Added: 5 years ago
[Jason arrives in Ecuador, and is greeted by Bella the village librarian]
BELLA: May I be the first to show you inside the library your grandfather built?
JASON: Yeah, sure.
BELLA: Ah, good, good!
[cut to inside a small building with many shelves but few books]
JASON: Where are all the books?
BELLA: Oh. Oh, you joke! W-With the people ... Is it not like that in the great libraries de Los Estados Unidos?
[Jason starts looking around and gives no reaction to Bella's question]
BELLA: Villagers wait for books. You bring them new books. They are waiting for you to ... pick up old books. Exchange. Library. Si?
JASON: So basically, I'm in a third world country, at a backwards library with no books. And the books that are here, I can't even read. Great.
[Bella walks over to a desk and pulls out an envelope from the drawer]
BELLA: This, I found when I was cleaning his desk. Once I heard of Red's passing, I thought maybe you would like to keep.
[Jason takes the letter]
BELLA: When you sent this to him, he proudly showed it to all of us ... Then the tragedy. It broke his heart.
[cut to Jason in bed reading the letter, which is narrated to the audience in the voice of his younger self]
YOUNG JASON: "Dear Grandpa, how's Ecuador? I miss you and Dad so much. You know my birthday's coming up, and I was thinking instead of giving me gifts this year, could you take me on one of your trips? I promise I won't cause any trouble. I just wanna see you and Dad again soon. Write back, please. Love, Jason."
[cut to a montage of Jason helping to restore the library, by rebinding damaged volumes and unpacking crates of books]
THE ULTIMATE GIFT
Sajbel, Michael O. (Director). The Ultimate Gift. United States: Dean River Productions, 2006.
Starring: Rose Bianco (Bella, Village Librarian); James Garner (Howard "Red" Stevens); Drew Fuller (Jason Stevens)
Based on the Novel: Stovall, Jim. The Ultimate Gift. Mechanicsburg, PA: Executive Books, 2000.
Young, rebellious Jason Stevens is given twelve "gifts" (think "mini-missions") to accomplish before he can inherit millions from his late, hated grandfather (James Garner). Each gift predictably forces him to recognize the value of work, money, friends, family, gratitude, etc. The gift of "learning" will be painful as he is flown to the mountainous jungles of Ecuador, which he knows only as the place where his father died. He's puzzled when his Jeep pulls up to a tidy woodframe building in a village of thatch and pole construction, and a middle aged woman (hair in bun, knee-length pretty blue dress, no glasses) greets him with, "Welcome! Welcome!" and throws her arms around him. This is Bella (Rose Bianco), who is eager to show him the library his father built, as the sign attests ("Stevens Biblioteca"). Jason is familiar with his grandfather's illustrious projects in the States, but this is the first that honors his dad. The library features a small card catalog and a globe, but the shelves are mostly bare. When Jason asks where the books are, Bella explains in a poetic blend of English and Spanish that the books are out in the hands of the people, and they are waiting for him to bring new ones to exchange because that's what a library does. "So basically," he moans, "I'm in a third world country at a backwards library with no books. And the books that are here I can't even read. Great." We realize that the Jeep that brought him to this remote place carried wooden crates of books in the back. We see him reluctantly get into the spirit, trying to read Spanish, repairing hardcover books, opening crates, and dealing with happy children. Jason's noble efforts are interrupted when he is captured by outlaws from the drug trade (who use his books for firewood). Jason's gift of learning deals more with death, despair, courage, and heroism than with books, which serve mostly as metaphor.
When his rich grandfather, Howard "Red" Stevens (portrayed by James Garner) died, Jason (Drew Fuller) thought he was going to inherit a piece of the old man's multi-billion dollar estate, but it came with a condition. In order to get his share of the willed inheritance, Jason must complete 12 separate assignments within a year. Each assignment is centered around a "gift". Gifts of money, friends and learning are among the dozen that Jason must perform before he is eligible for the mysterious "Ultimate Gift" his grandfather's will has for him. Throughout his trials and tribulations, the family attorney, Mr. Hamilton (Bill Cobbs), and his secretary Miss Hastings (Lee Meriwether) attempt to guide Jason along the path his grandfather wishes him to travel. However, the problem they have is that Jason has lived leisurely using his grandfather's money as an under-achiever who has never had to genuinely work, and who believes through a young adulthood of loneliness that money is the only pathway to making life decent.
The Twelve Gifts
* The Gift of Work (Working on the ranch in Texas putting up fence)
* The Gift of Problems (Jason is stripped of his money and belongings)
* The Gift of Friends (Had 1 month to find 1 true friend)
* The Gift of Giving (Built Emily's Home)
* The Gift of Gratitude (Being Thankful)
* The Gift of Family (Taking Alexis to Stevens Family Thanksgiving)
* The Gift of Learning (Ecuador to run the library)
* The Gift of Money (Required to give away $1500)
* The Gift of Laughter (Laughs at the celebration for him in Ecuador)
* The Gift of a Day (Taking Emily and Alexis to Texas)
* The Gift of Dreams (Helping others achieve their dreams)
* The Gift of Love (leads to the Ultimate Gift)