Is PG-13 Rated Ant-Man Suitable for Younger Children?

Is PG-13 Rated Ant-Man Suitable for Younger Children?

Something I’ve pointed out over the years in my family friendly movie reviews is that most movies these days are rated PG-13. That happens by default, since PG rated movies scare away adults (thinking the movie will be too cheesy), while R rated movies prevent many teenagers from being able to buy a movie ticket.

So since most movies are rated PG-13, I think it’s important to recognize which of those movies land closer to PG and which are closer to R. Because if this were about 30 years ago, Ant-Man wouldn’t have been rated PG-13. It would have been rated PG.

Let me begin by saying this movie is awesome! My son Jack and I loved it. My favorite Marvel movie up until this point was Captain America: The Winter Soldier. But there’s a good chance Ant-Man may be #1 in my book now.

It’s quick-witted, different, and yet warm.

Ant-Man is rated PG-13 due to action and fighting scenes; which are ultimately the equivalent to Power Rangers violence. The most intense violence actually comes in the form of fierce punches to the face.

It’s almost a theme in the movie: Face punching.

The only time my nearly 5 year-old son (4 years, 8 months to be exact) jumped in brief freight was during a few of the face punches, but it was mainly because the sound effects.

Other violence includes the main villain using a shrink-ray gun that shrinks a man as well as a sheep into a pink glob of mucus; therefore killing them both.

I think that in my son’s perspective, watching Ant-Man was like seeing the action violence of Power Rangers with the creepiness of Goosebumps on Netflix, with The Lego Movie type of humor.

There was no sexual content in Ant-Man or even innuendoes.

However, the assumed most “offensive” language in Ant-Man is one use of a word used for cat; but is used to refer to female genitalia. It is used briefly as an insult slang from one man to another, not in an explicit sexual content.

The other strong cuss word is one use of the phrase “S.O.B.”; only they don’t abbreviate it like I just did.

Other than that, there are definitely what I call PG-rated cuss words throughout. There were no uses of the f-word or “g.d.”; which are the ones most American parents seem to find the most offensive.

The reason the language didn’t bother me was that my son is too young to recognize those words as “bad words” yet.  He doesn’t hear them in our house or at his school, so it didn’t worry me for him to passively hear them in Ant-Man.

He thinks stupid and “oh my gosh” are bad words; neither of which I remember being in this movie.

I don’t think my son would have been able to handle the intensity of Jurassic World or the new Ninja Turtles movie. But Ant-Man was PG enough for him.

So would I recommend Ant-Man to younger children? I say yes, if your child is accustomed to Power Rangers, Goosebumps, and The Lego Movie.

If not, Ant-Man may be too intense, and too serious, for them to appreciate.

Please feel free to let me know your thoughts on my analysis on the “family friendly” factor of Ant-Man, as well as allowing me to answer any further questions  you may about this loveable movie.

Also, here’s my video review of Ant-Man:

Saving Your Family Money by Buying Retail at the End of the Month

Saving Your Family Money by Buying Retail at the End of the Month

I’ve spent nearly a decade working in the transportation industry. (I do that in addition to blogging and making videos for my YouTube channel.)

It’s simple common knowledge to me but I have to remind myself that most retail consumers are probably unaware of it:

You’re typically more likely to find better sales during the end of the month; which is when retailers are most desperate to move out inventory before the new month begins, because then they have to pay taxes on the inventory they didn’t sell.

I refuse to be the guy who pays full price for anything. And I don’t simply want a sale, I want the best sale.

Granted, there will obviously always be exceptions, like certain holiday clearance sales; but I have made and do make a living of off of this principle that retail stores typically save their best sales each month for those last 2 weeks.

So be at the right place at the right time. Wait until the next to the last Tuesday of the month before you buy what you want.

That’s what our family did last Saturday when we made a trip to Old Navy.

I created this “Old Navy Haul” video, which explains this concept, in addition to showing what I bought and for how much. It ends which my son hosting a “pants party”; a concept he invented recently.

My video features my newest song, “The Mandatory Dance,” which I wrote and performed for an upcoming episode of my super hero series, Jack-Man.

So keep this in mind the next time you plan a shopping trip. Make those coupons count more by buying when prices are predictably lower. Take advantage of the situation instead of letting it take advantage of you.

Please feel free to share any similar tips with me here. You may teach me something!

Saving Your Family Money by Buying Retail at the End of the Month

Dear Jack: You’re Not Growing Up Way Too Fast

4 years, 8 months.

The Reason You’re Not Growing Up Too Fast

Dear Jack,

I’ve never felt that you are growing up too quickly. I think you’re growing up at exactly the right speed.

The metronome in my head works just fine as it measures at what rate you should graduate across the sliding scale of baby to boy.

Maybe a good reason I feel this way is that I’ve written at least one blog post and/or letter to or about you since before you were born. That’s more than 5 years now!

There are now hundreds of stories and pictures of your life story that I have preserved in time. (And they all can be retrieved by clicking on the Blog Archives tab on the left side of the screen.)

So maybe I am the exception to the rule of feeling my kid is growing up too fast. I never find myself missing any younger version of you. I have warm nostalgic thoughts about those days, but I don’t miss them.

Because I so appreciate who you are now.

You’re perfect. You’re exactly everything I could possibly hope for in a son.

You are a beautiful, intelligent, and creative young boy.

It is a gift each day that I get to see who you are becoming.

Maybe I’m being too pragmatic here, but if I really wanted to relive the “baby days”, I should focus getting you a brother or sister…

That seems like the best way to relive that time period, but at the same time be able to appreciate the nearly 5 year-old boy you are.

But no, you’re not growing up too quickly for me.

You’re my genius son who just entered his Lego creations into the upcoming county fair. But you’re also down-to-Earth enough that you fully appreciated the “pooping moose” key chain I brought back from Grand Rapids this week as a souvenir.




This is Not a Facebook Pregnancy Announcement, Just a Social Commentary about Them…

This is Not a Facebook Pregnancy Announcement, Just a Social Commentary about Them...

I want to be extremely clear. I am definitely, absolutely not (!) hinting at all that we are having another baby.

Just to be clear, there is not another baby on the way. I promise.

At least not one that I am aware of…

But I do admit, that having been in our new house for 6 months (as of next week) and having been debt-free for over 2 years now (other than our mortgage), life in the new house has created an environment in which having another baby can now be… considered.

It’s now a conversation that takes place. There’s now logic behind the reasoning, in my mind.

It wasn’t a conversation before. It wasn’t practical, then. But now that our son is nearly 5 years-old, the thought of expanding our family, in a 4 bedroom house as compared to our 2 bedroom townhouse, sounds less intimidating. At this point, unless we had twins, we wouldn’t have 2 babies or 2 really young children at the same time.

Instead, we would have a Kindergartner and a newborn.

That thought doesn’t terrify me.

I’m sure I could expand more on the why, but for now, I simply want to usher in the subject by acknowledging the culture behind announcing a pregnancy over Facebook.

These days, even if you’re just simply a casual Facebook user, there is still a social expectation that you’re supposed to do some kind of clever “Facebook pregnancy announcement” for everyone.

I created the meme above to demonstrate what I mean.

So now that that sort of thing is the norm, I feel like it’s part of the process of considering having another child.

You have to decide the boy and the girl name.

You have to decide how you want to prepare the baby’s room.

And you have to decide how to make a Facebook announcement, which is sure to get at least 75% of your Facebook friends to “like”.

This is Not a Facebook Pregnancy Announcement, Just a Social Commentary about Them...

I should close by once again making it clear I have no official announcement to make here.

The future holds possibilities because of where we are at in life now; whereas before, we weren’t ready.

If there is any kind of announcement at all, that would be it.

Well, actually, publicly realizing I am open to having another child is a pretty big deal- to me, at least.

Dear Jack: You Saved a Cricket, I Saved a Possum

4 years, 8 months. 

Dear Jack,


Yesterday morning as I was driving you to school, you shared your thoughts with me:

“Daddy, if everybody was vegan and vegetarian, then the animals wouldn’t have to die.”

With a statement like that, an outsider might assume I brainwash you daily with those sorts of thoughts.

But that’s not how I believe in parenting you. I sincerely want you to come to your own conclusions, based on daily observations, regarding the reasons why our family doesn’t eat meat.

I don’t feed you information like this- I only explain it after you think to ask these questions on your own first.

Your epiphany was all your own crafting.

After all, you are truly an animal lover; or at least a stuffed animal lover. Between stuffed animals and Legos, you really don’t play with much else. Those are the things you spend your money on.

My response to your “animals don’t have to die” comment was this:

“Most people still believe that in order to get enough protein, they have to eat meat. But you and I are obvious proof that’s not the case. We’ve lived without meat for years. And we’re both very healthy; as our family doctor has recently confirmed. And that’s why I made that Green Meanie video about it last week.”

I carried our deep discussion with me to work. As I took my first 10 minute walk of the day during a break around 9:00 AM, in which I walked to the end of the cul-de-sac of where I work, I discovered a young possum in a cage trap.

By noon, it was still there, in the horrible summer heat. So I walked into that building and informed the lady at the front desk. She called the building manager, who freed the possum by the time I left work.

Apparently, foxes and possums have been getting into the dumpster behind that building.

But I’m no specist- I don’t care what kind of animal it is: a domesticated dog, a wild dog, or even a lowly scavenger possum…


I don’t want to see any animal suffer. So I made sure the possum was freed.

When I came home from work, I was excited to share my “I saved a possum!” story with you.

You then shared your own story with me:

“Daddy! I saved a black cricket today. I saw it crawling on the floor in my class at school, so I picked it up and took it outside! And then after my nap, I got to feed our class pet frog two crickets!”

Yes, there is some certain irony in saving one cricket from being stepped on, yet feeding two other crickets to a frog; all in the same day.

Ultimately, you and I share a love to protecting animals.

But really, you rub off on me more than I do you, I think.



Dear Jack: You, As Green Meanie, Jr.

4 years, 8 months.


Dear Jack,

This week on our YouTube channel we launched an official new program, The Green Meanie Show.

We will be resuming Jack-Man next weekend with a new webisode, #18, since your preschool has asked me to film another episode there. I don’t mind at all, since our last Jack-Man filmed there was the most popular one we’ve ever done; not to mention, the fast-growing one we’ve done, if that makes sense.

In other words, it hit 100 views in less than 24 hours.

But in the meantime, I’m creating some quicker content with my new spin-off; featuring Green Meanie as the host, with you playing his son, Green Meanie, Jr.

The Green Meanie Show contains its own original theme song and opening montage. Here are the lyrics:

“He is green, he is mean, he is Green Meanie the villain

He makes money from anyone and everyone who drinks his soda

But you should know that he tells his secrets

On The Green Meanie Show”

So far, we’ve done a Lego unboxing video together…

And I made a brief, educational video where Green Meanie explains the 3 “right ways” to eat a banana:

  1. Eat it brown (it contains more nutrients as it begins to ferment).
  2. Open it from the bottom, which helps prevent smashing it.
  3. Mix it smoothies and oatmeal to prevent “banana boredom.”

Then last night, after we made our 2nd Lego unboxing video (which I haven’t published yet), I let the camera roll as you declared a “pants party”.

You had a lot of fun!

I’ve got a trip to Grand Rapids, Michigan coming up soon. Scion (a division of Toyota) is sending me (or is it Green Meanie?) there to preview their newest car models.

Also, next week makes 6 months since we’ve lived in our new house. I guess I better put together something for that, featuring pictures of our house now that we’re definitely completely settled in.



Dear Jack: People and Animals and Life and Death and What Happens Next

4 years, 8 months.

IMG_0982 (2)

Dear Jack,

I wanted to document this day for you because I believe it’s important to document your spiritual journey.

This morning on the 5 minute drive to your preschool, you cautiously asked me, “Daddy, one day, will all the people and all the animals be dead?”

I definitely wasn’t expecting such a deep question from you so early in the morning.

The fact that you even asked me that question shows me that you are processing your understanding of what death really means.

I’ve been curious for a while regarding at what point I would have a conversation like that with you.

It appears your understanding of death is based on what you see on Power Rangers and Disney movies, since someone (usually a parent) dies on nearly every animated Disney movie I’ve ever seen.

I answered your question as simply yet as accurately as I knew how:

“Yes, that’s true. One day, all the people and the animals will be dead. But for those of us people who believe in God and in Jesus, His Son, and if we help other people, then we will live in Heaven together.”

It somehow seems out of place to summarize our religious beliefs into such a small amount of words, but you are already familiar with this from what you hear at home and at church. But you seemed to be satisfied to my simple answer for your difficult question.

For the next few minutes until we got to your school, you were silent as you stared at the window.

As I helped you out of your car seat, I saw you seemed disheartened, so I asked you if were okay.

You put your head down and began crying softly.

I assured you whatever what it was, that we could talk about it; assuming you were sad because, in your words, one day we will all be dead, including the animals.

You looked up to answer me, “I just want Pandy!”

We had discovered last night that you had left one of your favorite stuffed animals, Pandy, at school.

Once we found Pandy inside your classroom this morning, you were no longer sad.

In other words, Pandy is still alive!