Jason thought his inheritance was going to be the gift of money and lots of it. Was he ever in for a big surprise. 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, just cold hard cash. 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 ...Written by
Sajbel, Michael O.
Jim 'You Don't Have to be Blind to See' Stovall is an inspirational writer who in 2001 published a little book by the name of THE ULTIMATE GIFT in which he transposed many of his motivational teachings into a novel form, a story of how a tape of a dying man can alter the life of a crassly money-centric young grandson leading him through trials and challenges to teach him the meaning of life. Now THE ULTIMATE GIFT comes to the screen/DVD and before making the groaning judgment that here is yet another insipid little tale about learning life's lessons and gaining some spirituality in the process, try watching this two hour traversal of well acted and well scripted (Cheryl McKay) and well directed (Michael O. Sajbel) input. There is a lot more to the film than the grinches might think! A wealthy man Red Stevens (James Garner) has amassed a fortune, turning his personal life into a shambles in the process and producing a family of greedy ruthless gluttons - with one exception: one son rebelled and lost his life to dreams despite the aspirations of the father. Red has just died and the will is read by Red's longtime partner and lawyer Ted (Bill Cobbs) and his devoted assistant Miss Hastings (Lee Meriwether): the family is outraged at the results of Red's division of his fortune and the one person who is left to learn of the will's content is Red's egocentric grandson Jason (Drew Fuller). Through a taped interview just prior to his death Red outlines the twelve lessons Jason must learn if he is to inherit anything. And here begins the episodic journey during which Jason learns about poverty, compassion, friends, death, and spirituality that changes Jason into a full human being and creates a character who gives back more than he gets.
Along the way Jason encounters work-ethic Gus (Brian Dennehy), a little girl Emily dying from leukemia (Abigail Breslin) whose sharp wit and tongue manifest wisdom that leads to the bonding of Jason and Emily's mother Alexia (Ali Hillis), and host of other character actors in the various parts of the world where Jason's journey takes him. Yes, the plot is predictable, and yes, the tenor of the piece borders on soap opera at times, but the end result is an examination of life that is told with enough fine humor and realistic dialog that it works. If viewers pass by this DVD because they fear it is just another sappy lecture, they will miss the pleasure of entering the realm of tender communication delivered with style and sincerity. And we all need that, especially now...Grady Harp
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