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Miller: Watching kid’s movies

Earlier this week, my wife and I got a chance to see the multi-Oscar-winning film “The King’s Speech.” We enjoyed it, but the main narrative for us wasn’t Colin Firth’s stammer but, rather, the simple fact that we A) were able to get away for a date night and B) we got to watch a “grown-up” film.

As any parent with children under the PG-13 age range will attest, watching anything with adult themes or content at home is near impossible – unless you are possessed of a large home with multiple TVs and have a way to close out the audio from the far-ranging ears of the curious. One onscreen kiss is often enough to get our son to shout “Look! They’re having SEX! UGH!” – resulting in a quick change of the channel back to, say, Nick, where SpongeBob giggles in an endless loop.

But I’m not complaining. I used to enjoy violent action movies, calling my erstwhile fondness for Steven Seagal and Jean-Claude Van Damme films a guilty pleasure or, perhaps, a nod to ancient manly remnants in my lower brain that relished such things. Now, I’d much rather watch a comedy or an action-adventure film, often of the animated class. There may be some cartoon violence in beloved Miller household films like “Kung Fu Panda” or “The Incredibles,” but I find the muted presentation of such to be much more palatable than the bone-crunching of a Seagal film (and I don’t miss the lunkish acting, either).



Since I’ve been in the daddy game for about 17 years now, I reckon I’ve seen 80 or 90 percent of the animated and live-action kid’s films that have come out since 1995 or so – with some reaching back into the archives before that year. I think it’s fair to say this period has seen a dramatic rise both in the quality of the films made for younger audiences as well as a commensurate increase in the appeal of such to parents dragged along for the ride. This is important, since ownership of favorite films is a given in our home, so if you’re going to be subjected to numerous repeat viewings of, say, “Hotel for Dogs,” it better have some appeal for mom and dad. (I still draw the line at some of the early “Harry Potter” films, where the young stars are so unsure of their lines as to make it too painful to watch. Oh, and I can’t bear “Quidditch” matches.)

Arriving in theaters this weekend is “Rango,” with Johnny Depp voicing a character that looks like the Geico gekko in a western romp of some sort. Our son has been wanting to see it, and the early reviews are generally favorable. Like so many such films these days, Andy and the rest of us have been exposed to so many impressions of the “Rango” film and brand so far via movie trailers and relentless advertising on Nickelodeon that we might be excused for asking: “Didn’t we already see that one?”



Surrounded as I am in the newsroom by many younger folks without kids yet, I’m sometimes amazed at how few of these films they’ve seen. And I wonder if, when the last of ours is grown, if I’ll have to wait for grandkids to start seeing them again.

But I doubt it. I’m as quick to pop in “The Incredibles” (one of the top films made in the last decade in any genre, in my opinion) as my wife is to stick in a “Harry Potter” film. And while Andy is still in the Nick years, we still get to enjoy what is arguable the best and funniest sitcom on television – “iCarly.” If nothing else, “iCarly” reminds us that one can create a funny show without sex, sexual innuendo, bodily function jokes or big, stupid stars. It’s all about true comedic talent and great writing; check it out, even if you don’t have kids, you might be surprised.

OK, now off to “Rango …”

Summit Daily editor Alex Miller can be reached at amiller@summitdaily.com or (970) 668-4618.


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