Thanks to everyone who stopped by for a visit! Here is a roundup of the films we reviewed:
Movie #31: The Worst Witch (1986) (ages 6 and up)
Movie #30: The Sixth Sense (1999) (ages 13 1/2 and up)
Movie #29: Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948) (ages 7 and up)
Movie #28: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001) (ages 7 and up)
Movie #27: Poltergeist (1982) (ages 12 1/2 and up)
Movie #26: My Neighbor Totoro (1988) (ages 5 and up)
Movie #25: Addams Family Values (1993) (ages 13 1/2 and up)
Movie #24: Mickey's House of Villains (2002) (ages 5 and up)
Movie #23: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004) (ages 9 1/2 and up)
Movie #22: The Ghost and Mr. Chicken (1966) (ages 7 and up)
Movie #21: The Wizard of Oz (1939) (ages 5 1/2 and up)
Movie #20: Bride of Frankenstein (1935) (ages 9 and up)
Movie #19: Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971) (ages 5 and up)
Movie #18: The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (1949) (ages 5 1/2 and up)
Movie #17: Frankenstein (1931) (ages 10 and up)
Movie #16: The Haunted Mansion (2003) (ages 8 and up)
Movie #15: The Addams Family (1991) (ages 13 1/2 and up)
Movie #14: Halloweentown (1998) (ages 6 1/2 and up)
Movie #13: Monster House (2006) (ages 9 and up)
Movie #12: Tim Burton's Corpse Bride (2005) (ages 9 and up)
Movie #11: Pooh's Heffalump Halloween Movie (2005) (ages 3 and up)
Movie #10: Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005) (ages 5 1/2 and up)
Movie #9: Beetlejuice (1988) (ages 9 and up)
Movie #8: The Witches (1990) (ages 8 1/2 and up)
Movie #7: E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982) (ages 6 and up)
Movie #6: Ghostbusters (1984) (ages 9 and up)
Movie #5: Monsters, Inc. (2001) (ages 5 and up)
Movie #4: Casper (1995) (ages 6 1/2 and up)
Movie #3: Hocus Pocus (1993) (ages 9 1/2 and up)
Movie #2: The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) (ages 8 and up)
Movie #1: It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966) (ages 5 and up)
Monday, November 1, 2010
Thanks to everyone who stopped by for a visit! Here is a roundup of the films we reviewed:
Posted by Stephen at 12:46 PM
Sunday, October 31, 2010
From Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show, Episode 15, "Snoopy's Brother Spike" (1985)
"The Vigil" from Snoopy: The Musical (1988)
A song sung by Linus as he waits for the Great Pumpkin to appear on Halloween
From "You're Not Elected, Charlie Brown" (1972)
During his last campaign speech, Linus inadvertently starts talking about the Great Pumpkin
"I got a rock!"
Was there ever any doubt? This is the granddaddy of all Halloween specials. If it weren't for "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown", who knows if this blog would even exist right now. Let's all thank Charles Schulz, Bill Melendez and Lee Mendelson for creating it.
I decided to hold off on showing this one to my children until they were five, since I thought there were just too many insults in it (see the pictures below), and the other kids tend to mock poor Linus and Charlie Brown. And what about the parents? The only ones who have any presence in the show give poor Charlie Brown rocks! Don't get me wrong, I love this show as much as the next guy. I'm just telling you what went through my mind. Comments?
Happy Halloween, everyone!
- Rating: N/A
- Minimum Recommended Age: 5 (Common Sense Media: On for ages 4 and up, Movie Mom: 7-11, Kids First! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12, Parents Television Council: All Ages, Kaboose: Ages 4 and up)
- Quality Rating: 93.3% (Common Sense Media: 5 stars, Parent Previews Overall Grade: A, Kaboose Star Rating: 5 stars, Rotten Tomatoes rating: 7.3)
- Number of Lists Recommend: 15
From Common Sense Media:
Sexy stuff :
Very mild. Lucy's lips touch dog lips -- very unintentionally. Sally tells Linus "If you hold my hand, I'll slug you."
Violence & scariness:
When Snoopy pretends he's a WWI flying ace atop his dog house, shadows of bullets fly by with sound effects, and he makes gun motions with his front paws. His dog house also goes down behind enemy lines. The opening sequence shows the kids dressed up as ghosts running from skeletons and specters.
Lots of Charlie Brown-speak: "stupid," "blockhead," and "good grief!"
I counted three instances of Lucy calling Linus "stupid" for wanting to wait for the Great Pumpkin instead of trick-or-treating, five instances of calling him a "blockhead", and even threatening him with physical violence ("You'd better cut it out right now or I'll pound you!"). Even Sally emasculates poor Linus when she finds out she missed out on trick-or-treating while waiting with him to see the Great Pumpkin:
Linus: What happened? Did I faint? What did he leave us? Did he leave us any toys?
Sally: You blockhead! You kept me up all night waiting for the Great Pumpkin! And all that came was a beagle! I was robbed! I spent the whole night waiting for the Great Pumpkin, when I could've been out for tricks or treats! Halloween is over and I've missed it! I didn't get a chance to go out for tricks or treats, and it was all your fault! I'll sue! What a fool I was! I could've had candy apples and gum and cookies and money and all sorts of things, but no, I had to listen to you, you blockhead! What a fool I was. Trick or treats come only once a year, and I missed it by sitting in a pumpkin patch with a blockhead. You owe me restitution!
Linus [to Charlie Brown]: You've heard of about fury in a woman scorned, haven't you?
Charlie Brown: Yes, I guess I have.
Linus: Well, that's nothing compared to a woman who's been cheated out of tricks or treats.
- Running Time: 25 minutes
- What does it have to do with Halloween? If you have to ask, you are obviously reading the wrong blog
This classic "Peanuts" tale focuses on the thumb-sucking, blanket-holding Linus, and his touching faith in the "Great Pumpkin." When Linus discovers that no one else believes in the creature, he sets out to prove that the Pumpkin's no myth -- by spending the night alone in a pumpkin patch.
Watch Out For
Common Sense Media:
Some of the Halloween imagery (ghosts, skeletons) may alarm the very youngest viewers.
The adults are not very nice to Charlie Brown. They keep giving him rocks instead of candy. The kids are not very nice to Charlie Brown either (although it could be an opportunity to talk about bullying, and being nice to others).
"Could I have an extra piece of candy for my stupid brother? He couldn't come with us because he's sitting in a pumpkin patch waiting for the Great Pumpkin. It's so embarrassing to have to ask for something extra for that blockhead, Linus."
"I was robbed. I spent the whole night waiting for the Great Pumpkin when I could have been out for tricks or treats. Halloween is over... I've missed it, You blockhead! You've kept me up all night waiting for the Great Pumpkin and all that came was a beagle. "
"I didn't get a chance to go out for tricks or treats and it was all your fault. I'll sue. What a fool I was. I could have had candy and apples and gum and cookies and money and all sorts of things. But no, I had to listen to you. You blockhead. What a fool I was. Tricks or treats come only once a year and I missed it by sitting in a pumpkin patch with a blockhead. You owe me restitution!"
Talk About It
Common Sense Media:
* Families can talk about what their favorite Halloween traditions are. Have you ever tried apple bobbing? Do you like carving pumpkins? If you could hand out something extra special at Halloween, what would it be?
* Families can also talk about how Snoopy took his Halloween costume so seriously -- and just how funny it is to see him flying his dog house. When you put on your costume, will you get into character? Why or why not?
The Peanuts comic strip success is attributed to the universal nature of character traits depicted by the Snoopy gang. Can you relate to some of these personalities? Which character do you feel is the most like you?
Why do you think Charlie Brown always falls for Lucy’s football trick?
Count the number of trick-or-treaters in each scene. (It's not always the same number.)
- When Linus walks into the room after writing a letter to the Great Pumpkin, Lucy is sitting in front of the TV reading a TV Guide. The picture on the cover of the magazine is a picture of Lucy.
- Actress Kathy Steinberg had almost finished recording all her lines of dialog as Sally when the producers received a phone call from Steinberg's mother informing them that one of Kathy's teeth was loose. Fearing that a sudden lisp would ruin the continuity dialogue, the producers rushed the young actress into the studio to finish recording her lines. Just as Steinberg was speaking her last line, the tooth came flying out of her mouth.
- Charlie Brown's repeated line of "I got a rock" caused some stir among many viewers of the show, according to Charles Schulz in the book and retrospective TV special "Happy Birthday, Charlie Brown". Schulz said that after the program first aired, bags and boxes of candy came in from all over the world "just for Charlie Brown."
Here are two to choose from - the only two that seem to be available online, in fact. Enjoy.
Saturday, October 30, 2010
Halloween is Grinch Night
"Kidnap Mr. Sandy Claws?"
- Rating: PG "for some scary images"
- Minimum Recommended Age: 8 (Common Sense Media: On for ages 7 and up, KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 10-18, Kids Pick Flicks: 7 and up, Kaboose: Ages 8 and up)
- Quality Rating: 68% (Common Sense Media: 5 stars, Parent Previews Overall Grade: C, Kids Pick Flicks: 2 stars, Rotten Tomatoes rating: 8.2)
- Number of Lists Recommend: 12
VIOLENCE/GORE - The film is filled with pseudo-scary visuals, but little actual harm is done. For instance: one character has a hatchet embedded in his head, but it might just as well be a hat. The characters are mostly toys, or, could be interpreted as un-dead creatures. Santa Claus is kidnapped and held in a dungeon with manacles. Oogie-Boogie is a creature who appears to be a walking burlap bag. The bag is revealed to be full of bugs. Kinda' gross-looking. Jack, dressed as Santa, is blasted out of the sky with missiles and falls to the ground (he is unhurt). A mad doctor has a skull that flips open to reveal his brain, which he massages. Later, he removes half of his brain to place it in a mate he has created. The heroine, Sally the rag doll, has arms and legs that come off and operate by themselves. She feeds the doctor a soup laced with Deadly Night Shade, a poison, which knocks him out. The instances of "scary" visuals literally number in the hundreds, but they are all of the Charles Addams cartoon-variety.
A jack-o-lantern swallows fire and is almost consumed before leaping into some water; a guillotine slices a pumpkin head; a character pulls off his own head; a song about kidnapping Santa and chopping him up or beating him up but Santa survives; Santa is held up by a hook at one point; a sleigh is hit with a missile; a snake eats a Christmas tree.
Profanity: A song includes the phrases "By God" and "My God."
- Running Time: 76 minutes
- What does it have to do with Halloween? Most of the events take place in Halloween Town
In Halloween Town, Jack Skellington is bored and unhappy with the life of being "The Pumpkin King". He sets out to find something exciting and discovers Christmas Town. He takes it upon himself to take over the duties of Santa to deliver toys to children across the world.
Watch Out For
Common Sense Media:
Parents need to know that this offbeat, stop motion-animated movie is one of the great family films for all ages. That said, it does have scary Halloween creatures in it -- characters take off their own heads and limbs, and there are skeletons, nasty toys, and a creepy villain named Oogie Boogie. A Christmas tree even burns up. Some little kids who aren't old enough to distinguish this fantasy from the goings on at Halloween (or those prone to nightmares) might steer clear, although you can always pause the TV and talk about what's scaring them. The special 3D version is identical in content and storyline to the original, but the enhanced visuals may add marginal spookiness and could further blur the line between fantasy and reality for some younger kids.
Although the film is not gory, it is a dark animated fantasy, made up of such scenes as a character walking around live with an ax in his head, and a stitched-up woman named Sally who pulls her own stitches from her arm. Her arm promptly falls off. This is obviously a total fantasy with Halloween meeting Christmas, and although we do award the film our Dove Seal for ages twelve plus, parents should consult the content chart below. This movie is filled with visually stunning images, such as some of the characters and the Halloween and Christmas Towns. It also has scenes such as a teddy bear being opened up and the stuffing popping out.
Besides the usual ghosts and graveyards, expect portrayals of living skeletons, exposed internal organs and brains, as well as a sackcloth boogieman whose decaying inners are being devoured by wriggling worms. Ongoing slapstick violence accompanies the story line, but occasionally the intent becomes more vicious and characters are threatened with torture, gunshots, cannon fire, flames and fast-moving mechanical blades. A rag doll is constantly sewing back on her dismembered arms and legs. A male character represses a woman in his care, forces her to labor and locks her in her room. In retaliation, she poisons his food. A woman seductively shows her leg to lure a man. Terms of deity are used as expletives.
Some cartoon-style violence is present, with the most coming near the end where anti-aircraft guns fire at a character flying through the sky and in another scene where a malevolent character tries to harm others. A few colorful phrases are present, while one song is sung by three kids and involves kidnapping Santa and doing bad things to him. As such, various characters exhibit varying degrees of bad attitudes.
Beyond that, there's one tiny bit where a woman's leg is alluringly/seductively used to distract a monster, as well as some imitative behavior that might prove enticing to some impressionable kids.
Screencaps courtesy of newsie__nympho
Talk About It
Common Sense Media:
* Families can talk about why we celebrate the holidays we do. What does your favorite holiday mean to you? Has anyone ever tried to ruin one of your holiday experiences, and how did you overcome that? When you get tired of something, what are some creative ways to bring excitement back into it?
* Why did Jack's experiment fail? Is it fair to expect people who have done something the same way for a long time to change quickly? Could Jack have tried his ideas a different way?
Kidnapping, mid-life crisis
What do you think is the magic ingredient that gives Christmas it’s warmth and joy?
In what ways does the character of the town mayor allow the moviemakers to poke fun at political figures? Why do you think they created him with two faces—one on the front and back of his head? What other satirical points do they make?
# Kids might be nervous that Santa (if they believe in him) might be in danger of being kidnapped or that they'll receive gifts that will be dangerous, scary or mean toward them (as happens here).
# Sally repeatedly tries poisoning the evil scientist by adding poison to his tea or soup (some kids might get the same idea).
# Sally, who's "grounded," throws herself from her tower window and lands on the ground, breaking into various pieces (but she stitches herself back up and is okay, thus possibly making some kids think they could do the same thing).
There are two ways to look at their creation: from a secular viewpoint and from a Christian one. First, the former. If you think of the holidays in The Nightmare Before Christmas as completely secularized, you can concentrate on the positive messages that arise. Namely, that Jack has no ill motive in mind when he takes over Christmas. He truly does want to "help" spread good will, joy and peace. Then, when he bumbles it, he rushes to set things right again by rescuing Sandy Claws and begging him to save the day.
Now, for the latter. The movie begins with the narrator intoning, "You probably wondered where holidays come from. If you haven't, then I'd say it's time you'd begun." Taking that admonition seriously, Jack searches high and low for the true meaning of the blessed event Christmas. And the best he can come up with is that a portly, bearded fellow who flies around with reindeer and on a single night delivers gifts to all the world's deserving boys and girls. The bric-a-brac he studies so intently doesn't point him to the birth of the Savior, Jesus Christ. It points him to candy, cards, holly and mistletoe.
Those things make him feel happy. But they don't do him any real good. And they don't do viewers much good, either—at home watching the DVD or at the multiplex taking in the 3-D "experience" each October.
- In James and the Giant Peach, Jack appears as the captain, in the pirate scene. Upon seeing him, the Centipede even says "It's Captain Skellington"
- In Coraline, Jack appears as the egg yolk
- During the last minutes of Beetlejuice, Jack's head appears at the top of Betelgeuse's hat, when he turns into a carousel-like creature.
- An early version of Jack Skellington appears as one of the phantasmic imaginisms of the titular character, during the final minutes of Vincent
- During the opening scene of Sleepy Hollow, Jack's scarecrow outfit can be seen
- Burton wrote a three-page poem titled The Nightmare Before Christmas when he was a Disney animator in the early-1980s. Burton took inspiration from television specials of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, How the Grinch Stole Christmas! and the poem A Visit from St. Nicholas.
- In 2001, Walt Disney Pictures began to consider producing a sequel, but rather than using stop motion, Disney wanted to use computer animation. Burton convinced Disney to drop the idea. "I was always very protective of [Nightmare] not to do sequels or things of that kind", Burton explained. "You know, 'Jack visits Thanksgiving world' or other kinds of things just because I felt the movie had a purity to it and the people that like it", Burton said.
- Behemoth is based on B-movie actor/Swedish wrestler Tor Johnson.
- Tim Burton has said the original poem was inspired after seeing Halloween merchandise display in a store being taken down and replaced by a Christmas display. The juxtaposition of ghouls and goblins with Santa and his reindeer sparked his imagination.
- Danny Elfman did the singing voice for Jack because Chris Sarandon said he did not have a good singing voice.