I admit it.
This 50 year old man, who prefers the plenty of action and adventure type when it comes to movies, couldn't wait to see Annie," starring 11 year old actress Quvenzhané Wallis.
So there I was, a few weeks ago at my local movie theater. I needed back-up, so I dragged my 22 year old son Dominic Jr along as my right-hand man.
We walked into the theater, and the lights were still on. The immediate shock that hit me, I never once considered that the audience would consist almost entirely of young girls, and of course that was the case. The girls did drag their parents along.
So I thought to myself, the first thing we had to do was to quickly find seats so that we wouldn't stand out. We did, and my son and I glued in on the movie previews.
For the next two hours, I have to admit I have never seen a child actor as good as Quvenzhané Wallis, with Jamie Foxx, playing hard-nosed billionaire and mayoral candidate Will Stacks. (Based on the fabulously wealthy Daddy Warbucks from the original Annie)
Wallis lives a "hard-knock" life with her calculating foster mother, Miss Hannigan. Played by Cameron Diaz. That role of course was most famously done by Carol Burnett.
Wallis is a triple threat doing all three exceptional well. She could sing, She could act, and she could dance. For the first two years in college I majored in theater, and I want someone to explain to me how this 11 year old could learn all her lines, and her movement blocking when she is practically in every scene.
During the movie, I smiled. I laughed, and yes I cried.
Quickly wiping away the tears of happiness as Annie overcame enormous obstacles, and stayed positive in the difficult situations. Her character, this 11 year old girl, lifted others up in a positive manner, which at the end of the day should be a lofty goal for all of us.
I have never seen a "child" actor like this.
But perhaps, it was the end of the movie that was the best for me.
Normally, I am the last person in the world to EVER sit through credits, but something kept me in the seat, this time quickly wiping away tears of happiness so my son wouldn't see me, and then I saw on the screen the names of some of the producers. The screen showed the names of Will Smith, his wife Jada Pickett Smith, and Rapper Jay-Z.
Often times these days, a rapper's name is not synonymous with good and positive headlines, but at that moment, I was so proud of Jay-Z, Will Smith and his wife Jada.
Yes, this is a business venture for them, but at the same time, they are using their wealth to give back to the community. In this case, a very positive message that could help young girls with self-esteem, but also help an entire generation of foster children throughout the world, believe in themselves, and ultimately feel better about themselves.
Movies have the power to create and shape world-wide narratives.
I really hope there is a financial gain for doing this movie, but I say to Will, Jada, and Jay-Z, thank you for giving back. Thank you for providing a positive message on the big screen that has the power to impact the children. With this movie, providing hope where often time, there is little.
The Sun will come out tomorrow, and oh, by the way, my son also gave Annie a big thumbs up.