Being a kid can be tough at times so it really helps to have others around to help them Beat the Odds:
With Family Values, Bay Area locals Charity and the Jamband share what family can be and do for us all, expressed through a variety rock, pop, and folk rhythms that echo the variety of families, themselves.
Another album chock full of musical styles and possibilities comes from Ginalina, Home Is Family. Hopeful songs that let young listeners know that there's someone who's got their back just can't be beat!
My first pick is Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit. Follow me on this one! Sure, it's the sequel of an already silly movie, but none of that really matters, because the singing is so good in this movie, it'll make you want to cry. It's starring Lauryn Hill, who portrays troubled teen Rita, with the voice of an angel. The school she attends at the convent is run-down and on the verge of closing. The school brings in Sister Mary Clarence, played by Whoopi Goldberg, to teach the music class. She later helps the kids take their singing to a competition where they are a bit out of their league. Can they win it all and convince the Diocese to keep the school open? You'll have to watch to find out, but if you just want to hear the music, check out the movie's awesome soundtrack.
Slumdog Millionaire is one of those movies that puts its characters in very difficult situations, but in the end, the pay-off is huge. Jamal, played by Dev Patel, is trying to win a million dollars on a tv game show, and in the process, he is suspected of cheating. He begins to tell the story of his life to prove how he knows the answers. The result is an often harrowing recounting of his time as a child in the slums of India. You've most likely seen this multi-award winner, but in case you haven't, be sure to check it out.
Queen of Katwe has been previously recommended by the Movies and Music Team as one of the best movies of 2017, but it deserves mention again for this week's theme. Phiona, played by Madina Nalwanga, is a 10-year-old struggling to help her mom and siblings survive in a poor area of Uganda. Against the odds, she becomes one of the best chess players in Uganda, and finds a way out of poverty for her family.
In my opinion, The Mighty Ducks is the ultimate 90s sports franchise. A group of rowdy kids struggling to stay up on their skates are coached to victory in the first film, and are joined by even more great characters in the sequel, D2. If you're looking for any easy watch with lots of laughs, watch or revisit these Disney classics.
Whenever I think of gambling and beating the odds, I suddenly think of Las Vegas glitz, particularly around the 1960's
Bobby Rydell's stylish "Joker" although partially about NOT beating the odds, it has the right sound to contemplate a big Vegas weekend. The video is from the dance show, Hullabaloo. Sharp eyed viewers will note that one of the background dancers, Donna McKechnie beat the odds later in her career, winning a Tony award and Broadway stardom for her work in A Chorus Line (also available on Freegal). Chorus Line is a show that beat the odds and went from small dancer workshops to one of the biggest hits in Broadway history, a Pulitzer winner, and eventually a major film.
Has beating the odds at Vegas ever been as laid back as in the Rat Pack's original Ocean's 11? Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Angie Dickinson and Peter Lawford conspire to rob five of the biggest casinos in Las Vegas simultaneously. The story is updated stylishly and with much more tension in Steven Soderbergh's Ocean's 11, with George Clooney ably filling Sinatra's role.
What are the odds of someone winning the lottery moments before dying? What are the odds of lifelong friends finding out and managing to collect the winnings which must be picked up by the deceased? Watch a whole town attempt to beat these odds in the comedy, Waking Ned Devine.
Nicolas Cage and Bridget Fonda beat the odds and split, what turns out to be, a winning lottery ticket in It Could Happen to You. This romantic comedy is based on a real life event of a police officer and a waitress winning the lottery and a lifelong friendship.
Gambling and assassination cross each other in Brian DePalma's wild ride of a movie, Snake Eyes, starring Nicolas Cage as a corrupt cop who, ironically, is one of the only people in the movie not involved in a massive conspiracy around a political assassination. This super-kinetic film with twists on top of twists is a fairly under seen film in Cage's and DePalma's filmographies.
During the break up of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Stephen Stills somewhat beat the odds, but in keeping with the subject of theme, he wrote one of the best songs about playing the odds, "Black Queen" featured on his self titled album.
Movies & Music - Question of the Week
In Vegas Vacation, Clarke Griswold loses loads of cash and cannot seem to beat Marty and the dealer at this game.
Last Week's Trivia Answer: Bob Dylan