7 Ways to Enjoy More Movies

What do I watch now?

Ever been in a show-hole? Ever had a really good movie run that ended before film studios could come out with the sequels, three-quels, and spinoff titles?

Our ability to consume movies is much faster-paced than the ability for film companies to produce new films. This can leave you feeling hungry for more movies, with no immediate way to solve the problem.

I decided to share a few ideas today about how you might open up your movie world to include more films; giving yourself a longer runway before you run out of stories to watch. These are tricks of the trade that have proved very enjoyable for me and my family, and hopefully they can open up your world a little bit more as well.

1. Watch Old Movies

The African Queen (Humphrey Bogart, Katherine Hepburn), Going My Way (Bing Crosby), Sabrina (Audrey Hepburn, Humphrey Bogart), The Inn of the Sixth Happiness (Ingrid Bergman), Roman Holiday (Audrey Hepburn, Gregory Peck), Gentleman’s Agreement (Gregory Peck, Dorothy McGuire), Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (Jimmy Stewart), Holiday Inn (Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire), The Inspector General (Danny Kaye) Bedtime for Bonzo (Ronald Reagan), The Magnificent Seven (Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson), The Great Escape (Steve McQueen, James Garner, Richard Attenborough, Charles Bronson) Desperate Journey (Ronald Reagan, Errol Flynn) Ben-Hur (Charlton Heston), Foreign Correspondent (Joel McCrea, Laraine Day), Never a Dull Moment (Dick Van Dyke)

These are just a few little nuggets of gold in the goldmine that is old movies. A movie being made decades before your birth in no way diminishes its value. Watching old movies can be a delightful way to experience the evolution of films earlier on. You can also get a taste for normal life and cultural mindsets in previous decades. There are endless possibilities and literally hundreds upon hundreds of films available.

I have discovered amazing stories, endearing characters, and a heartbeat in some old films that I could have just passed over. Human beings have not changed in who we are at our core, only our technology has changed. There were compelling stories being told long before the days of green screen, CGI, and high definition.

Don’t limit yourself, try something “new” for a change.  After all, in this day when retro is cool, old is the new new.

Retro

2. Expand Your Genres

Picky eaters and picky viewers have this in common, they have very few options available.

Opening yourself up to new genres can open up hundreds of new movies titles for you to browse and enjoy. Even if the new genres you try are not as dear to you as your favorite genre, you still may find that you actually enjoy a lot more than you thought possible. Keeping an open and non-cynical mind about movies can do wonders for your viewing soul.

3. Enjoy Each Story For It’s Own Value, Not Another Story’s Value

This trick has been incredibly useful in my own family where we have many different ages. It can be hard to find a film that’s safe and enjoyable for everyone. My mom worked really hard to teach us the perspective of enjoying each story for its own value.

This means I can enjoy Cars, The Avengersand the Indian-made film LagaanThey are all across the board in purpose, message, and storytelling. Cars is a sweet and humorous story that is a mix of speed and taking its time. The Avengers is flashy and showy with superheroes, alien invasions, and explosions. Lagaan is hot, dusty, and not even in English-you have to read the subtitles-but it is a compelling story nonetheless.

I have enjoyed each one of these films, because I enjoyed them for their own, individual value. If I used the same criteria for evaluating Lagaan as I did The Avengers, I would be disappointed. Why? Because Lagaan was never intended to be The Avengers, therefore, it will only fail to meet my Avengers standards.

This way of looking at things is actually really useful in life, especially when looking at people. If I judge one person based on the criteria used for another, completely separate individual, I will be disappointed. The same principal applies to movies.

Enjoy each story for its own merits, gifts, and yes, even its flaws. This will open up many more movies for you as you set your expectations accordingly.

 

 

4. Watch Movies You’ve Seen Before

If you are like me, then you already love to watch some of the same movies over, and over, and over again. Not everyone enjoys this, and once they’ve seen a film they may not care to see it again.

Let me encourage you to revisit movies you’ve seen before. It is possible to enjoy a movie the second time through, sometimes it is just about the amount of effort you are willing to put into it. There are multiple ways to enjoy movies again.

Look for details in the backgrounds, costumes, or electronics of the film. Pick a topic and pay attention to it.

Research for a few minutes online for trivia involving the film. Then look for the moments mentioned. I have done this at movie marathons with friends and it gives you an entirely new perspective on the film.

Invite friends over who have also seen the film and keep a running commentary going with them. I love watching movies I’ve seen a million times with friends because you feel the freedom to talk all that you want. This is a really fun way to enjoy a film and relational time with other people. You will have a good time and create memories.

*Who cares if you’ve seen it 11 times, there is always a fresh way to enjoy something. Don’t box yourself in!

5. Just For Kids, I Don’t Think So

So what, you’re 35, 46, 73? I don’t care, try a “kids” movie. The mistake many adults are making nowadays is believing that movies geared toward children are only for children. WRONG! I dare you to watch any Pixar film and have your mind blown.

Children’s films often have soft, approachable layers of storytelling and clear truths that adult movies don’t have. What is simple and understood in a children’s film is often lost in the chaos and complications of an adult film.

Many children’s films are often quite profound and touching. There is a special sense of wonder about them that adult films rarely seem to grasp. There is a reason we remember our favorite films from childhood, because they touched our hearts in a way that changed us. Who knows, you may actually need to hear a simple truth from a children’s film more now than you ever did when you were 7.

Open up your heart, you can still enjoy some Bourne movies while also diving into the delightful world of “children’s” films. After all, adults are just kids a bit older and bigger, right?

 

6. Don’t Be A Critic

Yeah, I know this one sounds a little hypocritical coming from the woman who is running a blog where she analyzes movies. But there is a difference between analyzing in order to understand and engage a story, vs critiquing a story and only looking for the faults.

One can enrich your mind and help you understand stories and people better, the other can make you cynical and jaded. Why? Because there is no perfect movie, and the ones that make the cut as being “good enough” in professional critic’s minds are far and few in-between, even if regular audiences loved the films.

I often think that professional critics must have a hard time enjoying movies anymore. When you are paid to go see a movie with a critical eye, that will soon become the lens that you view everything with. How many caustic and sarcastic critic reviews have you read from professionals? I’ve gotten to the point where I read what normal, everyday viewers thought of the movie before I would read a critic’s take on it. I trust a fan’s perspective more than I do a professional’s.

Granted, I do critique movies sometimes. I find fault with them, and I point those things out. I will even do so many times on this website. But, critiquing is not my top priority here. My top priority is to engage in movies and discuss them through the eyes of a storyteller and a fan.

I never want to lose my joy in movies, be they perfect or largely imperfect. And I don’t want you to lose that either by being overly-critical.

So, did that car chase seem a bit far-fetched? Sure. Were the special FX in that film from 1965 kinda hokey? Yeah, so, what? Put down the critic’s chart and just watch the movie. It doesn’t have to be perfect to be enjoyable.

7. Chill Out, Lighten Up

This one is really a compilation of all of my previous suggestions. The best way to limit your viewing options is to have a very narrow set of standards and criteria when it comes to what you will view.

Now, please don’t hear me telling you to violate your conscience. I would never, ever do that. When I say “standards”, I am speaking artistically. Here are a few phrases that might explain what I am saying.

The graphics are terrible on that, this was pre-CGI. Forget it!

That would never happen in real life. (This one is so ridiculous it makes me laugh. Dude, what do you think movies are, reality caught on camera after make-up and  costuming?)

I’m too old for that.

No, none of us are going to enjoy everything in every genre. We are each going to develop our own set of likes and dislikes that will exclude some films. But you can open yourself up to many, many more films if you will relax and give them a chance. Will you still dislike certain films after watching them? Of course, but at least you gave it a shot.

We can get too “sophisticated” for our own good, and it is limiting our viewing options and making our movie diet too strict. Having variety is good and healthy for our perspective and for our movie-watching list.

Explore, step out of your comfort zone, make the old new again, lay down the critic clipboard and watch the dang movie! Life is too short to be uptight when you don’t have to be.

Chill out meme

*****

I hope that these ideas will can help breath a little fresh life into your movie-watching experience. They have worked wonders for me, and I hope that you can also benefit from them. Movies are an amazing and unnecessary gift that we often take for granted. Here’s to the hope that we can all appreciate them more!

So, do you have any ideas on how to enjoy more movies? Have you tried any of these options before? What was a movie experience where you tried something new and loved it? I would love to hear from you.

Like and share! Let’s open up our movie cabinets and our minds together!

 

 

 

 

 

Ghostbusters- Parental Review

I don’t watch many ghost movies where there are actual ghosts and not just some faker trying to scare everyone. I had never seen the originals, and so unlike many Ghostbusters fans from the past, I was able to see this movie unbiased.

(see the official trailer for Ghostbusters)

I’ll be honest, this is not the film you go to see if you want a tight story, easily followed character progression, and any sense of realism. It’s a far-fetched tale with ghosts, slime, and ridiculously dumb receptionists. One of the most realistic elements of the film was Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy) back and forth battle with the Chinese restaurant over the number of wantons in her soup.

Still, I rather expected this going in. I mean, it’s a movie about ghosts where four women are wearing coveralls and zapping paranormal beings with bright shafts of light. You don’t walk into that kind of film expecting realism or a deep message. So, instead I set my expectations accordingly and I ended up enjoying the movie for what it was.

The characters of this movie were actually pretty engaging and funny. Kevin-the-receptionist played by Chris Hemsworth was incredibly delightful. I have only ever seen Chris in more serious roles where he plays a fierce warrior, but I have heard that he is naturally funny. I loved getting to see this goofy and cutesy side of him. He was perfectly adorable and added a nice sparkle to the film. I only wish they had used him more.

The ladies, Erin (Kristen Wiig), Abby (Melissa McCarthy), Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon), Patty (Leslie Jones) were each unique and funny in their own way. Their witty banter was cute and engaging. I was annoyed with the amount of cussing and crass language thrown into the dialogue. It was unnatural in how it was fit in, and it felt like a cheap way to be edgier. The characters were funnier when they were just talking about normal things using words safe for all ages.

*I’ll cover this in the language section of my review, but be warned, both Imdb and Common Sense Media failed to cover that subject correctly. We went to the movie after looking at the reviews anticipating far less language than was actually in the film. I have no idea why they did such a poor job covering it as they are usually pretty thorough, but be forewarned especially if you are considering bringing your children.

I know a lot of fans of the original Ghostbusters films were incredibly disappointed with this remake. I can see how they could be disappointed, but like I said before, I have never seen the old ones and was able to enjoy this film unbiased.

Now, here’s the info you’ll need in order to make a decision about whether or not this film is beneficial for you or your family.

Sex/Nudity- There are a few designs that the receptionist has drawn up to be potential logos for the Ghostbuster ladies. He’s drawn a few designs of ghosts with big boobs. The ladies are somewhat embarrassed and explain that is not the image they want to project.

One of the ladies finds Kevin to be very attractive and makes a few, slightly suggestive comments that will probably go over younger viewers’ heads.

Some dancing, either to loosen up before a big speech, or in celebration of a victory. It doesn’t feel overly sensual, it’s mostly goofy, but there will be pelvic movement.

A female mannequin with nothing on is possessed by a ghost and featured prominently for a minute. It’s not a detailed mannequin, but it is clearly female given the chest shapes.

Violence/Gore- The women blast ghosts with bright rays of light and destroy them.

A ghost posses a main character for a time and she attempts to throw another woman out of the window. She is relieved of the ghost after being slapped very hard by her friend.

A man is thrown out of a window by a ghost. It’s obviously implied that he was killed, but nothing is ever shown.

A gruesome story is told at the beginning of the movie about a woman-now-ghost who murdered her servants.

A man commits suicide by electrocuting himself. This is a part of his plan to become a ghost himself.

A woman walks up to a ghost and attempts to communicate with it. The ghost hovers for a time and appears calm, but in a split second turns very violent and spews slime all over the woman. This is a startling scene.

Lots of slime. Lots of screaming.

Language/Profanity- As I said above, this subject was woefully undersold in other parental reviews. Here is a complete list of the amount of profanity in this film, I apologize that I could not get an exact word count, but I can at least every word that you can expect to hear.

B*t*h*s

a**

Many g*d, oh my g*d

p***

At least one use of J*s*s

I think there was at least one use of s***

h***

d**n

One very unnecessary sequence where a man uses a middle finger, on both hands, and flies his hands around like birds in the women’s faces. He is never intended to be a gentleman by any stretch of the imagination, but this scene was so unnecessary and stupid.

Other words would include crap, butt, stick-up-your-butt.

Very unnecessarily crass, to the point that some of the language felt out of character.

Alcohol/Drugs/Smoking- Wine or champagne, one bar scene at the end of the movie where the ladies are having a beer together. This section really isn’t an issue.

Frightening Scenes- It’s a ghost movie, expect this to be frightening for younger viewers. I would have been terrified of this film as a child, especially of the larger ghosts that took the form of giant and evil parade balloons.

*Please, on behalf of your children, don’t assume that they can just handle something or if they are young enough they won’t remember it. My mom was 3 years old when she saw King Kong and she was tormented by that movie for years, it still effects her today. Children pick up on and remember a lot more than many will give them credit for. Keep this in mind when deciding if this film is for your children or not.

Heroes/Role Models- All of the main characters were decent people. They are persevering and brave. The primary motivation for the villain was that he had been bullied and poorly treated his entire life, and now he wanted the world to suffer when he unleashed the murderous paranormal on them. Our main cast of characters have also been poorly treated, but they represented a contrast to the villain in that they fought to protect the world and people, even those who called them fools.

Talking Points- This movie isn’t really message-centric, so there aren’t a ton of talking points presented. Still, here are a few things you could go over with your family.

  • Are ghosts real?
  • Can we blame “society” for the difficulties in our life, or do we take responsibility for our own attitudes.
  • Are you willing to keep doing what you know is right, even if everyone is calling you crazy.
  • Would you protect someone who had been mean to you before?
  • Is revenge the way to solve being hurt? What other options are there?
  • Will you still do the right thing, even if no one will ever know that you did it?

This movie was somewhat outside of my comfort zone in what I typically watch. I enjoyed it for what it was, even through its faults. I hope that this review will enable you to make the best possible decision for you and your family.

 

 

 

5 Reasons Why Finn Is Still Going to Be a Jedi

When the trailers for Star Wars: The Force Awakens came out, it seemed that Finn was going to be our primary new Jedi figure. After all, he was the one wielding the light saber and going toe-to-toe with Kylo Ren, our Dark Side baddie. While I think that we all guessed Rey was going to be Force-sensitive via her genetic line, we really didn’t know how involved she was going to be with the battle between the Light and Dark side.

I was surprised and delighted when Rey stepped into the Light as a very strong, very Force sensitive character. She handled the role with grace and humility, so I didn’t resent her at all. I think the filmmakers did a beautiful job of creating a balance in all of their main characters, giving them equal parts of strength and vulnerability. Finn and Rey in particular took turns looking out for each other.

Still, after the first viewing, I felt a bit of disappointment that Finn didn’t end the film with a clear direction as a Jedi. I really enjoyed watching him wield the lightsaber, even though I also totally ate up Rey kicking Kylo Ren’s rear.

However, after reading a theory or two, and watching the movie several more times (I do want to give credit to some of these sources for pointing this out to me,  I am borrowing some of their ideas along with my own), I have come to the conclusion that Finn along with Rey will become a Jedi character. He is Force-sensitive, but perhaps in a less obvious way than Rey in this film.

Here are five reasons why, started with the weakest up to the strongest.

1. His Strong Sense of Justice and Compassion

Finn good Stormtrooper

During his first battle, Finn never fired a single blast. He knew that what he and his fellow Stormtroopers were ordered to do was wrong. He felt horror and sadness at the death of his fellow soldier. When ordered to murder the villagers, Finn couldn’t fire because he instinctively knew that what was happening was wrong.

Later, in the small Jakku outpost, Finn saw two creeps hassling a young woman. He didn’t hesitate to jump up and try to interfere. Granted, he soon saw that Rey could handle herself, but his heart was in the right place. He assigned himself the job of watching Rey’s back even before he knew her name.

The Jedi were supposed to be protectors and peacekeepers in the galaxy. It was instinctive for them to protect life and especially those who were preyed upon by evil. Finn struggles a bit with this, his desire to protect Rey is warring with his own fearful instinct to get away from the First Order.

But by the end of the movie he is no longer waffling, instead he runs straight into the doors of Starkiller base to rescue his friend. His love for Rey pushes Finn to embrace what is already inside of him, the heart of a hero and a warrior.

2. He Broke Through An Entire Life of Brainwashing

Stormtrooper Finn

He has been raised by the First Order from babyhood. He never knew his parents. All he has known and been taught is the First Order. Practically speaking, the idea that someone would break out of 20 years of brainwashing in just a few hours is pretty far out there, even for a galaxy far, far away.

Still, Finn did it, and it’s quite obvious there is no going back for him. He is clearly thinking for himself and even harbors bitterness and hatred towards the First Order. I think the only logical explanation for any of this is that Finn must be Force-sensitive. No other Stormtroopers reacted the way he did, even though they went through the same motions.

3. Wielding the Lightsaber

Not just anyone can pick up a lightsaber and do well with it. True, Finn has been given excellent military training, something they did a great job showcasing. But he has never handled a lightsaber before, and twice in this movie he wields one with decent amount of skill for a beginner.

He even managed to go toe-to-toe with Kylo Ren for a bit there in that last duel scene. Granted, his anger was up over what Kylo just did to Rey (a little righteous anger never hurt anyone in a lightsaber fight, ask Luke and Obi-Wan), but he holds his own pretty well for a rookie. Kylo Ren is supposed to be this incredible warrior who wiped out the new generation of Jedi, and yet, he gets his rear handed to him by an ex-Stormtrooper and a sweet girl from Jakku.

4. Kylo Ren Sensed Finn Through the Force

Kylo Ren Dark Side baddie

Kylo Ren would be proud to know that he is like Grandpa Vader in the fact that when he senses something via the Force, we all know it. Both villains pause and raise their helmeted heads slightly when feeling something.

Right before departing Jakku, Kylo Ren ordered the massacre of the remaining villagers. The other Stormtroopers opened fire without question. Finn stood staring in horror. He was still standing there when Kylo Ren walked by to head back to his ship. If you notice, Kylo pauses mid-step, looks up slightly, and then turns to actually stare at Finn, who stares back. Kylo felt Finn before he saw him.

Later on, right after Kylo has killed Han Solo, Rey screams in agony. Kylo looks up at the platform where Rey and Finn are standing, but he isn’t looking at Rey, he’s glaring at Finn. The camera even zooms in on Finn’s face. There are very few coincidences in the Star Wars Universe, and you should NEVER mistake a unique camera shot for a random choice. Something is being alluded to there.

5. Finn Felt/Heard the Death of the Republic When No One Else Did

This is by far the biggest tell-tale clue that Finn is Jedi material. When the beams of destruction were sent out from Starkiller Base towards the Republic Planets, Finn was preparing to board a ship with smugglers headed for the Outer Rim. No one around him had noticed the bright red beams in the sky, he himself hadn’t seen them yet.

But he pauses, and cocks his head as if hearing something. Listen carefully, you can hear screaming. But from where? No one around him was reacting yet, however, the people on the Republic planets were screaming. This is very much like Obi-Wan Kenobi’s reaction to the destruction of Alderaan in Star Wars: A New Hope.

I think this is the best clue that Finn is, indeed, a Jedi.

The trailers were cleverly made to make us believe that Finn was the primary new Jedi, a misdirect from the truth that Rey was actually the biggest Force-user in The Force Awakens. But perhaps the filmmakers used their own mind-trick on us. Maybe Rey is now being used to distract us from the fact that Finn will also become a Jedi.

This will be a new experience for Star Wars fans. We have really only ever had one new Jedi to focus on at a time. First it was Luke Skywalker, then Anakin Skywalker. In the animated series The Clone Wars we saw the conflict through the eyes of growing padawan Ahsoka Tano. In Star Wars Rebels our new Jedi character is Ezra Bridger.

Always one at a time. But, this is a new time, and a new generation of Star Wars, so why not shake things up?

I believe that Finn and Rey are going to take turns in the spotlight as we see their journey to fulfill their destinies. And I love it. They have an awesome dynamic that is fresh and engaging. They are both relate-able and endearing characters who bring out the best in each other.

We will see Finn come into his own as a Jedi.

*****

What did you think of Finn? Do you agree that he is in fact Force-sensitive? What are your hopes for him in Star Wars Episode 8?

Check out these other fan theories as well! You’ll find that we all came to some very similar conclusions.

http://www.dailydot.com/parsec/star-wars-force-awakens-finn-force-sensitive-fan-theories/

http://moviepilot.com/posts/3695753

Great video here!

 

The “On-Off” Switch That Kills Romance

Jamie is pretty, spunky, and has a thing for drinking lemonade on bridges under a sky full of stars. Tom is hunky, smart, and thinks pug-nosed pups are cute.

These two characters just so happen to work in the same crime-fighting division. Their chemistry is instantaneous and obvious, something that both the audience and the coworkers all notice. They click right into place like puzzle pieces.

Jamie and Tom make a great team. They are dynamite on the dance floor. They both love cheese pizza. When Jamie was devastated about her mother’s cancer diagnosis, Tom was there to be her shoulder to cry on. When Tom got hurt and was laid up for a while, Jamie came over to cook him homemade meals every night. They stayed up until 3 in the morning talking about their favorite childhood memories.

Jamie and Tom belong together, it’s as plain as day. The writers told us in every way in possible. They have practically spelled it out in bright neon letters JAMIE AND TOM BELONG TOGETHER.

Our emotions are now invested. We are now printing up #Tamie t-shirts and talking on message boards about the latest developments. We’ve picked out names for Jamie and Tom’s first 3 kids and have mentally written up plots for 4+ season’s worth of episodes. We hold our breath every time one of them gets close to saying those 3 words we know that they feel.

“I love you.”

First date. Yes, finally! We’ve had enough of the longing looks from across the water cooler.

Tom changes his blazer 3 times to make sure it’s just right. Jamie goes out and buys a new red dress. They go to an Italian restaurant and have a great time dipping bread sticks in marinara and then walking the waterfront. Oh boy! We even get a first kiss!

All is happy in Tamie-town. And then it happens!

Jamie and Tom go into work the next morning, the happiness of their date lingering in their smiles.  The coworkers notice, some ribbing takes place. Uh oh! A crisis happens and it’s all hands on deck. For some reason, Jamie and Tom are having trouble getting their heads in the game. Their teamwork is off. Someone almost dies, and the most natural assumption is that the near miss is somehow their fault.

“I can’t do this. I’m sorry.”

Tamie fans get off of the couch and walk out of the living room, leaving little pieces of their heart and emotions in a trail behind them.

And so it begins. Jamie and Tom still love each other, but continue to deny it.

They lie to themselves and others.

“We’re just friends.” 

They date other people

“I’m so happy for you, she/he seems nice.”

More longing looks over the water cooler. More sweet and endearing talks during a stakeout. A tear-jerking hospital vigil after a dangerous run-in with the bad guys.

“Maybe….we could give this another try?”

Up and down, up and down. On and off, on and off again. There is an engagement ring for a while….and then it’s handed back with some trite line.

“This just isn’t going to work for me.”

After a few seasons of this garbage, we are done. Our emotions are strung out all over the place and we are tired. We get our hopes up only to have the writers dash them once more! The passion and fire die, and now it’s just getting laughable.

We stare numbly at the screen. Literally the only reason we are still watching is because of Tom’s dog, Mr. Puggles.

 

Why do writers do this? What is wrong with them?

When writers create lovable characters and put them onscreen, they are asking us to invest a little piece of our hearts in those characters. They are asking us to entrust our emotions to their care.

So why do they take that precious trust and just trample all over it?

Writers also ask us to suspend our belief in reality as we know it. They are asking us to believe in things like superheroes, zombies, guys walking around after major head trauma, and that the female lead’s makeup still looks good. We know that all of those things aren’t real, so we need a bit of real life authenticity to ground this fictional story and make us believe.

I know that a lot of real people struggle to maintain relationships. I know a lot of real people don’t know what the heck to do with their love life. But there are far more people, who, if they found someone to love, would move forward and not keep jumping back. This is particularly true for well-rounded people with a measure of maturity. (You know, like characters that are supposedly mature enough to save the world but can’t get up the courage to date and marry their soulmate???)

Somewhere along the way, TV writers believed the lie that commitment and allowing their characters to stick together would kill any chance for romance. The only way they know how to write romance is in the pursuit stage, or, the lack thereof. They also know that the ups and downs are a cheap way to string along an audience for a time.

Guess what?

I’m done. I’m sick of the fruitless ups and downs that lead no where. I’m sick of the idea that having characters commit instantly kills the romance. Seriously, just watch the first few minutes of UP. Or great shows like Hart to Hartor Dr. Quinn Medicine WomanI assure you, the romance doesn’t die once there is a ring involved. If anything, the potential for new plot ideas grow.

If TV shows want to keep an audience along for the ride, they are going to have to take us on different routes, and not just keep reversing the plot vehicle. We’ve been there, done that, seen that, ENOUGH!

Be bold, be brave, let your characters move forward with their lives. Enough of this infinite loop, this up and down, this road that leads nowhere!

Enough of the on-off switch! You are killing the romance and turning off the interest of your audience!

7 Movies That Defined My Childhood

Wonderful movies and childhood go hand in hand. There is a sense of wonder and awe we experience as children that finds a fertile ground in movies. This is why so many people who now spend most of their time watching PG-13 and above movies still have a soft spot for their favorite childhood films. Seeing those familiar films is like revisiting an old friend and reliving a taste of that wonder from childhood.

I have loved movies my entire life. Even as a baby, my mother could sit me down in front of a TV screen and I would be transfixed. I was raised on stories and have grown up appreciating them.

Today, I thought I would take a little trip down memory lane and share the movies that defined my childhood. I have chosen these movies as the ones that not only awed and inspired me, but also helped to shape some part of who I am today. That is the power of a good movie, a fake (or historical) reality and set of characters can touch and shape our real lives in the real world.

Now, onto the movies!

7. Fievel Goes West

Fievel Goes West

I loved a good Western tale growing up! My siblings and I played Old West exclusively for a certain phase in our life. I was also utterly fascinated by pioneers. The idea of brave souls forging into an untamed world to carve out a new life was so romantic. Of course, I was too young to grasp the harsh realities and sorrows, all I saw was the glamour.

Fievel Goes West had just the right amount of boisterous adventure and shoot-em-up fun that a girl fascinated by the Old West needed. I loved Fievel’s thirst for adventure and fearlessness against much larger foes. I craved those things for myself, and I loved watching this little mouse live them out. I found this “tail” more exciting than it’s predecessor An American Tailanother good film, but not nearly as much fun.

6. The Swiss Family Robinson

The Swiss Family Robinson

For a time, this was the only movie that my family owned. You can imagine my delight when watching this film full of adventure, danger, and colorful creativity. One of the books I learned to read on was Robinson Crusoe, so I already had an appreciation for survival stories.

The Swiss Family Robinson took the idea of a “survival” story to a bouncier, more Disneyfied level. These people didn’t just survive, they thrived! They built a beautiful home in the trees for them and their menagerie of exotic animals. Even when faced with the impending danger of pirates, their spirits never lagged and they stepped up to the plate.

So many scenes from this movie are imprinted deeply in my mind. The tree house reveal is one of my favorites, that place was purely magical. Perhaps that is why I now dream of getting to stay in a tree house. I loved the scene with the boys swimming in the waterhole and sliding down the waterfall. Can you say dreamy? Or the Christmas dance when Ernst and Fritz’s jealousy over Roberta comes to a high point. The race day when everyone is on the back of exotic animals and wearing handmade hats? Love, LOVE it!

But the best scene by far is when the family is fending off the pirates. Coconut bombs, giant piles of rolling logs, a tiger pit, and trails of gunpowder! MacGyver woulda been proud. The ingenuity of this family knew no bounds.

I could probably quote this movie fairly accurately all the way through. That would be because my older brother and I watched it every weekend until Mom made us stop.

I have since seen another version of this story that is a very realistic and deep take on the concept. Strandedit’s more emotionally difficult, but also very rewarding. I highly recommend it. Still, Disney’s live-action Swiss Family Robinson will always have a place in my personal movie hall of fame.

5. Roy Rogers and the Bells of San Angelo

RR Bells of San Angelo

The Bells of San Angelo was my first Western film, and my first Roy Rogers film. I watched it at my great-grandmother’s farmhouse. I love this movie for the memories it holds, but also because of the door it opened for me. When I was about ten my family got a collection of Roy Rogers movies and our movie world was forever changed.

Roy Rogers is practically a member of my family. I have seen so many of his movies, I could tell you titles, lines, costars, and sing some of the songs. Roy Rogers was handsome, charming, brave, could sing like a bird, and had the coolest horse on screen.

But even more than that, his heart was bigger than his fame. My family got to know about this incredible man, his wife Dale Evans, and their family when we visited the Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Museum before it closed. We learned about the personal side of these famous celebrities. They were real people who loved each other and their children (they lost 3) deeply. Their heart for children was beautiful, they were heroes onscreen and off.

We even had the joy of meeting Roy Roger’s son, Roy Roger’s “Dusty” Jr. My mama often says that when she gets to heaven, one of the first people she is going to meet is Roy Rogers.

4. Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron

Spirit Stallion OTC

 

There is so much to be said about this incredible movie. It is one of Dreamworks finest and completely unique. A story of the Old West, about a horse, as told by a horse. You see this movie through Spirit’s eyes and his mind. It’s absolutely mesmerizing on every level.

Spirit touched a very wild part of my soul and brought a lump to my throat. There is a deep, spiritual level of life that is driven home into the fabric of your soul. Spirit displays passion, perseverance, the choice to fight and never give up,  and the struggle to remain unbroken in a very earthy way.  I don’t have the time to describe everything I feel or think about this movie right now, but I assure you, this movie WILL be revisited on this site, you have my word.

I watched this movie over and over and over again. I watched it recently again as an adult and it still took my breath away and sent chills down my spine.

3. Air Bud: Seventh Inning Fetch

Air Bud

I saw Air Bud: Seventh Inning Fetch first. Yeah, yeah, I know it’s out of order, but it’s still my favorite one. I have always adored dogs, but dogs who can wear clothes and do things like people, or even better than people? Oh my goodness!

These movies posses a very special place in my heart. I fell in love with this beautiful dog who regularly saved the Little League team while helping his people through their own difficulties. I may have also had a little crush on Kevin Zegers (Josh), but that was secondary.

I used to spend hours daydreaming about having a sweet dog named “Buddy” who was my best friend. It would be so cool, we would have lots of fun together and he would be super smart. This dog wagged his way into my soul and has stayed there. He made many boring or sad moments in my childhood feel brighter.

You can imagine my dismay at the Buddies movies when the puppies were talking! WHAT?!? The coolest thing about Buddy was that he was smart and resourceful as a DOG, he didn’t need to use words to communicate. He communicated with his actions. I have many more little fan-girl feelings to express on this subject, but time grows short.

I still dream of having a golden retriever one day. Can you blame me?

2. The Jungle Book

The Jungle Book

Everyone remembers their first Disney movie. This was mine. No, I didn’t start out on Disney princess movies. In fact, I didn’t see a princess movie until I was 16. Guess what? I survived and I’m actually normal.

The Jungle Book was such a cute story with a cast of unique characters. My favorite was always Bagheera, who got the cold shoulder from Mowgli for being the “stuffy parent”. I always felt bad for Bagheera, he only ever wanted the best for Mowgli and fought to protect this little man-cub. Baloo got all of the fun points, but we all knew it was Bagheera who kept that child alive.

My brother and I watched this many times growing up. We would run around the house singing “The Bare Necessities”. To this day, he and I get excited about watching our old, childhood favorite.

I was utterly delighted with the new, live action remake of this beloved film. The filmmakers took all of the best parts of the movie I grew up with, removed the annoying bits, and then filled out the story. I was utterly delighted with every aspect of that movie, I can’t wait for it to come out on Blueray!

1. The Prince of Egypt

The Prince of Egypt

Now we have arrived to the 1st movie in my life. The movie that has probably done more than any other movie to shape who I am today.

I saw The Prince of Egypt in theaters. It was my first movie ever, and my first movie in theaters. I was 2 years old, and I was completely drawn in.

The colors, the movement, the story, the music, I drank it up like a thirsty little flower. I couldn’t identify or comprehend everything that this movie taught me, rather, I felt it. I knew that I felt something when I saw the treatment of the slaves and I heard their desperate cries in the music. I felt Moses’s agony and the fear of the Egyptians. I felt the struggle of the Plagues. I felt the fear of the Hebrews as they were crowded against the Red Sea with an army of murderous Egyptians at their backs. And I felt the power when the Red Sea parted and God brought His people through.

We owned some of the soundtrack to this movie. My brother and I used to spend hours dancing to it in the living room. My favorite song happened in the Midianite camp “Through Heaven’s Eyes”. I dare you to listen to this song and not dance. It has such a rhythm of life and a heartbeat to it.

I can remember listening to one of the choral pieces one time, a bit of music describing the Hebrew people’s despair and torment. For the first time in my life, I made the connection between music and emotion. I understood that the song was telling me something from the depths of a person’s heart. I was only 3 years old, and that moment still influences me today.

I love Ancient Egyptian history. I love the story of Moses and the rescue of the Hebrew people. I am a storyteller. I find ways to communicate messages and emotions to others. I am learning and hoping to make movies that speak to people the way this movie spoke to me. The older I get, the more things about myself I find I can trace back to what was awakened in my heart and mind when I watched this film.

I have much, much more I could say on this subject. Stories awaken our hearts and imaginations like nothing else, that is why our first stories are so dear to us. Our childhood movies aren’t just cute memories, they are a part of who we were, and who we are today. They touched us in very personal ways and continue to touch us. I have so enjoyed sharing my favorite childhood movies with you and I hope this has brought back some sweet memories in your own heart.

What movies defined your childhood? Why did you like those movies? Do you still enjoy them today? What did those films make you feel? What did they make you believe in?

Join in the discussion today on Facebook and Twitter!

Civil War: Steve Rogers, Just a Kid From Brooklyn

It’s been over a month since Civil War came out, where did the time go? I have deeply enjoyed writing multiple posts about different aspects and characters that stood out to me in this movie.

I pointed out Why the Sokovia Accords Were a Waste of Paper.

I talked about the neat potential for future interaction with Spiderman and Steve.

I greatly enjoyed rehashing that fantastic airport battle that was Avengers vs. Avengers.

I discussed Natasha Romanoff’s close relationship with Steve and the importance of that friendship to the plot.

I touched on why it was so important for Vision to be the one to fail and injure War Machine.

And finally, I told The Tragic Tale of Tony Stark.

But while I talked about so many different angles and characters in this movie, I seem to have forgotten the star player, namely: Steve Rogers, Captain America.

First off, I haven’t forgotten him. I could never forget Steve Rogers, he has been, is, and will always be my favorite superhero. Steve has been in the back part of my mind as a reference point, an anchor when writing all of these other posts. I wanted to end my Civil War discussion on the man himself.

But when I got here, I hit a wall. This is literally the 7th post about Steve Rogers that I have written. Nothing seemed to stick, and nothing felt right. It seemed as though everything I wrote failed to say what was in my heart. You might say that my posts lacked conviction.

I finally decided that I am simply going to touch on the significant moments of this incredible man’s story that have led us to where he currently is. The story of Steve Rogers is one of finding heroism in an ordinary human, and discovering that what at first glance looks ordinary, actually turns out to be the extraordinary.

Captain America: The First Avenger. While Steve started out physically weak, the strength of his heart won him the privilege of becoming superhuman. It was fantastic!  Suddenly, every battle that Steve had fought before and could never win now became like a walk in the park. Steve takes down one bully after another while winning the admiration of the world, his comrades, and Peggy Carter. Playing the hero came to him as naturally as breathing.

And then the rubber hit the road, and Steve lost Bucky during a mission. And we aren’t talking a “fatally wounded, last words” kind of scene. We are talking about seeing your best friend fall screaming to his death. Suddenly, it didn’t matter that Steve had muscles, because despite his best efforts, his heart had just been ripped out.

Steve had to learn a hard lesson through Bucky’s “death”. First, he had to learn to allow people the dignity of their choice, as Peggy so eloquently put it. He had to accept the fact that his choices were going to spur others into action, and sometimes those choices were going to lead to unchangeable consequences. Steve also had to accept the fact that he wouldn’t be able to save everyone. He may be superhuman, but he was still human, and he had his limitations.

Finally, Steve had to make the ultimate sacrifice and give up his life, his hope for a future with Peggy, everything, to save the world. He had to face death, and in truth, it terrified him.

The moments before he crashes into the ice are heartbreaking. Steve doesn’t want to be alone as he dies, he reaches out to Peggy across the radio for a last bit of comfort and connection. The bond between these two characters is unique and incredible. This moment becomes all the more devastating when you see later on just how lost and alone Steve feels without Peggy. This moment was death to more than just his life, for years, it will be a death to his sense of belonging. When he wakes up, he will be a man out of place in history, and he can never go back.

The Avengers. Steve wakes up to a world gone mad where he is more alone than most of us can comprehend. His life has to feel like a nightmare that he cannot wake up from. Nothing is familiar, he has no friends left, and, the world he gave up everything to save is about to be destroyed again. The love of his life is in her 90’s at a nursing home. He feels obsolete and out of the loop. He traded out Howard Stark for Tony Stark (I prefer Tony, but just imagine how weird that situation would be). The world has gotten even stranger. 

Steve, a man out of time

Steve has to choose whether or not he is going to engage in this modern world and accept the new family offered to him. While he is naturally ready to step forward and be a hero, he still has some emotional barriers to get over. Steve makes the choice to stand and fight, leading the Avengers into battle. He takes up his shield again and steps firmly into the role of Captain America.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Identity crisis. Steve is trying to embrace the modern world, but at the same time stay true to his values. He is finding it impossible within the gray walls and ambiguous morals of SHIELD. Everyone around him is telling him it’s time to get with the program and dial down his strong moral compass. The message Steve is getting is, “The world is more complicated now, and your perspective is old fashioned and obsolete.” Steve wonders if he is just being a fool, or if he will be able to fit in anywhere. He is achingly lonely and doesn’t know who to be.

Steve forms two very vital friendships with Natasha Romanoff and Sam Wilson in this movie. They become his closest allies in his new life. As the movie goes on, and Hydra is revealed within SHIELD, Steve and the rest of the good guys come to the conclusion that he was right all along. Steve’s clear sense of right and wrong, tyranny vs. freedom is exactly what the world needs right now to stay intact. Steve is able to save the world again because he stayed true to who he is. Almost as a secondary identity crisis, Steve comes face to face with Bucky again. Suddenly, his past isn’t just sitting on display in the Smithsonian, his best friend is alive and working for the bad guys.

Steve saves the world first, then, he saves his friend. Captain America comes first, and then Steve Rogers. Interestingly enough, it’s not Captain America who breaks through Bucky’s foggy and icy mind, it is Steve Rogers, the kid from Brooklyn.

with you to the end of the line

Avengers: Age of Ultron. This movie really could have also been titled, Pre-Civil War. Steve and Tony clash intensely over Ultron and then subsequently Vision. Tony wants to build a suit of armor around the world. Steve knows that this is impossible, and the attempt will cost more than it will gain. Still, when it’s down to the wire, Steve leads the Avengers to Sokovia to go clean up Tony’s mess, willingly stepping forward to share in the responsibility and aftermath of Tony’s mistakes.

Personally, this movie really show-cases a very dark and despairing place in Steve’s soul. His vision given by Wanda reveals the heavy loneliness inside of him. He feels forever trapped by war, unable to reach out for peace. The loose ends of his life from the past are just blowing around in the breeze, mocking him. At the end of the movie, Steve settles for the mantle of Captain America as his only role. He seems to have given up on the concept of having a life outside of the shield and believes that this is the only place he will ever “belong”.

Steve, giving up

As a fan, it scared me to death. It was almost like Steve was committing partial suicide, dying to the idea of a future outside of fighting and one day dying in the line of duty. Steve hasn’t given up on the world, but I think he gave up on himself.

Captain America:Civil War. I believe that for Steve, Civil War was the movie that tied together all of his previous plot threads, and then, it began some new ones.

Steve is leading the Avengers with the skill and confidence of a leader. He owns them as his family and takes care of them with almost a fatherly attitude. Steve is willing to acknowledge and take partial responsibility for the tragedy of the bombing in Nigeria, but he refuses to waste time on guilt or fear of failure. When the Sokovia Accords are dropped on the table, he knows where he stands, but you can see the sadness in his eyes. His world is changing drastically once more, and the new people that he has come to love are going to be divided. The new “normal” that he adjusted to is shifting.

A deep chapter of Steve’s life is closed with the death of Peggy Carter. The living reminder of the dream that could never be is now laid to rest. Steve’s devastation at Peggy’s funeral broke my heart. Despite Sam and Natasha being near, he feels so alone.

Sad Steve

At the perfect moment, Sharon Carter steps into the scene. It’s almost like she picks up right where Peggy left off. Steve looks up at her and a hint of a spark fills his eyes. She smiles understandingly at him, and then proceeds to give one last piece of Peggy wisdom. A piece of wisdom that helps bring some peace to his heart. Even from the grave, Peggy Carter is touching Steve’s life.

Sharon is very much a worthy follow-up to Peggy. She is brave, intelligent, honest, compassionate, and lovely. She has traces of Peggy all throughout her, but she is also a child of this new world that Steve has adopted. She represents the best things of both the past and future.

Civil War really showcases Steve Rogers at a place of identity crisis. He’s not struggling with what he believes, but rather, who and what is he supposed to be anymore? The role of Captain America has been taken from him, but he has not given it up willingly. Peggy is gone, but now there is Sharon. Sharon represents the hope of a future, a future that Steve has almost entirely shut himself off to. Bucky is back, but the whole world is on a witch hunt for him.

Steve goes through this movie sticking to what he knows best. Fight for what’s right, protect my friends, don’t give up freedom. These motions are incredibly familiar to him, but as we begin to see towards the end of the movie, this format that Steve used his entire adult life will not last forever.

Truthfully, I’m still trying to wrap my brain around the whole Tony/Bucky/Steve clash at the end. It was so awesome and so horrible all it once. Tony was so, SO angry. And who can blame him? His mother, his favorite person in the world was murdered. He hated his dad, but also wanted his dad’s approval, and any chance of that was cut off when his dad was murdered. Bucky did it, and Steve knew about it and didn’t tell Tony. Tony feels so betrayed, and so angry. He’s pretty much bleeding out and mad as heck.

Tony sees red. He doesn’t care at this point, he is acting out of raw anger and sadness. He is going for the kill. I think Steve’s interaction with Tony is pretty tell-tale of where he is at emotionally. He will fight tooth and nail to save Bucky, but when given the chance, he doesn’t kill Tony, he only takes out the arc reactor. Tony was anticipating a death blow, but instead, Steve just disarmed him. Steve walks away from the fight helping an injured Bucky, and leaves Tony alive behind him.

There are many reasons for this. For one, Steve doesn’t murder people. He kills when necessary, but he never acts out of vengeance. Two, Steve doesn’t blame Tony for how he feels. Steve knows that keeping the information surrounding the Starks’ death was a wrong choice. I don’t know if he knows what to do with it, or how to feel. But he never acts in anger towards Tony, even when they are exchanging punches. There is no condemnation in his actions.

But I think one major point of all of Steve’s actions is this- no man left behind. Steve is tired of being alone, he’s tired of losing people, and he knows for a fact that he isn’t going to give up on them. At the end of Civil War, Steve has laid down the shield for a while. He’s going to explore what it means to be Steve Rogers outside of Captain America. He’s going to stick by the people who matter to him, including Tony. All of Steve’s friends know that he will never give up on them.

I also think Steve may have decided to stop giving up on himself. When Tony called after him to say the shield belonged to Tony’s father, Steve glances down and drops it without regret. That shield has been his only identity for so long, and he needs to leave it behind for a while. Will he pick it up again in the future? Sure he will, he’s Captain America. But right now he just needs to be Steve Rogers. He needs to step away. He needs to heal.

I think both Steve and Tony are really hurting and broken up. Steve’s pain isn’t as visibly noticeable as Tony’s because he is a very different person. Sometimes characters like Steve are passed over and thought of as perfect and untouchable. They never make huge, dramatic mistakes, so the assumption is made that they never struggle. But let me tell you, he struggles. His heart breaks. He bleeds, every bit as much as Tony does. Steve has felt alone in a way very few of us can comprehend, with the exception of veterans who are the final, surviving members of their group. I can’t even imagine how terrible that must feel.

The image of the Captain America shield stuck on top of the arc reactor was a very striking one. It symbolized that Captain America won that particular battle. But even more so, I think it may be foreshadowing that Steve, being who he is, is going to help Tony heal and conquer the struggles in his heart. We all saw the beginnings of that healing in Tony’s face as he read Steve’s letter at the end.

In turn, Tony’s actions have pushed Steve to a new place. They forced him to evaluate what matters most to him. Tony’s choices moved Steve beyond where he was stuck in a rut and forced him to drop the shield. Without it, Steve is just a kid from Brooklyn again.

And for the first time in his life, that is all he is going to be. It’s uncharted territory, and Steve really has no idea where to go from here. But he’s ready now, and new chapter has begun and a whole new slew of plot threads have been opened.

Civil War really brought an end to both Iron Man and Captain America as we know them. They both “lost” themselves in a sense, but I don’t believe that was such a bad thing. They were brought face to face with their inner demons and survived. Now they are left picking up the pieces, and wondering “what next?”

I’m OK with this. We as people often have to break out of a way of life, an attitude, or a place of grief in order to move on. The battle is ugly, but the results are beautiful. We come forth stronger for it. I fully believe this will be the case for Steve Rogers.

Captain America will return, I have no doubt of that. But I think that when he does, there will be more of Steve Rogers behind the shield than there was before. Captain America only means something to us because of Steve Rogers. I knew that, and you knew that, but I don’t think Steve did. Maybe now he has the time to learn.

I love the character of Steve Rogers so much. He has touched me in so many ways, as well as millions of other people. His good heart encourages me, his perseverance is inspiring, and his compassion is beautiful. I am so grateful to have the pleasure of watching and enjoying this character on screen, and I can’t wait to see what comes next for Steve Rogers/Captain America.

*****

What did you think of Civil War? Did you agree with my thoughts on Steve’s role in this movie? What are your theories about what happens next to the kid from Brooklyn? Would you have changed anything about this movie?

It has been a pleasure to share this amazing film with you all, I look forward to many more posts in the future.

 

Finding Dory – Parental Review

I must admit, I was a bit skeptical about Finding Dory going in. I know that’s crazy given Pixar’s incredible track record, but give me a break, Finding Nemo was just so great I had a hard time imagining FInding Dory could live up to it’s predecessor.

And you know what? It didn’t, and that’s why it was perfect.

Pixar was smart enough to recognize that Finding Nemo was beautiful, unique, and could not be replicated. So, they didn’t even try to make a Finding Nemo 2 featuring Dory. Instead, they took the magnificent characters from Nemo and gave Dory a story that was completely her own.

In terms of likability, I think I love Finding Nemo and Finding Dory about the same. I can enjoy them equally because they are two very different movies. I personally found Finding Nemo to be more desperate with higher stakes and rawer emotions. Given that Marlin was the primary character in that film, it makes sense that we would all feel more stress. The idea of a baby fish  being kidnapped and taken across the ocean to be given to a bratty child is pretty scary.

Finding Dory was far less frightening more of the time than Finding Nemo was, but it never failed to hold my interest or keep me engaged. The emotions expressed by the characters were less desperate, but no less real. One aspect that really stood out to me was how they portrayed Dory’s short-term memory loss. Dory is such a cute and cheerful character that we often see her in a comical light, especially her short-term memory loss. After all, she’s Miss “Just Keep Swimming” who never gives up and never loses faith.

Since this was her movie, I think Pixar did a great job of showing what the downsides of memory loss can look like. And truthfully, it was heartbreaking. Dory, through no fault of her own, has had terrible things happen in her life because of her memory loss. She rarely lets herself get down about it, but it does have negative effects. Sometimes, Dory starts to forget something she KNOWS is important, and she begins to panic, knowing that she needs to remember, but can’t. It tears her up to know that she may have forgotten something, or someone she cares about. Dory also expresses fear of being left alone without someone to guide her.

These moments stood out to me and caused me to really put myself in her shoes. How horrible would it be to forget where you came from? Who your parents were? What if you forgot how to get back home?

I walked out of the movie with a greater level of awareness and compassion for people who suffer from memory loss, dementia, and Alzheimer’s. Their lives have to feel so scary. Memories are such a precious, precious gift that many of us take for granted. I think Finding Dory found a beautiful way to communicate that to children (and adults) in a way that was heartwarming and engaging.

This movie is sheer delight. I laughed so many times. Pixar stayed true to their characters and fully respected all of these fish that we have come to love. Dory is such a sweet and persevering character, she is truly inspiring and a great role model.

The Pixar short Piper is one of, or maybe it IS their finest short film. I laughed so hard and smiled all the way through. It was a purely delightful little story that drew you in immediately and left an impression on the “sand” of your heart.

Sex/Nudity- Warning, this movie is completely full of naked fish. If this will be an issue for your children you may want to wait until they are older. 😉

Violence/Gore- Hardly any. There is one moment of peril involving Marlin, Nemo, and Dory that may upset little viewers (I think I heard a child crying in the theater during that part). You can calm your children by telling them the truth that everything will be okay and that this movie has a happy ending.

Language/Profanity- The word “carp” is used once. Go ahead, chuckle to yourself.

Heroes and Role Models- Dory is a brave and caring fish who has never let her problems get her down. This isn’t only shown in her life, but her positive attitude has rubbed off on those that know and love her. Marlin, while stressing sometimes, is a good friend who wants to do right by Dory. Nemo has matured a lot since his movie, and is a good son to Marlin and a great friend to Dory. Dory manages to rally all of the other primary characters around her through her spunk and perseverance.

Talking Points- There are so many great talking points and discussions that this movie can introduce for your family.

  • Why is it important to persevere and “keep swimming”?
  • How should we treat those that have a problem that can make them difficult to be around sometimes? How can we make their life easier and help them know that they aren’t alone?
  • How can we encourage people to be brave?
  • When we are scared and panicking, how can we calm down and get back on track?
  • How do we overcome obstacles in our life?
  • How do we maintain a positive attitude?
  • How can we learn to think creatively and be resourceful?
  • Why is it important to learn from other peoples’ strengths?

Finding Dory is a lovely movie and another gem put out by Pixar. I highly recommend it for any age group and give it my full approval!

And always remember, just keep swimming.