Tag Archive: sweet


Family Movie Night

With the Easter holiday just around the corner it is time to pull out all of those classic light and fluffy Easter  movies.

I bet you are thinking “what classic light and fluffy Easter movies?”

Exactly.

The only one that comes to mind immediately is Easter Parade starring Judy Garland and Fred Astaire. Perhaps there are some TV animated movies but none come to mind as a “must-watch.”

This year that has all changed.

This year we have Russell Brand starring as E.B. in Hop which opens on Friday, April 1st. It is a cute movie that combines live action with animation  seemlessly.

E.B. at his drum set from the movie "Hop," picture from IMDB.com

E.B. is the son of The Easter Bunny. He is afraid of never being good enough for his perfectionist but loving father (Hugh Laurie). Plus, E.B. has a dream to be a drummer in a band. So the night before he is to be crowned as the new Easter bunny, E.B. runs away from home.

Meanwhile, Fred O’Hare (James Marsden) has been given an ‘intervention’ by his family who are tired of his slacker ways. He has been out of work for a year and cannot find a new job because nothing is ever quite right for him.

E.B. and Fred (James Marsden) in "Hop," picture from IMDb.com.

It is during this period of change that the two young seekers find each other. And freak out. Somehow these two work out a compromise and begin to really like each other.

Back home, trouble is brewing. E.B.’s disapperance has been noted. The chick who is second in command, Carlos (Hank Azaria) has decided it is time for a regime change. Will E.B. get his chance to shine? Will he save the island? Will Fred figure out what he wants in his life?

While there are times I wished this movie could move just a little faster, there were other times I was totally and completely won over by E.B. He is not a bad bunny, just a little self-absorbed and needing to learn a few lessons the hard way. Fred, on the other hand, got on my nerves. Can James Marsden play anything besides goof (Enchanted) or super serious (X-Men)?

Russell Brand gives voice to E.B. in "Hop," picture from IMDb.com

I have to admit I was taken aback when I saw that Brand was going to be in this family movie. With Brand, I think of a comic who is willing to take things as far as they will go in an adult sort of way.

He was Aldous Snow, the ‘hip’ rock star in Forgetting Sarah Marshall. He returned as the same rocker in need of career rehab in Get Him to the Greek. Why in the world would I think that this man is capable of the restraint needed for a family movie about the Easter Bunny?

The answer is that I have also seen Brand in Bedtime Stories with Adam Sandler and as the voice of Dr. Nefario in Despicable Me. Brand uses restraint in regards to language but his characters are funny and relatable, especially with kids.

The adults can relate to E.B. who is terrified to work under his father’s shadow. Kids will laugh at the jelly bean joke and the chase scenes and the pink berets. All will be taken in by the sweetness of the story and the feel-good moments. While no one will mistake this movie as a classic, it is a movie that you will watch again and again because it’s enjoyable.

Which isn’t to say there aren’t some forced moments here. Or that there were times characters needed to say things that were not said, that some of these characters needed to act in a way most of us would. 

However, if your goal is to find light-hearted, feel-good fare for the Easter season that the whole family can watch, Hop is the movie for you.

(Two and a half-stars)

Getting Cozy in the Cabin

Family Movie Night

As the temperature begins to drop, all I really want to do is dress in a big sweater, jeans and hide indoors.

Picture by Anita Patterson

I felt it this morning as I was getting up and trying to get the kids up for the day. It was cold on those floors to the bare feet. No one wanted to get up and face the day.

Here’s the rub – it is not even that cold yet. We are talking about temperatures in the 40s. I guess after the hot summer we had had, 40s feel like a slap in the face. Where is the comforting warmth, the cool breeze at the right time? My guess is that they packed up and went to Bermuda.

Which leads me back to the couch with a warm blanket and a cup of hot something to drink. As the kids and dog huddle around, we also want to watch something heartwarming and comforting in its own way.

That is when you pull out Toy Story. Give yourself a mini film fest of the best family movie series of all time.

Buzz and Woody race back to Andy, Picture from IMDb.com

When the first movie hit, we fell in love. Woody and Buzz, as voiced by Tom Hanks and Tim Allen, were the kind of guys we could relate to and cheer for. Plus, they are always trying to go home. They understand as much as we do that there must be one safe place you always want to go. Call it the “Cheers” maxim, go where everyone knows your name.

Toy Story saw the introduction of Buzz to Andy’s bedroom and the big rescue from Sid’s house. Toy Story 2 introduced us to Jessie, Bullseye and Mrs. Potatohead as well as the world of collectible toys while bringing on a great airport rescue.

Jessie, Woody and Bullseye watching their TV show. Picture from IMDb.com

Toy Story 3 was released on DVD on November 2, making the final entry of the series that will have you crying at various parts for all the right reasons.

In this outing, Andy is leaving for college. He is packing up his room and has to decide what to do

An 18-year-old Andy deciding what to do with his old toys. Picture from IMDb.com

with his old toys. No 18 year-old wants to admit he still loves his toys nor does Andy truly want to be parted with them. By accident the gang finds they have been taken to a daycare center. What seems like paradise turns to be something very different and sinister.

Why do all three movies work? Because first and foremost, the scripts never doubt the intelligence of the viewer. It is not dumbed-down just because this is a “family movie.”

The characters are fully formed with many aspects to them. The animation is always top quality, giving pictures to the wonderful voice talents that are being used. It’s not just Hanks and Allen who are great. So are Don Rickles, Joan Cusack, Annie Potts, Wallace Shawn, John Ratzenburger, Laurie Metcalf, Kelsey Grammer, Ned Beatty and the late Jim Varney.

Finally, the music written for this series has always been perfect. The songs have me laughing and crying, amazed by their depth of emotion.

There are so many reasons to love this movie series but the biggest one is that it is fun.  We learn so much through playing but because it is play we never realize just how much we are learning. After you watch Toy Story once, you will be a fan forever.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

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