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Happy Mothers Day! FREE Copy of My Book About Movie Mothers

Posted on May 11, 2017 at 12:01 am

In honor of Mother’s Day, my ebook 50 Must-See Movies: Mothers will be free on Amazon through Monday, May 11-15, 2017.

No relationship is more primal, more fraught, more influential, more worried over, more nurturing when good and more devastating when bad than our connection to our mothers. The first eyes to look at us with love, the first arms to hold us, Mom is the one who first keeps us fed and warm, who applauds our initial steps, kisses our scrapes, and takes our temperature by kissing our forehead. She’s also the one who keeps people in endless years of psychoanalysis. Mothers inspire movies in every category, from comedy to romance to drama to crime to animation to horror, from the lowest-budget indie to the biggest-budget prestige film.

There are innumerable ways of mothering, and all of them show up in the movies. There are cookie-baking, apron-wearing mothers who always know just the right thing to say. There are stylish, sophisticated, wealthy mothers and mothers who do not have enough money to feed their children. There are mothers with PhDs and mothers who cannot read. There are mothers of every race and religion and many species on earth and in outer space (remember Alien).
There are terrifying mothers who abuse or abandon their children. There are mothers who give good advice and endless support and mothers who push their children to take the wrong jobs or marry the wrong people. There are super-strict mothers and super-lax mothers, mothers who want to know every detail of their children’s lives and mothers who barely remember that they have children at all. There are mothers of children with special needs who fight to make sure they have the fullest and most independent lives they can. There are children who love and support their mothers and children who break their mothers’ hearts.

And there are those very special souls who remind us that motherhood doesn’t require a biological connection. Stepmothers and adoptive mothers are as vitally important on screen as they are in the lives of those lucky enough to be raised by them.

“A boy’s best friend is his mother,” says a character whose mother is central to the story even though she never appears in the film. (Spoiler alert: The quote comes from Norman Bates in “Psycho.”) In “Stop or My Mom Will Shoot,” tough guy Sylvester Stallone plays a cop who mother comes along on his investigation whether he wants her to or not. In “Oedipus Wrecks,” one of three short films that make up the compilation New York Stories, Woody Allen plays a lawyer whose mother finds the ultimate way to embarrass him. And don’t get me started on Jason’s mother in the Friday the 13th movies.

I have selected 50 of my favorite movie mothers, from films as varied as The Sound of Music and Little Women along with forgotten or overlooked films like Stella Dallas, Claudia and David, and Dear Frankie. Actresses like Anne Revere and Spring Byington made careers out of wonderful performances as mothers, and I have included some of their best. I have a special affection for films and performances based on real-life mothers, especially those based on the mothers of the writers who told their stories, like Sally Field’s Oscar-winning performance in Places in the Heart. But each of the mothers in these movies is inspired by the unique joys and frustrations of the woman we love first.

A lot of women have been nominated for Oscars for playing mothers and just about every actress over age 20 has appeared as a mother in at least one movie. From beloved Marmee in “Little Women” and Mrs. Brown in “National Velvet” to mean moms in “Now Voyager” and “Mommie Dearest.”  Oscar-winnng classics and neglected gems, based on real-life like Sally Fields in “Places in the Heart” or fantasy like Dumbo’s lullabye-singing elephant mom, biological mothers like Irene Dunne in “I Remember Mama” or step-mothers like Maria in “The Sound of Music,” these are all must-see movies.

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Free Ebook — Milly Pierce: A Slave Turned Slave-Owner in Pre-Civil War Virginia

Posted on February 20, 2017 at 8:00 am

Copyright 2016 Miniver Press

A free ebook for Black History Month — Milly Pierce: A Slave Turned Slave-Owner in Pre-Civil War Virginia is free for five days.

Black, female and on her own, Milly Pierce embodies in many ways the long, complex and convoluted quest for equality that continues to characterize the odyssey of American women and minorities. This astonishing true story of an enslaved woman who won her freedom and found that the only way she could survive was to herself become a slaveholder echoes the themes of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Edward P. Jones, The Known World. Milly Pierce did not merely survive white oppression, she made a place for herself in the white power structure—and prospered as a “free woman of colour” rather than a freed slave. She did not accept her freedom meekly as a gift from her white master, she claimed that freedom as her own natural condition. As the Virginia legislature imposed new restrictions on free black citizens’ right to work, to education, to worship, to assemble and to trial by jury, Milly Pierce literally held her ground, the first black woman to own land in that part of the state, and thriving as an astute businesswoman. CeCe Bullard’s meticulously researched book tells her story for the first time.

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Free Ebook: My Life in the Negro Leagues

Posted on February 5, 2017 at 8:43 am

Copyright 2015 Miniver Press
Copyright 2015 Miniver Press
In honor of Black History Month, the autobiography of Negro Leagues baseball star Wilmer Fields is free for five days.

Wilmer Fields was a superstar in the Negro Leagues, back when baseball was segregated. After Jackie Robinson broke the color line (as shown in the hit film, “42”), Fields received five different offers to join white teams. But he loved the Negro Leagues and never left. After his retirement, he fought to get the Negro League players covered by Major League Baseball’s pension and health care benefits. This new edition of Fields’ memoir, with an introduction by baseball historian John Holway, features a new interview with Fields’ son, Billy, who had his own professional sports career in basketball. Fields tells the story of the “dream come true” that “allowed a black country boy” from Virginia to play the game he loved with teammates he admired and trusted. Fields tells his story, from college football to military service in WWII to hitting .427 in 1956 and being honored as one of the “Black legends of baseball” in 1990. He writes about players like the legendary Josh Gibson and Sam Hairston, who became a White Sox manager. He writes about the game itself, the qualities that make a team and the dedication that makes a world-class athlete.

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My eBook About Moms in Movies is FREE Until Sunday

Posted on May 7, 2014 at 1:00 am

In honor of Mother’s Day, my ebook 50 Must-See Movies: Mothers will be free on Amazon through Sunday.Image

No relationship is more primal, more fraught, more influential, more worried over, more nourishing when good and more devastating when bad that our connection to our mothers. Mom inspires a lot of movies in every possible category, from comedy to romance to drama to crime to animation to horror, from the lowest-budget indie to the biggest-budget prestige film. A lot of women have been nominated for Oscars for playing mothers and just about every actress over age 20 has appeared as a mother in at least one movie. From beloved Marmee in “Little Women” and Mrs. Brown in “National Velvet” to mean moms in “Now Voyager” and “Mommie Dearest.”  Oscar-winnng classics and neglected gems, based on real-life like Sally Fields in “Places in the Heart” or fantasy like Dumbo’s lullabye-singing elephant mom, these are all must-see movies.

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THE MOVIE MOM® is a registered trademark of Nell Minow. Use of the mark without express consent from Nell Minow constitutes trademark infringement and unfair competition in violation of federal and state laws. All material © Nell Minow 1995-2024, all rights reserved, and no use or republication is permitted without explicit permission. This site hosts Nell Minow’s Movie Mom® archive, with material that originally appeared on Yahoo! Movies, Beliefnet, and other sources. Much of her new material can be found at Rogerebert.com, Huffington Post, and WheretoWatch. Her books include The Movie Mom’s Guide to Family Movies and 101 Must-See Movie Moments, and she can be heard each week on radio stations across the country.

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