summer movies 2013

Well, I didn’t get to see as much theater fare as intended since my last post.  I missed The Lone Ranger and The Wolverine completely, and Much Ado didn’t come to a theater close enough for me to access.  I was bummed at first, but considering all of the flack The Lone Ranger and The Wolverine took in feedback and reviews, maybe I didn’t miss so much after all.  I’ll let you know once I stream them at home.

I did manage to score some movie time with my girls, however, so here are the children’s movie reviews:

Monsters University
I had a great time.  My nine-year-old had a great time.  The other families in the theater had a great time, too  We all laughed and gasped and tapped our feet to the music together.  Compared to so many other animated feature films, it was a superb experience.

And yet, I left with a nagging sense of disappointment in the back of my mind.  It’s not necessarily the fault of the filmmakers or even the film itself.  It’s just that Pixar, for so long now, has made not just good movies, but movies that change the way I see something.  The original, Monsters, Inc.  gave me a new perspective on closets and childhood fears.  Finding Nemo redefined fish tanks and gave every resident therein a backstory.  Even Toy Story, A Bug’s Life, and Up – while not necessarily inventing their concepts (Aesop’s grasshopper and the ant, every child’s dream of the secret life of toys, every human’s dream of flight via just the right number of helium balloons) – brought depth and life to them in new ways.

Was I expecting that Monsters University would enhance my view of college?  I don’t know.  But while I thoroughly enjoyed the story, characters and performances (Billy Crystal, Nathan Fillion, AND Helen Mirren? Yes!), I wish it had given a new voice to something in my world as well.

Despicable Me 2
The kids had a great time; I was content to allow them two hours of harmless, if undeniably brainless, indoor diversion.  Adults are clearly NOT the target audience here, but Steve Carrell is eternally charming and Kristen Wiig is spot-on as his counterpart.  And who doesn’t love the Minions?

It’s not bad, it’s just not good.


More than anything, I spent the rest of my summer binge-watching some long-on-the-back-burner TV shows, and that was FUN.

onceFirst, my family discovered Once Upon a Time together, and we love it!  I briefly had a moment of jealousy during the pilot (as in, I’ve had something like this idea rattling in my head for a long time now; why didn’t I write this?!), but these guys do such a great job with it, I am content to love it and learn at their feet.

Plus, they flaunt their LOST heritage all over the show; every episode has multiple winks, Easter eggs, and cagey LOST references sprinkled somewhere on it.  My undying affection would have been earned and assured by that alone.

My girls love it for the characters.  Snow White and Jiminy Cricket (of all characters!) particularly resonate with them, and Rumpelstiltskin is one of the best, most difficult to pin down baddies of all storydom.  Good form!

It’s going to be a hard wait for Season 3’s binge opportunity – and the spin-off, the one-seaosn-only Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, looks intriguing, too!

scandalThen, when all the lights were out and the children securely asleep in their beds, I quietly watched both seasons of Scandal.  The dialogue and setting quickly hooked me, of course, but I stayed on for one simple reason: to see what Olivia Pope would do.  I find her to be one of the most interesting female protagonists on screen.  She’s a revolutionary leader, precisely because neither she nor anyone else finds it necessary to mention her gender or ethnicity.  She’s the absolute best at what she does, and both of those things are irrelevant to the fact.

I suppose this puts paid to my earlier assertion that I don’t find adultery entertaining.  I actually still don’t, but where normally such a premise would put me off the show entirely, in this case it only makes me feel deeply conflicted for her.  I want her to choose better.  Her beloved – who  just happens to be both extremely married and the President of the United States – is actually beneath her in many ways, but she loves him and I respect her, so it just makes me sad for her.  It’s surprisingly compelling.

RevolutionI also watched most of Revolution season 1 this summer, but I am struggling to complete it.  I think maybe I just find it a little too bleak.  Even though the show has entered my permanent vernacular (I’m always telling people what will happen when “the Revolution comes,” meaning when all of the power is gone and we revert to tribal living – mostly to assert I’ll be forced to become a vegetarian), I find it difficult to commit to.  I am sure I will finish it eventually; I am a big fan of Elizabeth Mitchell and Billy Burke, after all, and they are, as always, remarkably engaging.

So, that was my summer viewing entertainment.  How was yours?


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