Tuesday, February 26, 2019

New Zealand Deals With Middle Child Issues

I.M.C.U. backs #getNZonthemap campaign.

Mapmaker, mapmaker, make me a map...
with New Zealand on it!
     Recently, I learned of a global crisis crying for attention. Well, actually more like just a globe crisis.
     As reported by multiple media outlets, including a recent episode of “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver,” it seems New Zealand is frequently left off of world maps. Granted, most people probably already have no idea where New Zealand is, but this only makes matters worse. (Actually, maybe that explains why people have no idea where it is.)
     Exactly how big of a problem is it? There’s a subgroup on Reddit called “MapsWithoutNZ” and a “World Maps Without New Zealand” Tumblr where you can find New Zealand-less maps from Ikea, the World Health Organization, and from other places all over the map. Oooh, sorry New Zealand. That was probably insensitive. Even New Zealand’s own government website left New Zealand off the map! I mean, really. The problem is so serious, the Prime Minister of New Zealand launched the #getNZonthemap campaign to help get her country back where it belongs.
Something’s missing, alright!: Even 
New Zealand’s website left New
Zealand off the map, for godsakes!!
     As the founder of the International Middle Child Union I knew it was time to act, so I have an important message for the people of New Zealand: we feel your pain! After all, Middle Children know all too well what it feels like to be left out. Forgotten. Wiped off the map, so to speak. So how can we stand by and watch an entire country get the Middle Child treatment? That’s right, we cannot!
     That’s why today, the I.M.C.U. is announcing its full support for New Zealand’s efforts to regain its rightful place in the world. Or at least on the maps of the world. We’ll be reaching out to millions of Middles and spreading the word on social media to “Stop Treating New Zealand Like A Middle Child!” (Not that it means much. I mean, I can’t even get Middle Children to recognize Middle Child’s Day. But it’s the thought that counts, right?)
      I am calling on Middle Children all around the world to stand with New Zealand as they struggle with this cartographic catastrophe and seek the recognition they deserve. It's a horrible injustice for a nation with more sheep than people to be treated like the black sheep in this way. Ironic, sure, and maybe even a little bit funny -- but a horrible injustice nonetheless.
     In closing, I’d like to echo the words of the late, great Middle Child John F. Kennedy -- and I’m paraphrasing here: “All Middle Children, wherever they may live are citizens of New Zealand, and, therefore, as a Middle Child, I take pride in the words Ich bin ein Kiwi! -- I am a Kiwi!”

Sunday, February 24, 2019

The Greatest Middle Child Movies NEVER Made: 2019

I have my un-acceptance speech ready. And the Oscar doesn't go to...

CLICK HERE  to see “The Greatest Middle Child Movies NEVER Made: 2014”
CLICK HERE to see “The Greatest Middle Child Movies NEVER Made: 2018”

Friday, February 22, 2019

15 Memorable Middle Child Movie Moments: Part 2

Academy Awards Special Feature!

   And just when you thought it couldn’t be possible to top “15 Memorable Middle Child Movie Moments: Part 1.” Here's the rest of the best. If you know of any that should be included on the list, comment below or e-mail to: midkidmusings@gmail.com

            DAWN WEINER
played by Heather Matarazzo in “Welcome to the Dollhouse” (1995)
Older brother: Mark/Younger sister: Missy
     E! News says, “No other character better portrays #middlechildproblems quite like Heather Matarazzo's in the '90s classic, Welcome to the Doll House.” Her older brother is smarter and her younger brother is prettier. Mom always takes Missy’s side in disputes with Dawn, and Dad always takes her mother’s side in arguments with Dawn. Nobody is ever on her side! The quintessential Middle Child moment occurs when Dawn won’t tear down her playhouse so her parents can have a 20th Anniversary party in the backyard. Mom has Mark and Missy take it down -- and gives them Dawn’s share of cake!!

voiced by Spencer Fox in “The Incredibles” (2004)
Older sister: Violet/Younger brother: Jack-Jack
     What Middle Child doesn’t want to feel special? So you’d think having a super power would satisfy Dash. But living in a world where “Supers” aren’t accepted, his mom encourages him to hide his powers and be like everyone else. “But Dad always said our powers were nothing to be ashamed of, our powers made us special,” Dash tells his mom. “Everyone’s special, Dash,” she replies. “Which is another way of saying no one is,” Dash mutters. That is one serious case of Super Middle Child Syndrome.

                      IVY WESTON
played by Julianne Nicholson in “August: Osage County” (2013)
Older sister: Barbara/Younger sister: Karen
     Ivy has felt trapped her whole life. She’s single and the only one of her sisters who never left home, so she bears the brunt of caring for her parents. The only person she can relate to is her cousin Charles. And boy, can she relate. She’s been having a secret affair with her cousin and wants to marry him. But Ivy’s Mom has an even bigger secret: Ivy’s father had a long ago affair with Ivy’s Aunt, Charles’ mom. So Charles is really her brother. Oy. On the plus side, it finally gets Ivy to leave home. Some Middle Children can’t catch a break.

         played by Dianne Wiest in “Hannah and Her Sisters” (1986)
        Older sister: Hannah/Younger sister: Lee
     Just by looking at the poster, you know which sister is Holly. Yeah, not the one in the middle, but the one off to the side looking detached from the other two. Hannah is a successful actress. Meanwhile, Holly’s acting career is in the dumps, so she’s super jealous of Hannah. Sounds about right. Yet she has formed an unhealthy dependency on her big sis, borrowing money from her and dating Hannah’s hypochondriac ex-husband. To make matters worse, much of the movie occurs over three successive Thanksgiving dinners. And everyone knows the Middle Child Syndrome Advisory alert is at the highest level possible when there are large family gatherings.
(AWARD ANNOTATION: Wiest won Best Supporting Actress for her Middle Child portrayal.)

     So far, the list has been limited to characters who were the only movie Middle Child in the family, but these co-star/co-middlers are certainly worth mentioning.

Oldest sister: Margaret “Meg”/Youngest sister: Amy
     The March sisters sure know how to get around. Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel has made it to the big screen five times! Strong willed Jo is the main character, exhibiting many of the same characteristics as Alcott, many say. Beth steps in to keep the peace when the sisters argue. Their Middle Sister bond is so strong, when Beth gets scarlet fever, Jo never leaves her side. Here’s the breakdown of actresses who’ve played the Middle March’s.

KATHERINE HEPBURN as Jo/JEAN PARKER as Beth in “Little Women” (1933)
Winner: Best Adapted Screenplay; Nominated: Best Picture.
JUNE ALLYSON as Jo/MARGARET O’BRIEN as Beth in “Little Women” (1949)
Winner: Best Art Direction; Nominated: Best Cinematography.
     O’Brien was presented with an Academy Juvenile Award (who knew this was even a thing?) for “Outstanding Child Actress of 1944.”  This happened before even filming “Little Women,” but she was a little woman at the time, if that counts for something.
(READ ABOUT how O'Brien's Oscar was stolen and found over 50 years later.)

 WINONA RYDER as Jo/CLAIRE DANES as Beth in “Little Women” (1994)
Nominated: Best Actress (Winona Ryder); Best Costume Design; Best Original Score.
SARAH DAVENPORT as Jo/ALLIE JENNINGS as Beth in “Little Women” (2018)
     This present-day update disappointed at the box office and with critics. EW.com wouldn’t even consider it in their ranking of Little Women adaptations.

SAOIRSE RONAN as Jo/ELIZA SCANLEN as Beth in “Little Women” (2019)
     The march of the March’s continues! Scheduled for Christmas 2019 release.

Oldest brother: William/Youngest sister: Ginevra Ginny

     So many Weasley’s, so little time. Let’s start with Ron. He’s Harry’s best friend, and clearly the most widely known Weasley. He’s appeared in all eight film adaptations, logging just over 3½ hours of screen time. Moving on to the lesser Weasley’s, troublemaking twins George and Fred also appear in all eight films. They may be identical, but not when it comes to screen time: George gets just slightly over 20 minutes, while Fred gets slightly under. Percy is the measly Weasley, only speaking in three films with a little over three minutes on screen. And then comes Charlie, the forgotten Weasley. He’s only seen, and his only scene, is in “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban,” when there’s a glimpse of him in a Weasley family photo album. He’s not even credited. Ouch.

FREDO & MICHAEL CORLEONE played by John Cazale & Al Pacino
in “The Godfather” (1973)/“The Godfather: Part II” (1975)
Oldest brother: Sonny/Younger sister: Connie

     While Fredo was the middle Corleone son (see this previous “Profiles in Middledom” post), younger brother Michael was a Mid Kid tooEven though he “never wanted this” for his baby boy, when Don Corleone retires he still chooses Michael to lead the family. That's how little confidence he had in the feeble Fredo.
(AWARD ANNOTATION: Pacino received a Best Supporting Actor nomination for “The Godfather,” and a Best Actor nomination for “The Godfather II.”)

     In total, the actors actresses on this list have been nominated by the Academy 26 times for Best Actor/Actress or Best Supporting Actor/Actress, and have won nine times. Just four of those nominations were for movies on this list however, and of those only one walked away with an Oscar: Dianne Wiest. The rest were runners-up, which somehow seems fitting.

COMING SUNDAY: More “Greatest Middle Child Movies NEVER Made.”

Monday, February 18, 2019

15 Memorable Middle Child Movie Moments: Part 1

    Academy Awards Special Feature!

     Hollywood’s big night is almost here! What better time to pay tribute to the greatest Middle Child movies of all time? Oh right, there are none. Okay... what better time to pay tribute to films where a Middle Child is the protagonist, or at least plays a pivotal part? Yeah, that could work.

played by Molly Ringwald in “Sixteen Candles” (1984)
Older sister: Ginny/Younger brother: Mike
     The premise of John Hughes’ teen angst classic is so Middle Child-ish, it has to top the list. It’s Sam’s 16th birthday, but her family is so consumed with her older sister’s wedding the next day, everyone has completely forgotten her birthday! It doesn’t get any more Middle Child than that.

                                              DONNIE DARKO
played by Jake Gyllenhaal in “Donnie Darko” (2001)
Older sister: Elizabeth/Younger sister: Samantha
     It’s not often a Middle Child gets top billing, so this film makes the list. After a near death experience, Donnie sees visions of a man in a large rabbit suit who convinces him to commit crimes. When a plane his younger sister is on explodes, one of the jet engines falls into Donnie’s bedroom, crushing him to death. Talk about your troubled Middle Child.
(SIBLING SIDENOTE: Jake’s older sister Maggie Gyllenhaal plays Donnie’s older sister.)

                                          SODAPOP CURTIS
played by Rob Lowe in “The Outsiders” (1983)
Older brother: Darrel/Younger brother: Ponyboy
     Like many Middle Children, Sodapop is the peacemaker. According to Shmoop.com, “He takes his role as middle brother seriously, and is constantly the in-between for Pony and Darry, acting as a buffer against their constant clashes.” That doesn’t mean he enjoys being a sibling mediator. “I can't stand to hear y'all fight,” he says. “Sometimes I have to get out or… it's like a middleman in a tug o' war and I'm being split in half…” You’re preaching to the choir, Soda.

                                  MAXINE JOSEPH
             played by Vivica A. Fox in “Soul Food” (1997)
Older sister: Teri/Younger sister: Robin “Bird”
     Maxine doesn’t have such a great relationship with her older sister. Oh, maybe that’s because she stole her sister’s boyfriend and married him. Okay, so maybe Middle Children aren’t always the peacemaker in the family.

voiced by Dana Gaier in “Despicable Me” (2010)
Older sister: Margo/Younger sister: Agnes
     According to the Despicable Me Wiki page, “Edith is currently the least explored of the three sisters, which is understandable considering she's the Middle Child, the likes of which are stereotypically neglected by their parents.” That is truly despicable.

played by Henry Thomas in “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” (1982)
Older brother: Michael/Younger sister: Gertie
     A lonely ten year old longing for friendship forms a psychic connection with a big eyed, long necked, Reese’s Pieces loving alien. Of course the kid’s a Middle Child! While not the title character, maybe Elliot can lay claim to top billing since his initials are also E.T? Can’t blame a MidKid for trying.

played by Brad Pitt in “Legends of the Fall” (1994)
Older brother: Alfred/Younger brother Samuel
     Three brothers live in remote Montana -- isn't that redundant? -- with their father in the early 20th century, but there’s an outrageous twist: the Middle Child is actually his father’s favorite son! Unheard of!! This movie must be pure fiction. Brad Pitt wins a Middie Award for “Best Looking Movie Middle Child Ever.” He also wins a Middie for “Best Middle Child Line in a Non-Middle Child Movie” for this classic scene as Tyler Durden in “Fight Club.”
(SIBLING SIDENOTE: Henry Thomas appears in his second movie on the list,
this time as Pitt’s little brother Samuel.)

played by George Clooney in “Up in the Air” (2009)
Older sister: Kara/Younger sister: Julie
     Mega-frequent flier Ryan Bingham spends most of his life travelling for business. His goal is to become the seventh and youngest person to earn ten million AAdvantage miles. In a true act of Middle Child selflessness, Ryan transfers 1,000,000 miles to his sister and brother-in-law so they can fly around the world for their honeymoon. Clooney was also Middie nominated for “Best Looking Movie Middle Child Ever,” losing to real-life pal Pitt.
(AWARD ANNOTATION: Clooney was a Best Supporting Actor nominee 
for his Middle Child portrayal.)

COMING FRIDAY: 15 Memorable Middle Child Movie Moments: Part 2

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Share The Love?

The 2019 Middle Child Valentine's Day Cards are here!

This Valentine's Day, make love not war! Celebrate the day with the world's most (in)famous Middle Child lovebirds. And CLICK HERE to see the entire collection of Middle Child Valentine's Day cards.


CLICK HERE to see the trailer for "Middle Child Love Story."

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Monumental Middle Child Mistreatment

     Experts say that Middle Children learn at a young age how to mediate as we often find ourselves literally in the middle of sibling turf wars. So it should come as no surprise that the President who presided over the biggest family feud this country has ever seen was a Middle Child. Abraham Lincoln was the second of three children -- the purest form of Middle Child there is. Lincoln had an older sister, Sarah, and a younger brother, Thomas.
     Also not surprising for a Middle Child, his birthday is largely forgotten! Just a handful of states still remember Lincoln’s birthday! (It’s today, February 12.) Only Arizona, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, and New York acknowledge it as a legal holiday. New Jersey used to, but in 2008 they pulled the plug on Lincoln's birthday as a public holiday. Worse yet -- the state he was born in doesn't even officially acknowledge the day. Shame on you, Kentucky!

Thursday, February 7, 2019

The Greatest Middle Child Love of All

     As Valentine’s Day approaches, it seems only fitting that we pay tribute to one of the greatest Middle Child love stories of all time. The bromance between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un is about as unlikely as a pussy-grabbing, xenophobic, self-tanning NYC real-estate developer getting elected President of the United States. But there you go.
     How these one-time fierce foes fell hair over heels and into each other’s nuclear arms is a mystery of modern day diplomacy. I’ll bet these two war hawks turned love birds can hardly wait until they meet at their next “summit” (nudge nudge, wink wink). And certainly nobody wants to see what happens if they ever have lover’s quarrel.
     So how could someone not make a major motion picture about this long distance love-fest?
     Oh wait, maybe someone already has...

New Trump/Kim Mid Kid Valentine’s Day cards.