‘Pajamas’ a haunting view of the Holocaust; Shows to add to your holiday collection this year

John Sturgeon

There have been several great movies about the Holocaust, but none have ever presented a story where the main focus is on an 8-year-old German boy and how he views what is going on.

“The Boy in the Striped Pajamas” tells the story of an adventurous young child named Bruno living in Germany during World War II.

Bruno’s father works as a powerful Nazi officer who is assigned the role of overseeing a concentration camp.

The family must move from their beautiful German home to a fortress close to the camp.

Bruno’s father does not reveal anything of what he does even to his wife, simply telling her that the family must move so he can help defend his country from evil by taking care of a Nazi farm.

Bruno hates the move, as he is removed from his friends and loses the huge backyard he always had to explore. The new location does not allow him or his sister to attend school, and he must stay confined in the tiny yard at the fortress.

The boy’s father brings in a tutor who explains to the children how great Hitler is and how evil the Jews are.

Bruno gets fed up with his new lifestyle and seeks out new adventures by finding a way out of the confined space, venturing up to the fence of the concentration camp.

As an 8-year-old, Bruno does not understand what is going on and sees a boatload of people together dressed in what he refers to as “striped pajamas.”

At the fence, he meets a Jewish boy around his age named Schmuel. Bruno is jealous that Schmuel seems to have a lot of friends and that he gets to wear pajamas.

Schmuel asks for food, and Bruno promises to bring him some. The story builds from there, as the relationship between the boys develops and Bruno’s family starts to fall apart.

His sister develops an almost scary affection for Hitler. His mother figures out what the awful smell coming from the “farm” is and demands answers from her husband.

Schmuel’s father then disappears, and Bruno sets out on a scheme to rescue him, which leads to one of the most dramatic conclusions of a film in recent memory.

Marc Herman directs a masterpiece of a film that will tug on your heartstrings and allow you to feel everything Bruno does.

The score is nothing short of amazing, as it is calm when the film is peaceful and disturbing as the plot thickens.

Asa Butterfield does amazing work in the lead role, showing that a strong child actor indeed can carry a movie.

His na’veté and desire to explore bring us all back to when we were little kids. Vera Farmiga gives a strong turn as Bruno’s mother.

Her slow-developing realization and anger at what her husband is dong is both believable and interesting to watch.

Overall, the movie is a unique look at the Holocaust with a riveting and highly emotional plot.


If you ever wondered how life would go on after nuclear bombs were unleashed on the United States, “Jericho” is the show for you.

On one fateful day, nuclear bombs are dropped on 23 U.S. cities. The show focuses on the small town of Jericho, Kansas, where Sheriff Johnston Green must help protect his people and find a way to get life back to normal.

Coming into town on the day of the explosions are his son Jake (Skeet Ulrich) and a mysterious man named Robert Hawkins (Lennie James).

Jake immediately assumes a leadership role by helping the citizens of the town and trying to get to the bottom of who dropped the bombs.

Hawkins moves his children and wife into a home in the town of Jericho and asserts himself within the leadership of the city.

Jake immediately becomes suspicious of Hawkins, believing it to be a bit convenient that he just happened to show up in Jericho on the day of the explosions.

Hawkins, however, is a smart asset and resource for the town, and the constant question of whether he was involved in the bomb conspiracy provides a suspenseful arc for the series.

With great characters, stories and action, “Jericho” is an adrenaline rush that any fan of good drama will appreciate.

While the show was canceled after two seasons, everything wraps up nicely in the series finale.

“Arrested Development”

As one of the most creative and intelligent comedy series ever created, “Arrested Development” remains a staple at DVD stores across the globe due to the several unforgettable moments from its three-season run.

Set in California, Michael Bluth (Jason Bateman) is forced to take over the family business after his father gets incarcerated for faulty accounting practices.

Highlights of the cast include Jeffrey Tambor as jailed father George Bluth and David Cross as Michael’s wannabe-actor brother-in-law Tobias Funke.

This series was one of the first to not have a laugh track, and the style with which it was made set the foundation for current comedy gems like “The Office” and “30 Rock.”

A movie is set to be released in late 2009.

“Six Feet Under”

It all began with the shocking death of undertaker Nathanial Fisher in tragic fashion in the pilot episode.

This brings journeyman son Nate (Peter Krause) home to take over his half of the family funeral business and run it with his gay brother David (Michael C. Hall).

Francis Conroy is the grieving widow Ruth, and Lauren Ambrose portrays her teenage daughter Claire.

Over the course of five seasons, these characters struggle and grow with the various problems that arise in operating a funeral business.

Filled with comedy, sex, high-octane drama and great dialogue, Alan Ball’s “Six Feet Under” is an awesome series to add to any collection.

Each episode begins with a death that somehow ties into the episode’s plot.

“Six Feet Under” will provide you a truly memorable viewing experience.