The voice of Aretha Franklin shines in full operatic aria in ‘The Upside’ movie with star Kevin Hart

Music travels with us throughout our lives. It makes the world go round. For many, it is a lifesaver, gateway to the soul and makes up the soundtrack of our lives. Like the great reggae artist,  Bob Marley so eloquently says, “When the  beat hits, you feel no pain.”

photo by @debrafrombrooklyn
NYC based Influencer @debrafrombrooklyn rocks stripped pants and purple booties at a screening of ‘The Upside’ movie in Manhattan


This brings me to the recent release of ‘The Upside‘ a comedy-drama starring funny guy Kevin Hart taking a spin at a serious role opposite thespian Bryan Cranston and Oscar winner Nicole Kidman. The movie which features the music of late music icon, Aretha Franklin is a remake of the 2011 French movie, ‘The Intouchables’  which starred  Omar Sy and  Francois Cluzet.  In this American remake, the concept is kept pretty much the same but lacks the full-on heartwarming charm and inspiration that the  French version exuded thanks in parts to Sy.  The movie, based on a true story, tells the story of two men from different backgrounds culturally and financially, who change each other lives for the better. Hart plays Dell, an ex-con out on parole hired as the caretaker of Phillip (Cranston), a billionaire and quadriplegic, the result of a paragliding accident. Kidman plays Phillip’s assistant.

The movie is the first comedy-drama released for  2019. That it includes a soundtrack featuring the music of the “Queen of Soul,” Aretha Franklin   who passed away in August of 2018 will definitely lend to getting lots of music fans talking and filling theater seats. I had the opportunity to attend a recent screening in New York City, given by the  MOMS .

New dad Kevin Hart chats with The MOMS, Denise Albert  and Melissa Gerstein
New dad Kevin Hart chats with The MOMS, Denise Albert, and Melissa Gerstein … by @debrafrombrooklyn


Aretha’s musical chords are woven perfectly into scenes. Hart himself even gives it a go, with a comedic spin, of course, singing on the much beloved  “Think”.  Four of Franklin’s songs appear on the movie’s soundtrack, each song adding flair to the storyline, like when  Dell is overcome with his appreciation of classical music while attending the opera alongside  Phillip and hearing  Nessun Dorma sung superbly by the Queen of Soul.

Surprisingly, taking the #1 Weekend Box Office opening position away from front runner  ‘Aquaman‘ which is holding high with billion dollar sales worldwide, ‘The Upside’ on its Jan 11-13 opening weekend cemented itself to the list of movies featuring  Aretha’s music that went on to become memorable.


Like I said music makes everything better.  I felt that the music saved the ‘Upside.’  The movie could definitely have been better. If I had to watch the movie again I would probably opt for the French version as Hart and Cranston didn’t fully click like Sy and Cluzet. The movie did showcase that if given more opportunities  Kevin Hart should really try dipping into more dramatic roles but without the funny.  Finally,  I would also ask Hollywood to stop going back to that old drawing board script that depicts black male characters as ex-cons, dead beat dads or not privy to a socially elite lifestyle.


With that being said out of 10  popcorn bowls The Upside  gets 5

Want to check out ‘The Upside’ movie  soundtrack take a listen here at the website Lyric Soundtrack.

Want to see the 2012 French version  ‘The Intouchables’  which starred  Omar Sy as the lovable  Driss a down and outer from the projects of Paris and Francois Cluzet playing the role of Phillipe. Watch here



by Debra Lewis-Boothman



Actor Kevin James leads  over 100 on Segways to two Guinness World Book records making history
Actor Kevin James leads crownheightsmoms and over 100 on Segways to set two Guinness World Records .


Actor Kevin James loves to horse around and  make people laugh but when it comes to being next to  the real thing  James is  not laughing. In fact the actor  and star of the film Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 which segwayed into our hearts in April and  continues to dominate the box office is should we say, a little shy of  horses.  “I am afraid of horses,” the actor recently told a group of mom bloggers when he sat down  to chat with the MOMS co-creators Denise Albert and Melissa  Gerstein . Adds the actor,  about the hilarious scene where he is kicked by a horse  into a car. “It is called green screen! If a horse kicked me like that in real life, I would be  in real bad shape. ” Says James,   “I was supposed to slap it on the butt, but I  was afraid it would really kick me .I was really nervous about that scene.”

Paul Blart :Mall Cop 2  is still in theaters  and it’s doing  not too shabby at the box office either. In fact it has  garnered  over $52 mil in domestic  ticket sales so far according to Box Office Mojo.. The movie  is funny and my 7 and 9 year olds and their friends love it . Out of  5 popcorn stars they give Paul Blart : Mall Cop 2 the maximum 5 stars.

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On filming the second installment of the Mall Cop  franchise James says, “This one is a lot funnier and everybody  was funnier. Adds the actor, “The comedy looks  a lot better  and is certainly shot a lot better because the budget was a little bigger ,which was good to have  and we shot in a better environment,that  was beautiful.”  caught up with  the actor at a recent MOMS sit-down just days after joining him  and over 100 security guards  perched atop Segways to make Guinness  World  Records history


crownheightsmom strikes a pose alongside volunteers John and Jim

Talk about history making and an exciting day that I will remember forever. It included  learning to ride a Segway,  free Paul Blart Mall Cop 2 movie loot  that included  tee shirts,, rain ponchos,tattoos for the  kids and  face painting, free hot dogs and drinks  and all this just before hitting the red carpet  for a world premier screening .

Knowing that I  am was included amongst the more than 100 participants, most, like myself, first time  Segway  riders who were given lessons that morning by certified Segway trainers before going on to  make history on the largest 2-Wheeled Electric Personal Vehicle or Segway is just an amazing feeling. To have  set not one, but two new GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS, is just -.

Getting my lesson  from my trainer.
Getting my lesson in from my trainer.


Guinness Book World Records official
Guinness Book World Records official


MOMS co-creator Denise Albert is now a pro on a Segway
MOMS co-creator Denise Albert is now a pro on a Segway
Geri listening intently
Geraldine Buchanan Rogers listens to her trainer  intently.
Alexa getting the hang of it
Alexa getting the hang of it as her trainer looks on.
Security guards are fast learners
Security guards are fast learners.
G striking a pose
Gagnine ( striking a pose as she takes lessons


Watchout here comes two arresting officers
Watchout here comes two arresting officers

After setting  the GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS the actor then  joined us  in setting another personal record for Most People Simultaneously Performing a 360-Degree Turn on 2-Wheeled Electric Personal Vehicles or Segways.

Actor Kevin James leads  over 100 on Segways to two Guinness World Book records making history
Actor Kevin James,  MOMS co-creator Denise Albert (far right) and over 100 Segway riders  earn  two Guinness World Book records .


Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2, opened nationwide April 17 . It  picked up from where the original Mall Cop left off  with Blart on vacation in Vegas with his teenage daughter just before she’s set to head  off to college. The proud security guard who has kept our  malls safe  for over six years finds himself jumping into action doing what he knows best, keeping everyone safe-even while on vacation. For Blart, safety is never on holiday! Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 is directed by Andy Fickman.


Kevin James  sat down with The MOMS. Here is what he had to share ——————-

On  the original installment of Mall Cop  says the  actor. “It holds a tender  position in my heart.”

On how he got started in acting : “I  was in the Montreal Comedy Festival and  people from NBC saw me  and liked me  . I signed a development deal to try and get my own sitcom  and that’s when it started. I was about about 25, 26, around there and that i show it started.

On his favorite donut.”You can’t look at my body  and ask me if I like donuts. It’s self evident. I like  chocolate filled donuts and cinna-buns  but my favorite donut is the fudge ones with the glaze. Yup, chocolate glazed is my favorite..

On any words not allowed to be uttered by his kids at home. “My kids are still young. They don’t know, so I don’t have  that yet but we keep mine on lockdown pretty much( laughing) they don’t see much people, they don’t get out much.  We give them a little sun for about five minutes a day.(Laughing out loud ).Seriously he adds “They are really good kids. I am blessed  for sure but  it is scary.” All you can do he say is, “Give them the tool to deals with all of that stuff. They will be ok.”

On being kicked into the car by the horse. ” If a horse kicked me like that in real life   I would be  in real bad shape.  It is called green screen.

On how he feels about horses . “There was a horse there (on set) . I am afraid of horses and to be standing behind the horse where  I was supposed to slap the horse on the butt, I  was afraid it would really kick me .I was really nervous about that scene because I did have to slap the butt of a horse.

On parenting advice  he would like to share with other  dads.” Listen to your kids! ..A lot of times you just  kinda  tell them  to listen to the rules . It’s nice for kids if they can  express themselves . Just  listen to them or hear them out . I mean they may not get their way.   Get on their level with them  they appreciate  it. My wife told me  this , you have to listen get on their level let them feel like they are expressing themselves.

On  how  he and his family spend Friday nights he tells .”We do movie night  as a family on Fridays but we do dinner together every night as long as I am there  and we can do it. We sit down and do it. We stop everything and we eat together .Movie night is a really  fun night . It’s Friday night and everybody gets to stay up late and have  a really  fun night . The girls are really great and want o stay up late, but they always pass out by 9 or 9:30  they never make it . Movie night is  that  thing we do that is very consistent,  we also do ice cream on sunday

Catch Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 at you  local theater