#243-E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

Quick recap:

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I remember another gentle visitor from the heavens. Who came to earth… and then died… only to be brought back to life again. And his name was: E.T., the extra-terrestrial. I love that little guy.

Fun (?) fact: E.T. is actually a plant-like creature and neither female or male

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This might be my new favorite reaction gif

My thoughts: This movie has been a favorite of mine for as long as I can remember. Back when VCRs were hella expensive, Three-year-old Me would carry around the VHS tape everywhere I went on the off chance someone would feel sorry for me and let me watch it. It wasn’t until I ended up in the hospital when I was 5, that I finally got my hands on a VCR proving that a) sometimes you have to go to extremes to get what you want  and b) Chicken Pox is no laughing matter.

I’ve sat through E.T a handful of times as an adult and each time I’m amazed by how much the movie still affects me. I choked up as always during the scene when E.T and Elliott are in the bathroom dying, but there was this added layer to the movie where I identified more with the mom than I have in other viewings. It was almost as if I was watching something for the first time, noticing what the mom is going through as she deals with a separation on top of taking care of three kids, one of whom brings in an alien that almost kills him. It’s a lot to take in and though she doesn’t always handle things perfectly, she sees the bond Elliott and E.T have and she respects it, even though the consequences are so serious.

On paper, this movie looks like it would be a major train wreck. This kind of cutesy-buddy story about an alien and boy just doesn’t work most of the time, as evidenced by the many copycats that came after *ahem* Mac and Me. But throw in Spielberg and John Williams and you are at least heading in the right direction. There are so many iconic scenes in this movie- the bikes flying in the air, E.T and his glowing finger, and the score is still my favorite from everything Williams has done. I don’t know how an adult might react to viewing this film for the first time, although I can predict that it would probably be negative. The film itself is shot through the perspective of a young boy because it is a movie meant for children. It meant so much to me as a kid and I carried those lessons with me through adulthood.

Final review: 5/5

Up next: The Last Wave

 

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#223- A Christmas Story

Quick recap: A young boy wants a BB gun for Christmas and this is his story. A Christmas story, if you will.

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Me, most days

Fun (?) fact: The raunchy comedy Porky’s is the reason we have A Christmas Story. Bob Clark directed both and the success he got from Porky’s allowed him to venture into the world of holiday movies.

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Me, most days

My thoughts: Merry holidays to you and welcome to a SPECIAL EDITION of my blog. I never do timely reviews, except for that whole month of timely reviews I do in October. And all those times I reviewed war movies during American holidays. But this is legit timely, so let’s get on with it.

So, yes, I have seen A Christmas Story many times (I’m not a monster), but my husband hasn’t (probably not a monster, but this doesn’t help his case).He grew up in a more sentimental setting, whereas I’m not a ‘Christmas’ person at all- I don’t watch holiday movies, I don’t do Elf on the Shelf, and I don’t decorate the house. Really, A Christmas Story is about the only movie I can stomach, which is about a good of a review that I could possibly give it.

It’s really difficult to pin down whether this is a ‘good’ movie or just a better movie than what else is out there. It’s been a few years since I have seen it and I was a little worried that it wouldn’t hold up like I wanted it to. A few minutes in, however, I realized there was nothing to worry about. Many of the scenes that everyone loves- the lamp, Randy eating like a pig, the bunny suit- are legitimately funny, and even my husband laughed so we can stay married for now. I was also relieved that the film never dips into schmaltz or sentimentality. There are sweet scenes, but nothing that made me roll my eyes.

I think the reason I gravitate towards A Christmas Story is because it is closer to real life than other holiday films. Ralphie’s family isn’t perfect by a long shot and they aren’t in search of holiday spirit or a Christmas miracle. It’s a simple story about a kid that really wants something for Christmas and then gets it. I can get behind that.

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Me, most days

Final review: 4/5 because I can’t bring myself to give a Christmas film a perfect score.

Up next: 8 1/2

 

#203- Pinocchio

Quick recap: A wooden puppet comes alive and surprisingly doesn’t murder everyone in his sight.

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Fun (?) fact: In the original novel, Pinocchio murders Jiminy Cricket with a mallet. He pops up later on with little explanation given.

I'm feeling very uncomfortable right now

I’m feeling very uncomfortable right now

My thoughts: I decided to share Pinocchio with my 6 year old one evening, because there’s no better way to bond than to threaten a child with horrifying consequences if he doesn’t behave. Afterwards, I asked what he thought about it.

Me: How many points would you give this movie, out of 5?

B: 5, because of the cat.

Me: What was your favorite part of Pinocchio?

B: The cat.

Me: What was the funniest part of the movie?

B: When Geppetto thought Pinocchio was dead! Oh, and the cat.

The interview was abruptly shut down after that and off to therapy my son went.

So, besides learning how creepy my kid can be, I actually enjoyed the movie somewhat. The moral about being good was a little heavy handed, but that’s what was to be expected back then. Kids these days don’t know how good they’ve got it, with their soft themes of friendship and working together. Back then, all kids had was, ‘your nose will grow long if you lie, you’ll turn into a jackass and everyone you know and love will be swallowed by a giant whale.’

One thing I had forgotten about Pinocchio was all of the music Disney used to do with their films. I kind of enjoyed it, although my kid seemed a little bored through some of the numbers. He might’ve just wanted the cat back, though.

Overall, the only thing that really bothered me was the relationship between Geppetto and Pinocchio. I know that he wanted a son, but he had really only known the puppet for a few hours before he started getting into trouble. Maybe I’m just a bad person, but I most likely wouldn’t risk my life for a wooden puppet that had caused me grief for most of its short life.

I much prefer Egg Yolkeo

I much prefer Egg Yolkeo

Final review: 4/5, and I agree that the cat made the movie

Up next: Sunrise

#194- The Sound of Music

Quick recap: A singing nun takes on the role of governess for 7 children and teaches their widower father about love.

The hills are ablaze with the euphonious symphonies of descant

The hills are ablaze with the euphonious symphonies of descant

Fun (?) fact: Julie Andrews fell several times while on the mountain

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My thoughts: Oh, Sound of Music. I fell in love with this movie as a kid after my music teacher showed it to us in its entirety. I have since seen many more ( sometimes better) musicals as an adult, but this one still holds a special place in my heart. Since I am familiar with this movie, watching it again for the list was more about whether it holds up as much as it did when I was little rather than if it is actually a ‘good’ movie.

When I told my husband that I was going to be watching The Sound of Music, he scoffed at how schmaltzy it is. This is coming from someone whose favorite Christmas movie is It’s a Wonderful Life, but that’s for another post.Anyway, while watching it, I could definitely see some schmaltziness, but it just didn’t bother me like I feared it would now that I am a jaded, cynical adult. Like, for instance, how quickly the children latch on to Maria when they are known to have driven several governesses away, including one that only lasted a couple of hours. She’s just someone that you can’t help but want to do good by, though. And Julie Andrews was made for this role. The kids can be eye rollingly cute at times but it is her that completely makes this movie into something wonderful.

Above all things, I love The Sound of Music for, what else, the music. I love every single song and was pleasantly surprised by how many of the lyrics I remembered ( the cats were not impressed with my singing, by the way, especially one who bit me throughout the movie). Edelweiss is still my favorite because of its simplicity and yet all the complicated things it stood for. For a kid just getting acquainted to the ‘adult’ world, this movie was a perfect bridge between childhood and adolescence. It was the first time I really understood the Nazi regime and how terrible everything was, and yet there was a happy ending so that I could still have hope. It may be schmaltzy, but it’s my kind of schmaltzy.

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Final review: 5/5.

Up next: All that Jazz