Archive for the ‘Wednesday Movies’ Category

What do we talk about AFTER the movie?

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015

Family watching a movie

Have you ever experienced this? You added a regular movie night to your Brave Writer Lifestyle. You carefully selected a quality film you believed your child would enjoy. The credits have rolled, and the conversation goes something like this:

“What did you think?”
“I liked it.”
“What are your thoughts about the main character?”
“I liked her.”
“Did you have a favorite part?
“I don’t know. Could I play Minecraft now?”

The exchange feels stilted and forced. Instead of a Big Juicy Conversation, your child wants to bolt. Next time, keep the following tips in mind.

7 Ways to Encourage Natural, Lively Film Discussion

1. Lead the way. If you get, “I don’t know,” for an answer then share your reactions. “It made me angry when…” “I had no idea that X would happen…” “Were you as shocked as I was that Y didn’t win?”

2. Be specific. “What did you think?” is so open that some children aren’t able to pin down reasons. Instead try, “What surprised you the most?” and “Could you predict the ending? How did you know?!”

3. Dig Deeper. When your child responds with a general, “I liked it,” you might say, “That’s cool. What did you like about it? The story? The songs? The animation? I liked…”

4. Ask probing questions. “If a psychologist looked at the actions of Z what do you think he or she would say?”

5. Encourage connection. “Do you relate to anyone in the movie, or do any of the characters remind you of someone you know? And, if so, how are they alike?”

6. Seize the moment for retelling. Oral narrations can feel stiff and artificial when asked for. However, if the child is retelling to someone who hasn’t seen the movie, then the retelling springs from a natural place of wanting to share. So let’s say you watched a movie in the afternoon, when the non-homeschooling parent arrives home, ask over dinner, “We watched a great movie today. Who wants to tell Daddy or Mommy about it?”

7. Don’t push it. Sometimes the best conversations happen a day or two later! Not everyone is prepared to discuss a film the moment the credits roll! Wait for the drive to the dentist or while giving baths. Bring it up in light conversation and through memories of the film and see how it goes them.

The Bottom Line

Even without a discussion, movie viewing is valuable to your kids as a means of teaching them the structure of plot, characterization, setting, mood, theme, and more. Over time, these are all “going in” and you will find that your children will draw on those memories of movie-viewing to help them as they explore literary analysis in high school and beyond.

Image by Personal Creations (cc cropped and text added)

Need help commenting meaningfully on plot, characterization, make-up and costumes, acting, setting and even film editing? Check out our eleven page guide, Brave Writer Goes to the Movies. Also, tell us about a film you and your kids watched together (along with a pic if you have one) and if we share it on the blog you’ll receive a free copy!

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Movie Wednesday: Student films

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

Resources for Young Filmmakers

For an upcoming Movie Night, instead of popping in a DVD or watching an instant flick on Netflix, you might enjoy a motion picture your child has filmed!

If any of your kids show an interest in making movies then here are some helpful websites* that contain a multitude of resources for future Oscar winners:

Resources for Young Filmmakers is by the Portland Children’s Film Festival and shares a ton of links. They cover the basics, filming and editing techniques, sources for royalty free music and sound effects, and more!

Children’s Guide to Filmmaking is a free 21-page downloadable pdf from Far Out Films, a group of “award-winning volunteer film makers, based in Melbourne, Australia.” It’s a step-by-step guide to making a first film.

How to Master the Structure of Script Writing by Nick Zurko gives introductory advice. The article is part of the New York Film Academy’s Student Resources section which is filled with how-to guides.

Ten Tips For Beginning Filmmakers is an informative YouTube video by DSLRFilmSchool.

If you have younger kids who aren’t quite ready for breakable equipment: Low Tech Cardboard TV project!

For inspiration, here’s an under two minutes film by G (a homeschooled teen) called, “A Short Snow Drama.” Be sure to watch till the end! And read more about how the movie was made on the blog, Almost Unschoolers.

Also, check out Brave Writer’s online Movie Discussion Club. It’s perfect for budding cinephiles! The next class starts February 2nd. Register now!

*Please note: Brave Writer does not necessarily endorse all of the websites’ views or associations

Image © Gunold Brunbauer | Dreamstime.com

Need help commenting meaningfully on plot, characterization, make-up and costumes, acting, setting and even film editing? Check out our eleven page guide, Brave Writer Goes to the Movies. Also, tell us about a film you and your kids watched together (along with a pic if you have one) and if we share it on the blog you’ll receive a free copy!

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Movie Wednesday: Watch a film adaptation

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

Babysitting

In Reading the Movies, William Costanzo notes that it has been estimated that a third of all films ever made were adapted from novels. If you count other literary forms, such as drama or short stories, that estimate might well be 65 percent or more. Nearly all of the classic works students study in high school have been adapted for film, some several times in several different eras. —From PBS’s Adaption from Novel to Film

It can be fascinating to see favorite characters from a book spring to life on screen. Whether we like the adaptation or not, it can give us insights into the story that we didn’t see before.

Here’s a helpful list of children’s books that have been made into films. After you’ve read the book and watched the movie adaptation, you might discuss:

What were the similarities and differences between the book and the film?

Did the cast fit the characters in the book?

If you’d been the director, what changes would you have made?

Were there scenes in the movie that were better than in the book?

Imagine that the author and the screenwriter met for dinner. What might they say to each other?

Happy adaptation watching!

Also, this winter we are offering a twofer movie club!

  • Four movies about Brave Girls, four about Gutsy Boys (and a number of titles are adaptations!)
  • Two movie clubs united by their intrepid protagonists.
  • Sign up for one or…
  • Join both clubs and save!

Click here for more information about our upcoming Movie Discussion Club!

Image by Emily Hildebrand (cc cropped)

Need help commenting meaningfully on plot, characterization, make-up and costumes, acting, setting and even film editing? Check out our eleven page guide, Brave Writer Goes to the Movies. Also, tell us about a film you and your kids watched together (along with a pic if you have one) and if we share it on the blog you’ll receive a FREE copy!

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Movie Time: Support Rudolph Night

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014

Movie Wednesday Katelyn 1

Our family has movie night every Friday. We use our air popper to make classic movie popcorn. As soon as the kids smell and hear the popper roar to life they come from all corners of the house to help position the bowls right underneath the air popper machine. We then take our popcorn and chocolate milks and get cozy on the couch.

Last December we watched the 1964 stop action cartoon- Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. To make it really special I purchased reindeer antlers and red noses at the local dollar store for us to wear during the movie. I called it “Support Rudolph Night.”

Movie Wednesday Katelyn 2

Before and after the film, we discussed bullying. Rudolph in the film is bullied by being repeatably ignored, ridiculed, ostracized, and forced to hide who he is, all because of his unique red nose. Hermey and the toys on the Island of Misfit Toys in the film also feel ostracized.

Later on during the story, the very traits that the characters were bullied for end up saving the day. We discussed what to do if someone is bullying you, how to celebrate and accept the uniqueness of others rather than teasing them, how mean words really hurt, and how you could stand up and be an ally for someone else being bullied.

I was also ready to launch into a discussion on how stop action filming works but my kids were not interested this year. I’ll save that for next time.

~Katelyn

Images (cc)

Need help commenting meaningfully on plot, characterization, make-up and costumes, acting, setting and even film editing? Check out our eleven page guide, Brave Writer Goes to the Movies. Also, tell us about a film you and your kids watched together (along with a pic if you have one) and if we share it on the blog you’ll receive a free copy!

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Movie Wednesday: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-images-lampost-covered-snow-image37729324

We watched the 2005 (Adam Adamson directed) release of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe with some friends as part of a birthday celebration. The kids who watched are 16, 14, 13, two 9 year olds and a 4 year old. It was a repeat for the older kids but the first time for the younger ones.

It was fun to listen to the discussions between the kids about the imagery and symbolism.  Throughout the movie and after, the younger kids would ask questions like:

How is the wardrobe the entrance to Narnia?
How did the tree get on the door?
Who is the snow queen?
Why didn’t Aslan fight her, he’s a lion after all?

It was a running and continuous conversation! The older kids would respond, surprisingly patiently, with answers often referencing the books. They said more than once that the books are always better. That melted my heart!

Angela

Image © Izanbar | Dreamstime.com

Need help commenting meaningfully on plot, characterization, make-up and costumes, acting, setting and even film editing? Check out our eleven page guide, Brave Writer Goes to the Movies. Also, tell us about a film you and your kids watched together (along with a pic if you have one) and if we share it on the blog you’ll receive a free copy!

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Make movie night a hit!

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

Movie night invitation

6 Fun Ideas to Turn Your Home into a Mini-Movie Theater!

Invitations

Design an invitation like the one in the photo above, or check out how Meg (who blogs at whatever…) did it using a simple poster board taped to their bedroom door.

Movie Night Passes

Here are some nifty movie passes you can print by Jamey at Dabbles and Babbles.

Concession Stand Tickets

Cheryl at moms & munchkins shares printable concession stand tickets and has a cool idea for how to use them:

At the beginning of the week, you could let your kids know that there will be a family movie night happening this week. They will have the opportunity to win tickets for the concession stand. How do they win the tickets? That’s up to you! Some ideas are to earn tickets by doing something kind for someone else, tickets for an accomplishment (in school, in sports, etc.), etc.

Homemade Drive-In Theater Cars

Make adorable cardboard cars for kids to sit in while watching a flick. Stacy at Not Just a Housewife shows you how.

Party Popcorn

This candy popcorn recipe sounds delish! All you need: popcorn, melted white candy melts, and sprinkles. From Amy’s at she wears many hats.

Review Cards

Afterwards, when the lights go up, your kids might fill out review cards like these (which encourages writing!):

Movie review card

Enjoy!

 

Also, our next online Movie Discussion Club (kids and parents can participate!) starts October 27th. Sign up today! The theme: Robots!

Images by Personal Creations (cc)

Need help commenting meaningfully on plot, characterization, make-up and costumes, acting, setting and even film editing? Check out our eleven page guide, Brave Writer Goes to the Movies. Also, tell us about a film you and your kids watched together (along with a pic if you have one) and if we share it on the blog you’ll receive a free copy!

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Movie Wednesday: Enjoy it with loved ones!

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

Smitten

Watch a film today with your kids!

Movies are just as important as the novel was in its hey-day. Movies are not a sub-standard art form that only the poorly educated enjoy. On the contrary, film today is just as important as literature and we would do well to enjoy it and study it, rather than to shun, condescend to and disapprove of it.  —from Brave Writer Goes to the Movies

Need help commenting meaningfully on plot, characterization, make-up and costumes, acting, setting and even film editing? Check out our eleven page guide. Also, tell us about a film you and your kids watched together (along with a pic if you have one) and if we share it on the blog you’ll receive a free copy!

Image of WALL-E figures by Morgan (cc cropped)

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Brave Writer Movie Club!

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

movie night!

Participants in our Movie Discussion Club “develop skills that transfer to the study of literature or any textual or visual analysis. Take advantage of this pleasurable way to expand your child’s writing and thinking skills.”

For example, read these excellent observations from a former film class about superheroes:

On The Incredibles

“Identities, there are concrete identities and abstract, there are deep characters, and shallow. Dynaguy is one of the characters who are true to the thought of ‘superhero’. Even though he had a small role in the movie, he fills the role of ‘true hero’. With his cape and his boots, he saves the weak, and destroyes evil. After another’s day work, defeating the bad guys, Dynaguy bows to the damsel in distress, and his cape gets caught on the rocket he moved to defeat evil. His short scene ends with him flying through the air, attached to a rocket, the damsel either laughing, or surprised. Edna Mode, uses his story to outline the phrase “No Capes” (one of my favorite quotes in movies). Now, Dynaguy might not have been ‘the brightest bulb’, but he stayed true to the role of Superhero. His chivalry and honor harkening back to a ‘golden age’. To be ‘Super’, one often is thought to have to have superior intellect, or powers that allow an advantage over the average human. “Super” on the other hand is found in the lives of these heroes, the acts they do to save us, the heroes we love and cherish. Even though ‘Super’ is a word delineated to the powerful and fictional, should it not be used also to describe those with a sense of duty, honor, and chivalry? Dynaguy is not a great hero, not even an average one, but he used his powers and his sense of duty to help those who cannot help themselves. Is that not something we can do as well?”

–Luke

“Near the beginning of the movie, at the end of the TV report, the reporter said ‘Their secret identity will became their only identity.’ I thought that was a cool way of putting it. I believe she was saying that Mr. Incredible will stay Robert Parr from now on. Instead of saving the world, he will stay an insurance agent at Insura-Care, and will have a life the same as every other ‘normal’ person. For Mr. Parr, that is a hard change from the Superhero lifestyle he was used to. He was somewhat blinded by the ‘Glory days’ and was so preoccupied by his memories that he wasn’t really part of the family. It wasn’t until he got his identity back that he became more involved in his family. He became a much stronger person, both in mind and body. At the end of the movie, it shows the Incredible family working together as a team to help protect the city.”

–Kallan

“I decided to talk about Dash.( : I love Dash’s character because he is always wanting to help, he is protective over his family, and he is mischievious. Although he can be the annoying younger sibiling at times and he allows his curiosity to get the better of him, it shows throughout the film that he loves his family.

“”Haha, I love our family.’ —Dash

“Dash often uses his speed to run to the rescue. He runs to protect his sister a few times in the movie, he runs to get the remote to defeat the robot, and he runs to save his mother and sister from drowning in the ocean. Dash’s super power relates to his personality for sure! He is quick to speak and quick to act on things in pretty much any situation. Dash’s power is superspeed and he can also run on water. He is also a bit mischievious and he often uses his superpower to further his little pranks and jokes. He is curious as well he uses his speed to give him easy access into places he may not be invited to like when he eaves dropped on his parents during their argument and also to grab his costum from his mom without her being able to protest. He struggles a lot with being normal because it meant him being limited to do things that other children got to do like sports. Overall though Dash is spunky, fun, and sometimes comic relief in the Incredibles.”

–Jenna

The theme for our fall Movie Discussion Club: ROBOTS! 

SIGN UP TODAY for the next class!

Image by Ginny (cc text added)

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Movie Wednesday: Epic

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

Movie Wednesday  Robin

Brave Writer mom, Robin, writes:

I don’t know if this is done all over the US, but our local theater has a Summer Movie program for kids each year. For $5 per person you get tickets for 10 kids’ movies, one a week for 10 weeks. For the most part they are old movies, ones we’ve seen before at home, but when temperatures soar over 105°F all summer long any A/C’d activity is appreciated.

Your Movie Wednesday blog post last week inspired me to make more of our Friday morning moving watching, and I incorporated it for the very next movie we saw, Epic. The 20 minute drive to the theater, plus the 10 minutes to pump gas, allowed us plenty of time for discussing character, plot, foreshadowing, and flashback, pulling lots of examples from recent books we’ve read and movies we watched. Since we had seen this movie before, I challenged my kids to be on the lookout for the things we had discussed so that we could talk about them on the way home.

It was such a success! Can you believe my “attention span of a gnat” 7 year old identified the flashback scene while her 11 and 9 year old brothers were still frowning in thought?

All of the kids could identify the protagonist and antagonist, although only my 11 year old remembered how to say the words. They got into a nice discussion over whether Mandrake was a dynamic or static character too. Did he change at all or was how he acted and what he wanted the same throughout the movie regardless of what happened around him?

The concept of plot was equally easy for them to grasp, although this particular movie didn’t lend itself easily to discussing sub-plots so that didn’t come up.

None of the kids could identify the instances of foreshadowing in Epic, but I really didn’t expect it; foreshadowing is subtle. So I told them about how the narration at the beginning told of “needing help” and how the father said something along the line of, “Just because you can’t see something doesn’t mean it’s not there.” These weren’t the greatest examples of foreshadowing, so we ended up referring to the book Johnny Tremain that we have been reading aloud.

All in all, our first foray into mindful movie discussion was a huge success. We will be doing it again, although we may skip this week’s Summer Movie (Smurfs 2, uh) and watch Mulan or Prince of Egypt or something.

Attached is a photo of my three younger kids waiting for Epic to start (my two teens weren’t interested in the Summer Movie program, so they have been staying home each week).

Thank you,
Robin

Image (cc)

Need help commenting meaningfully on plot, characterization, make-up and costumes, acting, setting and even film editing? Check out our eleven page guide, Brave Writer Goes to the Movies. Also, tell us about a film you and your kids watched together (along with a pic if you have one) and if we share it on the blog you’ll receive a free copy!

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Movie Wednesday: Singin’ in the Rain

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

Singin in the Rain“Singin’ in the Rain” in the Great Movie Ride at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Image by Sam Howzit (cc)

by Brave Writer alum, Kyriana Lynch

Singin’ in the Rain, the classic musical starring Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds, and Donald O’Connor, was released over sixty years ago in 1952. Since then, it has become a household name as much as “bacon and eggs” (to quote the film).

The trivia about the film is abundant and oh-so-fascinating. Watch—or re-watch—the movie with the family, and discuss the trivia together!

Debbie Reynolds

Debbie Reynolds was only 19 when she began filming this movie, and it was her first major film. Prior to Singin’ in the Rain, she was a gymnast and had no dance training.

Gene Kelly, a notorious perfectionist, criticized Reynolds’ dancing ability repeatedly while filming. One day, after some harsh words, she hid beneath a piano to cry. In a twist of Hollywood fate, she was found hiding by none other than Fred Astaire, who gave her some dancing advice.

During the “Good Morning” dance number, she kept up with Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor for fourteen hours of dancing, only to be carried off set with bleeding feet. Later, Kelly would say of her, “Debbie was strong as an ox and could work for hours.” However, Reynolds maintained that, “The two hardest things I ever did in my life are childbirth and ‘Singin’ In the Rain’.”

Gene Kelly

Debbie Reynolds wasn’t the only dancer having difficulties in the film. Even Gene Kelly struggled through filming the iconic “Singin’ in the Rain” scene. The scene took seven days to film, with six hours spent in the fake rain each day. Not only was the water mixed with milk to make it show better on camera, but the mixture made Kelly’s suit shrink. Even worse, the whole time while filming Kelly had a cold and a high fever.

Donald O’Connor

Donald O’Connor’s “Make ‘Em Laugh” dance has been described as one of the most complex numbers in cinematic history, and has never been repeated perfectly. After working himself to exhaustion filming the number, O’Connor was forced to rest for several days. Then, he learned that the film had been damaged. O’Connor had to record the entire scene all over again!

Other Trivia from the Movie

While recording the speaking voice for “The Dancing Cavalier,” it was decided that Debbie Reynolds’ speaking voice was not rich enough. Instead, the actress for Lina Lamont, Jean Hagen—who in reality had a beautiful voice—recorded the speaking voice in the scene. So in the film, Lina was dubbing Kathy who was dubbing Lina’s voice!

An initial idea for the ending featured Lina Lamont in a movie called “Jungle Princess,” where she would speak only in grunts. Also, she and Cosmo would have married.

Only two songs were written for the film: “Moses Supposes” and “Make ‘Em Laugh.” The other songs were all taken from previous MGM films. Thus, the screenwriters were given a list of songs and had to connect them into the script for the movie.

Hope you enjoyed learning these trivial tidbits! Do any of them change how you view the movie or the actors and actresses in it? Discuss your reactions with your family!

Need help commenting meaningfully on plot, characterization, make-up and costumes, acting, setting and even film editing? Check out our eleven page guide, Brave Writer Goes to the Movies. Also, tell us about a film you and your kids watched together (along with a pic if you have one) and if we share it on the blog you’ll receive a free copy!

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