Archive for the ‘Wednesday Movies’ Category

Movie Wednesday: The Wizard of Oz

Movie Wednesday Wizard of Oz

Dorothy lives a quiet life on her family’s farm in Kansas. She longs for adventure—and that’s exactly what she gets when a tornado sucks up her house and drops it into the Land of Oz!

With her little dog Toto, Dorothy meets a host of colorful characters: the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion. Together they set off for the Emerald City home of the Wizard of Oz. Only he can grant their deepest wishes, and get Dorothy home. But can they escape the fearsome Wicked Witch of the West? And is the Wizard all that he seems?


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Adapted from the widely popular novel by L. Frank Baum, the Wizard of Oz was brought to the big screen in 1939. The film had a troubled production period. The script had many drafts by various writers and the production went through five different directors! Many of those writers and directors are not credited in the final film regardless of their contributions.

Despite all this and the fact that the film was initially considered a box office flop, the Wizard of Oz has gone on to become an iconic staple of American cinema. Notable for its juxtaposition of black and white film with bright outrageous technicolor, as well as its award winning score, the Wizard of Oz is widely considered a classic.

Discussion Questions

  • The film differs from the book in a number of ways (example: the ruby slippers were originally silver). Why do you think some of these changes were made?
  • The ending of the film, where the audience is told that the Land of Oz was just a dream, was added in because the studio felt that a 1939 audience wouldn’t accept Oz’s fantastical elements. How does this change the message of the film? Do you think it hurts or enhances the story? Explain.
  • One of the two Oscars the film won was for the song “Over the Rainbow.” What’s your favorite song in the movie and why?
  • The Wizard of Oz has a lot of memorable lines. Do you have a favorite? Why is it your favorite?
  • What do you think of the Wicked Witch of the West? Why do you think she might behave as she does?
  • If you found yourself in Oz, what would you do?

Additional Resources

DIY ruby slippers

How to make Wizard of Oz inspired bookmarks

DIY no sew Dorothy dress

Movie Discussion Club

Movie Wednesday: The Hunger Games

Movie Wednesday The Hunger Games

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

Untold years in the future, the nation of Panem hosts an annual event called the Hunger Games, in which one boy and one girl from 12 Districts between the ages of 12 and 18 are chosen as Tributes and forced to compete in a live broadcast death match until only one Victor remains.

Katniss Everdeen, a 16-year-old girl from the outlying District 12, volunteers for the Hunger Games to save her younger sister from competing. Katniss, along with fellow Tribute Peeta, is taken from her home and family and carted off to the extravagant Capital where she will have to fight to the death against other children if she hopes to survive and return home.

The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins (featuring the Hunger Games and Catching Fire, which are among our Boomerang titles) was adapted into four films released from 2012 to 2015 to much critical acclaim, becoming one of the biggest film franchises. Touching on issues of family, violence, reality TV culture, consumerism, and political injustice, the Hunger Games films tell a story of human struggle and are a great jumping off point for Big Juicy Conversations.

A note to parents: All four installments in the Hunger Games films are rated PG-13. We recommend looking up the films on sites such as Commonsense Media for detailed lists of content so that you can make an informed decision about whether the films are right for your family.

Discussion Questions

  • If someone you cared about was picked for the Hunger Games, would you volunteer in their place like Katniss does for Prim? Explain.
  • Why do you think the Capital has such outrageous fashions and trends? What do you think these things say about the society living in the Capital?
  • The Hunger Games films stay pretty faithful to the books, but if you’ve read the books you may notice some differences. Were there any changes the films made that you didn’t like? Explain your answers.
  • In the fictional world of Panem, the Hunger Games are broadcast live and are presented in a manner which is unmistakably similar to the reality TV of our real world. What do you think the story may be trying to say about reality television and pop culture?
  • How do you feel about the Hunger Games mechanizing and marketing materials since the films are so critical of consumerism and commercialism?

Additional Resources

Hunger Games Book Club ideas from notbefore7

Learn language arts with the Hunger Games and Catching Fire Boomerangs!

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: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

Movie Wednesday: Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs

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

Swallow Falls is a tiny island in the Atlantic Ocean where everyone makes their living by fishing for sardines. But when the world stops eating sardines, the future looks set to be grey and tasteless.

But Swallow Falls is also home to one of the world’s most original inventors, Flint Lockwood. Flint’s latest invention can turn water into food, and it might just save the town’s economy and make it world famous… or possibly destroy civilization with enormous meatballs and spaghetti tornadoes! Now it’s up to Flint, Steve the Monkey, and weather reporter Sam Sparks, to save the world from the first ever food storm!

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is a fun, colorful film about big ideas and never giving up. Give it a go!

Discussion Questions

  • Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is based on a picture book of the same name. If you’ve read it, how do you think the film compares?
  • Would you want to live somewhere where it rained food? Why or why not?
  • Which characters change throughout the film and which ones stay the same? Share examples.
  • Ultimately, did Flint help Swallow Falls or just give it more problems? Explain your answer.
  • What do you think is the overall “message” of the film? It’s OK to be geeky? Follow your dreams? Too much junk food can kill? Something else?

Additional Resources

Family Breakfast Party – How to make a Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs themed breakfast.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs picture book – Check out the story that started it all.

Movie Discussion Club

Movie Wednesday: Planet of the Apes

Movie Wednesday Planet of the Apes

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

Taylor, an astronaut explorer and his crew, depart the planet Earth in 1972. They awake from stasis to discover that they have crash landed on a strange planet in the year 3978. The astronauts learn that the planet is inhabited by primitive humans without the power of speech and is ruled instead by intelligent talking apes. Taylor is captured and brought to the ape city where he and his captors will have to face questions of what constitutes intelligent life and grapple with their beliefs and identities as Taylor’s mere presence throws the ape society into an uproar.

Before the big budget, CGI heavy reboot in 2011, Planet of the Apes was first brought to the big screen in 1968. Hailed for its cutting-edge makeup and prosthetics as well as its challenging and innovative story, this film is considered a classic in its genre and stars Charlton Heston as Taylor. The film was inspired by the early ‘60s novel by Pierre Boulle and launched a franchise which endures to this day.

With the next installment in the reboot set to release in July 2017, now is a great time to journey back to the cinema of the ‘60s and ‘70s and experience this widely popular and seminal film series from the beginning.

A note to parents: Although the original Planet of the Apes films are rated G and PG respectively, they were released prior to significant changes in how films are rated and their content is not comparable to modern day films of the same rating. Discretion is advised for younger viewing audiences and you may wish to look up the content of the films prior to viewing using a site such as Commonsense Media.

Discussion Questions

  • The apes have a cast system segregating chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutans into strict social roles. Why do you think this is? And do you think it’s a good system? Explain your answers.
  • In the original film, apes treat humans as inferior life and therefore feel it’s acceptable to experiment and treat them poorly, similar to the way humans treat animals now. What do you think this says about our own society?
  • If you found yourself on the planet of the apes, how do you think you would react? Would you make the same choices as Taylor or would you make different ones? Explain you answer.

A full length documentary detailing the production of all five original films is available with the DVD/Blu-Ray set.


Check out our guide:

Brave Writer Goes to the Movies

Movie Wednesday: Inside Out

Movie Wednesday Inside Out

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

In Disney Pixar’s Inside Out, eleven year old Riley goes to school, plays hockey…and has five tiny people inside her mind. Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear, and Disgust all have specific jobs in Riley’s head. They keep her emotions balanced. But when her family moves to San Francisco, Riley starts feeling a lot less Joy and a lot more of everything else.

Things go from bad to worse when Joy and Sadness are accidentally lost in the enormous maze of Riley’s Long Term Memory. With her personality collapsing and Fear, Disgust, and Anger unable to save Riley, can Joy and Sadness make it back before Riley stops having emotions at all?

The movie is vivid, clever, and of course, emotional. Give Inside Out a watch.

Discussion Questions

  • Which of Riley’s emotions is your favorite? Explain why.
  • Riley’s mom’s emotions are “female” and her dad’s “male,” but Riley’s own emotions are a mixture. What does that tell us about her character?
  • How could Riley’s parents have reacted differently to Riley’s problems adjusting to change?
  • Describe how your emotions might look. Which one is in control most of the time?
  • Write a conversation between your emotions.

This film is also an opportunity to start a conversation with your kids about mental health, since Riley at the very least shows signs of an Adjustment Disorder though the film conceptualizes this in kid friendly language.

Additional Resources

Psychology Today Article on how Inside Out is stays true to cognitive, developmental, and clinical psychological.

Untranslatable Emotions – Feelings we might not know we have because we don’t have words for them.

Inside Out Party Ideas.

Movie Discussion Club