Family Movie Night
By Karyn Bowman
In this week before the end of the year and after Christmas, some people take a look at their life and decide how to change it.
I feel it especially strong as my birthday is on this week. I think about the past year and wonder what can I do to make things better in my life, make my life what one could call ‘worthy.’ Being the best at making sure the couch does not run away is not my life’s goal.
Perhaps that is why it is interesting to me that two of the most beloved Christmas stories – It’s a Wonderful Life and A Christmas Carol are really about redemption, appreciation and making a change in one’s life.
These stories feature men who learn through visitations from other-worldly beings that there are things in life that matter, that how they interact with people matters. Scrooge sees how his bitterness will cause his afterlife to be one of harder work than his life while George Bailey sees how his community would look without his presence.
Because of these experiences, Scrooge and George see the sweeter side of life. They find a renewed appreciation for those who love and work for them. These are the stories that make our hearts swell.
Usually at this time of year I recommend Down in the Delta starring Alfre Woodard as a woman who kicks her drug habit and becomes a better person after her mother forces her to move in with family in a Southern state. I love the multi-generational story, I love how the characters grow. I especially love the significance of the silver candelabra. It is a feel-good story on so many levels that features good acting from all of its players.
Another movie I have been thinking about in regards to redemption is 50 First Dates. I know what you are thinking, how can an Adam Sandler movie be about redemption? I think Adam Sandler could be one of the greats of our time if his fans did not always expect stupid comedies from him but that is another discussion for another day.
This movie is about a man who falls in love with a beautiful girl – Drew Barrymore. The problem is she has no short term memory because of a car accident. She remembers the day of the accident before the crash occurred and relives that day – everyday. Sandler figures out a way to get her up to speed every morning. In doing so, Sandler shows that while his character is a jerk most of the time, for the right person he is willing to change and be better.
None of these movies are suited for the smaller members of the house because, contextually, they deal with grown-up themes. However, a movie about redemption that is great for the younger children is Kung Fu Panda starring Jack Black.
No one believes that a panda can be the ‘Dragon Warrior,’ the ultimate Kung Fu warrior. Only one person sees his potential beyond being a great noodle maker. And yet when the time comes to fight a great enemy, the panda finds it within himself to do it. He finds the secret ingredient. Our family loves this movie and laugh with it every time we watch it.
Happy New Year and good luck on your new year’s resolutions.
Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.