Category Archives: Movies

This was our ‘dirty’

Looking back, I can see why my parents continued to fork over what was a considerable sum of money so that I could keep up with my dance classes. I still have no idea how they managed to afford it since I find two children’s activities costly, and they had four. But they did. Somehow.

Sure, they knew I loved it. And I begged to take as many classes as could humanly be squeezed into a highschooler’s schedule. Only now, as a parent myself, do I start to realize there could have been another reason.

Dirty-Dancing-movie-08[1]You see, while other highschoolers were indulging in house parties on the weekend, my circle of dance friends would get together and watch Dirty Dancing. We just never tired of it. I have no idea how many times we repeatedly watched this film (and White Nights — of course!) during those late 80s years.

I hadn’t seen Dirty Dancing since then, though. In honour of Patrick Swayze’s death, I just watched this iconic scene “Nobody puts Baby in a Corner.” The fact that Swayze is just as fabulous as what I remember didn’t surprise me. What did was that we actually considered this “dirty.” Compared to today’s pump-n-grind antics on the dance floors, this dirty dancing seems downright virginal.

Get it now? My parents must have thought that every penny spent on dance classes was worth it if it meant that my weekends were occupied with such relatively innocent behaviour — chocolate consumption and Dirty Dancing.

I’m sure glad they did. Cause I had the time of my life.

R.I.P.

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Filed under Family, Headlines, Living, Media, Movies, Observations, Tales

A movie about blogging

I’ll be the first to admit, I haven’t been out to the movies much in, say, oh … the last seven years. Yes, coincidentally, since I’ve become a parent. So, I might be wrong here, but the movie Julie & Julia was the first movie that I know of with blogging as a central focus.

Even though I couldn’t care less about Julia Child, and cooking in general for that matter, I was excited to see this movie. And that had everything to do with the blogging.

I first became fascinated with blogs when I was on maternity leave with my daughter in 2002. I had gone from running on a non-stop ride of intellectual stimulation as a full-time senior communications advisor who was also finishing up a Master of Arts thesis (yeah, baby, I collected that piece of paper with a very big belly!) to spending my days with a creature (sure, I grant you, an enormously cute creature) who didn’t speak, much less seem interested in discussing literature. So, during nap times, I turned to the internet.

The internet granted me a way to connect with others. The internet was my best friend.

Well, that’s not exactly true. But it was a friend that could meet an erratic feeding schedule, a friend that could comment and share opinions on being a new mother, and a friend that assured me I wasn’t the only one who was knee-deep in culture shock.

The books at Chapters didn’t tell me the real scoop on this new motherhood thing; they were full of rosey tales or sanctimonious pronouncements. The internet, on the other hand, had a wicked sense of humour. And although it seems to be considered an “inferior” form of blogging these days, the mommy-bloggers were a salvation of sorts.

From there, I started lurking around on all sorts of blogs. I loved reading people’s perspectives. Un-edited perspectives.

On blogs, one finds marital spats, frustrated swearing, blissful swearing, dirt and fairy dust. In short, real life. For someone like me who can’t stop reading, blogs are reality tv — but better.   

And just like reality tv, blogs can get messy. Dooce got fired. Raymi the Minx got undressed. And countless others shut themselves down voluntarily to stop the hate mail.

I expected a movie about blogging to step into some of this mud. Afterall, it was the real life story of Julie Powell, who started up a blog in 2002 when she was a newly wed and still searching out a career path.

Julie & Julia does touch on some key topics, like balancing the blog with your other real-life relationships and the fine line between expressing yourself versus invading the privacy of your loved ones. But it didn’t go deep enough for me. Or real enough. Or just enough — maybe I just wanted more.

What did you think?

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Filed under Blogs, Books, Headlines, Media, Movies

Why are kids’ animated movies so creepy?

Note the lovely toy with spider legs and baby head in top right-hand corner.

Note the lovely toy with spider legs and baby head in top right-hand corner.

 

 

Is it just me, or are kids’ movies pretty creepy?

 

 

 

In our house, we rarely watch one of the latest, hyped-up kids’ releases. Call me crazy, but I like my sleep. Getting up in the middle of the night to tend to nightmares is not my idea of a good time.

Granted, my daughter may not be the average child. She is a bit of a thinker, shall we say. And thinking can lead to ruminating, and ruminating can lead to obsessing.

Take for instance, Toy Story. Yes, that well-loved favourite of families everywhere. While at a playdate, she watched this movie with her friends. The psychic damage took months to undo. I’m not joking. The toy that the boy Sid creates from his sister’s toys — a spider on the bottom with a deranged-looking baby head on top (shown in the image) — even I find it creepy. My friend had to literally scour through her house for any remote references to the movie … Woody toys, Toy Store books, etc. Only then could my daughter deem it safe to enter the home again.

Here are my major gripes with kids’ animated movies:

1. Difficult and distressing concepts: Concepts are introduced to children that they would not necessarily have thought of themselves. Concepts that adults grapple with, let alone children.

Bambi is an easy example. The mother dies. Generally speaking, most kids just assume that their parents will live forever. The concept of a parent dying (let alone leaving them orphaned like Bambi) is easily transferred: Bambi’s mom died, so my mom could die too.

Now, you might say that Bambi was from another era. How about The Incredibles for a recent example? In the opening scene a man is attempting to commit suicide. Do I really need to explain the idea of suicide to a child? Come on,  give me a break … most adults don’t really “get” suicide. Sure, perhaps your child didn’t even blink during this scene, but I had to walk out of the movie with my daughter (yes, after paying all that money!) because she had so many questions about “what that man was doing” that she was disturbing the other viewers.   

2. Pretty people = good people, Not-so-pretty people = bad people: If you’ve got a hooked nose, acne scars or even a limp, chances are you are the bad guy in a kids’ animated movie. On the other hand, if your hair is shiny, your skin is clear and you have a button nose, you’re the tale’s hero.

What this embeds into a child’s subconscious is something I really abhor. I mean, all of our family is Barbie-doll beautiful of course, but what if members of my friends’ family are not? Will my child unknowingly hold them at arm’s length? Or will other children unknowingly hold one of my children at arm’s length because of their physical characteristics?

3. The inevitable scary scene: Sure, perhaps it’s the necessary element in a plot line, but could the scene be made scary, instead of terrifying? It seems to be a big-bang combo — intense music + frightening visuals. One just needs to think back to those leopard seals in Happy Feet to know what I’m taking about here.

All in all, I find that children’s animated movies, especially since the advent of the Simpsons, seem to be written for adults, not kids. There’s  innuendo and jokes clearly not included for the sake of children’s entertainment. I guess it’s a way to get the adults into the theatre to pay for the movie-going. But, I’m not buying. We’ll stick with our Discovery Channel at home, thanks.

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