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Spider-man Movie Poster“Spider-Man: Homecoming” came out on Jul. 7 and is knocking out all other prospected box office hits. After racking in a grand total of $257 million after the worldwide opening of the film, the numbers speak for themselves in saying that the movie is one to see.  Due to the fact that there have been a few sequels and reboots of ‘Spider-Man’ this particular rendition played as a test for the producers at Sony Pictures.  The need for a fresh take on the famous superhero was needed and it was done so with some seriously positive feedback.

This film is the first serious breakthrough for Sony Pictures since its cyber attack in 2014. With an all in budget of $175 million for the movie, Sony knew that they needed to pull out the big guns for this one. For the first time, Sony took steps into partnering with Marvel Studios to produce the movie. The producers, Kevin Feige and Amy Pascal, had only three days to pitch the idea to marvel in hopes of getting them to participate. Marvel agreed to work with the film adding a handful of credibility along with definite following of fans, and so began the rise to the top of the box office.

Another one of the attributes to the film making it such a hit is that it is super family friendly and was specifically made to appeal to a wider audience but specifically to the youngsters. This film focuses on the high school years of Peter Parker.  Lead actor, Tom Holland, plays a sophomore version of Parker. Like other ‘Spider-man’ films the high school setting is said to be what’s represented but it was always hard to follow along just based on how adult-like the actors playing the characters came off to be. Holland is most distinguishable in terms of his take of Peter Parker because of how well he actually acts like a high school student.  In this film Peter is facing the adolescent high school years; he’s corky and nerdy, and just trying to make it through the 10th grade.  The take on the youngster years makes the film that much more authentic and relatable.  He portrays a kid that looks up to the Avengers and their superhero ways just like any other teenager. Parker has love interests and bullies but while dealing with those he is an aspiring junior superhero.

Peter Parker attends a magnet high school which sets the movie on the originality scale but at a different standard.  It’s like any other high school scene except that everyone is just a little above average in terms of academia.  All the students in the magnet school are nerdy with a drop of the predictable high school stereotypes.  For example, Peter Parker’s bully, Flash Thompson, played by Tony Revolori is callous but with a side of overachiever.

Among other things that makes this movie so appealing is that it is extremely diverse in casting.  Tony Revolori who played Flash the bully was commentated on a lot about the difference in portrayal of his character in the comic versus the movie.  Some hardcore fans didn’t think that he fit the mold in their heads but others are raving about his performance and how he depicted it. Revolori even gained 60 pounds just solely for the role.  The diversity in characters makes the movie so much more relatable and was one of the many contributing factors for the film’s success.  Apart from that the actually actors that were casted each had their own audience. Some known from TV shows and other movies, some are just plain old movie stars like Robert Downey Jr. and Zendaya.

The film includes characters from some of the earlier comics including Michelle Jones played by Zendaya who plays the edgy, careless classmate, as well as Flash Thompson and his girlfriend Liz played by Tony Revolori and Laura Harrier.  Robert Downey Jr. plays a mentor role in the film portraying his well know role of Tony Stark or better known as Iron Man.  He is worked into the movie by being Peter Parker’s boss for an internship.  He introduces the superhero life to Parker and even gives him a super-suit with a few Iron Man features.  The suit does not take away from Peter Parker’s spidey-sense it just adds a twist with a technological feel. When living the superhero life it is expected face one or two villains.  Michael Keaton plays the role as low key villain named Vulture, who is a ravenous thief and weapons dealer, the perfect match for the adolescent Spidey.  Vulture has no plans of world domination but his crimes are big enough to be left in the hands of Peter Parker part-time superhero. The battles between the two fulfill every conflict need, from fighting to the witty remarks.

If the weekend is looking bare, everything about this movies success rate is suggesting that it should fill the place of that empty timeslot.  It’s the superhero fix that can appeal to the whole family. “Spider-man: Homecoming” takes a new take on the well-known plot and exceeds all expectations.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame claims that Elvis Presley holds records for the most Top 40 hits, the most Top 10 hits and the most weeks at Number One. He was a cultural icon that grew from humble circumstances to launch the rock and roll revolution with his commanding voice and charismatic stage presence. He redefined what it meant to be a singer and entertainer.

The King of Rock and Roll certainly knew what he was doing during his many years of fame, and still continues to grab the attention of audiences everywhere even after his death. Presley built one of the most impressive catalog of recordings in rock history, but here is our top 10 favorite hits from the iconic musician.

“Jailhouse Rock”

Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller wrote “Jailhouse Rock” specifically for Elvis Presley’s 1957 movie of the same name. It’s unclear if Elvis realized exactly what many of the suggestive lyrics meant, but they also flew by most of the listeners. Regardless, the song ended up knocking “Wake Up Little Susie” off the top of the charts.

“All Shook Up”

You can’t help but dance to this great tune. Released in March 1957, it epitomizes the rock ‘n’ roll sound that energized teens all over the world and made Elvis famous. If you listen to the song hard enough, you can hear Elvis slapping his guitar on the track.

“Suspicious Minds”

Written by Mark James, “Suspicious Minds” was one of the better tunes prepared specifically for Presley during in January 1969 recording dates at American Sound Studio Memphis (the same session that produced “In The Ghetto”). His voice is powerful in this ballad, which embraces a more soul and R&B than rock sound. It would become Presley’s first U.S. chart-topper since “Good Luck Charm” seven years earlier – and his 17th and final Number One hit, holding that position the week of November 1, 1969.

“Heartbreak Hotel”

Released in January of 1956, this tune was inspired by a suicide note that was printed in The Miami Herald. The heart-wrenching song didn’t catch the public’s attention until a few months after its release, once Elvis started appearing on television.

“In The Ghetto”

The song, written by Mac Davis, featured Presley’s expressive vocals telling the devastating story of a young boy’s life of poverty in the inner-city. The song became the springboard for Presley’s comeback in 1969, peaking at Number 3 during a 13-week run on the Billboard Hot 100 charts.

“Can’t Help Falling in Love”

The dreamy song, which was written for Presley’s 1961 movie Blue Hawaii, ended every single one of his post-comeback shows. It has since been covered by everybody from Bob Dylan to U2 to UB40, who turned it into a huge hit in 1993.

“Hound Dog”

This song was a blues classic long before anyone had heard of Elvis Presley. In July 1956, the King made a TV appearance where he serenated a real puppy, which propelled the song to the top of the pop charts. The hard-hitting drums by D.J. Fontana perfectly complemented Presley’s edgy vocals.

“It’s Now or Never”

Elvis also enjoyed Italian classics and wanted to record an American version of “O Solo Mio.”  Once he was discharged from the Army in 1960, he worked with RCA executives to make this a reality. Wally Gold and Aaron Schroeder wrote a version in 30 minutes that was recorded flawlessly by Elvis on the fourth studio take. The record showed Presley’s extraordinary talent beyond Rock n’ Roll.

“Love Me Tender”

Few entertainers can say they had a year like Elvis Presley did in 1956. Single after single flew up the charts, with “Love Me Tender” being his final Number One of the year. He played the song on The Ed Sullivan Show shortly before a movie of the same name hit theaters.

“(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear”

The song became extremely popular in 1957 when people were running to theaters to see Elvis’s second movie, Loving You. Surprisingly, teddy bear sales went through the roof, too.

Jordin Sparks stole the hearts of many when she first debuted on American Idol. She entered the stage with her sweet and humble façade and the viewers could tell that she was one of the good ones.  Coming into fame, Sparks made it clear that Christ was in her life. Throughout her journey people were able to experience her love for Him firsthand.  After winning American Idol she mentioned in her speech that she wanted to thank her parents and God and that they were the reason for her accomplishment.  She has always remained public in terms of her faith and her journey with Christ, whether it’s up or down.

Jordin Sparks was raised in a household that prompted her to stay committed to her faith.  She is an evangelical Christian and was extremely involved in her church growing up. She competed in Christian singing competitions and won runner-up at regionals. Being so devout in her early years, she did many things to put Christ before herself; she even wore a purity ring.  After initially becoming famous, she made it known that she wore the ring and that it was symbolic. She also made it known that because she was so devout that her faith meant a great deal to her.

Following the win of American Idol, Sparks became more in touch with the limelight and her career started to skyrocket.  She was making appearances at various awards and ceremonies, releasing albums, and even trying out the filmmaking industry. To add onto all of those major changes Jordin Sparks even had a new love interest.  Singer, Jason Derulo, and Jordin Sparks started dating in 2014.  They were in the “honeymoon” phase for a while before Jason Derulo released the music video “Marry Me” featuring Sparks.  Due to pressure from the video and Sparks’ family about the two getting married, Derulo and Sparks ended the three year relationship.  Being so wrapped up in her career and the breakup of her long term boyfriend, Sparks seemed to have lost the purity ring and her tight relationship with faith at some point. It wasn’t called to attention until she was in an interview with Wendy Williams and the talk show host asked the questions about that topic. Williams had asked, “Before we move on are any of these rings the purity ring?” Sparks took a passive take on the question and just showed her hands saying “Hmm.”

After those changes in her life, Sparks started to realize that she had lost sight of the things that really meant the most to her.  She noticed that was partying more and in one interview claimed that “I put goals before Him.”   In her eyes she felt it was time to rededicate. After the ending of her relationship with Derulo, she took to social media to state that she was reclaiming her faith purity.  She posted a picture on her Instagram account of herself reading a book called Chastened by Hephzibah Anderson making it public that she was looking to practice abstinence again among other things.

Sparks used social media as her main outlet to let people know about her journey back to faith.  She posted another Instagram picture this time showing off her bible that was detailed with handwritten notes in it.  She explained in the post that she had always seen her grandparents writing in their bibles and never fully understood what it meant and what exactly it was that they were doing. She went on in her post to talk about how she encourages her followers to take a minute read the scripture and allow it to really resonate with them.  After they have decided what the reading means to them to then write it down in the bible so that it will really stick. Her Facebook page is another forum for Sparks to send out messages to her followers.  One post read, “Jesus meets us right where we are, as we are.” She has made it known to her fans that the power of the Lord and his forgiveness is something that keeps her going.

Posting on social media is the least of Jordin Spark’s effort when talking about getting back in touch with Christ.  She has started making appearances at different churches performing well known Christian songs and sending out some encouraging messages and prayers to those that attend.  Earlier this year she shared Salvation’s Joy at Rock Church in California. During her time there she spoke to the crowd saying, “Sharing your story is easy, but sharing a testament is intimate.  I think I grew up more today in these services than in the last six months.” She closed out the services with an extremely heartfelt prayer asking Christ and all those who attended to pray for her and for people like her going through rededication.

Jordin Sparks is someone to look up to for many different reasons.  She was one of the youngest contestants to ever win American Idol.  She stood for strength in times in her life when other may have not thought possible. Lastly, in all of the havoc that dictates a celebrities life, Sparks was able to take control, refocus, and get back in touch with what means most to her, Christ.

Based on true events, “Megan Leavey” follows the life-story of a young Marine corporal who has a strong and unique bond with her military combat dog, Rex. Through Leavey’s discipline with Rex, they were able to save the lives of many during their deployment in Iraq.

Leavey was assigned the bomb-sniffing German shepherd that nobody liked. Rex barks, snarls, and breaks the rules, which Megan (and audiences) find they are able to relate too. Leavey is a troublemaker herself being unable to connect with others or find her place in the world. The pair quickly form a bond that is indestructible. Starring Kate Mara as Megan Leavey, the movie’s depiction of their deployments has left audiences across the nation in tears.

Gabriela Cowperthwaite, the movie’s director, said that above all else, “Megan Leavey” is a movie about “loyalty and friendship, and it’s a film about someone who comes to value herself because she begins to value something else, in this case Rex.”

“Those are the themes that will hit you at your core,” said Cowperthwaite, who usually works on documentaries.

Rex, despite his aggressive nature at first, learns to warm up to his favorite human and goes on more than 100 missions with Leavey. The real-life pair served two deployments, first to Fallujah in 2005 and then to Ramadi in 2006. Rex helped spot hidden explosives and was critical in ensuring that paths were clear for troops to travel on.

Leavey, who is now 33, told Fox News, “our personalities happened to mesh well. He was not soft. He was very protective of me. He was great when he was with me.”

Leavey served as a consultant during the script, and even appears in a scene in the movie, playing a boot-camp drill instructor.

“I’m on cloud nine,” Leavey said about having a film about her and Rex. “It’s hard [to relive], but they did a very good job of getting the bonding that Rex and I had.”

Check out an exclusive featurette about the movie, where actress Kate Mara discusses her role in the movie.