Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Recent Thoughts on Movies and Media

 * My husband and I saw the movie the Saratov Approach last week and wow, it was intense but very good and inspiring. It tells the true story of two missionaries kidnapped in Russia in 1998. Be sure and see it if you get a chance. Afterwards, I had to look up how accurate it was to the real life events and loved reading this interview with the original missionaries.  They said that the movie was 95% accurate.  The movie handled the story of the missionaries well but also the story of their families back home.  The moral dilemma of a ransom was handled really well -- one set of parents had the money to pay but realized they couldn't do it without making every other missionary a target. 

Interestingly, I just read a book about the shipping industry at sea that spent a good deal of time on piracy and ransom.  In those cases, it's standard practice to pay out, eventually, and that just encourages more pirates and piracy.

*  I'm late to the game, I know, but we just saw Man of Steel last week and I was
disappointed.  The storyline had a lot of potential, but I felt it was overshadowed by the special effects department who overdid tons of scenes.  The one where Superman learns to fly?  Super cheesy.  Then the mayhem and destruction through New York that went on, and on, and on was a major turn-off. I've read several reviews where there was a lot of criticism of Superman for breaking Zod's neck.  That didn't bother me a bit.  The collateral damage of the earlier fight was a whole lot more troubling for me.

*  And on that note, my kids love the "How it should have ended" series.  Here's the one for Man of Steel:

& Lord of the Rings:

* I just watched the Mitt Romney documentary on Netflix.  It's good, but also sad.  He would have made a great president, and perhaps could have headed us away from the cliff he refers to at the end of the movie.  You know, the one we're headed towards as we continue to expand entitlements, raise the tax burden, and borrow to pay for it all?  As George Will said at BYU last fall, "What we are practicing today is a kind of decadent democracy," he said. "We used to run deficits to borrow for the future. We borrowed to win wars for the future, build roads, highways and airports for future generations. Today we borrow from the future, to finance our own current consumption. This is a fundamental immorality, if you will, burdening the unconsenting and unpresent future generations with the costs of our appetites. The problem is that we are 'wealing' a network of dependency, making Americans more and more dependent, in more and more ways, on government we really are not paying for." (source).

*  And if you have time, the entire speech George Will gave can be viewed below.  It's much more informative than the HISHE series.  ;)

*  We've spent most of our marriage without access to what our kids call "channel TV."  We like it that way because it cuts down on the advertising our kids are exposed to, cuts out a lot of smut and garbage (even commercials for good programming often include this), and gives us more family time together.  It also makes us more selective with what we watch and buy for our DVD collection.  We love watching old episodes of The Cosby Show and wish there was clean, quality comedy today.

Being without TV doesn't mean we don't have media, though.  We've had Netflix for a year and have enjoyed watching Merlin (the whole family) and My Little Pony (the little girls). 

Every two years, as a family tradition, we've found a way to get TV for the month of the Olympics.  We love watching the athletes compete and hearing their individual stories.  Sometimes, we've had to creatively use rabbit ears, other times we've just paid for a month of cable.

This time, in an attempt to keep their customers happy when Google Fiber comes to town, Comcast contacted us a month ago, offering a free upgrade to our service.  Faster internet and a "basic" tv package for the same price we were paying before.  So we now have channel TV again and we're eagerly awaiting the opening of the Sochi games.  In the meantime, we've been recording a few old favorites and discovering some new ones.  But it sure seems like the pickings are slim for educational, interesting, engaging, and CLEAN programming.  Anyone have some suggestions?  We like Restaurant Impossible, and Mythbusters.  We've also recorded some realtor programs like Hawaii Life and Island Hunters (a girl can dream, right?), some waste-of-time shows like Finding Bigfoot (my boys love it, I just roll my eyes) and Too Cute.  And of course, shows for the little girls like Angelina Ballerina and Sofia the First

So far, it's been nice to have some new shows to watch, but I haven't felt drawn to anything in particular.  I'm getting tired of the same tired cliches on The Biggest LoserAfter so many years of being very discerning about our watching, I'm pretty sensitive to gore, violence, and innuendo (which is why I only lasted one episode of Downton Abbey).  With that in mind, what's on your watch list?  What do you recommend for a mom who wants something engaging to watch while she folds laundry?  For the whole family?
And what good movies have you watched recently?


swedemom said...

Brent and I went to a movie a few weeks ago, our first in probably seven months. We liked it mostly, but were so bothered by the previews for films that I felt almost sick.

We like watching Macgyver as a family and Brent and I watch Merlin together.

I have yet to find a clean, decent comedy that is appropriate. I hear Bill Cosby is going to have a new show. Maybe it will be good.

I enjoyed Downton Abbey for about two seasons partially because the era fascinates me because it was such a turning point in society. I also liked how they show the effects of one person's actions on the entire family. I liked how the wars years played out but after that, I didn't want to watch it further. And as I read more reviews of the current season, which is number four, I am disappointed in the direction it takes.

I am tired of seeing shows with immature characters who don't grow up or take responsibility for their lives. The comedy is stagnant and crude without genuine wit or intelligence. The characters tend to be immoral and indecent. Really a very sad commentary of the times we live in.

The Wright Family said...

We don't love Sophia the First because of it's sorcery and black magic. I thought it lacked some sweetness too. My girls love My Little Pony too!

My kids of all ages loved watching The Andy Griffith Show on Netflix. The bigger boys liked Macgyver on Netflix. My outdoorsy son likes River Monsters. We all have enjoyed watching Duck Dynasty.

Please update if you find any other shows that you can all enjoy!

Megan said...

If you haven't already seen it, I LOVE "North and South" (about England, NOT the civil war), and I also enjoyed "Wives and Daughters" both mini-series on Netflix based on Elizabeth Gaskill's books. W&D, though, has some infuriating characters, so I think it depends on your tolerance for that. =)

I also very much enjoyed "The Great British Sewing Bee" which I watched via YouTube. I think it only had 4 episodes, but they were very fun and so much less cut-throat and more informative than Project Runway and the like.

We enjoyed 'Wind at my Back' when we had access to BYUtv and have heard good things about 'Granite Flats', though we haven't watched it yet.

We also really enjoy "Phineas & Ferb" -- their music CDs are great for singing along on road trips. =)

Liz Wheeler said...

We are pretty dull when it comes to TV and movies.
The kids loved Angelina for years and then really got into SuperWhy and Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood.
Tim watches a lot of clean standup comedy - Brian Reagan, and Jim Gaffigan and Taylor Mason mostly. He likes actions shows so he's into the new Sherlock series on PBS and SHIELD on ABC. I think they are a bit violent and have crossed the line in lots of areas personally. He also liked Captain Phillips -the movie. Our regular watch is This Old House and Ask This Old House on PBS because we are do-it-yourselfers I guess. Oh, and I work out to Who Do You Think You Are? the geneology reality show now on TLC. PS we watch Cosby every Saturday night while we get the kids "Sunday ready" after baths. Also, do you have any new podcasts to recommend from your earlier post?

Jacki said...

My husband and I enjoy White Collar on Netflix. It is the only show I can think of that has a great marital example as a main character.

Andrea said...

My sister-in-law, who has given me great recommendations and who is pretty discerning and choosy about media, recommended "Call the Midwife" to me. I don't know if she's seen more than a season or two, so I can't vouch for all of it, but I'd be watching them if they were free on Amazon Prime! :)


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