Tag Archive: Harry Connick Jr.

If I had to think about all of the great animated features I have seen over the years, I know I could make a top ten list without too much thought.
It would include movies from Pixar, Disney, DreamWorks, and Ghibli Studios from Japan.
They are the easiest studios to think of because they have put out some of the best animated movies such as Toy Story, Shrek , My Neighbor Totoro, and The Lion King. And that is to name only a few.
I noticed that a movie I have considered a little known gem for many years just came out with a Signature Edition. The Iron Giant first came out in 1999 but very few people saw or seemed to even know about it. I would argue that this movie is really worth your time despite the fact that Warner Brothers did not know what kind of movie they had at the time.
Iron Giant 1999

1999 Movie Poster

It is a rich story about a boy who lives in Maine during the 1950s. It is a time of fear as the country is trying to hunt down communists while in a cold war with the Soviet Union. Worse yet, it appeared we were losing the race to space as Sputnik launches and succeeds in its flight around the earth.

For Hovarth, it is a great time as he watches the monster movies of his era on TV while his mother works the dinner shift at the town diner. But one night, as he is watching another science experiment gone awry, the TV signal goes out. Hovarth has to climb to the top of his roof to fix the antenna and notices big foot prints leading away from his house and into woods.
That starts our adventure with the big robot who eats metal and sometimes mistakes art works as tasty metal snacks. Things get hairy when the government comes in to investigate and right away Agent Mansley focuses on Hovarth. He knows the kid knows something but won’t tell the agent. When the situation grows into something awful, the Iron Giant proves what love can do to change a soul.
Iron Giant Signature

Signature Edition

When I think about this movie, I get teary-eyed because there are moments that catch you in the heart. There are moments that make you happy and laugh in all the right ways. It is a movie I would show to kids in third grade and up because some of it may not make such sense to kindergartners and younger children. Keep in mind that there is a scene or two that has a medium swear in which a general gets mad about how far a situation has gone and there is no turning back. But there are so many other great parts to this movie that you might want to make sure to watch it on a regular basis to catch all of the little details that you have missed before.

Voice over performances by Jennifer Anniston, Harry Connick Jr., and John Mahoney are pitch perfect. Eli Marienthal and Christopher McDonald find the right balance of kid and adversary adult as Hovarth and Agent Mansley, respectively.
So why get this Signature Edition? To be honest, the film has been worked over so the colors are deeper and brighter. There are a ton of special features, including a reel of deleted scenes, to look at as well as Easter Eggs to find. Plus, movie geeks can turn on the commentary to hear those details they love so much. But then there is the story itself. Director Brad Bird has restored scenes and changed a few things to make the movie he originally wanted.
Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Recovery at the Sea

Family Movie Night


by Karyn Bowman


There has been one movie that the kids have been clamoring to see in the last month and that is Dolphin Tale.


Earlier this school year, my youngest son got a book from the library about the movie. We might have even watched a YouTube video or two about this story. But once the movie was on the shelf at our little grocery store, the pleading began.


As far as I can tell, I was not alone. For the first few weeks, every time I went to rent a movie Dolphin Tale was not there. We had to make do with Green Lantern one week and Kung Fu Panda Two another. It is not that we don’t like Po or that either of these movies are not enjoyable.


The boy wanted Dolphin Tale. So last week we finally watched it. I got lucky and grabbed it before anyone else could.


The story is about a young dolphin that gets caught in a crab trap. She is found on the beach by a fisherman and a young boy. Nathan Gamble plays the boy and uses a pocket knife to carefully removes the trap and the ropes of the dolphin. Help comes in the form of Harry Connick Jr. who takes the sea mammal to his marine life hospital.


Gamble has to go to summer school every day. But as soon as school is over, he runs to the hospital. The first time he sneaks in so he can see how the dolphin is doing. Of course, he is discovered and asked to come back every day. It seems that the dolphin bonded with the boy.


Of course, there is a sad back story for the boy. As it turns out, the doc and his daughter, who is the same age as the boy, have a sad back story as well. During the course of our story another sad thing occurs. But instead of being a bad thing, the sad occurrence leads to a good thing in a number of ways.


Usually at this point of a review, I tell you to watch out for the usual traps of a movie like this. Couples form and have disagreements for stupid reasons. Everything gets all matchy-matchy. However, this movie does not go there. The writers walk away from the usual path.


The problem in this case is that there is no money for the hospital/marine museum. The board is being forced to close the building and sell the land to a developer. So the boy figures out a way to raise money. And he finds a way to pass summer school. In the end people are happy, the dolphin has been given a new lease on life, and we get to watch Morgan Freeman breeze his way through another wonderful role.


At the end of the night, parents and kids were happy with the movie selection. And that was a very good thing.


Until next year, see you in the rental aisle.