Archive for the ‘Wednesday Movies’ Category

Movie Wednesday: Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them

Movie Night Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

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Harry Potter is the teenage wizard at the heart of one of the most beloved series of all time. First through books, then through films, he’s captured the hearts of millions. Now, a new series of films set in Harry’s world is just beginning, and it promises to be every bit as magical.

In the movie, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Newt Scamander is a friendly, awkward “magizoologist.” He travels around the world seeking out extraordinary creatures and befriending them. When he arrives in New York City, 1926, he doesn’t expect to stay for long. But when he loses his suitcase full of fantastic beasts and accidentally gets in the wrong side of the American wizard police, his trip to America may be a bit more complicated than he thought!

If you loved Harry Potter, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them will show you even more of the magical world. This is the perfect opportunity to take the family to see a movie and create a magical cinematic experience. Watching movies at home can be wonderful, but sometimes there’s no substitute for that good ol’ silver screen.

Discussion Questions

  • The word “fantastic” sometimes means “extraordinary,” but it is also used to describe things which are imaginative, fanciful, or remote from reality. Which meaning do you think the film title uses—or does it mean both at once? Explain your answer.
  • Which character or characters do you think change the most during the course of the film? How do that change? And why might it be important for characters to change or grow during a story?
  • Why do you think J.K. Rowling has chosen to tell the story of Newt Scamander, as opposed to one of her other minor characters? Is there anyone else in Harry Potter you want to find out more about?
  • Which of Newt’s fantastic beasts would you most like to meet? How might the conversation go?
  • If you had a suitcase like Newt’s, what would you keep in it?

Additional Resources

Fantastic Beasts Themed Party

A Mythical Creatures Resource

Movie Discussion Club

Movie Wednesday: Because of Winn-Dixie

Movie Night: Because of Winn Dixie

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Brave Writer receives compensation at no extra cost to you. Thank you!]

Opal lives a quiet life with her father, a preacher. Both of them still miss Opal’s mother, who abandoned them years ago, and neither of them quite know what to say to each other in her absence. They’ve just moved to a trailer park in a town called Naomi, and as her father isn’t the sort to introduce himself to new people, it’s up to Opal. One of the first people she meets isn’t actually a person, but a stray dog, whom Opal calls Winn-Dixie (after a supermarket).

Over the summer, Opal and Winn-Dixie get to know the people of Naomi—the librarian, the pet shop owner, and Gloria Dump who has a tree covered in bottles—and Opal even gets to know her father better. Winn-Dixie might be Opal’s greatest friend, until a storm breaks out during a community party, and Opal might end up losing him as well.

Because of Winn-Dixie was adapted into a film in 2005, directed by Wayne Wang with a screenplay by Joan Singleton, based on the novel of the same name by Kate DiCamillo. It’s a film for the whole family about redemption, new beginnings and learning to let go.

Discussion Questions

  • If you’ve read the book, how do you think the film compares?
  • Have you ever had a pet? What do you think a pet brings to one’s life?
  • Gloria Dump has a special “mistake tree” to show all the mistakes she’s made. What would your mistake tree have on it?
  • Winn-Dixie has a fear of lightning. Do you have any strong fears like that? How do you combat them?
  • Opal names Winn-Dixie after a supermarket. Think of unusual names you might name an animal.

Additional Resources

Because of Winn-Dixie themed activities

Literary studies ideas for Because of Winn-Dixie

23 pickling recipes

movie-wednesday-because-of-winn-dixie-revised

Learning language arts with the Because of Winn-Dixie Arrow!

The Arrow is the monthly digital product that features copywork and dictation passages from a specific read aloud novel (you purchase or obtain the novels yourself). It’s geared toward children ages 8-11 and is an indispensable tool for parents who want to teach language arts in a natural, literature-bathed context.

 

Movie Wednesday: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Movie Night: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

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Brave Writer receives compensation at no extra cost to you. Thank you!]

One of the most successful book series of all time, Harry Potter has enchanted several different generations and inspired millions. The books have all been adapted into an equally successful film series, beginning with the first one, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (links to digital edition).

Orphaned as a baby and living with his horrible aunt and uncle, Harry James Potter isn’t the happiest boy in the world… until a giant kicks down the front door and tells him he’s a wizard. Enrolled at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Harry’s life becomes quite literally magical. He makes new friends, Ron and Hermione, learns extraordinary spells, and discovers a secret hidden at the heart of the school. The teachers at Hogwarts are protecting something, and it may be in a lot more danger than they think…

You may well have seen it before, but the first Harry Potter film is still a marvelous experience for the whole family.

Discussion Questions

  • If you’ve read the book, how do you think the film compares?
  • A character arc is the “transformation or inner journey of a character over the course of a story.” How do you think Harry, Ron and Hermione change throughout the film?
  • Is Hogwarts really a safe place for children, considering how many dangerous animals live in the grounds? Would you want to actually go there? Why or why not.
  • Harry essentially kills Quirrell at the film’s climax, unlike in the novel. How do you feel about this rather dark alteration?
  • When a series is loved by millions, as Harry Potter is, we can sometimes lose sight of what makes it so special to us. What does the story of Harry Potter mean to you personally?

Additional Resources

Potter Party Mania! – How to plan and execute a very Harry Potter party!

Harry Potter Crafts – A great resource for all things Potter crafts. Everything from knitting to food.

Harry Potter Recipes – 13 recipes every Harry Potter fan will love.

movie-wednesday-arrow-harry-potter

Learn language arts with the Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone Arrow!

The Arrow is the monthly digital product that features copywork and dictation passages from a specific read aloud novel (you purchase or obtain the novels yourself). It’s geared toward children ages 8-11 and is an indispensable tool for parents who want to teach language arts in a natural, literature-bathed context.

 

Movie Wednesday: The Great Gatsby

Movie Wednesday: The Great Gatsby

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Written in 1925 by F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby is widely considered a masterpiece. Over the years it’s been adapted into ballets, plays, and several films; and in 2013 it was made into a film again, a luscious extravaganza directed by Baz Luhrmann  and starring Leonardo DiCaprio (in order to evaluate whether or not this PG-13 movie is appropriate for your family, we recommend watching it first and/or using the Kids-in-Mind website).

Plot Summary

In the 1920s, Nick Carraway spends a summer on Long Island, experiencing the wild lifestyle of the East and visiting his beautiful cousin Daisy. Nick’s neighbor, Mr Gatsby, throws the most expensive and exciting parties in the country, even though he himself is never seen. All these parties are held for one reason—to attract Daisy, whom Gatsby has loved for years. But is there any hope for Daisy and Gatsby when they finally meet again? And what will happen when Daisy’s brutal husband Tom finds out?

Discussion Questions

  • How do you think the film compares to to the book?
  • Which character do you sympathize with the most and why? Do you think any of them are irrefutably right or wrong in what they believe and do? Explain.
  • The film is full of visual metaphors—the clock Gatsby nearly breaks, doors banging open, Daisy’s pearl necklace and the green light at the end of the dock. What do you think these represent?
  • The ending of the film is extremely downbeat, with none of the main characters ending up truly happy. Do you prefer happy endings in films? Why or why not.

Additional Resources

Great Gatsby Fried Chicken – How to make Great Gatsby fried chicken!

How to plan a Great Gatsby themed party – Tinsel chandeliers, table settings, and flowers—everything you might need for your Great Gatsby themed party.

Boomerang The Great GatsbyLearn language arts with the Great Gatsby 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 Night: How to Train Your Dragon

Movie Wednesday How to Train Your Dragon

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

Cressida Cowell’s How to Train Your Dragon has captivated millions since it was first published, and in 2012 it was adapted into a film. The film is very different from the book, but it’s a gorgeous piece of work that’s definitely worth a watch.

On the storm-tossed island of Berk, Vikings and dragons are locked in a brutal war. Hiccup, teenage son of the Chief, has a lot on his shoulders and is desperate to prove himself. But when he shoots down a dragon in battle, he can’t bring himself to kill it—and the dragon can’t bring itself to kill Hiccup.

In utmost secret, Hiccup gradually befriends the dragon, whom he names Toothless. Their friendship might change the world. But Hiccup’s friends are growing closer to discovering the truth, and the Vikings and dragons are getting closer and closer to wiping each other out. It might already be too late.

Beautifully animated and with an important message at its heart, How to Train Your Dragon is a superb film for the whole family.

Discussion Questions

  • The movie is quite a loose adaptation of the book. It uses the original idea to create new characters and a new story line. Do you enjoy films like that or do you prefer adaptations that stick more closely to the source material? Explain your answer.
  • How does the soundtrack contribute to the cinematic experience?
  • Would the film work as live action? Give examples where it might or might not work as well.
  • Though the tribe call themselves Vikings, they bear little resemblance to historical Vikings. Does historical accuracy matter in a fantasy film? Why or why not?
  • Would you like to own a dragon? If so, what kind?

Additional Resources

How to Train Your Dragon party ideas – DIY ideas for a How to Train Your Dragon themed kids party.

Make Your Own Viking Helmet – Create your own Viking helmet.

Arrow How to Train Your Dragon Learn language arts naturally with the How to Train Your Dragon Arrow!

The Arrow is the monthly digital product that features copywork and dictation passages from a specific read aloud novel (you purchase or obtain the novels yourself).

It’s geared toward children ages 8-11 and is an indispensable tool for parents who want to teach language arts in a natural, literature-bathed context.