How can I call growing up in a dysfunctional setting a gift? Looking back at other memoir type books and or movies like Hillbilly Elegy that came out in a 2020. That American drama film directed by Ron Howard, from a screenplay by Vanessa Taylor, based on the 2016 memoir of the same name by J. D. Vance. The story begins when a Yale law student must return to his family in Ohio after a family emergency, and follows his memories growing up there and in Kentucky. The title, Hillbilly Elegy, suggests a serious and somewhat reverent treatment of an otherwise looked-down-upon population. There was no gift in that upbringing, just trauma. The movie was hard to watch.

FYI: As it turns out the main character and author J.D. Vance is a current candidate for the United States Senate from Ohio. During the 2016 Presidential election, Vance was critical of Republican Party nominee Donald Trump. In a column in USA Today in February 2016, Vance wrote that “Trump’s actual policy proposals, such as they are, range from immoral to absurd.” In October 2016, he described Trump as “reprehensible” in a post on Twitter. Vance changed his rhetoric after joining the current race. In July 2021, Vance apologized for calling Trump “reprehensible.” Whereas Vance had once admonished Trump for demonizing immigrants, Vance himself repeatedly called illegal immigration “dirty.” In October 2021, Vance reiterated Trump’s claims of election fraud, falsely stating that Trump lost the 2020 presidential election due to widespread voter fraud.

I digress.

This latest memoir movie left me wanting more. It is raw, unabashed, and even at times funny while the movie shows how out the ashes of dysfunction can come wholeness. I think it’s a must see!

The Tender Bar is a 2021 American coming-of-age drama film directed by George Clooney from a screenplay by William Monahan. The film is an adaptation of the 2005 memoir of the same name by J. R. Moehringer, and recounts Moehringer’s life growing up on Long Island. It stars Ben Affleck, Tye Sheridan, Daniel Ranieri, Lily Rabe, and Christopher Lloyd.

The film was released in a limited release on December 17, 2021, by Amazon Studios, following to the wide expansion on December 22, 2021, prior to streaming on Prime Video on January 7, 2022. It received mixed reviews from critics, though Affleck was nominated for the Golden Globe Award and Screen Actors Guild Award for his performance.

In 1972, 9-year-old J.R. Maguire moves into his grandfather’s dilapidated house in Long Island, N.Y. Searching for a father figure, he falls under the unconventional tutelage of his uncle Charlie, a charismatic, self-educated bartender who introduces him to a handful of the bar’s colorful regulars. As the years pass and J.R. grows into a young man, he tries to fulfill his dream of becoming a writer.

After graduating from Yale he began his journalism career as a news assistant at The New York Times. In 1990, he moved to Breckenridge, Colorado, and worked at the Rocky Mountain News. In 1994, he became a reporter for the Orange County bureau of the Los Angeles Times. In 1997, the Los Angeles Times sent him to Atlanta to report on the South as an on-the-scene reporter. His work as a journalist later took him to Denver, Colorado. While at the Los Angeles Times he was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Feature Writing in 1998 and received the Pulitzer in 2000. Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex chose Moehringer to co-write his autobiography, which is planned to be published in late 2022. Moehringer lives in the Bay Area with his wife, book editor Shannon Welch, and their two children.

I have said this before and I stand by it again. Crappy parents can raise crappy kids and crappy parents can raise great kids. The same is true for great parents. The thought that we all must be prisoners to our past is not true. Each one of us, I believe given by our creator has free will. That’s the same free will the brought the world Mother Terresa and Adolf Hitler. But what I am sure of is that whatever one’s story and past is, each adult is responsible for their own wellness now, dysfunctional family or not. How we respond to adversity as an adult is our choice. What happens to us on our watch is up to the actions we take. What I’m sure of is that we can’t lastingly outrun it! What’s the next chapter of your life going to look like?

If life seems to have you in a box without doors or windows, the first thing to do is to ask for help. For over 20+ years No More Secrets (NMS) has helped countless men and women find the light in the middle of the darkness. Like I always say: MISERY IS OPTIONAL!  Contact us at NMS and stay safe.

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