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Ryan Stone

I have something to say about a woman who doesn’t break down during the time most trying in her life. To see her at her worst and wonder how she’ll ever survive. To know in all that she’s accountable for, she will try her best—no matter what. It’s one thing when a woman says she can fight, but it’s another seeing it done without her ever having to speak the words.

Sandra Bullock as Ryan Stone

Sandra Bullock as Ryan Stone

Women Who Wow Wednesday proudly presents Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock), the force behind the movie Gravity.

If you’ve seen the film, then you’ll know what I mean when I say Ryan Stone in Gravity lays it all on the line to become a true hero. How else can I describe her other than someone who relies on her ability to endure in order to stay alive?

Ryan Stone reminds me of Chuck Noland (Tom Hanks) from the feature Cast Away. In that film, Chuck crashes on a deserted island with little to live on and a willingness to sacrifice with the aim to live another day. Stranded, he does what he can to make it through storms, rain, famine, and the undisputed wall of challenge.

Much like Chuck, Ryan has her work cut out for her. As the lone survivor to a space catastrophe, she bucks the wave of destruction headed her way to push forward and live. One hit after another her determination gives her the optimism she needs to carry onward without complaining. If one challenge doesn’t spark defeat, another waits in the wings for her to recover just enough to hit her again.

Gravity's Ryan Stone

Gravity’s Ryan Stone

The film is a case study of a woman’s resilience to go beyond herself so as she can attain the highest form of praise available—to live. That fortitude within herself is what makes the movie so jarring. Multiple viewings provide the moviegoer a front seat to Ryan’s point of view as the protagonist with a penchant to last against unsurmountable odds.

The best part about Ryan Stone’s character is that no matter how bad it gets, she manages to pull herself from the devastation and fight back. Her character is such that she doesn’t recognize defeat, even during her lowest point. She doesn’t gripe. She doesn’t complain. She has her moment, but then she works through it to become stronger. That strength makes her a survivor.

This is not a review. This is my homage to a character filled with hope. May that hope inspire those who need it the most.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale October 21.

Have you seen Gravity? What did you think of Ryan Stone?

17 Comments

Top 10 Alien Invasion Movies

It never fails. Every summer there’s an alien invasion movie that hits the box office to steamroll critics and become a ginormous success. Does anyone remember Independence Day? This summer, the mega-film Transformers: Age of Extinction may be on approach to becoming 2014’s first billion-dollar movie.

Independence Day

Independence Day

Since it’s summer, and since everyone wants to read something quick while doing other things. I thought for Monday Mayhem I’d give you a list of my most favorite alien invasion movies ever. This list is not complete, but these alien films stick out in my mind as the ones that made summer awesome for me.

Here they are. My Top 10 alien summer flicks from least to most favorite:

10. Mars Attacks!—Released December 13, 1996, this Tim Burton film makes it feel like summer. The aliens are horrible critters bent of the destruction of humanity. What makes this film special is the hilarity that ensues once the humans finally meet the visitors.

9. Cloverfield—Released January 18, 2008, aliens couldn’t be more frightening. Bugs are not fun when they’re human-sized pests that only a shotgun can take out. Yes, another winter title, but it wouldn’t be right not to include Cloverfield in this list.

8. Alien—Released May 25, 1979, Ridley Scott created a creature so vicious, it was a wonder anyone survived. It’s not an invasion of earth, but brilliant nonetheless.

7. The Thing—Released June 25, 1982, this John Carpenter classic is sure to make you think twice before heading to a remote place in the arctic for a vacation. Make sure you know who your friends are before heading there.

6. Predator—Released June 12, 1987, the film poses a question: who would win a battle to dominate the world, Arnold Schwarzenegger or an alien schooled in the fine art of warfare? Governator jokes aside, Arnie puts the smack dab on anything remotely alien.

5. Signs—Released August 2, 2002, M. Night Shyamalan presents his version of an alien invasion based on hints and Hitchcockian deception. A worthy film to enjoy that illustrates what it would be like if aliens tried to take over an ordinary Joe’s farm.

Independence Day dogfight

Independence Day dogfight

4. Men in Black—Released, July 2, 1997, this film has it all . Aliens. Government conspiracy. Secret agencies. Not taking itself seriously, the movie provides a great escape from the ordinary hustle and bustle of ordinary life. Excellent special effects.

3. Transformers movies (all of them)—Released 2007-2014, Michael Bay’s view of an alien invasion consists of explosions, more explosions and tons of explosions. This true-to-the-genre flick blows away anything standing in its way and decimates whatever’s left.

2. War of the Worlds—Released June 29, 2005, Steven Spielberg throws his hat in the ring to present his version of malevolent beings wanting to take over the earth. Making this movie special is the survival story of one family led by Tom Cruise.

1. Independence Day—Released July 3, 1996, summer alien invasion movies haven’t been the same since. With a good helping of dogfights, sarcastic one-liners and skin-slicing thrills, this movie delivers on the promise that aliens are insidious beings with no redeeming qualities other than to become mantelpiece trophies for the survivors. Lots of action makes this the go-to film for popcorn munching viewers with a few hours to kill.

I know I’ve missed many fine titles like Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Day the Earth Stood Still, and It Came From Outer Space. Thing is, I wasn’t around when they released, so I can’t really say they made my summer. But wouldn’t it have been cool to live during the days when B-movies reigned supreme?

I know I would have loved it.

[Notable mentions go to Pacific Rim and Battleship. Nothing quite beats films produced to celebrate the human spirit than those featuring humanity fighting against all odds and winning.]

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale October 21.

What are your favorites? Why do you like them?

11 Comments

My Tools

I’ve never been much of a tools guy. While other men may enjoy collecting tools, the only thing my tools collect is dust. Yep, not much of a handyman, if you know what I mean. If I had it my way, I’d sit on my rump and enjoy the summer sun while I hire someone to look after everything that needs fixing around the house. Actually, that’s not too far from the truth.

My Tools

My Tools

For this Freedom Friday post, I’ll be talking about my tools—what I do with them, and what I think I ought to do with them.

Let me start by saying, I have a lot of tools. I’m going to qualify that statement. I have a lot of tools I didn’t purchase on my own. What’s more? I have a lot of tools my wife purchased for me. There’s a hint in there somewhere.

It all started a few months before my wife and I got married. One day she noticed I didn’t have that many tools and decided to do something about it. Well, I didn’t have that many tools because I didn’t like working with my hands. Anyway, let’s keep on topic. One Saturday evening, I popped over to her basement apartment for a movie night. At the time, Star Trek: The Next Generation was one of our favorite shows and we agreed that she’d tape the week’s episode and we’d watch it on the weekend when we got together. There was a period when we could only see each other on weekends since she lived on one side of the city and I lived on the other.

Although Toronto wasn’t as big as it is today, travelling back and forth in a beat up Honda made the one-hour trip interesting. I once broke down on the highway and had to call for a tow from a gas station ten minutes away. Let me say this, ten minutes is nothing to walk. But when it’s cold, with no cellphones available at the time, and you’re heading up a rural pass in the middle of the night—I’ll admit—it got kinda creepy.

Anyway, back to the story. When we finally settled into a cuddle, she remembered she had something to give me. We did that all the time and we still do. Sometimes we don’t give each other gifts during those mandatory days of giving—Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, birthdays, etc.—but we’ll surprise each other with gifts throughout the year for no apparent reason other than to show our affection for one another. Besides, gifts mean more that way when we don’t have to give the gift out of obligation. All right, ‘nough said about that. Where was I? Right, her gift. She gave me a gift and it was heavy. I didn’t have a clue as to what it could have been. All I knew was she’d always given me things that I needed or wanted. Much like today.

I unwrapped the present, and there in front of me was a screwdriver tool set with a variety of bits and ratchet heads. Believe me, when I first saw it, I wasn’t sure why she would have given it to me, considering I wasn’t a tool guy. Let me tell you. That gift was a stroke of genius. I still have it in its original case.

Since she gave it to me, I’ve hung pictures, taken apart phones, computers, built shelving, put up curtains, built desks, cupboards, tables, chairs, wired cable and more. Do I sound like one of those $19.99 TV commercials?

Adding to my collection, she’s given me a hammer, pliers, drill bits, a drill, of course, measuring tapes, more screwdrivers, a few bottles of crazy glue and garden equipment.

Like I said, if it were up to me I’d sit on my rump and hire people to do the jobs around the house. But I’ve grown. I’ve changed. I’ve gone on to build two basements with my tools—very different from doing nothing around the house.

And it all started with a toolset my wife gave me.

It’s true. Sometimes starting small does bring big things in life.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale October 21.

What’s your favorite tool? Are you a collector or handy-person?

10 Comments

Jade

She’s rich, he’s not. They’ve known each other for four years, yet they’ve never met. She wants a party and he’s invited. Her red dress excites him and the way she dances, like something out of her ballet recital, makes him crazy. He’s wanted to kiss her since tenth grade. Women Who Wow Wednesday celebrates Jade Butterfield, the free spirited beauty from the movie Endless Love.

Gabriella Wilde as Jade Butterfield

Gabriella Wilde as Jade Butterfield

Throughout high school, she lived an invisible life. She didn’t have many friends. Her brother was the only person who cared what happened to her. When David (Alex Pettyfer) comes along, she has all she can do to resist the urge to be with him. How can a girl resist David’s interpretation of love?

“I think love comes first. At the end of the day, what’s more important than that? You know, I’ve seen it firsthand. I know what it’s like when it’s there, and know what it’s like when it’s not. That’s what I wanna find. True love. The kind that you fight for, that you always put first. That makes you wanna be good and do better. And not just with any girl. But ‘the’ girl. And when I find that, that’s all I need.”

They have two weeks together. Summer.

Jade (Gabriella Wilde) doesn’t have to put a mask on with David. She can enjoy shows, theater and dance with him. No one has ever come into her life before to make her feel so free. She’s always had someone control her life, whether it was her father or someone else. Real freedom comes to Jade being in love with David.

Jade Buterfiield

Jade Buterfiield

The realization sets in of how sheltered Jade was growing up. Her new motto becomes, “Let’s be young and dumb.” She has an awakening that sparks something in her to bring her to life.

Her father, though, believes David is not right for his daughter. He can’t accept the fact that Jade’s in love with him. He will do anything to keep her and David apart, including digging into his past for anything that he can use against his daughter’s boyfriend.

Ultimately, Jade’s father doesn’t believe David’s good enough for his daughter.

From there, things get complicated.

Love is worth fighting for. It is. Jade can’t move on without David, even if she has another guy pining for her affection. No matter what anyone says, she will always be his. No one can control what she feels, how she thinks. No one. How does she feel?

“My first love was everything all at once. The kind you never fall back from. Never try to. Never want to. A love so big, so strong, it never dies, never fades, never loses its electricity. The kind of love you fight for.”

If anything’s certain about Jade, she’s her own person and lives a full life without anyone telling her what to do.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale October 21.

Have you seen the movie Endless Love? What did you like about it?

14 Comments

Zombie Kill of the Week II

Given the past few Monday Mayhem posts have been on the serious side, I thought I’d lighten the mood today. Instead of talking about diseases, viruses, and pork and beans for dinner, I figure I’d make fun of those dratted zombies and see how much I could get away with. Don’t expect any literary brilliance or anything educational. I’m just going to sound off about what makes me happy. And that’s killin’ zombies. That’s right folks. I’m going to talk about my all-time favorite ways to kill zombies.

Zombie (of course)

Zombie (of course)

I really hope you haven’t eaten anything recently. Let’s start from the very beginning. I ordered them from least to greatest, placing emphasis on the most outrageous kill as the last item on the list.

[Disclaimer: Written with tongue firmly planted in cheek. Please don’t be an idiot and try any of these with humans. It’s not only stupid, it’s illegal. You will go to jail. Okay?]

10. Shooting a zombie in the head—Nothing quite comes close to putting a bullet in a zombie brain. Big bonus here is the splatter patterns behind the wall when said bullet penetrates the undead cranium. Not only do you get a dead zombie on your hands but also some very cool artwork to boot.

9. Spraying kerosene over a zombie and setting it alight—What does every living creature fear most in this world? Yep, you know it. Fire. Kerosene to the face of an oncoming undead creature will temporarily blind it. But lighting a match, will be like the Fourth of July all over again.

8. Throwing a zombie off a cliff, watching the impact crack its skull—If anything, this has to be the most fun anyone can have with a zombie. Easiest way to do this is grabbing it by its lapels and tossing it in one fluid motion. The kicker is watching the evil demon burst into a puddle of juices when it hits bottom. Where’s David Letterman when you need him?

7. Smashing a zombie’s head with a crowbar until everything’s covered in goo—Getting medieval on zombies deserves a better rep. This has to be the messiest of the lot. Just make sure you’re wearing a raincoat when caving in the undead’s intellect. Nothing’s worse than having a laundry basket full of dead stuff stuck to fibers.

6. Jamming a screwdriver into a zombie’s temple until it collapses—As easy as it sounds, it’s not. You’re in close proximity with the undead more than any other situation. Best using that screwdriver while standing. If you’re lying down, you’ll have to deal with the drip. Not the most pleasant of situations for a would-be zombie slayer.

5. Decapitating a zombie with a souvenir confederate sword from the American civil war—You want to talk about fun? This is it. You’ll find these heirlooms hanging around garage sales, and you’ve always wondered what you’d do with them. Well, here’s your chance. These suckers are perfect for zombie beheadings. If you can’t find a confederate sword, a samurai sword will do just as well. Aw, heck. Any ol’ sword or knife will do the trick.

4. Strapping a zombie into a car and ramming it into a brick wall—This is the hardest to do. Have you ever tried restraining a zombie? Not easy, let me tell you. You’ll need brute force strength and lots of gumption to get the job done. But once that liver eater’s in the car, there’s nothing much it can do. Best use a rock to hold the accelerator down. Then, watch the fun. If you have several to get rid of the same time, you can shove them all in and call it a joy ride.

3. Driving an ice pick through the zombie’s mouth, severing its spinal cord, thereby rendering it dead—Much like the screwdriver idea, this one is more personal. You’ll once again need to get real close. The best part about it is if you miss the mouth, you can always go for the eye.

2. Clamping a zombie’s head in a paint mixer, watching it spin—I don’t think I need to explain this one. Let’s just say the undead will never walk straight again.

1. Running over a zombie until every ounce of unholy breath expels from its maggot-filled lungs—That’s right. This is the grudge solution. You have a mechanical beast at your disposal and the undead in front. Aim and drive. You don’t even have to do this with a car. You can use a bus, a dump truck, a jeep. The bigger the vehicle, the more of a mess it will be.

This post is based on Zombie Kill of the Week. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, it does.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale October 21.

What scenarios would you like to share?

21 Comments

Monotasking

Monotasking is one of those words you hear and quickly dismiss as nonsense. After all, we live in a world where we don’t have time to dedicate 100% of our time to one thing. Right? Multitasking has always been the way to go. But for today’s Freedom Friday post, I want to talk about monotasking vs. multitasking and the benefits of doing one thing and doing it well.

Monotasking

Monotasking

Let’s get some of the definitions out of the way first.

Multitasking: The handling of more than one task at the same time by a single person.

Monotasking: The handling of one task at one time by a single person.

For a long time I’ve been a proponent of multitasking. Who wouldn’t be? The mere definition entices the idea that someone can become twice as productive as, say, performing one task at a time.

But how effective are we when we tackle more than one task at a time? Let’s put it this way, if you have a 24-hour day, it is physically impossible to squeeze 48 hours from it. Experts disagree. Who hasn’t written an email while on the phone? Who hasn’t prepared a post while chatting in a meeting? Who hasn’t checked the sports scores while supposedly researching for their next assignment?

There’s this movement taking place in social circles called Tabless Thursday. It promotes monotasking by encouraging everyone to ditch the tabs in their browsers and work in one window for the entire day. The movement supports one’s ability to produce quality work at the risk of ignoring efficiency.

Stay focused

Stay focused

I’m all up on these interesting trends and for years, I’ve been an efficient multitasker. For instance, I’ve written posts, watched TV and read all at the same time. Don’t ask me if I remember any of it because I’ll tell you the same thing I’ve told my wife when she asks me if I hear her voice while I’m reading an article on the internet. The answer is a resounding no. Oh, I’m sure I was efficient, knocking off tasks from my to-do list as if they were all important, but how good had I produced the work on a scale of 1-10?

Multitasking serves its purpose in an aggressive environment where products have to go out the door quickly. However, monotasking has its purpose, too.

Whenever I have to get something important finished, I now turn off the phone, disconnect the internet, hide my task bar on my laptop, and type furiously at my keyboard until I’m done. It’s amazing how much I can accomplish without interruption.

The other argument for monotasking pertains to the quality of work. This, I can’t judge. I can only go by the reaction of the audience to see if my monotasking ways are effective. All I know is I can get the work done at a faster pace considering I have fewer distractions to keep me from accomplishing my goal.

What are you, a multitasker or a monotasker?

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale October 21.

What do you think of monotasking? How would you go about adding monotasking in your workflow?

15 Comments

Veronica Mars

It starts with a simple request: “I need your help, Veronica.” It then balloons into an investigation of incredible proportions. She’s a girl who picks up her private investigator’s license at eighteen. Don’t let that fool you, though. Her crime solving skills came much earlier when her best friend became a murder victim and she wanted to know who did it. It was her way of coping.

Kristen Bell as Veronica Mars

Kristen Bell as Veronica Mars

If you don’t know Veronica Mars (Kristen Bell), then you might enjoy this Women Who Wow Wednesday post, as I, too, have grown fond of this woman of many talents.

Veronica’s private eye bug originated with her father, who was Neptune, California’s sheriff. One day, he goes after the most powerful man in town, and the next day, he loses his job. Not a man for taking a loss, he opens his own P.I. firm called Mars Investigations. It only makes sense that Veronica would work there part time, of course. She naturally has her own caseload to solve and follows her dad in his footsteps.

To understand Veronica is to understand her friends. She loses them all with her father’s sudden unemployment. So much for friends. Her dead friend’s boyfriend, Logan Echolls (Jason Dohring), however, is especially a cruel soul. Unlike Veronica who searches for her best friend’s killer by investigating leads, Logan’s distrust and rage fuels his need for revenge. Drawn by the common goal of finding a killer, Veronica and Logan become an item. At the same time, those same qualities that draw people together can also tear them apart.

Veronica Mars

Veronica Mars

How can someone quantify Veronica’s skillsets? Yes, she’s angry. She’s Vengeful. But there’s more to her than the dark, brooding character some make her out to be. Some folks call her a marshmallow.

Names aside, her strength lies in her ability to see through the confusion. When threatened, she doesn’t stand aside taking it. She dishes it out and ensures no one can make a comeback from her volley. Her idea of a solution is the direct approach. If things get too complicated for her, nothing quite like a right cross to solve a problem.

Her biggest asset is not her skill with a camera. Nor is it having the ability to mimic accents. It’s not even her willingness to dress different, talk different or walk different. Veronica’s biggest asset is the love she has for her dad. In spite of him losing his job, and her friends asking her to choose, without a doubt she chooses her dad. He provides the love and safety she needs to carry forward with her life and not worry what anyone else thinks. He’s her sounding board, always ready to listen, always ready to step in when she’s in over her head. No one else can replace him. He’s her everything.

Veronica Mars may have an attitude, but her will to stand firm in the toughest of situations makes her a true example of what a strong woman is.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale October 21.

Have you seen the Veronica Mars movie? If so, what do you think of it? What do you think of the series?

17 Comments

Are We Ready?

A virus can start as innocent as a cough. It can progress to chills and a fever. But unless someone identifies it as fatal, the public may treat it as a simple case of the sniffles.

Are we ready?

SARS

SARS

If we’ve learned anything from past outbreaks, we would know we’re never quite ready for what would come next when a contagion strikes. Having lived through the SARS epidemic when it hit Toronto in 2003, I saw firsthand what unpreparedness and paranoia could do to a city.

Let’s talk a bit about this for Monday Mayhem.

At the time, I was taking the train in and out of the city. My commute was an hour one way. During the course of the ride, people would come and go, and not a day would go by that the front page didn’t feature the latest SARS mortality rates. The public was on edge. During my rides, a noticeable silence had hit commuters. Many were afraid to speak, as they didn’t want anyone to think they were possible carriers. Who knew if the virus was airborne?

Some riders wore masks, while others sat in different places. The ends of the train, where the single seats rested next to the doors, became gold. They were away from everyone, and the doors would make for a quick exit—just in case. When people boarded, those seats became the first ones to fill.

And if you had coughed, the dirty looks would have carried until the following week where you either had decided to transfer to another car or find yourself another train.

In Canada, SARS had 251 cases with 44 being fatal. That is an 18% fatality rate, the highest in the world. China had 5328 cases, but their fatality rate was an astounding 6.6% (Source: WHO).

Are we ready?

Ebola

Ebola

In recent weeks, the Ebola virus has once again resurfaced. Between 1976 and 2012, 2328 reported cases affected regions as far as Juba, Sudan and Orientale Province, Democratic Republic of the Congo. In 2014 alone, Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia have had 759 confirmed cases so far (Source: WHO).

What makes this outbreak so different is its reach. No longer limited to remote areas, it is now surfacing in populated areas where air travel is common. The CDC says the incubation period can be anywhere from 2 to 21 days after exposure. Symptoms include fever, headache, joint and muscle aches, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, and lack of appetite.

The virus works by suppressing the body’s natural ability to clot thereby liquefying organs.

I can only hope we are ready.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale October 21.

What precautions have you taken to prevent the spread of germs in your household?

27 Comments

Without Our Phones

When did we all of a sudden become so tethered to our phones? Whenever I take the train into the city, everyone has a device of some sort keeping them entertained. I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about “the itch”. If you don’t know what I mean, the itch is this compulsion to check our phones. Constantly.

What would the world be without devices?

What would the world be without devices?

I’ve spoken about this subject before, but more from the time management, productivity angle. This Freedom Friday post is more from a rant perspective. As you know, I don’t rant on my blog—at least my regular readers know this. I try to keep things on the lighter side. Even my zombie-related posts have a thread of dark humor I weave through it, and for those who can see it, I’m grateful. Sometimes, the only way I’ll know if I did a good job of it is when I get feedback stating such.

But this constant obsession with checking our devices has gotten way, way out of hand.

I’m writing this from the standpoint that I, too, am a big offender. When my book came out last year, I couldn’t go a few minutes without checking my phone. With a blog, a twitter account, facebook page, Amazon and email, I had my hands full. Literally. Things did settle down a few months later, yet what a crazy time that was.

Then there’s the intimacy issue.

When I’m at the mall, I’ll sometimes sit at a bench and watch people. Twenty years ago, people watching used to be fun. Husbands would fight with their wives about the cost of a new dress. Wives would fight with their husbands for checking out the new blond cashier over at the deli. This happened more often than you think, probably still does. And parents would get mad at their kids for wanting that shiny new game featured in the window of the mall’s biggest toy store.

Nowadays, everyone has their head down and they’re not talking with one another.

Ah, but the counterargument to that observation is that we’re all being social online. It’s a different way to communicate. Yes, I agree. It is different. The nuances people use to get their point across while communicating online disappears. Sure we have the smileys, winks and frowns, but where is the involuntary brush of the hair when someone’s lying? Or seeing them bite their nails in conversation because of anxiety? Or hearing the inflection of their voice when they’re about to fall to pieces? Or the tender touch when opening our hearts?

We’re living in a world where bits of information has replaced reality.

What would the world be like if we’d put away our devices?

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale October 21.

What about you? Do you find it difficult to put your phone down? What would you do differently to keep that phone disconnected and experience life as reality?

15 Comments

Jess Bhamra

When I saw Bend It Like Beckham for the first time ten years ago, I laughed so hard, I never thought I’d recover. Thankfully, I did and now I’m able to tell you about the star character for Women Who Wow Wednesday. Her name is Jesminder “Jess” Kaur Bhamra (Parminder Nagra) and she likes football—soccer here in North America. She likes watching it. Playing it. Breathing it. She’s a regular fan.

Parminder Nagra & Keira Knightley

Parminder Nagra & Keira Knightley

One day, Juliette “Jules” Paxton (Keira Knightley) watches her play against the boys and she decides to approach her about an offer that may very well change her life. Jules wants Jess to come along and have a trial with the Hounslow Harriers, an all-girls football team. Jess doesn’t know what to say. She asks Jules if she thinks she’s good enough. Of course Jess is good enough, otherwise Jules wouldn’t have asked her.

There’s one problem. Jess is Indian playing English football. Under normal circumstances, this would be acceptable, but Jess’ parents are very strict about what their daughter can and can’t do with her life. One thing she can’t do is play and horseplay with the boys in the park. This is off limits. They also do not like their daughter to wear shorts, which amounts to revealing too much of herself to the opposite sex. In other words, they do not like her “running around half naked in front of men”. Did I mention her parents are strict? Yeah.

Parminder Nagra as Jess Bhamra

Parminder Nagra as Jess Bhamra

Adding to Jess’ list of “things I hate my parents do to me when I want to do something else,” her mom wants her to learn how to make a full Punjabi dinner—meat and vegetarian. Her parents wouldn’t be able to show their face in the temple otherwise. Did I mention that her parents also forbid her to continue with her football career? They want her to start acting like a real woman, settle down, think about the future and kids, just like her unhappy sister who also follows their traditions in these modern times.

So what does Jess do? She sneaks around, going against her parents’ wishes in order to fulfill her dream of playing in an all-girls football team. Why? Jess feels that if she didn’t try her best with achieving her dream, despite her parents’ wanting her to keep their traditions, then she’d feel like a total failure for the rest of her life with nothing else to live for other than cook, clean, do the dishes, laundry and look after the kids.

Remember, all this is on top of her being the only Indian girl on her team.

If anything’s certain, Jess has a will to overcome. She doesn’t allow the negativity in her life to rule her sanity or her motivation to accomplish her goals.

Jess is a true achiever who is better than “good enough”.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale October 21.

Have you ever heard of the movie Bend It Like Beckham? If you have, what did you like about Jess?

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