96. Jennifer Aniston: The Dysfunctional Stripper

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Jennifer Aniston: The Dysfunctional Stripper

Most movie-goers are familiar with the “dysfunctional family themed” movie feature or television show. It usually involves a wedding, illness, funeral, family reunion, college reunion, Thanksgiving, Christmas, atypical home, or Archie Bunker type setting. As the friends or family members return and gather, each member has a different type of dysfunctional baggage that is emphasized. Some of this baggage is humorous while others are carrying the unhappy baggage of childhood, divorce, un-acceptance, and failure. Weaving each story and making a television show or movie look different from its predecessors is a screenwriting challenge.

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Jennifer Aniston’s new movie The Millers attacks dysfunction, but from a completely different viewpoint:


  1. Jennifer Aniston’s dysfunction revolves around her job as a stripper and how far a stripper should go during and after work.
  2. Jason Sudeikis is a drug dealer that delivers drugs to offices and homes. His dysfunction is that he thinks delivering drugs and ruining these lives isn’t the same as dealing the same poison to those on the street.
  3. Emma Roberts is a young person living alone on the street. She is homeless and without direction. For her, being street smart is not the same as being life smart.
  4. Ed Helms lives in the same apartment building as Sudeikis. His mother left him on a date and never came back. Normally the young girl character would be the ‘picture of innocence’ in such a story. In this case, it is Helms. He is way beyond the picture of innocence. Helms is the poster child and milk carton picture of unknowing.


Aniston’s movie is formed in the opposite direction of most films. The Miller’s writers have to make this disjointed group into a family. Tough job indeed! Sudeikis needs a fake family to pick up drugs in Mexico. Bringing the drugs back in a giant RV with a family as the disguise, in his mind, should get him through the border’s checkpoint.

Throughout the movie’s drug cartel chases, serious and humorous family squabbles, swollen body parts, RV site hook-ups, double crosses, and strip tease dances, you are rooting for everyone to change.

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Sometimes, your real family or make believe family can help you to do this, and sometimes it cannot. We are rooting for the Millers and think you should root for them, too, at your local cinema complex this weekend.


Cate Blanchett: The Dysfunctional Sister

Many people zoom through life and don’t ask…What if? Some ‘life travelers’ are always looking back and questioning every success, failure, decision, connection, and event in their lives.


Fast-forward and think what would happen if every time you had a past reflection, you were transported back to that instance. You can’t change failures, events or misspoken words. However, this reflection may be helpful to you in the present.


Woody Allen is his new movie, Blue Jasmine, does this again and again to Cate Blanchett. These flashbacks, as Blanchett spirals out of control, do not help her. Blanchett goes from millionaires to penniless. She is forced into the home of her poor sister who she cheated out of $200,000 while essentially ruining her sister’s life. Alex Baldwin is her money manager husband. While living the life of a prince, he cheated family, friends, and investors before going bankrupt…then throwing Blanchette out into the street.


Magazine and newspaper critics throughout the Americas are calling Blue Jasmine one of Woody Allen’s and Cate Blanchett’s best works. For the writing, directing, and acting it may be. For creativity, Midnight in Paris is still Allen’s recent standout. In Midnight you go back in time and interact with your writing heroes, rather than just reflecting on your own life. You, then, have to decide is the present a better life choice or does the past offer more to the creative thinker? Paris is a great late night rental. Try Midnight in Paris and compare it to Blue Jasmine before you believe you local movie critic who, probably, has never traveled back in time like some of us!

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Richard Gere: The Dysfunctional Madoff…Arbitrage (2012)

Before continuing with our dysfunctional actor and actress theme, let’s pause and give kudos for a new movie concept and a box office breaking record. Arbitrage starring Richard Gere, Susan Sarandon, Tim Roth, and Brit Marling was released in theaters and on Video On Demand (pay television) at the same time. It made $8,000,000 dollars in the theaters and $12,000,000 through in-home purchases. This movie venture eclipsed all records for such an undertaking.

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Arbitrage basically means buying low and immediately turning that purchase around and selling it at a higher price. For years, Richard Gere did that better than any money manager. A can’t miss deal for copper in Russia puts him all in and ‘money to work with’ poor.

Gere is cheating on everyone: the company that wants to purchase his company, his wife, his daughter, his son, his mistress, and his investors. He is selling his company with a hidden $400,000,000 cooked-books deficit. Along the way his mistress is killed in an accident that he can’t reveal. It will kill the deal to sell his company. Any notoriety by Gere will cause the company’s stocks and make the company far less attractive.


Tim Roth is trying to convict Gere of the accident that Gere fled at all costs. For Roth, fabricating evidence and lying…no problem! Brit Marling as Gere’s daughter and accountant may be the only decent person in the whole movie. Arbitrage was just released on Netflix and free Video On Demand. More scenes with Sarandon and Gere would have helped this movie to higher domestic and On Demand revenues.


Tom Palumbo: Amelia Earhart, Once Again

The Video Driven Storybook (VDS)

Multiple award-winning author (22 books), Tom Palumbo, has created the next new thing in children’s literature…the video driven storybook (VDS). His Amelia Earhart story is the first of five new video storybook themes he is developing. Yesterday, Once Again is his next (VDS) book.

The eBook Amelia Earhart, Once Again is a unique adventure about the world famous woman pilot. It will convince you that she did not die in 1937. It will, also, convince you that stories accompanied by and driven by video will soon replace the classic and contemporary picture book.

Remember how they laughed at books and records on tape, CD’s, audio books, iPhone videos, and eBooks when they were first introduced???


The Earhart tale is enhanced by videos of historic Philadelphia and Pennsylvania towns like New Hope and Washington’s Crossing. The book follows Amelia through the streets of Philadelphia as she tries to help two of the story’s lead characters, twins Carl and Carla Cane, save their school from an airplane disaster.

It is one thing when an author tries to fashion his words to create fear in the reader as a bus filled with children heads to impending doom. It is another as you are reading the story and actually sitting in the bus ready, through the video, to careen off the road.


The Earhart eBook has after story research videos, website follow-up suggestions, and a creative lesson plan of short-term projects that correspond to the book’s explorations and to add to the creative experience.

A free sample of the story and this new format can be downloaded to your iPad via the iBookstore application on your iPad. It’s the brown square with a white open book in it. Open it then click on the word Store in the upper left corner. When the store opens, search for Amelia Earhart Once Again. Once downloaded, a sample chapter from the book can be viewed on your iPad using the iBooks app. Click on the cover and the opening video will introduce you to the book. The first chapter in the sample has two more videos you will enjoy. This concept will fascinate children and adults. The VDS book and videos show Philadelphia and Pennsylvania at their best.


Video textbooks are beginning to garner a larger share of the K-12 library, as well as, the university market. After viewing Amelia Earhart, Once Again in video form, we hope you will agree children’s video books are soon to explode in the marketplace. Maybe you have a creative idea or video supported adventure that can be added to this new reading format? Video driven storybooks (VDS) will soon make a difference in the amount of creative information everyone will retain after reading these new books.

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Julius Lester: The Blues Singers…Ten Who Rocked The World

Julius Lester is one of the Kings Of Multicultural, Multiracial Themes In Literature. His books and awards could cover: an aircraft carrier deck? a football field? a basketball court? every wall in his house? The Blues Singer traces the history of jazz and the blues through the stories of Robert Johnson, Billie Holiday, James Brown and seven others.


Every person featured in Ten Who Rocked The World has a revealing life story of everyone enhanced by an interesting tidbit of each star. Even the most ardent of fans would revel in Lester’s research and revelations. Our favorite is that Ray Charles is Ray Charles Robinson. He dropped the Robinson as not to be confused with Sugar Ray Robinson, the boxer.

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Every school library has a shelf of Lester books. Encourage your child or grandchild to bring one of Lester’s books home that you can read to them.

Book reports are enhanced and teachers are impressed with the selection of Julius Lester for creative book reporting. Send a Lester book into school with your child for oral reading time by his or her teacher. His books are great classroom gifts.


Hello local entrepreneurs, writers, artists, and businessmen…

This column is a great forum for your ideas. It goes out to over ten thousand readers through Facebook, LinkedIn, and the Patch newspaper network.

Here are the businesses and creative ideas we are featuring this week. Hopefully you can discover something new that you can use or pass on to a friend.

Car: Models That Zoom By Ed Sobey


Ed Sobey has a great background in science and technology. He has a new book out called Cars: Models That Zoom. It deserves a look and a review of his website is just as interesting. Ed sounds like the environmentalist and scientist that should be presenting in every classroom in Philadelphia. His book titles and subjects are diverse and on the cusp of what every reader in science wants to know.


Ed has published 27 books and hosted two television series on science and inventing. He has directed five museums including the National Inventors Hall of Fame and he founded the National Toy Hall of Fame. Ed was on the Semester at Sea faculty for the fall 2008 voyage. He has visited more than 75 countries, seven continents, three oceans, and dozens of seas.


Sobey is the President of the Northwest Invention Center in Redmond, WA. He conducts workshops for science teachers in 25 countries and creates exhibits that travel to science centers throughout the world. In 2012 Ed was a Fulbright Senior Specialist in science education training teachers in northern Sweden.


Ed holds a Ph.D. in oceanography from Oregon State University. He has participated in two-dozen scientific expeditions including wintering in Antarctic and conducting oceanographic surveys of the western and eastern Pacific Ocean. He is a Fellow Emeritus of The Explorers Club. He co-authored the EPA’s manual for cleaning oil spills in the Arctic and NOAA/BLM’s analysis of environmental impacts from offshore drilling in Alaska. In small boat science Ed has recorded gray whale vocalizations from ocean kayaks.


Katie Pfeiffer: Artist, Designer, and Author

Katie has a very nice offer for readers interested in her cute storybooks.

Hi Tom,


The story is about a lonely cow (Lulu). She embarks on a journey to find love and finds it in a most unusual place. I wrote and illustrated the book 20 years ago and it was recently published as an e-book. The colorful, folk-art images and LULU’s message will resonate with readers of all ages. I feel this book is important and want to spread the word of its existence.
If you’re interested in purchasing LULU LOOKS FOR LOVE as a gift, it’s currently available on Amazon for Kindle for $2.99.
Thank you so much for your interest in LULU LOOKS FOR LOVE.
You can find more of my art at http://www.katiepfeiffer.com.

Best Wishes,
Katie Pfeiffer

 Don’t Forget…

aimtjp.wikispaces.com is an excellent back to school site for parents, teachers, and students. It has over 200 lessons, videos, and PowerPoints for struggling, on level, and advanced students. Everything is FREE and very easy to download.


About tjpalumbo

Tom Palumbo is a nationally known and award winning author, teacher, technology designer, administrator, and grant writer. He has taught for thirty-five years in preschool through 12th grade classrooms throughout the quad state area. His ideas have made a difference in the way thousands of teachers, parents, and children read, write, do mathematics, use technology, and think creatively and critically. Tom’s twenty books on reading, writing, critical thinking, and mathematics have won four national book awards. 5,000 teachers and home schooling parents have matriculated through his graduate courses/lectures. 12,000 have signed up for his website. As Director of Pennsylvania’s Parent Information Center and New Jersey’s Citizen’s For Better Schools Resource Center, Tom received over two hundred commendations for his presentations to thousands of teachers, parents, and administrators throughout the Florida, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Maryland area. Workshop participants receive idea loaded CD’s, access to hundreds of videos, PowerPoints, curriculum links, games, and lessons on his website, and an activity booklet filled with common core curriculum in line with local, state, and national standards. Instruction, on each of these resources, is presented during his presentation. Mr. Palumbo has over two hundred learning centers, bulletin boards, and project developers in reading, writing, poetry, literature, and math in make-it/take it item format that can, also, be part of any workshop program. Call or email Tom to set up a workshop for your organization. Tom Palumbo tjpalumbo@aol.com 215-262-9986 aimtjp.wikispaces.com
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2 Responses to 96. Jennifer Aniston: The Dysfunctional Stripper

  1. Jenny Witterick says:

    Another great column Tom!

    I love Cate Blanchette…just realized that her last name Blanche is the word for white in French…and you have a picture of her here where she looks freakishly pale…maybe that’s what triggered the connection.

    Jenny in Frankfurt at midnight.

    Sent from my iPad

    • tjpalumbo says:

      Guten Nacht Cinderella at 12PM,

      I was just going to write you to see if my column reached Germany.

      Thought I was being funny but you did get the column. That Internet thing is really neat!

      I am sending my column to the Hollywood CA Patch newspaper. It is my third submission. Maybe Lindsay Lohan will read my movie reviews.

      Can Matt surf the Rhine? That would be a great T-shirt inscription.

      Are their any Gutenberg works nearby like the Boca exhibit?

      Do you have time for museum explorations?

      Be well wishes, Tom

      Tom Palumbo 215-262-9986 aimtjp.wikispaces.com tjpalumbo@aol.com

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