There is a fairly constant discussion in my home over the television. Or rather how much of it my child should be watching. There are lots of studies, blogs, and opinions on the matter with a great many who will tell you that she shouldn’t watch any. TV is the opiate of the masses, the boob-tube, a bad babysitter, etc. It rots the brain. My wife and I sometimes side with those thoughts and try to not let her watch any. Except when we do. Which is often. Sometimes you just have to. Like when you are trying to clean or cook supper, read or god-forbid get a moment's rest. My daughter is needy and a talker. She wants your attention pretty much every waking moment. That’s nice, and lovely, and wonderful, but also exhausting. Sometimes you just need a moments respite. The TV brings that.
My wife and I are also great fans of both film and excellent (and not so excellent) television. At the end of the day (or sometimes at the beginning, or middle), we like to sit down on the couch and watch something interesting. There are lot of other things we enjoy as well - music, theater, taking long walks, travel - but the thing we do most is sit at home and let the flickering lights flicker at us. While sometimes I feel a little guilty over this, mostly I enjoy it. Sure, one can watch too many movies, consume too many hours of television, but I’m a firm believer in the power, beauty, and merit of great cinema (even if it comes in the form of a half-hour television comedy). Cinema is Art and Art makes the world a better place.
I’m happy to allow my child to learn her ABCs from Sesame Street and to be enthralled by Mary Poppins. I love sitting with her watching Aladdin for the fiftieth time - laughing at the Genie and singing along to the songs. I often think about the day I’ll sit with her and watch Star Wars (and I’ve spent entirely too much time pondering in what order we’ll watch the series the first time) and Lord of the Rings, or The Goonies, or Gremlins and the Karate Kid. I want to build those memories. Cinema has been a huge and important part of my life and I want to share that with my daughter throughout her's.
I don’t know why I’m even making this argument here. If you are reading this on a site called "Cinema Sentries," then you likely already understand the importance of film. You no doubt love movies like I love them and if you have kids (or want them), then sharing that love will be an important part of your life as well.
I really do spend a lot of time thinking about what movies I want to watch with my daughter as she grows. When she was born I debated with my wife over what movie would become her first. She was just a baby, there was no way she’d understand anything happening on the screen or remember in the slightest way what she had seen. Still, it seemed important to choose something meaningful to be her very first film. In the end I went with my favorite movie - Casablanca - and even though she won’t remember watching it with me, I cherish that memory. I hope to watch it again with her someday and tell her about why it's so important to me.
There are loads of films like that. Movies I can’t wait to share with her. Movies I hope she makes her own. Right now, it's mostly cartoons and family films. Later, it will be action-adventures and sci-fi classics. Later still, it will be zombies, vampires, and horror. Memories in the making. I already cherish them.
At three years of age, she’s already watched all the Pixar movies and a great many of the classic Disney ones. By "classic", I really mean the Disney pictures from the '80s and early '90s, the ones I watched growing up. Not so much the ones made while Walt himself was still living. We’re getting to those, but more slowly.
Truth be told it's actually rather difficult for me to remember Sleeping Beauty. I know I’ve seen it. More than once, actually. And I remember bits and pieces like the kiss that awakens her and the dragon in the thorn bushes, but those memories are all faded and gray. It will be amazing to watch it again with my little girl and be surprised by it as she watches it anew. That’s the beauty of cinema. The magic can be sparked again and again.
This new Diamond Edition contains a few brand new extras including 13 minutes of deleted scenes, a couple of short features on Disney villains and creating animated characters plus a sing-along and another feature on Disney World’s Festival of Parade. Now things get a little hinky. From what I’ve read in Davy's review, the Diamond Edition makes no changes to the audio and video presentation. That’s not too bad as that edition did a big restoration to both and got raves in 2008. They’ve also imported many of the extras from that disk including audio commentaries and more features. Sadly, they left out a whole slew of extras from that edition. Which means if you own the Platinum Edition, there is no reason to grab this one, and if you can find the Platinum on sale somewhere, you should grab it. Otherwise you’ll have to make due with the Diamond Edition, but again the audio video is still supposed to be magnificent.
Million Dollar Arm: Loosely based on the true story of a baseball scout recruiting cricket players from India, this Disney family movie stars John Hamm, which is enough for me to be slightly interested.
Supermensch: Mike Myers steps behind the camera to direct this documentary about Shep Gordon, a legendary insider who has managed folks like Alice Cooper, Groucho Marx, Blondie, and launched the career of Emeril Lagasse and created a billion dollar industry around celebrity chefs.
In the Flesh: Season 2: An interesting twist on the tired zombie genre. In this show, the zombies are semi-cured and sent back to live normal lives. Except all the non-zombie humans don’t really want to live next to former brain-eaters. I’ve just seen the first episode of season one but even just that was better than the first two seasons of The Walking Dead.
Hemlock Grove: Season 1: Netflix’s first foray into original horror hasn’t fared well with critics, but as a genre fan I’m ready to dive in.
To Be Takei: George Takei has resurrected his career via social media and now his husband Brad has made a movie about him. (Read Adam Blair's review.)
Bates Motel: Season Two: I’m still trying to catch up on Hannibal, but as soon as I do this new take on these classic characters are next.
Alien 35th Anniversary Blu-ray: I can’t find any information on this one concerning extras or anything, but I’m still considering the upgrade.
Vikings: Season 2: I’ve not seen any buzz nor reviews at all on this History channel drama, but a show about Vikings has me intrigued.
American Horror Story 3: Coven: It seems like I’m always behind on my TV and this is no different. I’m still in the middle of Season One, but while its a bit over the top its still great fun.
Live Die Repeat: Edge of Tomorrow: It seems they’ve added to the title to perhaps give audience members an idea of what the movie is about. It's enough to put it on my list (though at the very bottom).
A Million Ways to Die in the West: I don’t like Seth MacFarlane. This one got panned by pretty much everybody. Still, I suppose its worth mentioning.
Psych: The Complete Series: I could never really get into this show. Though I do love me some Dule Hill.
The Office: The Complete Series: I gave up on this one some time right before Steve Carell left. I keep telling myself to finish it, but other things keep getting in the way.
China Beach: The Complete Series: I remember this show coming on after something I really liked as a kid. I always turned it off, but I was always kind of intrigued by it. One of these days I’ll find out if its any good.
Nekromantic: A Blu-ray upgrade on a horror film so sick I’ve never had the guts to watch it.