Do you ever think about which movie stars your family members remind you of? I am the seventh of nine kids, so I got to witness a lot of personalities develop as we all grew up and started our own families. I’m happy to say I love my parents and all of my siblings. And when I look at them, I see many admirable traits that call back memories of actors and films I enjoy. So I am going to identify the movie stars I relate to each of my family members and explain why I chose each one.
I’m mostly writing this for my family, but I hope this will inspire everyone else to think about all of the great things they see in their own close relatives. I should note that I’m looking at my brothers and sisters and mom and dad as an outsider on their personal lives. I’m not there with them every day to judge them, and I hope none of this comes across as anything but praise of them.
Mom and Dad – Lucille Ball and Harrison Ford
I used to think my mom was naïve, but now I know she was holding back and letting me feel like I had outsmarted her. I don’t think I ever actually pulled a fast one on her. It helps that she has a mischievous sense of humor. She’s constantly being clever and looking for the fun in any situation. I first thought of comparing her to Julie Andrews, a la Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music. But when it comes right down to it, it’s got to be Lucille Ball. Ball’s humor is nearly on par with my mom’s. If you haven’t seen the 1968 classic Yours, Mine and Ours, you should definitely check it out. Most people watch it purely as a comedy, but when my mom watched it early in her marriage, she took copious notes as though it were a documentary. She got a lot of great ideas on how to manage a big family, not the least of which was to have two washing machines.
My dad is an action hero. I have so many exciting stories I could tell about a wood chipper, a septic tank, giant-tree cutting, roofing, and DIY car repairs. I’m sure my mom has many other stories, too. He loves working with his hands, and he is the strongest man I have ever known. Harrison Ford got the role of Han Solo because he was working as a carpenter at the office where George Lucas was holding auditions. And he later got the role of Indiana Jones despite Lucas wanting to go with a fresh face. He was a man who got things done by the sweat of his brow. When I see Indy taking on tanks, trucks, and hordes of swordsmen, I can’t help thinking my dad could have done all that – easily. I also put him on the same level as Charlton Heston playing Moses and other larger-than-life characters. My dad is a spiritual giant and physical powerhouse.
Launi – Jennifer Connelly
I really wrestled with this one because my sister Launi is the oldest kid in the family, so she has always been an authority figure to me, but she’s also incredibly gifted in terms of intelligence, music, and creativity. The natural choice would be Kathy Najimy who plays the most memorable nun in Sister Act. But I’ve got to go with Jennifer Connelly. She is a criminally underrated actress who appears in many of my favorite films, including Dark City, A Beautiful Mind, and The Rocketeer. She’s always modest and never comes across as overbearing despite being obviously talented. That is Launi to a T. She solves a Rubik’s cube like nobody’s business, and she fixes computer problems at the drop of a hat. The last way that Connelly reminds me of Launi is in her performance in Labyrinth. She’s willing to go to great lengths to help her baby brother. Launi is just that kind of sister. She’s amazing.
Yvonne – Jane Seymour
Yvonne has done some incredible things in her life despite experiencing hardships along the way. I admire the way she faces adversity and comes through it a better woman. The actress she reminds me of is Jane Seymour. From her appearance as a Bond girl in 1973’s Live and Let Die to today, she has remained an incredibly lovely lady, and the same is true of Yvonne. She’s always been stunningly beautiful. I would argue that Seymour’s best film is Somewhere in Time. It’s a tearjerker about a talented actress who is forced to endure years of longing for a joy that she’s destined to only recapture much later. That sounds a little depressing, but I’m not saying that Yvonne is living a tragic life or anything like that. I see her possessing the strength of character to make it through anything that happens to her unfairly. She’s that strong. In addition, Seymour went on to star in Doctor Quinn, Medicine Woman about a frontier woman who has to adapt to a lot of new situations and apply her skills to solve all sorts of problems. That is precisely what Yvonne does. She’s had to use her unique talents to figure out all sorts of things I can’t even start to comprehend. She’s way stronger than most people could ever hope to be.
Nicole – Faye Dunaway
Nicole is classically beautiful. She would look right at home in any decade from the 1920s to the present. She’s also warm and kind. Who else embodies these qualities as well as Faye Dunaway in The Towering Inferno? There’s a timeless beauty to both of them that’s hard to define. Also, Nicole has an admirable trait that makes her not want to leave the people she loves behind, even when it would be easy for her to do so. A decade ago, she challenged me to join her in a half-marathon. It was great to have an opportunity to reconnect with her. I barely managed to finish the race while she could have run circles around me, but she stuck with me to the bitter end. She could have gotten a much better time than she ended up getting, but she helped give me the courage to stick it out. I might not have finished without her.
Michelle – Winona Ryder
Michelle experienced a personal tragedy two years ago when her husband died suddenly. It’s bittersweet to remember all of the wonderful times I’ve had with her over the years because those memories are now tinged with the knowledge of what was to come. But life goes on, and she’s been able to pick herself up remarkably well and keep moving forward. I liken her to Winona Ryder’s character in Edward Scissorhands. When Edward first sees her, he’s looking at a picture of her and he’s entranced by the very sight of her beauty and sense of happiness. I love that we don’t get to see her in the flesh for a long time because it builds the anticipation of finally meeting her. And she doesn’t disappoint. Edward has a hard time approaching her because she is always surrounded by her friends and she seems so self-sufficient. Michelle is wonderful to be around. She’s witty and fun. I sometimes feel intimidated to try to get in touch with her because she has so much on her plate and I don’t want to seem like a burden. But she is definitely worth reaching out to because she is great to talk to and learn from.
Nathan – Will Smith
My oldest brother Nathan is the epitome of awesome. If there was any man I’d like to pattern my life after, it’s him. He has a wonderful wife, well-behaved children, an epic video-game collection, and confidence to spare. He was always 10 steps ahead of me in terms of having his life put together. And he’s so cool and funny. I can’t quite pin it down to a single film or TV show, but there’s something about Will Smith that reminds me of Nathan. He knows he’s right on any issue, but he never comes across as obnoxious, cocky, or rude. He’s the coolest guy in the room, and he knows it without needing to point it out.
Michael – Chris Pratt
Mike was two grades ahead of me in school, so I got to spend a bit of time with him going to school and coming home when I was on the lowest rung of junior high and high school, and he was on the highest rung. I looked up to him (and still do) in many ways because of the good example he set for me. He participated in track and field, and I just so happened to do the same not long after. All of my teachers who had had Mike as their student in the past automatically bestowed their kindness on me, expecting the same good behavior he had shown. I did my best to live up to those expectations. Mike is also probably the funniest of my brothers, able to crack me up all the time. Chris Pratt is a bit cruder and more rambunctious than Mike, but he’s got a good heart. He’s the kind of guy I’d like to spend time with talking about anything. He’d have me in stitches, and I’d gain valuable insights. That’s Mike in a nutshell.
Kevin – Clint Eastwood
How to explain this one… My younger brother Kevin is wise beyond his years. He was the closest to me of my siblings growing up, so I got to have many deeply personal conversations with him. We have so many inside jokes, I can’t keep them all straight. I relate to him in so many ways. His opinions on politics, religion, culture, and history mirror my own. The only subject in which we deviate is film. I still can’t believe he thinks How to Train Your Dragon is just an okay movie! Anyway, he has an old-school approach to everything, which I admire. He speaks his mind and lets the consequence follow. I love it. He reminds me of a young-ish Clint Eastwood. He lays down the law and gets the job done without hesitation. Like Eastwood, Kevin is the kind of guy I wouldn’t mind hurting my feelings by saying something brutally honest right to my face. He’s that easy to talk to.
Melinda – Julia Roberts
Melinda is my little sister, and I’ll always think of her as the sweet kid who was ever eager to smile. It couldn’t have been easy being the youngest in the family and growing up surrounded by four older brothers. She had to learn how to play baseball like a boy to keep up with us. Even with all of the teasing and little-kid antics we pulled on her, she was so happy and forgiving through it all. She was an excellent actor, appearing in a high-school production of Into the Woods as the grandma. She even gave me helpful pointers on how to memorize lines when I tried my hand at acting for a brief time in college. Her smile reminds me of a young Julia Roberts. It’s good-natured and full of kindness. There is no sarcasm or hint of malice in it. I see Melinda the same way I see Roberts as Tinkerbell in Hook. In that film, she is constantly encouraging a grown-up Peter Pan to believe in himself and remember who he really is. Melinda is full of faith and she encourages others to be their best selves. She is just great.
What About Rob?
Moment of truth. I’ve talked about all of my family members. Can I now point the finger back at myself and reveal which movie star I consider myself to be like? Of course! It’s James Stewart.
In many of his films, he speaks in an endearingly halting way, stammering some of his words and coming across as slightly awkward. And yet he is a good man who always tries to do the right thing in his own small way. I like to think of myself that way. I’ve got a bit of a stutter, which really comes out strong when I have something I desperately want to say. And I never feel like I’m doing anything world-changing, but I’m still doing something important and significant. I’d like to leave the world a better place than I found it by making sure everyone I meet knows the good I see in them.
That’s my family as movie stars. I hope you enjoyed this little trip through memory lane. Now go out there and tell the ones you love how you see them.
This is the Deja Reviewer wishing you a Merry Christmas!
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