Archive for the ‘Wednesday Movies’ Category

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

How Movies Made Me a Reader and Writer

why you should let your kids watch adaptations

By Brave Writer Alum Amy Frantz

I would often hear, either in the homes of family members or in the aisles of stores, a parent telling their child, “You have to read the book first,” when the child asked for a movie. I heard this all through my childhood outside of our home and it never made sense to me.

Movies made me a reader and a writer.

Allow me to explain:

I am severely dyslexic. By the age of eleven, I still could not read well. In fact, I didn’t start reading well until my teens. Reading is physically painful for me, but I did it and do it for long chunks of time a day anyway. Reading is vitally important to me, but for a large part of my childhood and adolescence I couldn’t read or couldn’t read well.

So, I watched movies and TV shows instead. I first travelled to Narnia through the television and the BBC’s excellent Chronicles of Narnia adaptations. I met Harry Potter and journeyed to Hogwarts through the cinema, not through the written word. I had adventures with Peter Rabbit through animation. Film and television ignited my love of stories, a love which has lasted my entire life.

I was quite lucky to be raised outside the school system by a homeschooling mother who was calmly undismayed by my difficulty reading. My mom steadfastly believed that I would get there in my own time, in my own way. And I did.

I was raised in a language rich environment. My mom read to my brothers and me daily. For long car rides, we had audio books. Mom would take us to the library and I would go to the kid’s section and take a seat beside the Beatrix Potter books. I couldn’t read them, but I liked to be near her words. I would flip through the books, looking at the illustrations, and running my fingers over her words. I checked out books I couldn’t really read ‘cause I wanted to take the words with me and I was allowed to do that.

But more than all this, my parents allowed me to have access to adaptations of books. No one insisted that I “read the book first.” I was allowed to check out the BBC Chronicles of Narnia from the library as many times as I wanted. I’m sure I watched the first Harry Potter movie until my entire family was sick of it.

I loved these stories so much and I loved words even if their written form was a tricky foreign country with unreadable road signs. Because I loved stories so much, I wanted access to their source material.

Movies and television not only made me want to read books,
but they made the reading easier.

When I begged my mom to let me have the first Harry Potter novel, it was a struggle for me to read it at the age of eleven. But because I already knew the basic story, because I knew how most of the pieces fit, if I had to skip sections or couldn’t understand large swaths of paragraphs, that was okay because I wouldn’t get lost.

Adaptations gave me a road map for this strange land of written words that can still be difficult for me to navigate even today. If I don’t concentrate, the words will fracture and all their meaning will run right off the page. Movies and television helped me to put the meaning back when I was still struggling so hard to read.

I honestly don’t know how my development would have gone if I had been raised in an environment that limited my access to stories. I might not enjoy reading now and I probably wouldn’t be a writer.

When I was young, my parents gave me a bulky red tape recorder that I could carry around with me, and I told my stories into that because I couldn’t yet write. It was counted as writing even though there wasn’t a pen in my hand.

My mom accommodated my learning disability. While she still diligently worked with me at handwriting and phonics, undeterred by my seeming lack of much progress, she also gave me access to the forms of language and expression that were easiest for me, instead of insisting I restrict myself to the forms which were painful, difficult, and limiting.

Developing reading and writing skills in children don’t always look like a child sitting with a book open in their hands or physically putting a pen to paper. Sometimes a child developing reading and writing skills looks like watching Harry Potter for the thousandth time or speaking into a recording device. I think it’s important to give kids access to stories and language in the ways that are easiest for them. While still teaching the ‘hard’ stuff, sure, but not letting the hard stuff dominate the child’s linguistic landscape.

I grew up with fantastical stories and words, so many words, running through my head. I grew up with Narnia and Hogwarts and Wonderland, Winnie-the-Pooh and Shakespeare, and so many more. I had a childhood rich in language, but it oftentimes might have looked to an outsider like a kid “just watching television.”

I put forth for your consideration that a child who wants to watch the same Disney film for the third time this week is a child who wants to actively engage with a story and with words spoken and sung. That’s a child loving a story just as much as the child curled up on the couch with a book. And sometimes kids need to come at stories through a screen before they can pick up the book. If a child loves stories, they will probably want to pick up the book when it’s right for them, and that’s the most important thing.

Movie Discussion Club

Family Movie Night with The BFG

Movie Wednesday The BFG

[This post contains Amazon affiliate links. When you click on those links to make purchases,
Brave Writer receives compensation at no extra cost to you. Thank you!]

Sophie lives a lonely life in an orphanage…until one night she spies a prowling giant in a long black cloak with an enormous trumpet. Unfortunately, the giant spots her too and snatches her from her bed into the night! But this giant is no monster. He is the Big Friendly Giant!

Once she’s over the shock, Sophie has the biggest friend in the world and they go on amazing adventures. But Giant Country is also home to other giants—vicious creatures who eat humans for dinner every night. Sophie and the BFG have to save the children of the world, but they can’t do it alone…

Steven Spielberg recently adapted Roald Dahl’s classic novel The BFG, to mostly positive critical reception. But before that The BFG was adapted for television in 1989, which was one of the rare adaptations of Dahl’s work that the author himself liked.

Overflowing with frobscottle and whizzpoppers, The BFG is a gloriumptious adventure for the whole family!

Discussion Questions

  • If you’ve read the book, how do you think the movie compares? And if you’ve seen both film adaptations, which do you think is better and why?
  • Could the giants exist on a diet other than humans, or do they have no choice but to eat people? Why might that make a difference in how we view the giants?
  • Did the BFG make the right choice in kidnapping Sophie? Explain.
  • Is there an overall theme to the film? Stand up to the bullies? Friendship can be found anywhere? Don’t eat snozzcumbers? Something else? Give examples that illustrate the central message.
  • What’s your favorite made-up word that the BFG uses?

Additional Resources

Recipe for Snozzcumber Swiss Rolls

Top 10 Legendary Giants

8 Literary Activities Based on the BFG

Movie Discussion Club

Movie Night! Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

Movie Night Pirate of the Caribbean

[This post contains Amazon affiliate links. When you click on those links to make purchases,
Brave Writer receives compensation at no extra cost to you. Thank you!]

Captain Jack Sparrow arrives in Port Royal with nothing but the clothes on his back and a legendary reputation. He’s hoping to commandeer a ship, but when he saves the life of Elizabeth, the Governor’s daughter, he’s imprisoned and sentenced to death. But more pirates attack Port Royal that night—the cursed crew of a mysterious ship called The Black Pearl!

Pirates! Three hundred years ago they were the terror of the waves. To most westerners these days, pirates are the terror of the big screen where they entertain audiences worldwide.

The Pirates of the Caribbean film series is one of the most successful in history, and it’s somewhat unique in that it’s based on previously existing material, but the source material is not a book or a comic. Pirates of the Caribbean began as a theme park ride. It was the last attraction to be overseen by Walt Disney himself and opened in 1967 at Disneyland. The movie does, however, have a junior novelization…which, I suppose, would be an adaptation of an adaptation of a theme park? Argh, my head hurts!

The Curse of the Black Pearl is a marvelous swashbuckling adventure for the whole family. Give it a go!

Discussion Questions

  • Captain Jack is a classic antihero, a main character who lacks traditionally heroic characteristics. Do you still root for him or do you think he deserves to face justice? Explain your answer.
  • Which characters change most throughout the story? Give examples.
  • Captain Jack says that Will’s father was “a pirate and a good man.” Do you think that’s possible? What does it mean to be a good man?
  • Which genre would you class the film as? Adventure? Fantasy? Neither? Both? Share your reasons.

Additional Resources

Pirate Birthday Party – How to create a pirate party for kids with recycled materials.

The Great Illustrated Encyclopedia – Life aboard a pirate ship.

Goodreads – Books about pirates.

Movie Discussion Club

Movie Wednesday: Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them

Movie Night Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

[This post contains Amazon affiliate links. When you click on those links to make purchases,
Brave Writer receives compensation at no extra cost to you. Thank you!]

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