About Me

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Little Rock, Arkansas, United States
I completed the 2016 Summer Program in the School of Cinematic Arts (SCA) at the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles. I received a BS Degree in Radio/TV from ASU and a MA Degree in Technical and Expository Writing from UALR. As a Cancer Survivor and a Widow, I hope I can help others through my Blog http://leslieinlittlerock.blogspot.com/ Twitter @leslieinlr and Instagram @leslieinlittlerock accounts.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Humor Essay

I'm Living a Teenage Dream During a Midlife Crisis

I guess we all handle middle age differently. When my husband turned 50 two years ago, he went out and bought a new Jeep Wrangler. As I was approaching the Big Five O this past year, I sent a candy gift basket to an actor on the TV show Glee.

It all started innocently enough. My two teenage daughters and I have watched Glee since the pilot episode aired on May 19, 2009. We immediately fell in love with the group of show choir members set at a fictional high school in Lima, Ohio. In addition to the story lines regarding teen issues, each episode features fabulous musical production numbers including renditions of popular songs such as “Firework” and past hits like “Silly Love Songs’. 

On November 9, 2010, after an ordinary day of working, driving teenagers around town and attending a school conference, I returned home to watch Glee. I remember having my back to the TV when all of a sudden I hear a silky smooth voice singing “My heart stops when you look at me.”  I turn around and see a young man I had never seen before on Glee.  Wearing a navy blazer with a striped tie, he’s singing the Katy Perry song “Teenage Dream”.  Jet black hair, beautiful hazel eyes, brilliant white smile. He looked like a movie star and sang like a rock star! All of a sudden I felt like I was a teenage girl again. But I’m 49, not 14! 

Using Google on my laptop PC I find out that the actor’s name is Darren Criss and that his birthday is February 5. My daughters and I began watching him sing on Glee each week and loved all his performances, so we decided we wanted to do something nice for Darren on his upcoming birthday.

Before I know it, I’m walking into a Candy Bouquet Store in January and ordering an arrangement with 40 full size chocolate bars in the shape of a three tiered birthday cake and having it shipped to Darren at Paramount Studios. For the next six months I wondered if he received the gift.

Thanks to a lot of good luck, Sara and I met Darren Criss on July 21, 2011 before his concert at the Six Flags amusement park in St. Louis. At first I couldn’t speak, but I finally got the courage to ask him if he received candy delivered to the Glee set in February for his birthday. With a big smile, he tells Sara and I that he got the candy arrangement, took it home and put it on his dining room table as a centerpiece. He then thanked me and gave me a big hug! 

The next week I sent Darren another candy gift basket along with a “Congratulations on Your Success” card and a picture of Darren with Sara and I taken at Six Flags.

OK, I have to confess that after I found out that Darren received the candy basket for his birthday last year, I sent another one to a cast member of Glee, but his time to actress Naya Rivera who plays cheerleader Santana. Her birthday is January 12 and I ordered it from a nice lady named Mary who owns a Candy Bouquet Store in Long Beach, California.  The candy arrangement was delivered to the Glee Studios on Naya's birthday. Right after that I received this tweet on twitter from Naya along with a picture of the candy arrangement:   "Just found the sweetest belated bday gift in my trailer from@leslieinlr. Thank you!!"
The tweet was sent to me and also to over 600,000 of her twitter followers!

Leslie Smith Doan, a ten year cancer survivor, spends her days writing technical documentation and her nights surfing the Internet, tweeting and face booking her many friends from around the world. She and her husband Stewart have two daughters, Lauren, a freshman in college, and Sara, a freshman in high school. Leslie and her family live in Little Rock, Arkansas along with two rescue pets, Oreo, an Australian Shepherd and Lilly, a calico kitty. She has a B.S. Degree in Radio/Television Communications from Arkansas State University and a M.A. Degree in Technical and Expository Writing from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Read all about her love for the TV show Glee and movies on http://www.leslieinlittlerock.blogspot.com/.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

2012 Academy Awards!

84th Academy Awards

Last year when the ten nominees for Best Picture were announced on January 25, 2011, I realized that I had already seen five of the ten movies, so I decided then to make it my mission to see all ten films before the Academy Awards ceremony aired on February 27, 2011.  I ended up seeing nine of the ten movies, thanks to that darn Black Swan that flew away before I could see it!

So this year when the nine Best Picture nominees were announced on January 24, 2012, I had already seen four of the nine nominees.  So once again I vowed to see all the movies before tonight, but this time I was only able to see seven of the nine movies.  I was not able to see Hugo and War Horse because they are not showing at our local movie theaters anymore and  both movies are not available on DVD or On Demand.  I actually rented The Tree of Life from Red Box on Friday and saw The Artist on Saturday at the Riverdale 10 Cinema!

Look who sang "The Rainbow Connection" with Kermit the Frog during an Oscars Pre Show today!

Here are my predictions for 8 of the top nominations for The Academy Awards Tonight:

Best Picture
The Artist

Actor in a Leading Role
George Clooney - The Descendants

Actress in a Leading Role
Michelle Williams - My Week with Marilyn

Actor in a Supporting Role
Jonah Hill - Moneyball

Actress in a Supporting Role
Melissa McCarthy - Bridesmaids

Woody Allen - Midnight in Paris

 Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
The Descendants

Writing (Original Screenplay)
Midnight in Paris

New Movie Reviews for January and February 2012

The Woman In Black

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe as Arthur Kipps, Sophie Stuckey as Stella Kipps, Misha Handley as Joseph Kipps, Ciaran Hinds as Mr. Daily, and Janet McTeer as Mrs. Daily.

Director: James Watkins

Release Date:  Friday, February 3, 2012

Running Time:  95 minutes

Rated:  PG13, Drama/Horror/Thriller

Rated  Rated PG-13 for thematic material and violence/disturbing images

Brief Description: A young lawyer travels to a remote village where he discovers the vengeful ghost of a scorned woman is terrorizing the locals.

Leslie's Notes: Oh, My, Gosh!  This is a really scary movie!  It's not scary in a "Friday the 13th" way, with a lot of blood and gore and half-dressed teenagers running away a lakeside resort. Instead it's scary in a spooky, old-fashioned, foggy, set in the English countryside way. After Sara and I saw this movie on the afternoon of Friday, February 3 (the day it came out)  I stayed and watched the credits.  It was made in Britain and produced by a British company, so that explains why I didn't recognize any of the actors besides Daniel Radcliffe.  He does a great job in this movie portraying a lawyer with a young son.  At first I didn't think he was old enough to play this part, but he does it very well.  I'm still a little confused about the ending of the movie. I read some of the other reviews and comments for this movie on IMDb and found out that it is based on a book. I also read that the cute little boy who plays his son is actually Daniel Radcliffe's godson!

I just want to know when Daniel Radcliffe found the time to make this movie in addition to filming the last two segments of the Harry Potter series and starring in a hit musical on Broadway for 9 months!

My daughter Lauren actually saw Daniel perform in "How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" last July in New York and she said he was amazing!  She bought a "rush ticket" for $32.00, had to go by herself and stood the entire time, but she loved it!  She said that after Daniel finished singing and dancing during the song "The Brotherhood of Men", that he had tears in his eyes because the scene is so emotional.

If you like scary movies with a lot of spooky music, then you should see "The Woman in Black"!

The 2012 Oscar Nominations were announced on Tuesday, January 24 and 9 movies were nominated for Best Motion Picture:

  • The Artist
  • The Descendants *
  • Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close *
  • The Help *
  • Hugo
  • Midnight in Paris *
  • Money Ball *
  • The Tree of Life
  • War Horse
An asterisk denotes the 5 of the 9 Best Picture nominees that I've already seen.

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

Starring: Tom Hanks as Thomas Schell, Sandra Bullock as Linda Schell, and Thomas Horn as Oskar Schell.

Director: Stephen Daldry

Release Date:  Friday, January 20, 2012

Running Time:  129 minutes

Rated:  PG13, Drama

Rated  Rated PG-13 for emotional thematic material, some disturbing images, and language

Brief Description: A nine-year-old amateur inventor, Francophile, and pacifist searches New York City for the lock that matches a mysterious key left behind by his father, who died in the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

Leslie's Notes:  I saw this movie on January 27, 2012 at the Chenal Theater, in Little Rock. I really like Sandra Bullock and Tom Hanks when they play comedic roles, but is not a comedy.  It is a very intense drama.  When I first started watching it I didn't like the character of the little boy because he is very annoying in the movie.  But by the end of the film, I liked all the performances and understood why he is the way he is.  I think this movie is like "American Beauty" which is one of my all-time favorite movies.  I think you have to view it like a piece of art, you may not understand it, but you can appreciate it.

The Descendants

Starring: George Clooney as Matt King, Shailene Woodley as Alexandra King, and Amara Miller as Scottie King.

Director: Alexander Payne

Release Date:  Friday, December 9, 2011

Running Time:  115 minutes

Rated:  R, Comedy, Drama,

Rated  R for Rated R for language including some sexual references. 

Brief Description: A land baron tries to re-connect with his two daughters after his wife suffers a boating accident.

Leslie's Notes: I first saw this movie, about a family that lives in Hawaii, on January 10, 2012 at a movie theater with Lauren while on vacation in Honolulu, Hawaii and then again with Sara on January 22, 2012 at The Rave in Little Rock.

Like the movie "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close", this movie is also an intense drama.  In addition it also contains some offensive language, at times spoken by the two girls in the movie.  Even though I am not a fan of using curse words, it seems like for this movie it goes along with the content and context of the film.

While I was watching the movie, I forgot that George Clooney is a very handsome and rich movie star that lives in Italy. In this movie is he just a dad with two daughters and a wife in a coma.  There is a scene when he is eating salad out of a Tupperware container while working through lunch in his office and I really believed it! The movie is full of "real moments' in the life of a family that is dealing with a tragedy. I think that is why it is so believable.

A lot of people have been asking who is the actress who plays the oldest daughter, Alex?  Well, I guess it's because I have two teen daughters but we know exactly who she is!  Her name is Shailene Woodley and for the past several years she has played Amy on the ABC Family series "The Secret Life of the American Teenager."  In the first episode her 15-year-old character found out that she was pregnant after sleeping with a guy for the first time at band camp!  So she has a lot of experience with all the drama and agony that is in this movie.

Trivia Question: Who is this actor featured in this movie and what movie role is he known for?

Answer appears at the end of this blog.

Today is Sunday, February 5, 2012.  Not only is it the Super Bowl, it's also Darren Criss' 25th Birthday!


My friend Lynn took this picture of Darren when he was performing at the Market Days Festival last August in Chicago!

Answer to Trivia Question - The man in the blue checked shirt is actor Matthew Lillard.  He is best known as playing Shaggy in the Scooby-Doo movies!  I almost didn't recognize him in this role in The Descendants.  Well, I didn't recognize him, I just recognized his name.  The lady who plays his wife is actress Judy Greer and Lauren reminded me that she was Jenna's friend in one of our favorite movies, "13 Going on 30" starring Jennifer Garner.