Archive for the ‘ G ’ Category

Everyone’s Hero

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Yankee Irving has always wanted to make the big hit. The swing that wins the game. The run that will make him a hero. Sadly however, on a sandlot with kids twice his age, that chance doesn’t come often. Then when it does, he fails. Miserably.

Depressed more than usual one night, his dad decides to show him Babe Ruth’s bat. The legendary “Darlin’ “. Yankee adores Babe Ruth, and loves the opportunity to view it. The next day, it is found the bat is stolen, and his dad is fired because of it. With some deductive skills and some baseball cards, Yankee figures out that the opposing team’s pitcher- Lefty MacGinnis stole the bat to keep the Yankees from winning the world series.

No one believes him however, so he sets off to recover the bat himself and get his dad’s job back. With the help of a wisecracking baseball, he finds his way to the thief. But when the time comes to step up to the plate and save his dad’s job, will he make that hit he has dreamed of? Or strike out like he always has before?

Things I Liked

Yankee is a young boy with whom many people can relate. He wants to make the big play and help his team, but he always winds up hurting them instead. Through the movie we see him over and over fail in his attempts to help others. We see however, failure isn’t permanent, and shouldn’t put you down. Yankee learns this from his parents and several others along his path of rescuing Darlin’. Yankee’s motivation in this movie is not fame, glamour, or riches… It is simply to get his dad’s job back by finding the stolen bat. He loves his parents, and goes across the US to help them.

Speaking of parents, Yankee’s are quite a commendable mother and father. This family isn’t broken, divorced, or angry. It is a simple one where the mom encourages and the dad teaches. Yankee loves them immensely and is respectful. He obeys and takes a punishment even though he knows he did nothing wrong. It is a great lesson and example to young kids regarding submission to those in authority over you. That they aren’t always right, but we should obey them anyway.

Many people are encouragers in this movie. Older folks teach and encourage Yankee to continue doing what he is doing. A girl gives him support when some bullies come around to give Yankee trouble. Even Yankee gives encouragement and hope to Screwy the baseball and Darlin’. When Yankee meets Babe Ruth, we see Babe also support and encourage Yankee in actions which some say are ridiculous. The power of sweet words is shown all throughout the movie.

Things I Didn’t Like

While this movie is mostly clean, there is a bit of crude humour and violence to be aware of. Lefty gets beaten up quite a bit via comic style violence. He is shocked with lightning, takes a couple crotch shots, slams into poles, chokes on a clothesline, and get run over by a train (not shown). He makes it out every-time with some bruising and dirt on his face.

Screwy makes some crude jokes about beans and the underwear drawer. There isn’t any profanity, but rude words are used occasionally such moron, jerk, butt, name calling, etc. Lefty has a “booger ball” as one of his pitches, which he blows his nose on the baseball. We see Screwy covered in snot.

Yankee runs away from home to rescue Darlin’ and leaves a note explaining where he has gone. This opens up good opportunities to discuss with kids why/if they would run away from home. It should be noted this is something which is not encouraged, but justified in the movie.

Closing thoughts

 “You can be the smallest, you can be the weakest, you can be the worst player on the field, but when people tell you you’re no good, and say you should give it up, you know what you do? You just keep on swinging.”

Everyone’s hero is a film with a message of perseverance and endurance of character. We see the message of never giving up. Unlike other films though, which focus on a single hero making it, for the most part, on his own. This movie takes a refreshing turn and demonstrates just how important encouragement and mentoring is for a young person’s success. Without the dozens of people involved in helping Yankee in his trek, he would have given up a long time ago.

Kids too, can benefit from watching this movie in seeing a kid they can relate to submitting to those above him, and wanting to help his family. Then, seeing the reward which comes from doing the right thing… Even when it is hard.

This movie isn’t as well animated as Pixar films, it isn’t as funny, it isn’t as compelling either. However, it tells an exceptionally clean and rewarding story about a boy and his desire to serve others. It is because of that story, that Everyone’s hero is indeed a Home Run. A movie which the entire family can enjoy, and everyone- adults included, can learn from.

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Monster’s University

monsters_university_ver2The lovable monsters of Monsters Inc have once more invited us to come along with them on a journey, only this time, it’s down memory lane…. And their college experience.

Mike has always dreamed of being a scarer. He can give you every fact and every scary pose in the book. However, he has a problem. He’s not really…. Well… scary. Enter James P. Sullivan, or Sully as we best know him. Sully can scare. In fact, he was born with the ability what with being the son of one of the most famous scarers ever. His problem, though, is that he’s not book smart, and he’s got no self confidence—or at least not the kind of self confidence.

Both of these monsters want to be the best, so when they stumble into one another, it’s a full out war, a war which lands them outside of the scaring program. That is until they get a chance at redemption. The scare games.

There’s just one problem… They have to work together. And if that weren’t a big enough hurdle, they have to work together with the geeks of the Oozma Kappa Fraternity.

Positive Elements

Monster’s University has two themes at the heart of its film. The first is one which every generation is in need of, especially our current one: you do not have to succumb to the expectation of others based on your size, skin color, illnesses, or, as we see in this movie, scariness.

Throughout history we have great examples of men who rose out of horrific circumstances or illness and defied what others said they would do/amount to (coughpresidentTeddyRooseveltcoughIsaacNewtoncoughEinsteincough). Now that theme is being delivered in a movie that is very kid-friendly and can resonate with a much younger audience than Einstein normally attracts.

The second prominent theme in this film is the gift of friendship and how much easier our goals are when someone’s got our back.
But perhaps my favorite part of the movie was the end, when we see our heroes own up to their wrong doings and face the consequences of their actions. And then, instead of seeing them defeated, we see them once more team up and start from the ground in order to work their way to being the Monsters we first fell in love with in MI.

Negative Elements

Dangit and son of a gun is the worst language that you will have in this movie, and the most sexualized content is when Sully’s hand falls into Mike’s face while he is sleeping and he proceeds to kiss it.

As for violence, it’s mostly slapstick, cartoony violence that doesn’t really result in anyone being truly harmed. Monster’s get thrown from a building into water, Mike accidentally runs students over with a buffer, and glowing spiky urchin looking things cause several students participating in the Scare Games to swell up as a type of allergic reaction.

The only other negative elements is Mike and Sully’s initiation ceremony (which some people might not appreciate but is done for the sake of humor), the red cups in the college party scenes (It isn’t portrayed as alcohol, but it is a college party, so some parents won’t appreciate that), some characters break into MI for a look at things and when the police come one of the group shouts that he can’t go back to jail, there is the typical college fraternity bullying issues, and obviously there are several scenes with monster’s scaring kids.

However it should be noted that all of these elements are very soft elements and as child friendly as possible.

Conclusion

I adored Monster’s Inc! It made it on my favorite’s list, actually. So when MU hit theaters, I had to go! And I wasn’t unhappy when I left the theaters.

My best friend laughed multiple times beside me in the theater, and I enjoyed watching the movie. However, it didn’t measure up to Monster’s Inc, in my opinion. As I said, it wasn’t that the movie was bad. I enjoyed it, and it had some good points. Plus, I like finding out all the back-story, so that was an added bonus. But, Monster’s Inc had a strong story line that was original and amazing. Monster’s University was not as original, nor as stunning from a writing standpoint.

However, I would recommend the movie to anyone who didn’t have an issue with watching Monster’s Inc. The movie is more about friendship and not letting the world define you than it is about scaring and college life, and that is something that is good for us in any kind of dosage, no matter how potent or mild.

College Road Trip

college_road_tripJames Porter is a man of the law, so he’s seen his share of danger, and he ain’t never gonna let his baby see any of it. Which is why he is a Northwest University man all the way! Why? Because it is 40 miles from home, so when his baby goes off to college he’ll be able to get there in 28 minutes (he’s clocked it) in an emergency.

Melanie isn’t so worried about how fast dad can get to her college, though. She wants to be an attorney, and her sights are set on Georgetown University, which is 700 miles away, in Washington DC, crime central! So, you can imagine dad’s response to such a declaration.

The problem James runs into is his wife’s convincing speech, and the fact that his daughter is planning on a college road trip with her friends. So, dad makes a decision. He’s going to take Mel on her cross-country trip to DC, convince her how wrong it is for her, and then bond with her amidst all the schemes.

If only things would go according to plan.

Positive Elements

James does love his daughter. He just wants what he thinks is best for her, and he wants her to be safe. But not only does he love his daughter, he loves his wife and son, too.

A few nice moments are sprinkled throughout the movie, such as when Michelle, James’ wife, says, “You taught her how to think for herself and be strong”, or when James tells Mel, “Go in there with all confidence, keep your head up, and do your best.”

Negative Elements

Dad, being protective, has a couple of guy moments, in relation to his daughter. When a handsome young man offers to give Melanie a tour, dad asks, “A tour of what?”. Also, when James hears a deep-voiced girl answer the phone at a sorority house, he immediately thinks that Mel is sleeping with guys and girls at the sorority sleepover. He rushes over, only to realize his mistake once he’s under the bed, and is found out and “exposed” as a Peeping Tom the next morning.

Violence is all in an attempt to be humorous (the movie is a comedy, after all). Things like James and another man battling with golf clubs while racing side-by-side in golf carts, or a dad tackling a young man when he learns that he’s engaged to his daughter.

Language is reduced to a couple of “Oh my god!” comments, and the only alcohol depiction is at a wedding reception. James also makes the comment to Melanie that coffee is, essentially, a drug.

Also worth noting is the fact that Melanie lies to her dad about going to the library with friends when she’s actually going to a party.

Conclusion.

The movie is pretty harmless and rather unspectacular. Which is probably why this will be my shortest movie review ever. The movie has a very weak plot, some funny lines that weren’t enough to carry you through the movie, and is yet another “daughter was right, Dad was wrong” kind of film. The pig was adorable, and that was the funkiest, most enjoyable version of the song Double Dutch Buss I have ever heard, but that is about all I can say for the movie.

Gnomeo and Juliet

Do you have yard decorations? A plastic flamingo here… and Yard gnome there… that funny frog fountain you got a few years back… Well if you do, there could be a huge inter-color war going on between your yard and the neighbors…

Well, maybe not. But in this movie, that is definitely the case.
There is one rule. If you are a blue gnome- you fight the reds. If you are a red gnome, you fight the blues. That is the way it is.
In this movie Disney takes a tragedy by William Shakespeare and turns it into a Toy Story like tale of the reds Vs the blues.Including of course; Gnomeo and Juliet.

Things I Liked

This story is about love and getting along. Albeit in a rather than unusual way… but the message is there. One of my favorite parts about the movie was a depiction of how divorce not only hurts the people married, but everyone around them. Many films nowadays show divorce a normal and acceptable way of life. This movie shows how much this action can hurt and what remains after the act.Although gnomeo and Juliet just met, they continually risk smashing (death) to save one another.

If you have watched alot of disney movies, you will catch many quotes and references from older animated Disney films. It was a very funny and enjoyable addition to the movie.

Things I Didn’t Like

The whole story of Romeo and Juliet was written with the premise they must hide from their families if they wanted to be together. This movie is no different. Several times we see both lovers lie about where they were, what they were doing etc. Juliet continually rebels against her father, and her father is shown as an overprotective worrygnome. Gnomeo is no better. He continually sneaks away from his mother, then lies about what he did or didn’t do. All of this is excused in the viewers eyes for the cause of “love”.When Gnomeo and Juliet meet, it is portrayed as love at first sight. Of all the things Hollywood comes out with, this idea sickens me most. The idea that “Love” is an uncontrollable emotion we are to be whisked away in a dreamland wind… is just as flawed as saying the moon is purple. We see throughout the whole movie they have a conscious choice to be loyal to their color. They plan to do so, until they see each other. Then everything goes dreamy and they can’t help themselves.

The majority of humor presented in this movie disappointed me quite a bit. There were lots of crude and toilet humor references… Which coming from Disney surprised me as that is more in Dreamworks’ department.

As far as violence goes there are plenty of near miss moments of smashing in the movie. Gnomes are made of cement, so there is plenty of clinking, chipping, and other threatening words… one gnome is smashed, quite dramatically too. There is also an intense push-mower race.Some other negatives include a  guy gnome in a thong type thing. There is a country girl gnome with tight clothes and revealing gnomish cleavage. Slang such as “junk in the trunk” and other innuendo references are used. A reference to infidelity was mentioned in a comeback line.

Gnomeo and Juliet clink lips. As far as swearing, the only thing I noticed was a poor pun attempt “Let’s go kick some grass!”.

Closing Thoughts

It is no doubt that William Shakespeare’s classic “Romeo and Juliet” was created without a biblical mindset, so is it any surprise that this movie falls to greater depths? We do see an honorable viewing on how fighting and relationships can damage others. There are some very funny one-liners. And there is something to note on giving one’s life for people you love.

But couple that with the Dreamworks like toilet humor , the considerable amount of unneeded sexual jargon, and overall unnecessary adult humor…

Avoiding this movie is no misgnomer to me.

The Tigger Movie

The Tigger Movie posterTigger has always liked being “the only one.”  After all, that’s the most wonderful thing about Tiggers!  But when all his friends are too busy to bounce with him, he finds himself wishing that he had more Tiggers around to bounce and have fun with.

Thus begins his journey to find and reunite with his family.  After an accidental idea from Owl sends him and Roo looking unsuccessfully through the woods for the Tigger family tree, Tigger decides to write his family a letter.

It takes danger, disappointment and even disaster for Tigger to begin to realize that perhaps his family isn’t as far away as he’d thought.

The Splendiferous

This is one of the sweetest films I’ve ever seen.  It’s entirely clean, without a hint of any immorality, crudeness or anything else objectionable.  It’s pure, sweet family fun.

Tigger learns that he doesn’t need to chase after something more when he has a family of friends who care so much about him they are willing to go out of their way to make him happy and give up their comfort and safety to help him.

The Re-dikorus

I honestly can’t think of anything negative about the film.  It’s a little simplistic, yes, there’s no complexity, no deep moral dilemmas or thought-provoking philosophy.  It’s simple.  But the simplicity is part of its charm and beauty — the simplicity of love and loyalty.

The Stripety

As usual, Disney’s hand-drawn animation is superb, the characters are wonderful and consistent, and the story is sweet and satisfying.  Harry Gregson-Williams’ score is fitting and lovely, and the Sherman brothers’ songs are nothing short of delightful.

It’s a simple movie, but a great one for the whole family to enjoy.  Just don’t be surprised if you find a few tears coming while you watch — it’s a story that will both make you laugh and touch your heart.

T-T-F-N, ta ta for now!

Gnomeo & Juliet

“The story you are about to hear has been told before. A lot.”

It’s the classic tale of romance and tragedy – two free-spirited youths fall in love, only to discover that they come from feuding families. Meeting in secret, the lovers are torn between tradition and happiness while their families continue to war. Yes, it’s Romeo and Juliet – only this time, it’s told with garden gnomes.

Gnomeo & Juliet is a light-hearted spoof that follows the exploits of two garden gnomes who meet from across the fence. Caught up in a battle between neighboring yards, the ceramic lovers face furious parents, revengeful friends, and lawnmower races in an attempt to find true happiness. Needless to say, it’s ridiculous and proud of it. Despite the silliness, it was a comedy I enjoyed, but it wasn’t quite innocent enough to be a favorite. Here’s why.

The Good

As is the case with the original play, the movie speaks out against discrimination and prejudice. When they fall in love, Gnomeo and Juliet begin to look past each other’s color and family history, and they ultimately force their families to do the same.

To help the lovers get over their differences, a sprightly lawn flamingo tells the story of how a divorce split him from his plastic mate. This sad tale demonstrates how the pain caused by divorce extends past the couple and affects the world around them, draining the happiness that was brought by love and marriage. The flamingo tells the lovers “Hate tore my relationship apart, and I couldn’t do anything about it. But you can.”

On a related note, the folly of revenge is revealed. Within the feuding families, certain gnomes are bent on seeking payment for personal wrongs. The relentless pursuit of revenge ends in disaster, even death, multiple times.

The Bad

As is to be expected, Gnomeo and Juliet’s forbidden love brings a lot of friction from their parents. The youths lie and sneak around without permission in an attempt to keep their romance concealed. This seems to cause more problems for Juliet than it does for Gnomeo. Juliet’s father wants to keep his “delicate” daughter safe, which means confining her to her pedestal in the garden. Juliet is less than compliant.

The movie also features a lot of flirty love. Besides Gnomeo and Juliet’s relationship, which can be excused, several secondary characters have unnecessary romances. Juliet’s friend exaggerates the tragic intrigue of Juliet’s forbidden boyfriend, and there are a few subtly sexual comments, such as the line “I am not illiterate – my parents were married!”

On top of all this, the movie is heavily smattered with crude content. Gnomes are dressed (er, painted) immodestly, a little crude humor is used, and some mild language is tossed around, including lots of insults.

Overall

In the end, Gnomeo & Juliet was a “just miss” for me. Its silly story was surprisingly enjoyable, with solid animation and goofy humor, but the list of negatives is rather long. While there was nothing extremely repulsive, there was just one too many smudges to make the film truly enjoyable. I’d consider watching it again, but you’re not missing anything if you skip this one.

The Lion King

“Ah yes, the past can hurt. But the way I see it, you either run from it or learn from it.”

Life in the African savannah is peaceful and thriving under the reign of Mufasa, a noble lion. The birth of Mufasa’s son Simba brings joy to all but one – Scar, Mufasa’s envious brother. Intent on claiming the throne, Scar incites a stampede that kills Mufasa – and blames Simba for the tragedy. The terrified cub flees to the desert and is left for dead. But the adventure has only begun when the carefree Timon and Pumbaa, a meerkat and warthog, rescue Simba and raise him as their own.

With thrilling music from Zimmer and bright 2D animation, The Lion King dramatizes a young king’s struggle to look beyond the past. Despite simplicity of the storytelling, The Lion King is one of the classic Disney films that have earned a permanent place on my shelf. Here’s why.

The Good

Under the care of Timon and Pumbaa, Simba learns the motto “Hakuna Matata” – or “No worries.” Simba forgets his past and assumes Timon and Pumbaa’s carefree lifestyle with “no rules and no responsibilities.” But that isn’t the end of the story. [spoiler!] Nala, Simba’s best friend, finds Simba and challenges him to come home because it’s his responsibility. After arguing with an old baboon, Simba faces his fears and returns to claim his throne. Timon and Pumbaa even pull themselves together to help. The result is a message to let go of the past while holding on to duty – or “learn from it, not run from it.”

As a young cub, Simba is eager to become king and be in charge – for all the wrong reasons. He wants to make the decisions, do exciting things, and be brave. But when Simba’s search for adventure nearly gets him killed, his father takes him aside and gives him a stern lesson about true bravery. In this way, Mufasa not only exemplifies noble kinghood, but he also models strong fatherhood by punishing his son for misbehaving in a firm but edifying way.

The Bad

The Lion King is a pleasantly clean film, with the only notable language being a few uses of “geeze” and some name-calling. There is, however, a dose of mild crude humor, as well as a romance between Nala and Simba.

Perhaps of most concern about this movie is the animals’ “religion.” Mufasa teaches his son that everyone has their place in the endless “circle of life.” He also tells his son that the great kings of the past watch down from the stars. Later, Mufasa’s spirit appears to his son in the clouds, and the baboon claims that Mufasa lives in Simba. Additionally, the animals have a few mystic rituals, most of which are performed by the baboon with his stick and symbolic fruit. While this shallow mysticism is tolerable in a movie about animals, it is worth noting.

Overall

The Lion King is a film that, although not very memorable, is timeless enough to be enjoyed as an adult. The animals’ religion needs to be noted as false, but it does not detract from the good morals about worry and responsibility. If you like a simple but enjoyable animated movie, this is a classic worth keeping around.