“Star Trek” and “Twilight Zone” opened my eyes to fundamental truths of human behavior and the workings of the human heart, filtered through aliens and time travel so they could get past the censors. “Ground Hog Day” sustained me for the first few months following my near-death experience, a time in which I had to learn everything over again and again. As noted in an earlier blog post, “The Matrix” broke me out of a mental deadlock and spun me into a strange new world of legal labyrinths, from which I brought back a keen sense of the difference between vengeance and justice. But one movie literally saved my life — not once, but twice.
That movie? The Road Warrior. Not many people would look to that film for driving tips, but Bookbinder was able to use some of Mel Gibson’s moves to avert two different accidents. Read the post for details.
In the town of Malaria, anatomy is destiny. Boy babies get their assignments at birth. Those without hunchbacks become evil scientists. Those with hunchbacks become Igors and spend their days saying, “Yes, master,” when ordered to “Throw the switch!”
Malaria was once a happy farming community. But some sort of climate change resulted in constant thunderstorms and now the entire economy depends on evil inventions and the biggest event of the year is the annual evil science fair competition. But not all of the people in Malaria are right for their assigned roles. Dr. Glickenstein (voice of John Cleese) is not a very good evil scientist. His Igor (John Cusack) has the hunchback of an assistant but the heart of an inventor. And the most evil scientist of all, Dr. Schadenfreude (voice of Eddie Izzard) cannot invent anything at all and relies on tricks and spying to steal the inventions of others. Igor, with the help of two assistants he invented, the immortal cat-like Scamper (voice of Steve Buscemi) and a brain in a jar named Brain (voice of Sean Hayes), invents a bride-of-Frankensteinish monster (voice of Molly Shannon). But she, too, turns out not to fit into the role she has been assigned.
The tone of the movie is cheerily macabre, so parents should be cautious about allowing young or especially sensitive children to see it. But for those who are able to be in on the joke, the film has a number of delights, from the Louis Prima songs on the soundtrack to the tweaks and jibes at horror films, “Annie,” and James Lipton’s “Inside the Actor’s Studio.”
Get ready for the new Indiana Jones movie with your very own official Indiana Jones bullwhip! I only have one and it goes to the first person who sends me an email at email@example.com with “Indiana Jones” in the subject line. U.S. addresses only. Good luck!
I am honored to welcome as a sponsor of this site The Responsibility Project from Liberty Mutual. I agree with them that “the more people think and talk about responsibility, the more the world becomes a better place” and I am very impressed with — and inspired by — their thoughtful website about responsible choices, with films, blog posts, resources, and community-building on a wide range of important topics. Is it responsible or irresponsible parenting to allow a nine-year-old to ride the subway alone? Are tattletale websites a way to ensure accountability or a descent into gossip and snarkiness?
I especially love the “what’s your policy” section of the website, which asks visitors a series of questions about what responsible choices are for parents, employers, teachers, students, neighbors, pet owners, athletes, consumers, doctors, politicians, and a range of other categories that include and overlap us all. Each visitor to the site can think through a range of issues and assemble his or her own list of policies. You will be able to see mine as it develops — for example, I said “yes” to the policy that a responsible boss does not multitask when talking to an employee (a good reminder that I do not always live up to this one myself).
When I began the first Movie Mom website almost 13 years ago, it was with the idea of not just helping parents make responsible choices about media for their children but about encouraging parents to use the movies and television shows the families viewed together as a starting point for important conversations about how the characters on screen and how we in our lives make our choices and deal with the consequences. It is a privilege to partner with Liberty Mutual and the Responsibility Project in their effort to help all of us think about what it means to make responsible choices.
List: My Favorite Movie Ghosts
Happy Halloween! Here are ten of my favorite movie ghosts. (NOTE: Some of these have inferior remakes -- stick with the originals.)
Topper Cary Grant and Constance Bennett are the most s
List: Sam Rockwell Sam Rockwell is one of the most versatile leading me in Hollywood. This week, he stars with Keira Knightley in "Laggies," playing a single dad. Here are some of my favorite Sam Rockwell performances:
Moon Rockwell takes on the biggest possible acting challenge -- he in alone on screen for the ent
Lauren Bradshaw's Terrific New "Before They Were Famous" Column My friend and fellow critic Lauren Bradshaw has a great new series on the very earliest appearances by some of Hollywood's biggest stars. You can see Emma Stone, Brad Pitt, and Jessica Chastain in their very first roles, and give her suggestions for who she should report on next.
Nell Scovell Pays Tribute to the Under-Used Women Alumnae of SNL The wonderful Nell Scovell, who helped Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg write Lean In and is now working on a screenplay based on the book, has an excellent essay in Time about the talented women who appeared on "Saturday Night Live" but never transitioned to the kind of high-profile careers that some of
Movie Mom's Archives
Movie Mom's full archives of more than 2,500 reviews (including her 200 best films for families), 400 interviews with filmmakers and 4,000 blog posts is now on Beliefnet for searching.