Tag Archives: Movie Reviews
Post by Josh Zinn.
In third grade I was assigned to peer-review a fellow classmate’s paper on horses—specifically, why she loved them and why she thought the rest of the world should care. Waxing poetically about their beautiful manes and graceful strides, she was also quite defensive about these animals’ intelligence and their ability to understand her youthful commands. Believing she had been unwisely influenced and deluded by stories like Black Beauty and The Black Stallion, I took it upon myself to snap her back to reality by defiantly scribbling on her paper, “Horses are dumb. So are you.”
Little did I know how very wrong I was…
Did you know horses are actually messengers of the gods? That their assistance to man was foretold in ancient texts buried beneath thousands of years of evolutionary progress? Or that horse whisperers have a direct equine connection with the stars? If you didn’t, well you obviously haven’t been watching the History Channel series Ancient Aliens, then!
Thanks to Ancient Aliens, we can all rest assured knowing man is not only NOT alone in the universe, but that his very destiny has been dictated by, well, ancient aliens that seeded our planet with life, technology, and Midwestern tourist attractions before disappearing into the cosmic ether. It may sound far fetched, sure, but every week experts with vague degrees and unkempt hair lay out the interstellar “facts” by excitedly waving their arms and making disparate connections that would make a Meyers-Brigg representative blush. Case in point: You may not question where the cosmically outrageous flavor combination of peanut butter and jelly originated, but someone out there with a lot of hairspray has and the answer is out of this world!
Perhaps more than anything, Ancient Aliens encourages its audience to keep an open mind about the world and to never underestimate the intelligence of the weird guy sitting next to you on the bus. Unlike yours truly, he might have known those “dumb” horses were, in fact, the guardians of this earthly realm and, accordingly, given my classmate a much better grade.
Post by Josh Zinn.
Recently, whilst trolling through the myriad cable channels available to me, I happened upon one of the hallmark films of my childhood, the 1973 animated version of E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web. While I am apt, in my adult life, to quote from this film more times than I usually care to admit (“It says CRUNCHY”) it had been some time since I had actually WATCHED the gentle little saga of a frightened pig named Wilbur and Charlotte, the spider whose life becomes dedicated to preserving the safety of her friend.
Anticipating clichéd retro delight in being able to relive memories of the gluttonous rat, Templeton, as well as rousing karaoke renditions of “Zuckerman’s Famous Pig,” I was caught unaware in my realization as to how much Charlotte’s Web had informed my childhood self about the then very-adult ideas of kindness, loss, and mortality. Granted, there’s plenty of sweet-natured humor and a healthy smattering of vocabulary words (“radiant,” “humble,” and “Smorgasbord” were all knowingly dropped into many of my youthful conversations), but beneath the film’s pork-pink exterior beats the heart of something far greater. More than merely a cartoon, Wilbur’s tale presents parents and children with an opportunity to understand and discuss the machinations of their world and the importance of staying true to themselves in spite of oppositions they may face. It’s heady stuff, no doubt, but crafted in such a way that the film never talks down to kids, but rather, with care and respect.
While it may be true that, as a child, I was as equally enamored with Scooby Doo meeting Sonny and Cher (what a great episode! Zoinks!) as I was with Charlotte’s Web, the impact Wilbur’s story had upon my life far exceeds that explosive alignment of the stars. Sure, the beat may go on, but in the end, there’s no denying that is some pig.