Boy Wonder was home sick for a few days this week, so he and I took advantage of the opportunity to watch a few movies together, alone. Coughing and hacking and trying to breath through a stuffy nose is never fun, but time alone together spent watching the movies of his choice, not his sister's choice, seems to have made up for it.
We began with one of my childhood favorites, which he had not yet seen, the 1979 feature, The Black Stallion. He loved this movie, which was gratifying because I do too. Before it began I explained to Boy Wonder that although it begins with a scary fire in which his father dies, Alec, the main human character, and the titular Stallion both survive. (His ability to suspend disbelief is pretty complete, and we have learned that discussing potentially upsetting events in a film beforehand is an effective way of preventing total meltdown.)
Once through that episode, and satisfied that both characters survive, we settled in for a totally engaging move experience. From the story to the actors to the cinematography, this film does everything right. When it was over, my little buddy declared that he loved The Black Stallion and wants to see it again. He was delighted to discover that it is a film we own.
His second choice was a film I tried to discourage. "Remember March of the Penguins?" I asked him, certain that this would cause him to put the DVD back on the shelf. But he insisted. He can be so stubborn sometimes; I don't know where he gets it. So I said okay and resigned myself to the tears that would surely accompany our screening of Arctic Tale. I am happy to report that, once again, I was mistaken. Arctic Tale may have been produced by National Geographic Films, like March of the Penguins, but it is a much softer film that manages to be both entertaining and educational on a level tolerable for young children and adults alike.
Movie number three was my choice, although I wouldn't have even noticed it if Boy Wonder hadn't pointed it out and said he had seen and liked the previews for it. After scanning the back of the DVD box for credits, I was prepared to love Everyone's Hero and knew we had to give it a try. Although we are not big baseball fans, in general, our family seems to enjoy a good baseball film, and Everyone's Hero was no exception. The story is sweet and nice, and its message (because its message, "don't give up", is what the whole thing is really about) never, in my opinion, gets old.
As if that were not enough to recommend this movie as "family friendly" its genesis is irresistible. Everyone's Hero was the love child and final project of the late, great, Christopher Reeve, and his equally amazing, late wife Dana. Before their passing they assembled a cast including William Macy, Mandy Patinkin, Whoopi Goldberg, Robert Wagner and Rob Reiner and infused the project with their vast stores of optimism and hope. I love watching this kind of film with my kids because it infects us all with the belief that with determination, hard work and faith, almost anything is possible.