Tag Archive: Family Movie Night


One Fine Day

Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

For whatever reasons, whenever it rains for days in a row, I am reminded of One Fine Day starring Michelle Pfeiffer and George Clooney.

One Fine Day - missing busSet in New York City on a rainy spring day, the storyline is about two single parents who manage to miss the school field trip on a big day for each of their careers. Melanie blames Jack because she was trying to grab his daughter to take her to school. That made her late. Jack, on the other hand, did not know he was taking care of his daughter for a week until the morning of the field trip. Through the course of the day, they try to figure out what to do to make their meetings, run their work errands, and take care of the kids.

Along the way, each parent develops an appreciation for the other while holding on to their own prejudices and fears. For moments at a time, they let go of those fears to begin the steps of falling in love again. It is filled with wonderful moments of truth telling, happy moments, and fear.

One Fine Day Movie PosterI have no idea why rain makes me think of this movie because for one, I have never been to New York City. But when I watch it, I wonder if you can really get around Manhattan in a taxi. Or if Serendipity is really that good. The film makes me want to take a trip there to see Washington Park and the museums and Carnegie Deli.

While the setting and the music are wonderful side characters, what I really love about this movie are the two leads – Melanie and Jack (Pfeiffer and Clooney, respectively). They portray a certain constant weariness that is always present in parenting. Even when you think you have gotten enough sleep, you have not gotten enough sleep. But they also show that parental love has no limits.

Secondly, these are two people who are a little broken by their relationships that didn’t work out. Each character has trust issues and they wonder if they can trust another person once again. That both are attracted to another person and see the possibility of hope in that person is a huge emotional step. What is even better is that they can admit it openly. How many of us ever want to admit to the soft parts inside our souls.

One fine day - kiss
But, lastly I love some of their arguments that talk about the truth of life. If we like what we like and want things to go that way, are we control freaks or people who know what we like? As parents, especially single parents, keeping everything going means juggling and relying on yourself. Sometimes we have to admit that we are out of options. And sometimes, we have to admit we want the magic of love in our lives.

The movie is now twenty years old and there are some things that are incredibly out dated, such as their cell phones and Jack’s baggy pants. And then there are some things that never grow old, such as Melanie’s suit, how kids behave, or men and women trying to figure out the life/work balance.

This may not be a movie to watch with younger kids because Jack tends to say G-D, a lot. This is more of a movie to watch with girlfriends who can agree or disagree with whatever is happening on the screen.

Bring on the rain just so I can hear the Natalie Merchant take on that classic old song once more.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Garden Talk

Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

What do you do when perfect weather hits?

I prefer to be outside.

I know my house needs to be cleaned after a world-wind of work and activities that have kept me busy. But really, I want to be outside when the weather is warm and the wind is calm.

It doesn’t matter if I am walking the dog or working in the garden, being outside when it is beautiful restores my soul, especially after a winter like we had this year. I know most people feel that way although a few might prefer their beautiful bug-free, air conditioned inside world.

Sadly, movies about gardens and plants are not that plentiful. Not everybody gets jazzed by dealing with plants or being in the orderly world of gardening. That is what we do after all, force order into the wild rift raft of nature.

Secret GardenOne of my long time favorites is The Secret Garden (1993), a rich tapestry of a movie following the life of a little girl left orphaned by an earthquake in colonized India during the early part of the 1900s. She lives at her uncle’s manse, a colossal pile, but it also has gardens she is free to explore. One day the girl finds a key and then another day find the door where it fits.

Not only that, she meets a local boy who can tame wild animals. And then she finds her cousin, who might be a wild animal but is certainly ill. He is a reported invalid who must be catered to at every turn. But soon the girl and her cousin, once they discover each other, are close friends who run off to the secret garden with the other boy.

We watch the garden turn from cold March winds and expectations through the spring and to summer’s explosion of roses and other greenery. The three children also grow through magic they create and the connections they share. It is a wonderful movie that can be seen by all ages, although people who prefer physical explosions may not like this movie.

If explosions and action is what you need then perhaps Batman and Robin (1997) is the movie for you. I realize the plant connection is not very clear at first. This movie, directed by Joel Silver, is not a favorite in the Batman canon. Starring George Clooney as the Bat, it also feature Arnold Schwartzeneger as Mr. Freeze and Uma Thurman as Poisen Ivy. Is there over acting in this movie? Well, yes, by the tons.

Batman, Robin , Poisen IvyGeorge is great but low-key. It’s the villains we want to see and they do a bang-up job. Uma Thurman is fantastically over the top as the scientist who has gone to the bad side after being rejected one time too many, she even comes up with a secret formula for a deadly kiss. But she has developed feeling for Robin that may be more obsessive for the ways she can hurt Batman. She’s also developed plants that do more than grow around a window frame.

What a silly, crazy movie. But with it’s PG-13 rating it might be one to reconsider if you do not like the cartoonish ‘stylized’ action and the verbal sparring that gets suggestive.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Sometimes life requires a movie that is not so serious. It requires a movie that makes fun of everything and anything.
That is how I felt when the husband and I went to see ‘Keanu’ the other day at Movies 10.
keanu-movie-posterThis movie features the comic duo of Key and Peele who have had a show on the Comedy Channel for the last five years. One of my favorite bits they do is President Obama’s anger interpreter. I laugh at a lot of their comedy.
However, one has to wonder if what they do can stretch over 90-minutes on the big screen.  Seven-ten minute bits are easy compared to a 90-minute film.
This film starts from a pretty flimsy plot. A man finds a kitten and adores his new friend. It is a very cute kitten. But when he comes home after a night at the movies with a friend, Rell finds his home ransacked and his kitten missing. So Rell goes to his neighbor’s house, a known drug dealer, to find out who tossed his home. From there Rell learns that a bigger drug dealer in town might have had reason to ransack his neighbor’s place.
So Rell takes along his friend and cousin, Clarence, to get the kitten.  They plan to go into a strip bar on the bad side of town to talk to a drug dealer named Cheddar about getting Rell’s adorable kitten back home.
This could go wrong in so many ways because Rell and Clarence are middle class guys. Their lives are pretty comfortable. Nor do they want to do much to ruin those lives. But Rell has a goal and that goal means doing whatever it takes to get his cat.
keanu-movie-key-and-peele1That includes imitating the roughest duo of thugs that no one has seen. It means training guys to be better thugs. It means doing the worst that a person has to do.
As many of you should know, this is not a movie to take little kids to see. There is a lot of swearing, drug use, violence, threatened violence, and more drug use. Just because there is a cute little kitten involved doesn’t mean this movie is for kids under the age of 12 bare minimum.
 And if you are sensitive to this stuff as an adult, you shouldn’t see it either. I didn’t count the number of each swear word used but it was a lot, in every scene.
That said, there is a lot to like in this movie. It makes fun of every black stereo-type we normally see in a movie like this. It makes fun of the tough thug, of the half-wit minions. And it also makes fun of the middle class guys who play video games that require you to kill people.
At any number of points these guys should have been called out for not being who they say they are and yet they aren’t. Each time there is something that keeps them in the game from mishaps to lucky flips to being able to explain how someone like George Michael can relate to a tougher crowd.
_B7A6370.dngAs much as I enjoyed this movie, I also had problems with it. The character of Clarence’s wife bothered me in the way she changed  by the end of the movie and I am not sure it felt right in this bit of farce. Nia Long gets credit for being willing to go out on a limb but I didn’t buy it. I wondered why the one character who knew they were faking it never let on what they knew.
So if watching a violent, profane movie with the cutest kitten on earth about two middle-class guys in over their heads is what you are looking to do, “Keanu” is totally the movie for you.
Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

I was prepared to watch and report on some film adaptation of Shakespeare for this week in an effort to encourage people to see something by the greatest writer of all time.

Doris-Roberts

I choose a great picture of Roberts, not the crap-ass one others have been using.

When Doris Roberts died, I thought about all of the times that she made me laugh on Everybody Loves Raymond. Her timing was superb and she made Marie into someone you could hate or love, depending on the moment. Roberts almost didn’t take the part that would earn her four Emmy awards. At the time she had a busy stage career and thought she would not have time for the role.

Thankfully, she changed her mind and we benefited with nine years of superb comedy. One would think that at the age of 80, Roberts might have considered retirement. But she didn’t. Her credit page is filled with roles since the end of the TV series. In fact, the movie I remember her in during this post-Raymond time period is Aliens In The Attic. It is not a great movie. The story is about two families who vacation together in a huge house with their grandmother.

The cousins realize something is not right and that there are aliens in the attic trying to destroy the house to get at something buried underneath. Worse yet, these aliens can get into a human with a special device and control them. One of the funniest scenes in the movie is when Nana Rose is taken over by these guys and performs some serious kung fu. It is classic Roberts, giving everything for the scene but it did make me wonder how much of the scene she did and how much was a stunt double.

I hope they gave her plenty of painkillers for those sequences.

The other death that occurred this week is the one I cannot wrap my mind around. The artist known as Prince died at the age of 57, leaving behind not only a legacy of superbly played music but also acts of generosity and kindness that were unknown to most of us. For me, Prince wrote huge chunks of my life’s sound track including songs by the Bangles, Sinead O’Conner and Stevie Nicks.

It is shocking he died at the age of 57; he seemed too young to die. That age still seems young in some ways, people are still able to get around and do stuff for the most part. He was still performing on a regular basis.

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For Prince, this seems even crazier because while he was a shy man who did not advertise his life he was a larger than life figure. He was always the coolest cat in the room.In the 80s, he put his soul into the Purple Rain album and movie. There was no mistaking that he was singing his life and his emotions.

Later, he took on record companies who treated him unfairly while still performing shows with incredible musicianship. Did you see his performance during the 2009 Superbowl in which Prince played in the pouring rain? There was the George Harrison tribute in which he did a three minute solo that could make anyone weep. Even Eric Clapton, arguably one of the best guitarists ever, stated that Prince was the best.

He was strange and quirky, guarded his privacy, and built a studio in Minneapolis that people could easily see. He had a bevy of beautiful girlfriends, two ex-wives, and a small circle of friends throughout his life. Prince knew what he wanted his sound to be, playing several instruments on his records. As strongly as he controlled his sound, he controlled his image. Those of us at the end of the Baby Boom generation will miss him the most because he was our Bowie, our Stones, our Beatles, our Elvis. And like any other person who dies long before they should have, the knowledge of his absence will simply be shocking.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Get the Bucket

Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

Last week, we had a sick kid in the family. I could tell you the whole story that involved a trip to the firehouse and a failed trip to ER that resulted in said child throwing up in the car.

sick-kidThen again, this is the child who is almost never sick, almost never feeling bad enough to miss school. He proudly shows me the part of his report card that tells the story of no missed days. Well, not for this quarter.

The problem is how must one stay quiet and rest after resting too many days and feeling ready to move but not feeling well enough to move. When the boy cannot finish a bowl of his favorite soup, you know he is sick.

Usually in my house the solution is simple. I find animated films so that rest can happen but a person is ‘occupied.’ Some would call this a win-win situation. But this child is not the other kids in the family. Tarzan or Toy Story are not among his choices of movies.

So I made the choice that I felt was the best for the situation. I picked up Transformers. I am talking about the mixed live action/computer animation, loud as thunder, action packed movie that help launch the career of Shia LaBeouf from TV to the silver screen.

The story is about a young man who is buying his first car. OK, Dad is buying it and he is shopping. At the first lot they walk onto, the kid spots a car that looks run down. He is trying to decide function over fashion but Dad seems determined to go for cheap. After a momentary glitch in which the windows of all of the other cars break, Sam is driving home a rusty Camero that needs a little work.

Transformers_star_ShiaIt doesn’t take long for Sam to try to leverage his new car as a way to get not-so-secret-crush Michaela into his life or to find out maybe the car is not exactly what it appears to be. In fact, the car is something more, an alien who is to protect Sam from other forces that wants something he has and it is not Michaela.

Soon, Sam finds himself on a dangerous journey, trying to return the cube to the military. We get the pleasure of watching giant mechanical beings destroy a city and Dad’s garden. There are plenty of great lines to repeat day after day so kids will understand the importance of the tasks faced in this movie.

Should this movie be ridiculed? Yes because there are times the action and or dialogue is just awful. But the delivery from our various actors such as Josh Duhumel, Kevin Dunn, and Megan Fox somehow works. And then there is Optimus Prime, perhaps one of the best super good guys who gets that sometimes self sacrifice is the only way.

Sure watching this movie makes my house shake to its foundation. And there are times that I look at the animation and wonder how anyone could have come up with these spectacular shots.

But I also have to admit that for a few days after watching this movie I wonder if my cell phone would ever turn on me.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

It was one of those typical weekends in a small town.

Friday night was the band concert at the high school. Saturday was errands, 5the-8th grade solo and ensemble contest, and a Pork Chop supper. Sunday was church and the big Sunday meal at the house.

church dinnerI was once asked if life was slower after we moved from the city to a small town. While I might have spent more time in traffic congestion, the thing that did not change was how busy our lives were/are with kid activities. There is always something going on, some place to go or special event to mark on the calendar.

Life can be as busy or as slow as you make it and it doesn’t matter where you live. Small towns have their advantages and, obviously, I like that. Our kids have great comfort here and that it important.

This past weekend was everything I want out of life. It was perfect, it was quiet at times and active at others. Some might have seen it as perfectly boring while others might have felt it was way too busy. Typical small town life. Whatever that might mean to you.

And that is what this week’s movie, American Ultra, tries to depict at first, the life of a small town stoner guy and his girlfriend. Starring Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart, this is a movie that is meant for older teens and adults. There is plenty of swearing, lots of violent action, and a ton of death. Cartoon action this is not. The R rating is there, not for ‘real’ but for blood, gore, and swearing that some folks mat not want to deal with seeing or hearing.

american-ultra-posterMike and Phoebe can never leave the town because he gets anxiety attacks every time he tries. And some days he worries that he is holding Phoebe, his girlfriend, back from her full potential. The problem is, he is more than that. He has no clue why until a woman drops into his convenience store and says some strange words to him.

The next thing Mike knows is that two guys are coming after him with knives and he takes them out – with a spoon. This completely freaks Mike out and he reaches out to Phoebe. But before you know it there are more guys with guns and knives and other stuff willing to take Mike out. And he cannot understand why.

Going into this movie, I was not sure what to expect. Was it going to be light and fluffy and serious and grim? The thing is, this movie is a bit of both. It is making fun of these programs that try to train the perfect spy/killing machine. But the movie also presents what could happen if that person is hidden within a small community. You have to be willing to suspend all disbelief while in the midst of constant violence and harmful actions that feel all too real.

At least you will be more prepared than Mike ever was.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Opening Day

As spring is here, warmer weather is following. With that warmer weather comes opening day for the drive-in movie theaters.

Harvest Moon Drive InEvery time I mention drive-in, people get excited and want to know where I go to find one. The closest one to our home is in Gibson City called the Harvest Moon Twin Drive-In. This place is great because it has two screens, one that shows a more ‘family’ oriented movie and the other that shows something a bit more adult. Check out their Harvest Moon Twin Drive-In.

This past weekend, the choices were Zootopia and the new Batman vs. Superman movie. We went for Zootopia for no other reason than it was getting great reviews from a bevy of critics. And one of the kids expressed interest. And the husband really wanted to go to the drive in.

Well, why not. The drive is only about an hour away. We sit outside of the car with jackets and blankets on to keep warm. We can bring in our own food for a $5 fee that gets us a free large popcorn. And how can I turn down deep fried cheese curds or the funnel cake sundae?

funnel cake sundae

funnel cake sundae with chocolate sauce

 

Which explains why I am willing to pack up on a Friday night with blankets, chairs, snacks, and five kids to see a movie about which I know nothing.

I do know the basic premise. In a world where animals are like people and there are different zones for different geographical areas, there is one big town and that is Zootopia. Somewhere in a small farming town, a bunny wants to become a police officer in the big city. Her chances are slim because she is a small and tiny bunny. How is she to take down big bad criminals?

Except that the bunny, Judy Hopps, works hard and becomes the valedictorian of her class at the police academy. Her reward is to be assigned as a meter maid. While Judy wants to solve crimes, she decides to be the best at her job. That is until one day she stops a thief, saving a tiny creature in the process. That leads to Judy being assigned to solve a case regarding missing predators by the big chief but she has only 48 hours to do so. If she does not solve the case, Judy must resign from the force.

But to solve this case requires help. Judy gets Nick Wilde, a fox, to help her. She might have to use a few tricks to force him to help but this is no dumb bunny. Can they figure out why predators are going missing and who is behind the whole scheme? Probably but let me just say that this was a fun movie. I had low expectations but was pleasantly surprised.

I thought the movie was going to be lame and trite. Well, it was in spots. Some of the scenes were exactly what you would think they were going to turn out. But I also found myself liking different parts, such as parents being relieved their daughter was not in a dangerous position on the force. Or how Judy has such a difficult time dealing with the sloth at the DMV. This movie is a fun buddy movie, a police procedural for kids.

But let me give a word of warning. One of my friends took his 5-year-old who became scared of the predators and had to leave the theater. If you know your child scares easy, this might not be the film you want to go see. My 14-year-old thought it was a bit dark for a kids movie and I am not sure I disagree with her.  Otherwise, it is a bit of fun and perfect if you happen to be going to a drive-in theater in which it is ok if young kids move around and talk during the movie.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Watch the Try Anything video featuring Shakira as GazelleShakira Gazelle

Like a Good Neighbor

Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

If you happen to see me walking my dog and she gets a little excited and tries to climb a tree, she is only being neighborly.

SquirrelLady is protecting me, you, and everyone else from squirrels. She has not figured out how to climb a tree but I am sure that will happen one of these days. Lady is doing her part to make sure that the evil squirrels will do no harm to the rest of the world and her neighbors.

She extends this service to cats as well. Sorry if she chased your darling up a tree. In her defense, she is just being neighborly, as Dan Moore can attest when Lady chased a stray cat off of his porch this past week. She also likes to go after rabbits. Near the parsonage, she has noticed a number of rabbits and would be delighted if Father gave her permission to eat one or two. As the owner, I do not allow this. I merely hold on to the retractable leash for dear life and pray that she does not pull out my arms from the sockets.

The other night the husband and I watched a fairly new movie with Robert Redford and Nick Nolte called A Walk in the Woods. Based on the book by Bill Bryson, the story is about a travel writer, Redford, who decides to hike the entire Appalachian Trail. However, his wife does not want him to do this alone, so she insists he find someone to go with him. The only person that willing is boyhood friend and old traveling buddy, Nick Nolte. He is doing his neighborly duty.

Walk in the Woods

A Walk in The Woods with Nick Nolte and Robert Redford

They are a typical odd couple but both men are seeking one last adventure. While neither are truly prepared for it, Nolte looks as if this could be the last adventure he ever takes on, physically. Redford, on the other hand, looks like a man fit enough to hike over 2000 miles in a six-month period. But during their time of the trail they deepen their relationship and come to understandings.

This is not a movie with loud explosions or chase scenes. There are no bank robberies or broken bones.

Nor does it stay exactly true to the book. Bryson and Katz were in their 40s when they did the hike. Redford has owned the rights for a long time, hoping to do one last movie with Paul Newman. It is a movie that is reflective with humorous bits as older men come to terms with their life choices. Perhaps not as deep as Wild starring Reese Witherspoon but certainly bawdy and down to earth. The language is just salty enough that I would not allow younger children to watch it.

But if you are looking for a movie that is family-friendly, you might want to try Chicken Little. This movie came out in 2005 and featured the voice of Zack Braff as the little chicken who swears something hit him on the head. He sounded the town alarm in order to save his neighbors. Well, it caused a panic in the town and the little guy has not been able to live it down.

Chicken LittleHe becomes the town hero for one day when he helps win the big game for the summer baseball league. But that night, once more, something hits him on the head. Worse yet, there is a someone along with that something. Should Chicken Little set off the alarm once more, knowing that if he is wrong he will face the ridicule of the town once more? Or should he say nothing to save face but see his town destroyed.

What we get is a fun little movie fill with 90s and 70s music that also shows bravery in the face of absolute embarrassment and shame. The young ones through 5th grade can watch it and have fun. Sometimes that is the best fun, cuddled up together and laughing.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

So this is the week in which everyone is Irish. We celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with relish, with glee, with Guinness or a Jameson’s shot.

I have a friend who celebrates every year with a potato party. The guests bring toppings and green side dishes or desserts. Because I had a brain cramp our side dish wash stuffed mushrooms wrapped in bacon. The hubby made them and I am glad that he did. They were tasty.

But so were the potatoes, the green frosted brownies, broccoli salad, and the pistachio salad. It was a fun night as different tables played different games including Dutch Blitz and euchre.

OndineAs always, I am on the lookout for an Irish movie I have not seen yet to add to my collection. I have loved suggestions I have received from fellow bloggers. My favorite one so far is Ondine starring Colin Farrell as an Irish fisherman named Syracuse who pulls a young woman out of the sea one day. Alicja Bachleda states she can’t remember who she is or how she got in the net. Syracuse lets the young woman live in his mother’s abandoned cottage and Ondine develops a relationship with his young daughter who has various health issues.

Soon, with the help of his young daughter, Farrell is speculating if Ondine is a selkie. Selkies are mythical creatures that can change from being a seal into a human once they take off their seal coat. But the selkie can be trapped on land if a human finds their coat and hides it from the selkie.

This story is not as simple as it seems. These things are never that simple. But it is wonderful to watch as Ondine and Syracuse begin to fall in love and eventually resolve her past.

Waking Ned Devine

Waking Ned Devine

Another movie that was suggested to me was Waking Ned Devine. I had never watched this movie but I thought I would give it a spin. The story is about a winning lottery ticket in the weekly Irish lottery that happens to be located in a small Irish village. Just as we know where a winning Lotto ticket is sold here, the big lottery winning location is announced there. The villagers slowly work out who is the winner after quizzing everyone.

The problem is the man who has one is not able to claim the prize anymore. No way, no how.

So now it is a matter of getting everyone on board for the biggest deception that could mean an end to a life of struggle for the 50-member village.

I could tell you more but I don’t want you to miss out on the naked motorbike ride or the hop and skip chase around the creek or the questions of just who fathered a fair maiden’s child.

There are some memorable scenes in this movie with beautiful music and lovely landscapes. If high action is your thing, this may not be your movie. But if you are willing to wait for the story to play out and to have a resolution you can live with, well then, this Irish film is worth your time.

Now, neither of these movies are exactly family friendly. Sometimes the language gets a little salty. If a family friendly movie is what you are looking for than search no farther than Into the West. This movie is about two boys who are given a horse to care for despite the fact they live in a housing complex in the slums of Dublin.

Into the West IMDb com

Image from IMDb.com

That is when a rich man takes the horse through crooked methods so the boys do the only thing they can and steal the horse back. Soon they are are on the run, hiding from the police and other goons trying to get the horse, who is no ordinary horse. Their father joins in the chase with the help of his caravan friends to save the boys before something terrible happens.

It mixes modern day Ireland with folklore, combining an action adventure story with the redemption of a family. Makes me tear up every time.

Until Next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Last week I wrote about how The Iron Giant would make my top ten list of best animated movies.

As much as I love that movie, it made me think of what other movies I would put in that list. People who know me, know there are a few that are naturals. I have raved about them in the past and there is no way I could do a list without them.

On the other hand, I have done this list and later wondered why I didn’t put a movie down only to realize I forgot about it amidst all of my other steller choices. That is when one must do an honorable mention to make up for something that should be on the list but never made it.

So what do I look for in an animated feature. Beautiful animation for starters. Because animation can be otherworldly in depicting our world, I want something that is both dreamy and realistic. Like any other movie I watch, I want there to be good storytelling and characters with whom I can feel a connection. And because this list is family friendly, I want something most of the family can watch together.

  1. Toy Story FriendsToy Story – This computer animated flick tells the story of a toy who is the known favorite and must make an adjustment when his human gets a new toy. It is a story of jealousy, action and adventure, and a lesson on learning to accept your situation as it changes. Tom Hanks and Tim Allen were perfect as Woody and Buzz.

  2. Shrek – I loved this movie for making fun of the various fairy tales and legends of Europe while giving it’s lead monster a sincere heart and wicked sense of humor. Its sound track was pretty great, too. Parents could watch this movie with their kids and not poke their eyes out after repeat viewings.

  3. Spirited Away – Director Hiyao Miyazaki is one of the best anime masters in the world. Based on Japanese folklore, the story is about a young girl who goes to work for a spa for the spirits in order to save her parents. Along with the incredible storytelling is animation that makes you think you are looking at a black and white photo in one scene and drawings on incredible depth in others.

  4. The Incredibles – Pixar hit the trifecta with this movie. The animation is fantastic with the variety of super heroes. Then there is the story telling, taking on the issues of what does a superhero do when he can no longer be a superhero and what it means when we reward everyone with or without merit. Finally the voice-over work of Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, and Jason Lee are simply wonderful, giving life to the characters as we get to know them.

  5. Kung Fu PandaKung Fu Panda – Jack Black plays into type here as the lovable loser who manages to succeed without the initial willing help of his teacher. Then there is the animation. One scene in particular that stands out is when the flowers on the peach tree fall and blow into the sky. While I consider this a family movie in the action/adventure vein, it is one my father would not watch. He firmly said he was not watching a movie with Pandas.

  6. Snow White and the Seven Dwarves – I mention this movie because it gave us the formula for all animated movies. As the Disney company’s first foray into a feature length movie, it proved animation could be interesting for 70 minutes or more. Take a classic fairy tale, create a great villain, and make the surroundings beautifully detailed. While the singing is classic to its time period, we still sing those songs today. Do you ‘whistle while you work?’

  7. The Jungle Book – This movie gave us jazz on a mainstream level while telling the story of a lost Asian Indian boy trying to find his way back to the man village. The animated background on four movable panels within one scene gave us the depth of the jungle. It is hard not to tap your fingers and your toes to this movie or be impressed by the animation.

  8. The Lion King IMDb com

    Movie poster for The Lion King, picture from IMDb.com

    The Lion King – This is one of those once in a lifetime movies where everything comes together. The music is inspiring, hitting on emotional points without pulling you too far into despair. The story telling is excellent as a young prince is driven from his kingdom by a beloved uncle. Finally, the animation is filled with splendor whether is it the opening scene or the trip to the elephant graveyard.

  9. The Iron Giant – I went in detail why I like this movie last week. But in a nutshell I love the storyline about a boy in the 1950s who discovers a giant robot. The animation, the story telling, the characterizations, and the way everything incorporates pop culture of the period is breathtaking while being relatable.

  10. Beauty and the Beast – There has been some chatter lately as to Frozen having great female characters who do no wait to be saved by the male characters. True but Elsa and Anna are not the first of these role breaking women in the Disney world. That honor goes to Belle from Beauty and the Beast who does all she can to save the Beast. Her story is wrapped around with fantastic music, the conversation of if a small town for your entire life better, and a villain who is very handsome despite his cold heart.

Until Next week, see you in the rental aisle.

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