Item description for The Ultimate Gift by Michael O. Sajbel, James Garner & Bill Cobbs...
Overview Jason thought his inheritance was going to be a gift of money and lots of it. Was he ever in for a big surprise.
Produced by Life Media and Dean River Productions, and based on the best-selling book "The Ultimate Gift" by Jim Stovall, the story sends trust fund baby Jason Stevens on an improbable journey of discovery, having to answer the ultimate question: "What is the relationship between wealth and happiness?"
Jason had a very simple relationship with his impossibly wealthy grandfather, Howard "Red" Stevens. He hated him. No heart-to-heart talks, no warm fuzzies. So of course he figured that when Red died, the whole "reading of the will" thing would be another simple cash transaction, that his grandfather's money would allow him to continue living in the lifestyle to which he had become accustomed. But what Red left him was anything but simple. Red instead devised a plan for Jason to experience a crash course on life. Twelve tasks, which Red calls "gifts," each challenging Jason in an improbable way, the accumulation of which would change him forever.
Featuring an all-star cast including Golden Globe winner and six-time Emmy nominee Brian Dennehy, Academy Award and Golden Globe nominee James Garner, and Academy Award nominee Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine, Signs).
Citations And Professional Reviews The Ultimate Gift by Michael O. Sajbel, James Garner & Bill Cobbs has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
Christian Retailing - 07/02/2007 page 95
Promise Angels is dedicated to bringing you great books at great prices. Whether you read for entertainment, to learn, or for literacy - you will find what you want at promiseangels.com!
Actors: Fox Faith, James Garner, Abigail Breslin, Bill Cobbs, Lee Meriwether
Directors: Michael O. Sajbel
Writers: Cheryl McKay, Jim Stovall
Producers: Cleve Landsberg, Dave Ross, Jim Van Eerden, John Shepherd, Paul Brooks
Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, DVD, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
Subtitles: English, Spanish
Region Code: 1 (USA & Canada Only)
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Audience Rating: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Running Time: 114.00 minutes
Record Label 20th Century Fox
Format AC-3 / Color / Dolby / DVD / Subtitle
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 7.58" Width: 5.32" Height: 0.56" Weight: 0.2 lbs.
Binding DVD Video
Release Date Aug 21, 2007
Publisher WORD ACCT# W41160193
Edition Dove Box Art
ISBN 5557794190 ISBN13 9785557794190 UPC 024543444862
Availability 0 units.
More About Michael O. Sajbel, James Garner & Bill Cobbs
Reviews - What do customers think about Ultimate Gift?
Huff May 28, 2010
This movie is great. It is for the whole family and has some great guidlines for life and what is important and non-important. I definitely recommend this movie to everyone. The Ultimate Gift
The Ultimate Stumble May 18, 2010
Beware; Ultimate Spoilers lie ahead.
Someone (I won't say who) wanted me to watch this movie and give her a concise and honest review of it, but after I saw this film, I realized that my feelings about it were so strong, that I simply had to put them into words.
The movie begins innocently enough; with the death of a very wealthy and powerful man named Red Stevens. His own family seems to attend his funeral as mainly a formality prior to the reading of his will; a will in which each receives nothing of much consequence; due to the fact that they would undoubtedly abuse the companies and riches that the dead man has spent his life building.
The depictions of the man's family are probably meant to evoke some sort of pity, because of their clear narcissism, greed, and tendency to talk about money to the exclusion of all else. In short, these people are straw-men; stereotypes of rich, spoiled individuals with little or no depth invested in any of their personalities.
Since the family members are all background characters who don't get much screen time, I probably shouldn't be too upset by that, but this is also a film about one character who does eventually develop, so there's kind of a sense that they could have given these characters a bit of depth if they'd wanted to; they just didn't, because they were trying to make a point.
As if that point wasn't obvious enough, it's hammered in rather loudly by Hamilton; the seeming attorney of the dead tycoon. Hamilton derides the family members for their character flaws, even while they're sitting right in front of him, though not directly to their faces, exactly. I found myself wondering if Hamilton's comments to his secretary couldn't have taken place in the hallway, but it's a minor gripe in a film that deserves a much better effort.
The one person who does receive anything of any substance is a young man named Jason Stevens; a college grad-age boy, who is so unrealistically spoiled, that he goes to a graveyard and forgets there's a funeral within the first five minutes of the film. I couldn't make that up if I tried.
Rather than being given cash or fancy businesses, however, Jason is given a series of missions to perform; missions which involve doing things like manual labor, having all of his stuff stolen, and making friends, and here is the part where the film is truly at it's best. Between the eight minute mark, clear through to the end of the first half hour of the film, Jason learns all sorts of things that are worth learning, such as the value of work, the value of doing a job well, and who his friends really are, or to be more precise, who they aren't.
Without money or a place to live, Jason quickly learns that he has no real friends. Even his family isn't allowed to help him by order of Hamilton, but he has to make a friend somehow, and here is the first major issue that the movie stumbles into, at the thirty-three minute mark, almost on the dot. That's when Jason runs into his "friend," a young girl who, we later find out, has a terrible illness, which I insist must be sunlight poisoning, because she is clearly some kind of vampire.
The little girl's name is Emily, and not only does she dress constantly in black, wear black lipstick, and carry an umbrella when there's no rain, but from her speech, mannerisms and the way she thinks, it's obvious that she is at least sixty. She's like Fred Savage, except less sympathetic.
I absolutely refuse, however, to pin any of the blame for this character's enormously-grating personality on Abigail Breslan. She did a good job depicting the character that she was given. No, the fault lies with the character herself; with Emily. Where there could have been the believable character of a sick, pitiable child, we instead get an aged philosopher, who flawlessly predicts people's actions for the benefit of her conniving schemes; schemes such as teaching Jason the true meaning of friendship, and hooking him up with her mother. There is no time in this movie where she doesn't come across as a smaller, paler version of Guinan from Star Trek, and it's entirely the fault of whoever wrote her dialogue and role in the story. Hands down, I would say that this is the worst thing about this movie; worth a whole star down by itself, because of its prominence in the movie from this point on. The movie has other problems, but none that keep coming back again and again, like... Well, like a terminal disease, if you'll forgive that.
So anyway, Jason succeeds in making friends with the wise Miyagi nosferatu, or at least, he pretends to at first. Later, he really does make friends with her, visiting her in the hospital, and helping her out as best he can, which isn't easy, since he has very little money, and she never seems to shoot him so much as a hopeful smile. Vampires can't be good to others, you know.
Upon receiving his most recent instructions, and returning to the hospital, Jason finds Master Yoda's room empty, except for a very, very cruel nurse, who tells him that she's "with the lord now." In the next scene, he enters a chapel and there she is. Oh! Ha ha ha! I get it. I'll bet she pulls that trick every week with somebody; fools them into thinking their friends and relatives are dead, then it really turns out she was kidding. Ha ha HA! Seriously, though; this nurse should be fired.
In the chapel (yes, vampires can walk on holy ground. In fact, they need to sleep in it,) Jason and Obi-Wan discuss why she's so darn messed up in the head. Apparently, having a terminal disease makes you age fifty years, although they do skip over the part about her being undead. Presumably, some secrets are just too personal.
In the very next scene, Jason meets with Master Splinter's mom, who seems not to have learned her daughter's wisdom, though she does make up for it by crying very unconvincingly on three separate occasions. In one scene, she's even facing away from the camera, and it's still impossible to mistake her performance for real crying, because of the fact that she overplays it so darn much.
Well, anyway, Jason and the mother get into a very shoehorned relationship, which didn't need to happen, and takes away from the movie at just about every stage. Nothing about her presence in this part of the movie is necessary or pleasant, as she more or less sits uncomfortably at the dinner table of Jason's family on thanksgiving, doing and saying next to nothing of any substance. Once again, Jason's family get to revel in their nature as stereotypes before Jason is sent on his next mission; go to a third world country for some charity work in a library.
While Jason is in that third world country, he convinces a guide to help him find information about what happened to his father, though the guide is reluctant, because doing so involves going into "drug lord territory." Sure enough, they haven't been there for five minutes, when they're assaulted by drug lords, who, just like real drug lords, are a small gang of guys in the middle of a jungle, with basic guns, who all dress like Indiana Jones, and don't seem to have any house, village, or anything to live in. Sure.
Anyway, the budget drug lords keep Jason and the guide prisoner, make fun of them on Christmas just to be jerks, then threaten to kill them the next day, because, presumably, a dead hostage is far more valuable than a living one. Fortunately, though, they fail, and Jason and the guide escape, thanks to a conveniently-unlocked door. They then decide that with miles and miles of jungle all around them, their best chance of escaping from people with guns is to run through an open fiend, with no cover more significant than two-foot-high grass.
Of course, in order to justify his trip to a third world country, and as such, the whole dead father subplot, Jason must bring back something from his travels, and sure enough... It's a doll for Master Genkai. How sweet. That's one neck she can afford to bite.
Of course, because we definitely haven't had enough of the lame relationship subplot, Jason must take Rafiki and her mother to a ranch that he worked on earlier in the movie, for a romantic interlude having nothing whatsoever to do with the main redemption plot. However, while he's there, he's challenged by the videos of his dead grandfather to find a dream to fulfill with his life. Jason then receives a sum of one hundred million, and decides to use it as the first third of the money needed for building a home in honor of his friend; Shifu. A home which will, he says, take care of "a dozen or more families."
Now, I admit that I have never built a home to care for a dozen or more families, and the economy is very bad right now, and likely to get worse, but it seems to me that three hundred million is enough to take very good care of over fifty to a hundred families for the rest of their lives, even once you factor in the construction costs. Blowing all that cash on a few dozen people made less sense, to me, than most of the things going on here. I mean, couldn't he just found a new hospital or something? Some of the big ones admit loads and loads of patients at a time. I know things are bad for medicine now that the government's devouring the medical profession, but Jason's plan hardly seems cost effective to me.
Anyway, cost effective or not, it seems to win over Hamilton, who gives Jason the rest of his grandfather's money; a large, large sum. He becomes rich and powerful, and decides to do right by the people of the world, and is free to (presumably) marry the mother of his young friend. The only problem is that Gandalf dies of her terminal illness, though I'm sure she'll come back at the turn of the tide, or the next time full moonlight hits her remains.
I want to go on record right here, however, as saying that I found this movie only half bad, but in a way, that's why it hurt so much to watch it. It's obvious that this film was built around the skeleton of a story that was very solid. It's just that for whatever reason, that skeleton had rotten bits all over it, and was generally picked clean.
I like the movie's message, the plot and the fact that Jason really does get a lot of money at the end (teaching us all that sometimes, what we need really is what we want, just not for the same reasons,) but there was just too much garbage piled onto this story by whoever assembled, wrote and/or directed it. Too many unnecessary movie elements were inserted where they weren't needed. The unnaturally-wise nature of Emily, the romance with the mother, and the whole dead father subplot spring to my mind as being things that could easily have been cut from the movie, and replaced with something more substantial, like some more scenes of Jason learning lessons or something. I also have no problem with the religious and spiritual elements of the film, though like everything else, it could have used another spoonful of subtlety.
In the end, this is a bad movie, but it feels like the kind of bad movie that was based on something good. Apparently, it's actually based on a book, in fact. I haven't read the book myself, but I know someone who has, and she really enjoyed it, so why not read that instead of watching this? The Ultimate Gift is one awesome concept after another, stumbled over clumsily, as though in the desire to appeal to a demographic, rather than to be a quality film, and that kind of approach never, ever, ever ends well.
Truly A Thought Provoking Movie May 9, 2010
Want to reminded of what is important in life? If you do this lovely movie will do it. It is based on a book by the same title which is a good read by the way. The story line is great and the acting is wonderful. Try it you will like it.
Excellent Movie! Apr 12, 2010
My husband and I LOVE this movie! It is a great couples or family movie that teaches values.
A Life Changing Experience Apr 1, 2010
This is an amazing movie! It impacted my life and those to whom I have recommended it. What better gift is there than to help someone see what is truly important in life. It is not money, partying, expensive wine, or superficial acquaintances but the joy that comes from love and family. I highly recommend this movie to anyone who has a heart!