. In fact, they’ve only just begun.

Disney, the company that got the ball rolling with this trend, has announced dozens of remakes of their old properties in the years to come. Yes, Mickey is still reeling from the success of “Beauty and the Beast” but he has found time to let the world know that there is more to come.

The prospect of the reintroducing some of our favorite childhood movies such as “Dumbo” and “The Lion King” seems promising. But do we really need another “Baywatch”? Judging by its poor performance at the box office, apparently not. Was it a result of “franchise-fatigue”? Maybe.

Nostalgia, like many other psychological motivators, forces us to surrender our moral disapproval of an obvious money grab, just so we can relive our past and experience the things that once gave us so much joy. 

I leave you with this one thought: If we aren’t making original films anymore, what will be available for the industry to remake 20 years from now? I hope and pray that it won’t, for the life of me, be another Spider-man. I just don’t think my 40-year old heart could handle it.

By : Stefan Sykes

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Mother of Four Who Dies After Childbirth Donates 12 of her Organs

Sydney Murphy

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Source: Go Fundme

Kathleen Thorson passed away after suddenly falling ill earlier this month following the birth of her fourth child, Teddy. Though she had already brought four lives into the world through childbirth, Thorson grasped her chance to save many more through her own organ donation. 

Thorson was rushed to the emergency room when she suffered an intracerebral hemorrhage less than a week after Teddy’s birth. Despite several surgeries, doctors were unable to save her. 

Because of Thorson’s diligence in the matter, the doctors were able to donate 12 of her organs to people who desperately needed them. 

In order to raise funds for the medical bills necessary for such a donation, a GoFundMe campaign was created by Richard Stubbs, a family spokesperson. The campaign was set up five days before Thorson was rushed to the hospital. As each day passed, the gift of life became more valuable than ever.

“There aren’t many words to be said except that we love her, and we will miss her with every breath we take. Through all of this hardship, her love, life, and magic are still felt,” wrote Richard Stubbs, the organizer of the GoFundMe campaign.  

As of Febuary 18, the GoFundMe campaign had raised more than $96,000. The money is funding the Thorson family’s medical costs, funeral expenses, and to make up for the lost wages of Thorson’s husband, Jesse. 

Extra money raised was set up to go towards another one of Thorson’s dreams of building a garden for her children. The campaign ended after raising a total of $130,385. Thorson’s dying wish came true when it was revealed that she qualified as a viable donor for all of her organs.

“The nurse told Jesse the chances that someone is a candidate of this magnitude is less than 1 in a million. But anyone who knew Kathleen already knew that. We are so pleased to announce that Kathleen will be able to provide the prayed-for miracle for nearly a dozen individuals who are anxiously waiting for an organ donation,” Stubbs wrote on the GoFundMe campaign.

People from all over were able to donate to Thorson’s cause. Her story was brought to the attention of actress Kristen Bell‘s baby line, HelloBello. Kristen Bell shared Thorson’s story on her Instagram page as a true inspiration. 

The Thorson family was also highlighted in the company’s weekly ‘Tuesday of Giving.’ And awarded a year’s supply of wipes and diapers to aid them in taking care of their newborn son.

“Before she passed earlier this month, Kathleen said she wanted to save as many lives as possible and donated an almost unheard of 12 organs, including her heart and lungs,” Bell wrote in her Instagram post, honoring Kathleen.

The family was also given a medallion in memory of Thorson’s selfless organ donations. Thanks to Thorson’s kind gesture, several people have another chance of life. Thorson turned a family tragedy into a life-saving miracle.

“We would happily do anything it took to bring Kathleen back to us. But we are so grateful that someone else’s mother, daughter, father, friend, brother, sister, son or love will be coming home thanks to Kathleen’s ultimate sacrifice. We love her, and we miss her. We always will.”


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Comedian Raises Money to Send Young Austrailian Boy to Disneyland

Erin Albus

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To help out a young Australian boy who has been bullied non-stop, a comedian helps raise money for the kid.
Source: Gofundme

A young boy in Australia was ruthlessly bullied at school for living with achondroplasia, a form of dwarfism. Yarraka Bayles was upset to see her son, Quaden, come home from school crying due to the bullying of his peers.

Wanting to spread awareness of how bullying can affect people, Yarraka posted a video of Quaden’s heartbreaking response. 

Since the video was posted, it has been shared over 20 millions times. It gained the attention of people all over the world, garnering support from all types of people. Seeing the story, American comedian Brad Williams set up a GoFundMe for Quaden to send the young boy to Disneyland.

In just three days, it raised $465,463 from more than 20,000 donors. This far surpassed the $10,000 goal. The comments of the GoFundMe are filled with an outpouring of support for Quaden. 

“I donated because Quaden and his mom deserve to know that the world is not populated with bullies,” one donor stated. “I’m sorry for what you’ve been through and hope the rest of your life is filled with love and kindness,” another one said. 

The money raised covers the entire cost of the trip to Disney, and the rest of the money will be sent to anti-bullying charities, including the charity Quaden’s mother set up, Stand Tall 4 Dwarfism. The goal of Stand Tall is to stop bullying with Quaden now the face of the charity. 

Some notable people have taken note of Quaden’s story. Australian actor Hugh Jackman tweeted out, “Quaden – you’ve got a friend in me.”

The National Rugby League’s Indigenous All-Stars team also showed their support for the young Australian boy. Quaden led the team out before their NRL pre-season match against the Maori All-Stars in Queensland’s Gold Coast. 

Indigineous All-Stars fullback Latrell Mitchell gave Quaden some inspiring words to help him through this emotional time: “Just want to wish you all the best brother. We know you’re going through a hard time right now but the boys are here, we’ve got your back. We’re here to support you, bud.”

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Elementary School Boy Pays off School Lunch Debt for Entire School

Erin Albus

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As a solution to the school lunch debt problem one elementary school once had, an elementary school boy pays off the entire school's lunch debt to help other students get some lunch money
Source: Courtesy: April Ching

One young boy in Vancouver, Washington found a solution to his school’s lunch debt issue. 

Keoni Ching, just 8 years old, decided to make and sell keychains in order to pay back the debt. 

He wanted to do something special for his school’s Kindness Week, and so he sought to follow in many celebrities’ footsteps in paying off school lunch debt. 

In 2018, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) mandated that school districts crack down on student’s unpaid meals, better known as school lunch debt. They did not state how, only that the already financially struggling schools had to make up for the ever growing lunch debt. 

While groups like the School Nutrition Association (SNA) advocate for universal free school lunches, schools cannot afford to do that and pay back their debts. 

And so schools resorted to Lunch Shaming.

This can take the form of giving kids with debts different lunches, often times denying them hot meals. A school in Rhode Island decided to give students with school lunch debt peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, while all other students receive hot lunches. 

An extreme example of Lunch Shaming occurred in Pennsylvania when a local school district sent hundreds of letters telling parents who owed lunch money for their children to pay up or else their kids could go into foster care. 

“Your child has been sent to school every day without money and without breakfast and/or lunch.” the letter said, adding that failure to provide children with food could result in parents being sent to Dependency Court.

“If you are taken to Dependency court, the result may be your child being removed from your home and placed in foster care,” the letter read.

But paying off the school lunch debt is not as easy as it sounds. For many families, they cannot afford to pay back the owed lunch money—so they have to let their child be shamed. 

Hearing about the efforts of Keoni Ching, people all over the country ordered keychains. To help his cause, people would pay well above the asking price of the keychains just to give extra money to the young boy. They sold keychains to people in Rhode Island, Minnesota, and even Alaska. It was truly a country-wide effort to help Keoni. 

In total, Keoni raised over $4,000 dollars. He delivered the check to his elementary school, and the money will pay off the current debt and $500 worth of future school lunch debt students may incur. Some of the money will also go to nearby schools to help pay off their debt. 

The issue of school lunch debt and Lunch Shaming is one that will not go away without effort put in by communities. But people like Keoni show that a little bit of kindness and ingenuity can go a long way in alleviating the pressure put on struggling families by school lunch debt.

All we have to do is be kind to one another. 

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