Tag Archive: bullying


Wonder

Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

Over the weekend, I gathered a bunch of friends to see the movie Wonder.

WonderI was certain that hardly anyone would be there because this movie has been out in theaters for the last six weeks. But the theater was filled to capacity at 44 people.

Starring Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson as the parents, it is one of those movies that makes you like a kid who had a genetic deformity that has required several surgeries just to do those things we think of as normal occurrences. You know, like breathing, hearing, and seeing.

Auggie, played by Jacob Trembley, is both scared and excited about going to school for the first time in fifth grade. He is afraid of being picked on for being different because he is different. His mom tries to give him the usual “leave them alone” speech while dad whispers to him fight when the situation arises.

Slowly but surely Auggie makes one friend. He hits a roadblock, loses a friend, gains a friend. He also has to deal with a bully that is unrelenting month after month.

Wonder Auggie and jackNow this movie could have been a saccharine sugar fest, all about anti-bullying and making the victim too good to be true while the villains are pure evil.

Except its not. It is done factually and in language that sounds like 5th grade kids.

We even get to see some of the family dynamics with Via feeling left out in some ways because she appears to be able to handle all of the complications that Auggie’s condition brings to the family.

One of the blessings is that we begin to see the story from others’ point of view. Auggie’s sister Via, his friend Jack, Via’s former best friend, and back to Auggie. By seeing these different points of view, we see how different characters think and feel, even when they blow it and make mistakes.

Which is another thing I love about this movie. Everyone messes up or tries to fix things that seem right to them although wrong to others. There are ways to make a family movie that really appeals to families and this movie does it. I kept waiting for the worst to happen that never did and I was so glad of that.

Perks of being a wallflowerI have always been impressed with Walden production company, their movies tend to be good with less treacly sweetness. They understand that any old crap is not OK just because this is a family movie. It also helps that Stephen Chbowsky directed. He made the fine The Perks of Being a Wallflower which was perfectly fitted for a late teenage audience.

When it comes to family movies, I want something that all family members can watch, quality writing, and characters that are people you would actually know.

What makes Wonder a wonder is not the story but how it is told. Easy criers will get teary, you will laugh, and get mad at injustice. And, chances are, you will really like this movie.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

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Family Movie Night

 

by Karyn Bowman

 

Recently at a job interview, I learned an interesting tidbit of information.

 

At stores that sell DVDs and BluRAY, it is horror movies that are flying off the shelves. And then the interviewer told me that horror movies sell in greater volume in rural areas than in urban areas.

 

Image from Fishmuffinsofdoom.blogspot.com

Image from Fishmuffinsofdoom.blogspot.com

I thought about that when I was picking out a movie the other week for our movie night at home. The racks were filled with horror movies. Even a lot of the family movies had a horror element to them. ParaNorman, Hotel Transylvania, Frankenweenie. Each one of these movies involve ghosts, zombies, vampires or some other element that we might expect from some old campy horror movie from the 30s or 40s.

 

It makes me wonder what are we so afraid that we have to explore it in our entertainment. I understand why zombie movies might be so popular. With the sluggish economy, people with jobs are being asked to do the work of three people and are so tired they might wish they were dead. Or people are afraid that they will become shells of the people they once were.

 

While that might be a mid-life crisis issue, I can see how people would think that. They wonder what happened to their passion for life, their joy in the everyday when it has been beaten down by the routine of daily life of going to work and coming home to deal with the family only to do it again the next day.

 

How can one find a passion for life when they are eating the same fried eggs (over easy) with the same raisin toast and the same green tea that they have had for breakfast for the last 20 years. Where is the joy when you are yelling at the kids or the husband for the clothes that hit the bathroom floor but not the hamper less than a foot away for umpteen years?

 

We need to see how to fight against it, how to rage against the dying of the light. No matter what our age, people want to see how a person fights against demons and other evil entities in order to survive. We want that secret.

 

Or maybe people just like watching gory movies and getting scared silly. I like my explanation better but I am sure some one out there reading this is saying “that chick thinks too much.”

 

Now this weekend, we did watch ParaNorman.

 

Poster Image from IMDb.com

Poster Image from IMDb.com

The story is about an 11-year-old boy who sees ghosts everywhere. Even his grandmother visits with him because she promised to always watch over him. He is seen as weird and different, including by his own family although his mother tries to make life easier for her son.

 

Unfortunately, the anniversary of the witch approaches. The undead bodies of the seven men who tried and sentenced the witch will roam the town until the sun rises. To make things more tense, it has been left to Norman to settle the witch and help her find peace for one more year.

 

It is a family movie with some PG swearing that is dark and brooding. Norman is relentlessly bullied and tries to keep a low profile in order to be a part of the scene and not the center. When another bullied kid tries to befriend him, he brushes off the other kid, choosing to remain alone to protect himself.

 

I find it is a movie about regrets, of a past that needs to be fixed to solve the present.

 

The kids like it and I found it interesting to watch. I might watch it again just to see the little bits of good stop-action animation that I missed. Are there greater lessons to be taken away from this movie for the kids? Well, yes there are. But I will leave that to you to ponder.

 

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.