April 10, 2014 by Jo Worgan
New Jersey, South Jersey, US – Autism Daily Newscast came across a post recently on twitter by ‘I’m a storm trooper‘. She posted that her daughter, Maymay (real name Megan), 20 who has autism is a budding movie critic. We got in touch with Jeannie Long (AKA I’m a stormtrooper) to find out more.
Editor’s Note: We were so taken with Maymay’s story and desire to be a professional film critic that Autism Daily Newscast has offered her the position. We are happy to say Maymay has accepted the job and now all her new upcoming reviews will be available here.
We asked both Jeannie and Maymay when the reviewing of movies began.
Jeannie told us that Maymay was struggling with communicating both verbally and in writing.
“She kept getting more and more frustrated. I knew she loved movies, so I made her write me a review of each movie she saw.”
Jeannie then shared her review with friends who encouraged her to post them online so that people could read them.
“I kept getting more and more requests for her reviews and stories about our life with autism, so I started the blog two years ago.”
Allied-THA offer Maymay press screenings so that she can view movies and write her reviews before they open in theatres.
“She has an amazing following now, and people are always stopping her at screenings to let her know how much they enjoy her reviews!”
We asked Jeannie what Maymay's favourite films and genre are. She told us:
“I like Disney movies, action movies, magical and mythology movies, and all things Titanic. Titanic is my favourite movie of all time.”
Jeannie told us that Maymay is obsessed with all things Titanic and that she watches the movie at least once a week, and more when she is having a bad day.
Maymay was formally diagnosed with ASD in fifth grade. Jeannie shared that until then each of her issues were being treated separately and very unsuccessfully.
“It wasn’t until she was sent to a larger Children’s hospital to examine a mass in her brain that we had doctors look at her entire records and put it together.”
Megan also suffers with seizures and has a cyst in her right temporal lobe.
Jeannie’s blog which began 2 years ago is a mixture of sad, funny and frustrating moments about their life with autism.
Jeannie told us:
“Strangers started reaching out to me telling me that a friend shared a story with them, or how it helped. So I started a blog about our experience with autism. I get so many emails from people telling me that they are encouraged or can relate to something. I realize that sharing experiences make us feel less alone in this.”
Jeannie happily told us that they have a busy and interesting life. On the days that Maymay has a screening they do the regular homework tasks, eat dinner and then go to the movies.
“(We) get to movie theatre insanely early because Maymay is worried about being late, If I can afford it I get her popcorn, watch the movie, talk about it all the way home.”
Maymay will then write about it the following day and Jeannie will type it up and post it onto the website after she approves it.
Maymay is a senior in high school and she told us that she wants to be a real film critic someday.
“I like reviewing movies and really want to keep doing it. It is hard work. I spend a lot of time being careful to not put spoilers in my reviews. I was told by a professional critic to be careful of that. I wish I could be a professional critic.”
We asked both Jeannie and Maymay if they had a message for our readers.
“I want people to know I try really hard to be a real critic and I wish they would read my reviews. I also wish people would be nicer and understanding to people that are different. It isn’t easy being different. I can’t help my panic attacks or meltdowns. Autism is hard.”
Jeannie told how grateful she is to Allied-THA who have been so gracious allowing Maymay to attend press screenings, and in treating her like a member of the press.
“I’m also extremely grateful for each person who reads our blogs. Thank you for helping my kiddo live her dream to be a film critic. It brings her happiness when not much else does. It makes her smile when she is hurting, and it gives her hope when so many things feel hopeless, writing movie reviews has given my daughter the encouragement to fight through her sensory issues and anxiety.”
Her final words were:
“Thank you for all of your support.”
Maymay’s Movie Reviews can be read here
You can follow Jeannie over on twitter
Her website, I’m a Stormtrooper can be found here
Here is Maymay’s first review on Autism Daily Newscast.