Entertainment Reviewed and Skewed

Lately, I’ve been reading too many blogs. While I have enjoyed some captivating reading, I’ve let my writing slide.  The things I’ve read have given me an abundance of material and way too much to think about.  Although material has never been an issue for me because I have three little goblins who inspire  me. The main issue is that they also tire me out.  That’s a given, I know. 

I recently read a fascinating post called Tyler Durden’s Jedi Trek to the Hunger Game of Thrones in Search of the Crystal Skull Ring of Hogwarts. 

Yes.  That was BS, though it makes a nice Segway into the topic of this post.

Blogs on my reading list have made me think, stirred up anger, make me smile, , captivated my interest, educated me, and made me more fearful of clowns.  I also find that some blogs just provide some light reading and a nice way to pass time while the kids are asleep. Much like TV, there are thousands (if not more) opinions on movies.  Bloggers tear apart movies more so than a senior citizen dissects their early bird dinner, the freshness of their Decaf and the waiter who brings it.

I am a huge movie buff and have a long list of movies that I can’t wait to share with my boys.  For now, we have seen several  G-rated movies together, but still have a few years before I can share with them some of my faves: Goonies, Tommy Boy, The Indiana Jones Trilogy (yes, it’s a trilogy). It will be at least thirty years before I will share with them my other faves like:  Pulp Fiction, Casino and The 40-year Old Virgin.

Jamie has been to the movie theater with us on date night lately.  As our newest family member is 3 months old, he sleeps a lot.  Not at the most opportune times, especially for his Mama.  The darkness of the theater and for some reason the booming sound system have allowed us to see 5 movies with him sound asleep through all of them.  (His brothers were at the babysitter if you were wondering.)  The 5 of us only go to a movie together if it’s animated. We only stay for the whole thing if the boys are not.  We took them to see the new Muppet movie when it came out.  We had to leave early because the boys spent more time running around the theater than in their seats. This was particularly unfortunate because Mom and Dad were looking forward to the nostalgic movie that seemed to be marketed to our generation who grew up with Kermit and Fozzie.

When it’s date night with just my wife, myself and the baby, at the end of these movies, people always come up to us to tell us how shocked they are that he slept through the whole thing.  One of the most recent movies we took him to was “The Hunger Games.”  We had to see what the hype was about.  My review: ehh.  No come-uppins? Camera work to the likes of “The Blair Witch Project” and didn’t they do this already with the former Governator of California against the Former Governor of Minnesota in the 1988 hit, “The Running Man?”  For me, not knowing much about “The Hunger Games” itself, I had no idea there are two more movies in this trilogy, so I left the theater dumbfounded as there were so many questions left unanswered. One reviewer of this movie wrote: “What kind of message are we sending to our children if it shows society cheering for a sport of kids kill or be killed?” Although this writer makes   a valid point if there were no such thing as TV or the Internet that exposes ideas that are much worse.  My point being is that if your kids watch the PG-13 movie, be a parent and make sure they know what they’re watching.

Next movies on our list to be seen, “The Five-Year Engagement” I would describe it, but if you’ve seen any ad for this one, it pretty much shows the entire plot but hopefully not all the jokes.  The other movie I am looking forward to is called, “This Is 40.”  The trailer looks hilarious and is described as a sort of sequel to “Knocked Up.” For those of you who don’t know, “Knocked Up” holds a special place in our hearts, because we first saw the movie on opening day, the day we found out my wife was pregnant with our firstborn in 2007. 

So, we’ve always taken advantage of our movie-sleeping babies and so far it has worked out in our favor. This means that we’ve never been asked to leave or had popcorn or junior mints thrown at us.  AJ’s first movie was Iron Man.  Andy’s first movie was Iron Man II.   I can’t remember which was first for Jamie, but it works well the next Tony Stark appearance will be in the Avengers (opening this month). We are hoping the tradition will carry one when Jamie is our third child to sleep through an Iron Man. In ten years or so, we’ll share these movies with them which they’ll love but probably won’t care about our sappy story.

My wife has a great affinity for movies too, but I think that being pregnant for over half of our marriage has made her hormones take over, because I recently noticed the Twilight movies on our DVR.  Hhmmm.  That’s okay by me, as long as I don’t have to watch.. I’m sure she feels the same about the  childish- immature-vile- not-always-funny-adult cartoons I’ve taped on our DVR that she won’t have to watch.


If you are looking for something for your kids to do in the summer to beat the heat, try the Marcus Movie Theater Kids Dream Summer Movie Program($2)  http://www.marcustheatres.com/Promotion/PromotionDetail/5/ and the Regal Movie Theater Summer Movie Program($1) at  http://www.regmovies.com/summermovieexpress/default.aspx These theaters run recently released movies at a low price at ten just before nap time. This is a great place to introduce your preschooler to movie culture without breaking the bank. Plus, since there are so many kids at the show (and summer camps), if your kids misbehave, then they can join the 20 other kids in the movie theater who are doing the same.

There is so much out there for our kids.  I’ve written about this before but the boys tastes have changed.  They still love Scooby Doo although his unrefined speech may be contributing to Andy’s currently limited vocabulary.  Jinkies.  They still watch Superwhy, Jake and the Neverland Pirates and Sesame Street (although AJ seems pretty much over Elmo, can you blame him?).   My preference would be for them to watch more Sesame Street, as it’s very educational and keeps them engaged.  That, and it has Super Grover 2.0

So the latest additions to their parentally approved programming are as follows:

  • Team Umizoomi:  This teaches kids about shapes, colors, working together and recognizing patterns.  It’s really wonderful to watch them participate in this show.  They are Umi-friends. Plus, my wife’s friend’s daughter-in-law is the one who does the music for that show.   
  • Lazytown:  A completely wacky show with an emphasis on exercise, healthy eating choices and reading.  Very fun to watch the boys imitate and run around.  The title makes no sense to me, but the rubber puppets and stories really hold their attention, too. 
  • Wordworld: another animated series that creates a link between animals, objects, plants by forming them out of words.  Hard to explain but it really helps kids make the connection between these things and how words represent them. 
  • The Little Einsteins:  Their emphasis on art, culture, animals and classical music is very interesting.  They travel all over the world in Rubber Rocket and solve problems for lost animals, create an interest in the music and give credit to the composers and artists portrayed in the episodes. 
  • The Octonauts:  Educational and animated, but very bizarre.  It focuses on sea life and their adventure takes place in a submarine with a cat who is captain, a penguin who is a medic and for some reason, a talking turnip.  Interesting.  They work together to help injured or lost sea animals, they sing and dance and explore the ocean.  This was their favorite until they discovered Scooby.  

One main plus about these shows as they’re all shown on the PBS, PBS Sprout, Nick Junior or Disney Junior networks.  That means there are no commercials.  When they watch Nickelodeon or Boomerang, AJ can’t help but tell me about the toy commercial he saw and how he wants it.  Much like commercials are shoved down our throats today.  Hallelujah for DVR.  

My boys do much more than watch TV.  They both love books and playing outside.  AJ has been reading to his class and we decided to get him a book we love.  Shel Silverstein’s Where The Sidewalk Ends.  He has been reading poems to us each night since we bought it and at the end of each poem, he laughs hysterically whether he gets it or not. 

I gave both of them reading lights in their bedroom so they each take books to bed each night, to read, to look at pictures and to sleep with.  It has really helped with bedtime and our peace of mind.  Plus, I kind of worried about AJ reading books in the dark, although it seems to have worked for him.

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One Response to Entertainment Reviewed and Skewed

  1. That’s awesome to see them love reading! And yes that’s amazing your little guy slept through all that. I can’t imagine the same happening when my little guy was that age lol.

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