Selection is Slim

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I remember watching Family Matters when I was a kid growing up. It used to be part of what ABC called TGIF on Friday Nights. I’m dating myself a little bit here, but it was something that my family made sure to watch every week, with other shows such as Full House and Step by Step. These shows all had one thing in common. They revolved around the family unit.

My topic today comes up was I look over the shows that are out these days in primetime. There are limited shows that are family friendly. I understand that drama has taken the forefront in the ratings pool, but television shows about murder is just not something that is for everyone. I sit back and I can’t think of a single show that we currently watch that is family oriented. (Note that I do not have cable, we watch most our stuff on Netflix and Hulu Plus.)

It just seems that drama has taken over and family oriented television has been pushed by the wayside. I am not going to delve into the depths of what that means for society as a whole, but I can’t help but think that the family unit could be stronger with the addition of programming aimed towards family living. The last show that we went through was Merlin (British Version) and it is more family oriented then most shows. I would recommend it if you like Fantasy or the King Arthur stories.

What other shows can you remember or do you watch now that have a family focus? Do you even watch much television these days?

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Monday Movie Review: Christmas Movies

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Image courtesy of WANA Commons
Picture By KimbarMontague

So this post is going to be a little different then normal. I am not going to be reviewing Christmas Movies. There are way too many to talk about! However, I know when I watch a Christmas movie, there is a certain charm or feeling that the movies always present. Even the cheesy made-for-TV movies that come out.

I knew when I was growing up, December was always one of my favorite months. No it wasn’t the typical feet of snow we receive, but it was the fact that Christmas was on it’s way. Woohoo! Presents! As a kid I always had a special place in my heart for Christmas and it wasn’t just because of the presents. They had some factor in it…..ok a large factor…..but it wasn’t just because of the joy the new gifts would bring. I also enjoyed the time of year because of the togetherness it always brought within the family.

My family has always been close. I can’t remember the last time we had an argument between ourselves. We have been lucky to always get along. But in December, there was always an emotion that settled over the house that brought us closer together. I don’t know if it was the Christmas tree or the lights in the house, but there was an extra effort to get along during this month.

Every family has a set of Christmas traditions that they follow. We always put up the tree on the same day, tried to get the lights up on the house around the same time, and we watched Christmas movies. My family would sit around and watch the old claymation Christmas movies (my favorite). It seems that when one of the old classics like “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” or “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” was on TV, action in the house would stop and we would all curl up next to the TV and watch the movie. There was just some added allure that a classic Christmas movie had over us as kids.

As we grew up the traditions shifted and new movies started to take over. We were introduced to National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (which has become a Christmas staple at my house) and other more adult movies. These movies have made their way into our normal holiday traditions. Heck, I watched Christmas Vacation yesterday.

There have also been other movies that have come along in recent years that have made the tradition list. The Grinch with Jim Carrey and Christmas with the Cranks are two that spring to mind. They have made the normal Christmas movie list for my family since they came out. Deck the Halls is another movie that will make the list when I can get it bought.

I’m not sure exactly what the draw is for a Christmas movie in my family, but I do know that many have tried and fell short.

What movies does your family enjoy over the holidays? What memories do you have of Christmas movies? Is there any other movie that you guys try to make sure to watch every Christmas Season? Is there any movie that we should add to our list that we haven’t seen yet?

I love to hear from you!

Monday Movie Review: Brave

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We rented this movie for my daughter, but she wasn’t too interested. I don’t think it caught her attention like we were hoping it would, but she is only 15 months old, so I’ll let her pass by. Either way my wife and I thought it was a pretty good movie. I’m a huge fan of Pixar films and so far I haven’t seen one that we haven’t enjoyed.

Brave is the story of a princess that is at the age to court her suitor. The King has arranged for a tournament that will show off the best from each of the clans to marry his daughter. However, his daughter has been a tomboy all her life and is not ready to make that sort of commitment. The Queen is pushing very hard for her daughter to become a lady and this causes friction between the two. When Merida finds a witch in the woods and asks for her mother to change, the story unfolds in a way that is unexpected and funny.

I enjoyed this film from Pixar. I had read some mixed reviews on the film and some of the disappointment had come from the fact that it was just another Princess story from Disney, but I thought they did some unexpected things with the story that made it stick out from the standard Disney classic. I loved the three brothers of Merida and they add humor in just the right places.

This movie is one I would recommend for anyone who likes Pixar films. I have every plan of asking for this one for Christmas to add to my list of movies. A favorable thumbs up from this writer.

Monday Movie Review: The Hunter

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This weekend, my wife and I were able to watch The Hunter with Willem Dafoe. The movie is about a mercenary that is hired by a biotech company to chase the animal that is supposedly extinct. They want him to hunt down the Tasmanian Tiger, an animal that has only been seen by the locals, no one has ever caught one.

He moves in with a family to rent a room close to the wilderness. A move that is awkward for him because he always works alone. Jack (Sam Niell) takes care of the family because the father went into the wilderness over a year ago and hasn’t been heard from since. Martin (Dafoe) notices right off the bat that something isn’t right.

Working his way through the family’s problems and his own, Martin finds himself being hunted down by the same company that sent him to the wilderness. He also has a problem with the local workers because logging jobs have become scarce. An environmental movement has come into the area and halted work. The locals believe that Martin works for them.

The movie has more of a play of a literary novel. The movie is all about characters. One of the biggest things that I enjoy about this movie is how Dafoe’s character grows throughout the movie. He grows throughout the movie and you get to witness the transition in the story.

I don’t think this one will make it to my movie rack, but I would recommend a watch if you get the chance. Overall a good watch if you want a movie that is character based.

Have any of you seen this movie? Like? Don’t like?

I love to hear your comments!

Monday Movie Review: Dark Shadows

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This weekend my wife and I had the pleasure of watching Dark Shadows. I am a big fan of Johnny Depp and his darker movies so I was excited to get to see this movie. It is listed as a comedy, but I would consider it a darker comedy. Someone with my sense of humor would enjoy it.

The movie starts out by digging into the past of Barnabas Collins. The family is cursed and the fishing business falls apart after the apparent death of Barnabas. However, Barnabas is cursed and turned into a vampire and buried. He is dug up in 1972. The witch has utterly destroyed the family business and Barnabas vows to bring it back.

The movie quickly shows off its humor and doesn’t stop from there. Depp plays his normal character type with witty comments happening throughout the movie. His supporting cast in the Collins family, help make the movie what it is. The flow between the different characters is flawless and there is just enough secret about each character to keep you guessing as the movie goes along. Pay special attention to the daughter, she has a secret that I would have never guessed until the end of the movie.

I don’t know if this one will make it on my shelf, but I definitely recommend it to anyone with a dark sense of humor. The movie is worth a watch.

Have you seen Dark Shadows before? Do you like Dark Comedies? What is your favorite type of comedy? What Depp movies would you watch?

I love to hear your comments!

Monday Movie Review

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Sorry for the break, but my life has been crazy these last couple of weeks. But now we’re back and hitting it harder then ever! Today I am going to review Taken 2. That’s right, I actually have a movie that is still in theaters. Don’t get used to it, haha.

The movie takes place in Istanbul. Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) asks his family to join him after he is done with a security job. They join him but the trouble soon comes. Bryan and his wife are taken hostage by the father of someone Bryan murdered when he was chasing down his daughter. Using his CIA knowledge and his family, Bryan must find a way to get out and get his family home safe.

I really enjoyed this movie. I was a huge fan of the first movie and Liam Neeson rarely plays a character that isn’t awesome in a movie. I’m a huge fan of his work. But all that aside, I liked how the story takes over from the first movie. Most sequels are laid out at the end of the story, but this one takes a look at how the action scenes of the first movie affected a family over time.

The movie has more action then the first and a story that I believe builds the characters. There are a few action scenes that are unbelievable, but overall they did well. I love how the story forces the characters to build on an already shattered family. At the end of the story, I felt that each character had grown in their respective roles. A fact that I really enjoyed.

This movie is definitely going to hit my movie rack when it comes out on DVD. I really enjoyed the film and even though I haven’t seen it get high ratings across the internet, I would recommend it to everyone. The best part is that it is a sequel that if you hadn’t seen the first one, it can still stand on it’s own story.

Have you seen Taken 2? What did you think? Should they have stopped at one movie?

I’d love to hear from you!