Disney’s live action, family movies are sort of hit or miss adventures. Some are very good while other rely heavily of past formulas that worked in earlier films. Sometimes they try to re-create the magic of their original film with mixed results. (Think The Parent Trap or Freaky Friday.) You can’t really blame them though. Creating a film that everyone in the family will enjoy, let alone relate to, is hard work. However, Walt Disney knew himself that if you don’t have a good story to tell, the movie won’t be worth seeing.
Right now, we’re about five months away from a film that looks very promising since it is based on a good source material. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day is based on the novel of the same name by Judith Viorst which was first published in 1972 and has been a favorite of many grade school kids ever since.
With more than two million copies of the book in print, Viorst was inspired by her own children, Alexander, Anthony and Nicholas. In it, Alexander has the worst day of his life, which isn’t really earth-shattering to adults, but horrifying to kids. In the end, his mother assures him that some days are like that and that tomorrow will be better. It became an ALA Notable Children’s Book and won a George G. Stone Center Recognition of Merit, and a Georgia Children’s Book Award. The book was also turned into a half hour HBO TV special in 1990 and a stage musical in 1998 in which Viorst collaborated with Charles Strouse and Shelley Markham. Viorst also wrote three sequels: “Alexander, Who Used to be Rich Last Sunday” (1978), “Alexander, Who’s Not (Do You Hear Me? I Mean It!) Going to Move” (1995) and the forthcoming “Alexander, Who’s Trying His Best to Be the Best Boy Ever” to be released in September of this year.
Alexander is expected to arrive in theaters on October 10, 2014. It stars Steve Carell, Jennifer Garner, Megan Mullally and is rumored that Dick Van Dyke will have a small with the film as well. It is directed by Independent Spirit Award-winner Miguel Arteta (Chuck & Buck, The Good Girl, Cedar Rapids, Youth in Revolt) from a screenplay by Rob Lieber.