Monday, March 23, 2015

This day is so cursed.

I know everybody says it about their own, but he's funny. Really, really funny. But more importantly, his manners are excellent. And he's really considerate of other people's feelings, too. Oh, and if you listen to him carefully, he's a very sweet young man.

But my son? He is awful at watching movies. Especially if you're sitting next to him.

Standing at the Redbox machine with Matty, I half-heartedly suggested to my five year-old that we rent Disney's Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. And in that flippant/hysterical way that only little kids can get away with, he looked at me like, I guess, moments before hitting me with, We already read the book in school.

While the poster will likely terrify/infuriate three-quarters of you, at least it's honest. For 81 minutes, you and yours are going to be treated to one 'hilarious' calamity after another. And outside of a few boob and penis-related remarks (though the penis joke cracked me up), it's all pretty kid (and adult) friendly.

Young Alexander (a lispy, yet charming Ed Oxenbould) has had a really awful day-before-his-birthday. He finds out no one will be coming to his lame party, gets denied in social studies class for a sweet project, and then proceeds to nearly burn down his chemistry class, narrowly avoiding setting his dream woman ablaze. Rough one, huh? Well, there's only one thing to do, right? Yep. You guessed it: wish it all away.

While I went with Home Alone ('cause, well, I always do), my wife said it's more like Freaky Friday (girl movie...never seen it). Either way, Alexander is that flick where a kid unwittingly ruins the lives of everyone around them, only to regret it later on.

As things have routinely come up roses for everyone in his family, Alexander always ended up with the um, poopy end of the stick. That fateful night, he says something to the effect of, once - just once! I wish they could all have a bad day to see what it's like! I'll let you guess what happens that following morning. Here's a hint: it's pretty terrible. Horrible, even. And good? No.

Speaking of very bad, here are the Yays and Boos. Even though we all know they're completely irrelevant on a normal movie, when it comes to a family flick that the entire Two Dollar Cinema clan moderately enjoyed? Yikes.

  • This would be the first of two Steve Carell features of the day. I liked him here. He he made frittatas. Not man-love to a wrestler.
  • 4 Non Non Blondes? Yes, please.
  • I've seen every penis in this car.
  • Even though she will NEVER hold a candle to James Avery in License to Drive, I did appreciate that Stiffler's mom shows up as a driving instructor. Her little cell-phone trick was pretty funny.
  • It seems like Jerry's joke, but Carell in a pirate blouse certainly has its charms. It's altogether flaming, to say the least. I still have me arms!
  • There's a scene where it's all kind of falling apart and for whatever reason, there is an plethora of old-school aluminum garbage cans nearby. No, really. There's like ten of them. Everybody gets to kick one. Some get two.
  • And finally, the family. Yes, they are a mess of cliched goofballs, but they rally together in a very charming fashion. A quick bro-nod to the big brother, not only for dumping that skanky prom date, but for doing it in the Harry Dunne powdered blue, no less. Well done, young man. (Oh, and his celebratory banner slap almost made me pee my pants)
  • This is the rare double-Boo. First, poor Alexander, after his awful day, is the last person to be picked up at school. Second, this movie, for ripping open that wound and reminding me of how many times I was that kid. I swear my mom hated me. And if I dared be upset that she was an hour late? She'd lay into me!
  • Okay, I'm back. That was a good cry - good cry. Anywho, what was up with Mommy and me Yoga? Doubt that was in the book, huh?
  • As for the awful events that everyone endures, here are the Boo worthy:
    • getting walked in on by your mother...when you're a junior in high school.
    • toddler peeing on the floor...when you're the father of that toddler.
  • Chickenpox in the buttcrack. Not cool. My worst one was at least two feet north of that. Thank God.
  • Celia. Okay, young lady. You might be passably attractive and all, but girl, you're going to have to be waaaay hotter if any guy is going to put up with that level of awful. 
  • And finally, the kangaroo. I was pretty much on board with all the ridiculousness (even the typo in her book...ugh), but once we trot out Kangaroo Jack, I had just about had it with Family Movie Time. Good thing they saved that mess till the very end.
Eighty-one minutes later, after one Is it almost over? from my son, and 162 instances of Stop touching your feet from me (with about 99 The screen's that way [as he just stared at my face]), I turned to him and said, Well? His eyes lit up. I really liked it, Dad. Of course he did. Being that I'm an English teacher (a bad one, but still), I had to press him a little bit more. Compared to the book?

The movie was better.

Of course he'd say that.


  1. lol. I love the commentary with your son. This movie looks like a hot mess.

    1. Thanks! It might be, but at 81 minutes, I guess I didn't hate it. and to Fisti's point, it was kind of nice seeing a family basically, um, like each other. No douchey teenage turds in this one. Well, not in the family anyway (the gf is a huge biatch).

  2. I kind of loved the hell out of this movie. My kids want so desperately to watch movies for 'older kids' because they think that they're ready, but Disney shows suck and I hate the way those kids act, so I really liked how this family, overall, was really nice. I liked them...I wouldn't mind being them...they made me smile.

    And the Dick Van Dyke scene was amazing, dude...AMAZING!

    1. I always dig it when you go the other way. Fantastic.

      First, I'm with you on how hard Disney shows suck. There was a point in my teaching career where I was sure I had kids thinking that's how you act in real life. No, no, a-hole. This ain't the Suite Life.

      Anyway, I'm with you about the family. They were a fairly nice group of people. They legitimately cared for each other, and that was a refreshing change of pace.

      That Dick Van Dyke seem....oh my.

  3. Not sure if the Dell fam is going to take his in or not, but it sounds exactly like I thought it would be. My youngest is 12 and can either way on whether she wants to see this. At least mine are past the looking around and touching everything during a movie phase. Now, if I could just get them to stop talking so much. Sidenote: thank goodness i never had a chicken pox thingy THERE.

    1. Ah, the Dell fam. I imagine them as a solid group of individuals, thoughtfully debating the finer points of cinema.

      12 might be too old for this, despite all the kids in the movie being that age, as I work with that age group and the real life versions are way more intense than these Disney-ish screwballs.

      So you're saying it stops, the touching thing? 'Cause I swear, if my wife didn't give me the stern back off him, he's a little kid look I might have jettisoned him from the house. I almost welcome the talking. Almost.

      My friend told me he had one in his throat. I thought that was the worst case scenario.

      Obviously not.

  4. I'd see a lot of movies for Carell but this one doesn't seem very interesting...also pox in the butt crack? It sounds like something out of Saw movie!

    1. I too would watch just about anything for Carell, well, clearly I just did, but I totally support your call in avoiding this one altogether. Wait until you're a bewildered parent of small children...and then, then?

      Watch Paddington.

    2. Oh, and 'pox in the buttcrack' not only sounds like the worst thing ever, but also a pretty rad name for a band.

    3. I'm actually hoping to see Paddington this week :D I just hope nothing bad happens to that bear...or any dogs in the movie.

    4. Oooh! I really hope you like it. Such a delightful movie!!!

      Bears will be fine...mostly. Dogs? Unscathed.

  5. *LOL* You confirmed my decision to skip this movie. Great review!

    1. I think your kids are a bit north of the recommended viewing age, but take a look at Fisti's comments up there: it's not that bad. Granted, not only did I throw the bar out the window (after drastically lowering it), which clearly allowed for some enjoyment, but I also completed this ENTIRE film in one shot, with both WIFE and SON.

      Movie magic? Perhaps.