Sunday night while viewing the Oscars, my adult children begrudgingly watched and waited for their favorite actor and actresses to make their appearance. The crowd favorite in our living room was Mary J. Blige. Many agree, including my children, that Blige’s performance of “Mighty River” puts her in an elite category of best live Oscar song performances.
The surprise song of the night was “Remember Me” from the movie “Coco”. My eldest daughter Nikki almost cried when it won best original song. “Remember Me” lyrics connect to the heart of anyone who has lost a loved one. “Remember me … though I have to say goodbye. Remember me … don't let it make you cry. For ever if I'm far away … I hold you in my heart.” Cue the tears.
Unknown to Nikki until Oscar night was that Benjamin Bratt was the central voice in the animated movie. She always liked Benjamin but now has a full-on crush on him. “Coco” went on to win an Oscar for “Best Animated Feature.”
“Remember Me” has inspired many acts of remembrance and love. One example, on Youtube, shows a 4-year-boy singing the song to a picture of his sister, with candles, on what would have been her first birthday.
Nikki and I took my grandchildren Haley, 11 years old, and Ariyon, 6 years old, to see “Coco.” Although I thought the plot of the movie too complex for young children, the colorful animation and wonderful character illustrations blended perfectly with the movie's subtle emotional ride. As Disney Pixar usually does, the movie's happy and tearful ending would collapse even the most ardent macho movie non-criers.
As we left the theater, I asked Ariyon what he learned from the movie. Out of my remarkable 6-year-old grandson came, “Grandpa, family is the most important thing.” Straining not to show any emotion but with a whisper of a tear in my eyes I asked Haley what she learned from the movie. Haley whispered, “People don’t really die if you remember them.”
Excuse me, but Grandpa has to go use the restroom.
If you saw an old man wearing a Beatles T-shirt several months ago crying in the Maya Cinemas men’s restroom, it was me. When I was in the Maya restroom, I remembered a saying I read somewhere, “Appreciate what you have before it becomes something you had.” More tears.
You won’t regret taking your family to see “Coco.” Remember the tissues.
Speaking of the Oscars and family:
Near the beginning of the Oscars, my adult daughter Brenna received an alert that pioneering activist Dolores Huerta will be appearing at the Oscars. Dolores may be a Kern County resident but her activism has impacted and resides in many communities and people throughout the country.
Your political opinion will dictate which adjectives and titles you attached to the nationally recognized labor and pioneering activist Dolores Huerta. Regardless of your opinion, there she was, on stage at the Oscars with nine other people who, according to recording artist Common, “have become prime movers for change.” The activists stood as Andra Day and Common performed “Stand Up for Something.”
Although my relationship with Dolores Huerta has been minimal over the years, her caring approach and kindness each time she sees my family draws me nearer to her radiant and gentle persona.
The physical stature of this 85-plus-year-young beautiful woman belies the enormity of her influence, handprint on history and direct affect she has had on many facets of our society.
My children are always in awe when we do see Dolores. They can’t believe she always remembers them. As controversial as she may be to some, my children understand, respect and appreciate Dolores’s place in history … as do many others within and beyond California’s Central Valley.
I do have one small favor to ask of you, Dolores.
I know it’s not a prudent use of your enormous social activism skills but is there any chance you could introduce Benjamin "Coco" Bratt to my daughter Nikki the next time he is in town?
She is going to be so mad at me when she reads this.
¿Si, se puede?
Email contributing columnist Steve Flores at email@example.com. His work normally appears here every third Monday; the views expressed are his own.