Archive for the ‘Wednesday Movies’ Category

Movie Night: The Fault in Our Stars

The Fault in Our Stars movie night

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Hazel Grace Lancaster is seventeen and has cancer. Her life is hardly fantastic, but she’s coping. Everything changes however when she goes to a cancer support group and meets Augustus Waters, a fellow sufferer, whom she forms a connection with. They bond over Hazel’s favorite novel, An Imperial Affliction, and grow closer through their mutual wisdom beyond their years and their fears for the future.

Hazel doesn’t want to fall in love with Gus—she knows that if she does, she’ll only break his heart when she dies. However, when the two decide to make a trip to Amsterdam to seek out the mysterious author of An Imperial Affliction, they’ll find out that certain things are just meant to be.

The Fault in Our Stars is a difficult film to watch, but it’s also considered by many an exquisite piece of film-making. Consider it for the next movie night with your older children and teens.

Please note: this PG-13 film contains mature themes. In order to evaluate whether or not it’s appropriate for your family, we recommend watching it first and/or using the Kids-in-Mind website.

Discussion Questions

  • As with any film adapted from a book, how do you think the adaptation compares to the novel if you’ve read it? How important is it to read the source material before watching a movie based on it?
  • At the beginning, Hazel doesn’t want to pursue a relationship with Gus in case she dies and breaks his heart. Which is better in your view: to love someone and lose them or never to love them at all?
  • Do you believe the film is respectful in its depiction of cancer patients? Explain.
  • Stories like The Fault in Our Stars might be considered “cathartic” (a work of art that provides psychological relief through the expression of strong emotions). Why do you think people appreciate films that make them cry?
  • The title comes from a Shakespeare quote: “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, / But in ourselves,” although this isn’t explained in the film. Is it a good title? Why or why not.

Additional Resources

Dutch Recipes – Try these delicious Dutch dishes.

Faulty math in the Fault in our Stars? – “Some infinities are bigger than other infinities” but maybe not in the way you might think.

Shakespeare Inspired Novel Titles – Want more Shakespearean titles? Here, have a bunch!

Fault in Our Stars BoomerangLearn language arts naturally with the Fault in Our Stars Boomerang!

The Boomerang is a monthly digital downloadable product that features copywork and dictation passages from a specific read aloud novel. It is geared toward 8th to 10th graders (ages 12—advanced, 13-15) and is the indispensable tool for Brave Writer parents who want to teach language arts in a natural, literature-bathed context.

Movie Wednesday: To Kill a Mockingbird

Movie Wednesday To Kill a Mockingbird

[This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting Brave Writer!]

Some films are nearly universally acknowledged to be great—memorable, well made, complex films which impact the world. To Kill a Mockingbird is one of those films. It’s hard to view, with its honest depiction of prejudice and hatred and a not entirely happy ending, but it’s a rewarding watch if you persevere.

Scout and Jem Finch live in a quiet town in Alabama in the 1930s. They spend their days playing with their friend Dill, swinging on their swing, and trying to catch glimpses of their reclusive neighbor Boo Radley, who only seems to leave his house at night. But their innocent life is changed forever when their father Atticus, the town lawyer, is tasked with defending a black man, Tom Robinson, accused of a horrible crime.

In a town where white people are often considered superior, Atticus knows the court will be unjust to Tom. But he’s brave enough to defend him anyway, and the resulting trial will teach Scout and Jem a lot about the adult world and how other people think.

It may be over fifty years old, but To Kill a Mockingbird is still a beautiful, important film and is considered by many to be one of the greatest ever made.

Discussion Questions

  • If you’ve read the book, how do you think the film compares? What differences can you spot? How do they impact the story?
  • This film is in black and white. In what ways might this make the viewing experience different from movies filmed in color?
  • Atticus tells Scout: “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.” What do you think he means? How would someone do that?
  • Atticus Finch was named the greatest film hero of the 20th century by the American Film Institute. Do you agree with that choice? What makes a hero?
  • What do you think is the message of the story? The book and film first came out in the early 1960’s. Is the message still relevant today? Explain your answer.

Additional Resources

26 Foods in Alabama – Try some of these delicious popular southern dishes.

8 Inspiring Quotes from To Kill a Mockingbird – A collection of some of the most memorable quotes said by Atticus Finch.

Northern Mockingbird – Learn about the sassy bird after which the story is named.

To Kill a Mockingbird BoomerangLearn language arts naturally with the To Kill a Mockingbird Boomerang!

The Boomerang is a monthly digital downloadable product that features copywork and dictation passages from a specific read aloud novel. It is geared toward 8th to 10th graders (ages 12—advanced, 13-15) and is the indispensable tool for Brave Writer parents who want to teach language arts in a natural, literature-bathed context.

Much Ado About Thor

Much Ado About Thor

by Cameron Roy Hall

The Thor films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe are about a magic space Viking who shoots lightning from a hammer while looking absolutely fabulous (and that sentence is probably the most sane thing about the almost trilogy of movies). What’s great about Thor and company is their unyielding desire to speak like an immortal group of Shakespeare characters.

Funny I should mention Shakespeare…

Learning time! Stop EVERYTHING you’re doing and plug in Thor or Thor: the Dark World. I’ll wait. Assuming your kids are as gung ho about this as I am, they not only watched the above Thor titles, but also Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron because their education is worth it. Think back to everything Thunder Fabio said. It really did sound like Shakespeare, didn’t it? Almost like they’re connected…

They totally are connected. Completely and totally and beautifully connected. At first glance it’s almost comical, but the Shakespearian influences on the Thor franchise are about as subtle as my use of dramatic structure. From the obvious use of language like, “Do not mistake my appetite for apathy,” to the actual casting, Thor is an ode to the Bard, who definitely would’ve carried a thunder hammer if he knew where to find one.

So let’s look at a few of the ways that Shakespeare inspired the Thor comics and movies. Consider yourself challenged to find some comparisons that I don’t.

Cast and Crew

The quickest way to see how the movies were affected by good ol’ Will is to look at the director himself, Kenneth Branagh. Branagh, though probably most widely recognizable for portraying a certain lilac loving Defense Against the Dark Arts professor, is a heavily experienced Shakespearean talent, specializing in the Bard’s works. He’s not the only prominent figure with such credits, either. Know the name Tom Hiddleston? You should, because he’s that green villainous guy who stole your heart in both the Thor films and The Avengers. Hiddleston has performed in productions such as Coriolanus and Othello. Forget #TeamCap and #TeamIronMan. It’s #TeamLoki ALL. THE.WAY.

Plot and Characters

There’s more to Thor than magic space Vikings. There’s a royal family choosing an heir, there’s a treacherous brother vying for the throne, there’s forbidden love and oh my gosh you guys, what else do I need to say here?! The movies alone draw on enough Hamlet and Julius Caesar to leave you crying “Et tu, Loki?”

I really like Loki, guys.

The Script

I wish I was cool enough to say half of the lines in this movie without sounding like a Dungeons & Dragons fanatic. Seriously, everything these people say could have come directly from one of the Bard’s plays. Thor spouts beautiful quandaries, Loki spews the most eloquently worded venom possible, and that’s just in the movies. The comics go even deeper into their vicious eloquence.

Let’s try a few out…

“Waves are but water, wind but air. And though lightning be fire…yet it must answer thunder’s call.”
“Hast thou stolen from me thy dying words? Thy fatherly hand, thy fatherly smile?”
“A man may fight, though hope be dim—a god will fight when hope be gone!”

Yep. Lines from Thor comics. Not Shakespeare, but close enough.

Without just copy and pasting the script here, it’s hard to show you just how similar the writing styles are, so I’ll leave you with a little “homework.” Here’s a link that takes you to a quiz which asks whether or not a line is spoken by Thor… or by Shakespeare. Think you know your bard? I took it with half of my family and we still lost. And we’re NERDS. So, by the Hammer of Thor, challenge yourself.


Brave Writer Online Writing Class Shakespeare Family WorkshopCheck out our Shakespeare Family Workshop!

This hands-on five week workshop is great for all kinds of learners. The online class provides a multi-sensory approach to the study of Shakespeare and his works. A few informal writing assignments will be provided for families to do together or separately.

Movie Wednesday: The Princess Bride

Princess Bride Movie Night

[This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting Brave Writer!]

The Princess Bride is a fairy tale. The heroes are brave, the heroines are beautiful, and the villains are dastardly. The action flies from hillsides to clifftops, forests to castles, and there are too many sword fights, monsters, and one-­liners for the viewer to be bored for a moment.

Buttercup and Westley are madly in love, and she is devastated when he is lost at sea. By the time Westley returns, alive and well, Buttercup is engaged to the arrogant Prince Humperdinck. The only things between Westley and Buttercup’s certain happiness are the Shrieking Eels, the Cliffs of Insanity, a poisoned goblet of wine, a man with six fingers, the Fire Swamp, Prince Humperdinck’s Brute Squad, a machine for shortening life expectancy, and the Rodents of Unusual Size. Oh dear.

If you want a marvelous evening of entertainment and if you can cope with wanting to shout “Inconceivable!” every few minutes for the rest of your life, then this is the film for you!

Discussion Questions

  • If you’ve read the book, how do you think the adaptation compares with it?
  • The soundtrack was created by Mark Knopfler from the rock band Dire Straits. Would you have guessed if you hadn’t known? Why do you think the soundtrack works (or not)?
  • A famous line in the film is, “Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.” If you were in Inigo’s place, how would you determine whether to forgive or seek revenge?
  • What are your thoughts about Westley’s resurrection at the hands of Miracle Max? Was it implausible? Did it show the miraculous power of true love? Explain.
  • The film was made in 1987 and so is almost 30 years old. ­­ Do you think it looks its age? How might certain scenes be changed with 21st century film technology?

Additional Resources

The Princess Bride Revisited – Tons of recipes, craft ideas, and more!

Princess Bride Backyard Movie Night – Love the name tags and tree signs they made.

Murdered by Pirates is Good: A Princess Bride Birthday Party – The cake is a must-see!

Eli’s Princess Bride Party – Complete with foam swords.

Miracle Max Revival Pills! – Chocolate Lace Biscuits.

The Princess Bride BoomerangLearn language arts naturally with The Princess Bride Boomerang!

The Boomerang is a monthly digital downloadable product that features copywork and dictation passages from a specific read aloud novel. It is geared toward 8th to 10th graders (ages 12—advanced, 13-15) and is the indispensable tool for Brave Writer parents who want to teach language arts in a natural, literature-bathed context.

Movie Wednesday: Fantastic Mr. Fox

Fantastic Mr. Fox[This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting Brave Writer!]

Roald Dahl wrote many books which captured the hearts of more than one generation. Many of his books have been adapted into films, and Fantastic Mr. Fox is one of the very best.

In his youth, Mr. Fox had a thrilling time as a dashing hero, stealing poultry from any farmer he could find. But now he’s a respectable member of society, married with a son, and living a quiet life as a newspaper columnist. Until he secretly performs one last, spectacular raid on three different farms—belonging to Boggis, Bunce and Bean, three of the richest and scariest men alive.

As a result of his recklessness, Mr. Fox now has to save his family and friends from the farmers’ revenge. As the animals flee from their homes and shelter deep underground, with no food and no future, can Mr Fox make up for his selfishness by truly being fantastic?

It may differ wildly from the original book, but Fantastic Mr. Fox is a delightfully unusual and witty family film, and one of the most beautifully animated films ever made. Give it a go!

Discussion Questions

  • If you’ve read the book, how do you think it compares to the film? Support your view with examples.
  • Was Mr. Fox right to risk his family’s lives by stealing from Boggis, Bunce and Bean? Pretend you are a lawyer, either defending Mr. Fox or prosecuting him then write your opening statement to a jury.
  • Were Boggis, Bunce and Bean justified in destroying an entire wood in order to wipe out a family of foxes? Were they just trying to protect their livelihood, or did they take it too far? Explain.
  • Instead of using CGI, the filmmakers used stop motion animation to make this film. Do you think the film would work as well if made with CGI animation. What about live action?
  • If you’ve seen any other films based on Roald Dahl books, such as Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory or The BFG, which do you think is the best, and why?

Want to throw a Fantastic Mr. Fox viewing party? Here are some resources:

Fantastic Mr. Fox Movie Party

Fox Crafts (finger puppets, fox mask, etc.)

The food in the film is either meat or carrots and the drink is cider, so here are a few related sweet treats.

Yummy Scrummy Carrot Cake

Turkey Cupcakes

Apple Cider (store bought or make your own)

Enjoy!

Movie Discussion Club