3 Reasons Frozen 2 is Far Superior to the 1st Frozen Movie (Or It Isn’t, Based on the Viewer’s Own Current Perspective of Life)

There are two kinds of people in the world:

Those who prefer an upbeat, easy to follow story… and those who prefer a story that is more mature, mysterious, challenging, and darker.

I feel that I have always been very open about how overrated the first Frozen movie is. Over the years, I have expressed this multiple times in other blog posts.

My biggest beef with the first Frozen is that the true villain is not Hans, but instead, the parents; for psychologically damaging their daughters by ultimately locking them in their separate bedrooms without explaining why, while not allowing them to communicate with each other.

Seriously, that’s messed up!

So as you can imagine, I was not overly anxious to finally see Frozen 2 over Christmas break. It was just simply going to be a movie I sat through as my fatherly duty.

Fortunately instead, I was relieved, surprised, and impressed- to the point I knew even within the first 10 minutes that Disney had made the bold move to give Frozen a sequel that it (and an audience who is now 6 years older) deserves; as opposed to a copy-and-paste-of-the-original cash grab.

Granted, there are many people who do not agree with me on this.  As I’ve been talking to people about Frozen 2 in comparison to the first, this what I have consistently found:

Either you love Frozen 2 and think it is far superior to the first…

Or you don’t like Frozen 2 at all because the first one was so much better.

I have yet to meet a person who believes both movies are equally good. No in-between.

You can even see this on Rotten Tomatoes, where the first Frozen got a 15% higher score on the Tomato Meter, but Frozen 2 scored 15% higher with the Audience Score.

I have come up with 3 reasons Frozen 2 is either much better (or worse) than the original. My theory is that a person’s reaction to Frozen 2 is ultimately a reflection of the individual viewer’s perspective of their own life.

  1. Major Character Growth: Taking place 6 years (in real time) since the first movie, Frozen 2 gives us a realistic look at what “happily ever after” actually looks like. That means we need to see Elsa, Anna, Kristoff, and Olaf experience the next new challenge to help their growth as individuals. (That’s because happiness requires character growth.) Specifically, Olaf openly encounters a full-on existential crisis, as noted in his song, “When I Am Older.”
  2. More Complex, Introspective Songs: Instead of using the easily likable universal guitar chord progression (G-D-Em-C) exploited in “Let It Go” (similar to Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” and Jason Mraz’s “I’m Yours”), Frozen 2’s lead track “Into the Unknown” actually requires much more of the song performer and the listener. These songs aren’t as instantly catchy as those from the first Frozen- they grow on you, just like Frozen 2.
  3. More Challenging Plot for the Viewer: The first half of Frozen 2’s technically falls into the category of a thriller/horror movie, as Elsa follows a mystical and ominous voice only she can hear; which serves as a metaphor of how part of the human experience is simultaneously following our hearts, while not allowing our own questions about the future to turn us into our own worst enemies. Some of my favorite quotes of Frozen 2 illustrate how the characters (and the audience) began to understand the importance of emotional intelligence as individuals:

Elsa: “That’s just your fear. Fear is what can’t be trusted.”

Kristoff: “My love is not fragile.”

General Mattias: “Be prepared, just when you think you found your way, life will throw you into a new path.”

That last quote ultimately reveals the theme of Frozen 2. This sequel forces us to come to terms with whether or not we are willing to move on from what life was like 6 years ago.

That is fundamentally what determines whether a person believes Frozen 2 is superior, or inferior, to the first.

Image credit- Disney.

Dads Secretly Take Their Sons to See PG-13 Rated Superhero Movies, Like Aquaman (But They Don’t Admit It On Social Media…)

At what age is it socially acceptable for a boy to go see a PG-13 rated superhero movie with his dad?

Follow up question:

At what age is it appropriate or okay for a boy to watch a PG-13 rated movie with his dad?

I think those are difficult questions to answer, and even dangerous to ask, because ultimately, each parent has their own standards on what they perceive as acceptable in raising their children.

And in an age where many people have traded in their fear of God for fear of a social media backlash thanks to ever-potential mob mentality of Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, no one wants to have to defend their views to the 10% of the population who passionately disagreed in the comments section; and then have to follow-up with a token social media apology a few days later.

My theory is that many dads do take their sons to watch PG-13 rated superhero movies, they just don’t talk about it on social media because it may not be socially acceptable to broadcast it.

On certain issues, I am undeniably more conservative as a parent. But with other things, I am perhaps more liberal than people might expect.

I recognize that not all PG-13 rated movies are created equal. So to me, the movie rating is a bit arbitrary.

Fortunately, it’s as if there is now an unspoken rule that PG-13 rated superhero movies that have their own toy line have agreed to keep sexual content out of their movies. Instead, the PG-13 rating is earned from stylized action sequences; in other words, violence without blood.

There are also typically a handful of milder profanities thrown in these PG-13 rated superhero movies. Even though my 8 year-old son doesn’t hear his own parents cursing, I’m sure by now he’s learning the “bad words” from other kids at school.

Honestly, what bothers me more is my son hearing the casual use of “oh my God” in PG rated movies and kids’ sitcoms. To me, that phrase is breaking one of the Ten Commandments. Meanwhile, I’m supposed to be worried because my son hears an alternate word for butt or poop?

So as long as he knows which words he’s not allowed to say, as he gradually becomes aware of which words our society has given power of taboo, then I am not too concerned.

However, this is all simply my own parenting style.

This isn’t necessarily what the norm is. Maybe it is. I don’t know. Honestly, I’m not keeping up with what other parents are saying on the subject.

Or maybe they’re like me- they’re not admitting to taking their sons to see PG-13 rated movies; not because it’s inappropriate for the child, but that it’s inappropriate for the parent to admit it on social media?

But if it were socially acceptable for a dad to admit he took his 8 year-old son to see Aquaman this past weekend, I would use this opportunity that say that it was probably my son’s favorite superhero movie so far.

And knowing that he and I had quality time together this weekend doing something we both enjoyed- well, that makes me happy to be a dad.

4 Movies That Need To Be Revived For New Generation (By Guest Blogger, Katie Porter)

Whilst researching this article, I enlisted the help of friends on social media and found myself inundated with a huge list of films that they would love to introduce to Generation Y and Z.

Everything from the iconic ETStand By MeThe Lost Boys and WarGames.

Don’t worry – we’re sticking to life-affirming (rather than running for the hills) for this list!

Here are my 4 movies to be revived for new generations to love and enjoy, just like we did.

The Breakfast Club (1985)

One for the teenagers. From the explosive opening chords of “Don’t You Forget About Me”, to the David Bowie quote crashing through the screen, The Breakfast Club has to be one of the most memorable movies of the 80s.

John Hughes was king of the Brat-Pack teen-flick. And there was no film that more acutely defined the social construct of the playground than this fantastic comedy, exploding the existential angst that made high-school the worst (and the best) place on the planet. It told our story – at a time when we were desperate to know who we were.

Each of the characters were a playground archetype – The Brain, The Athlete, The Basket Case, The Princess and The Criminal – played with such pitch-perfect performances that we saw a bit of ourselves in all of them.

The five, who would never normally mix, are thrust together during a Saturday detention, led by the tyrannical Mr Vernon. They discover that their differences are only skin deep, with a warmth that avoids schmaltz and a humour that makes you wish you were there.

Rammed full of quotables, my favourite has to be from John “The Criminal” Bender to the rather-too-suave, beige-suited Richard “Dick” Vernon – “Does Barry Manilow know that you raid his wardrobe?

The Goonies (1985)

Steven Spielberg had hit full throttle by 1985, with a string of massive worldwide successes including ETPoltergeist and Gremlins. His golden touch continued with this coming-of-age classic about a gang of misfits trying to save their beloved hometown from the bulldozer of evil developers.

The Goonies was the adventure that every big kid wishes they’d had. With a treasure map, classic  bumbling bad-guys, the fumbling awkwardness of burgeoning romance, and a hideous monster who turns out to save the day – this was the movie with all the gifts: funny, heart-warming and dramatic in equal measure.

And if your kids haven’t seen it yet, I totally envy your Sunday afternoon viewing for one of the best family favourites ever made.

Bugsy Malone (1976)

Alan Parker is a genius. How can you deny it when he’s been responsible for some of the most iconic movies of the past 50 years? From the high-tension drama of Midnight Express and the gritty, bitter-sweet unrequited promise of The Commitments, to the mad-cap joy of the splurge gun, the tea-cup “gin” and the speak-easy with the unforgettable Bugsy Malone. The younger generation may know Bugzy Malone as the “grime reviver”, but there’s very little chance that they won’t be dragged in to the zany world of Fat Sam’s Grand Slam with this enduring classic.

The world of the adult, portrayed by a cast of children, has a charm and that no other children’s film had ever managed. This was one VHS cassette that got worked VERY hard.

Bugsy Malone was the film that securely cemented Jodie Foster as the one-to-watch, along with a young Dexter Fletcher and, of course, Scott Baio in the title role.

With a collection of some of the most memorable songs a musical has ever produced, Bugsy Malone has to be a timeless winner that will never grow old.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)

This was one of the greats. A classic tale of the squeaky-clean bad-kid who gets away with it, enjoying a sneaky taste of what adulthood might offer along the way.

Ferris and his girlfriend, Sloane, convince best friend, Cameron, to steal his dad’s prized possession: an immaculate 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder. They spend the day  sight-seeing around Chicago, eating dinner in expensive restaurants, lip-syncing during street parties (like you do), all the while shaking off the trail of the suspiciously evil head-teacher, Mr Rooney.

This movie perfectly celebrates the transition of the child into the adult, with all the optimism of what life might offer.

If you’re looking for a great movie that the whole family can enjoy time and time again, this is the one!

Parents, aunts, uncles and babysitters of the world – this is a call to action to share these classics with our younger brethren.

Have a great time catching up on some of the movies that made us who we are, with (hopefully) a similar effect on the generations after us.

Katie Porter is an aspiring writer, movie lover, and part of the team at Seatup. In her free time, she enjoys exploring her home state Colorado and plays in women’s amateur rugby league.

Dear Jack: It’s the Dog Days of Summer, So We Might as Well Go to the Movies!

6 years, 8 months.

Dear Jack,

This is what I call “the dead of summer.” Not winter, but summer.

Most people refer to this as the dog days of summer. It’s this time of year that I unapologetically think to myself, “I wouldn’t mind it being winter right now…”

Here in Tennessee this time of year, it’s so hot and humid that there’s not a whole we can do outside; unless it involves water- but even then, we have to be sure to prevent sunburn.

During the colder weather months, you and I are able to spend quality time together by going on our hikes in the woods. But as for now, a trip to the matinee is our choice.

Last weekend we saw Spiderman: Homecoming. Obviously, we had a great time and loved the movie!

I personally loved seeing the dynamics of the older, more mature Tony Stark (Ironman) mentoring Peter Parker (Spiderman), as he is basically auditioning to be an Avenger.

And you loved getting to see Spiderman in his own movie. After all, you have so many Spiderman t-shirts, as well as a Spiderman bath towel, Spiderman water hose sprayer, Spiderman toothbrush, and Spiderman Band-Aids, it was about time you got to actually see Spiderman on the big screen.

Granted, we had to get there an hour before the movie started just to get a seat, even though it wasn’t even opening weekend. And then there were 30 minutes of commercials and previews before the movie began. So by the time we stopped by Moe’s for dinner afterwards, we were gone for about 4 and a half hours!

In less than a month, you’ll be starting 1st grade. I’d say it’s been a great summer for you. So many field trips, road trips, and even violin lessons.

Not to mention, you’ve got a week-long stay at Nonna and Papa’s coming up. I know you’ll love that! But as for this coming weekend, I believe you and I will be back at the movies…

Love,

Daddy

How the New Wonder Woman Movie is a Healthy Example of What Feminism Looks Like

America’s new Wonder Woman movie, featuring Israeli (and Jewish) actress Gal Gadot as the legendary female superhero, is a major win for not only DC Comics, but also… feminism.

I don’t say this tongue-in-cheek, as I am indeed a daddy blogger, but I definitely consider myself a feminist.

If a feminist can be known as a person who shares the common goal to define, establish, and achieve political, economic, personal, and social rights for women, and to establish educational and professional opportunities for women that are equal to such opportunities for men, then please, count me in.

That makes me a feminist.

With that being said, I feel that there are two opposing extreme versions of feminism that I do not identify with.

The first are feminists who seem to treat all men who have any authority as the enemy. For example, I recently heard about a bumper sticker that reads, “KILL ALL YOUR ALPHA MALES”. That version of feminism seems to imply that men are inferior to women, in that all men are ultimately evil, while women are pure goddesses.

And the other kind of feminists I disagree with are the ones who seem to solely depend on their sexuality reach their agenda. I think that often the attempt to represent “women power” ironically ends up coming across as  degrading to women; that a woman can kick butt just as much as a man can, but she is required to depend on her sexiness in order accomplish her goal.

I liken this concept to waitresses at places like Hooters and Twin Peaks. I see that as degrading to women, as it objectifies a woman by reducing her down to her sexuality. To me, that defeats the concept of what feminism is all about. To me, that’s hypocritical.

So if those are the two extremes of feminism I disassociate myself from, what does a healthy version of feminism actually look like?

Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman.

She is proof a female can be a protagonist in a successful superhero movie (which would typically cater to a more male audience), while demonstrating her intelligence, leadership, strength, skills, compassion, and power; without ever having to depend on her sexuality to accomplish any of this.

Is she a physically attractive woman, according to the general consensus of what modern beauty looks like?

Of course- Gal Gadot is also a model for Gucci. So yes, she is.

But her physical beauty is not the basis of her charm or success; nor does it distract from it.

Wonder Woman, played by Gal Godot, personifies the common goal to define, establish, and achieve political, economic, personal, and social rights for women, and to establish educational and professional opportunities for women that are equal to such opportunities for men.

I could argue that this version of Wonder Woman is like the female version of Chris Evans as Marvel’s Captain America.

Both of these superhero protagonists find their heroic beginning during World War II and experience a similar character arc as they resolve their ability to help defend justice, while also realizing the world is ultimately more corrupt and self-destructive than they realized, before they officially assumed their heroic roles.

If feminism can be understood by a woman doing a job that would traditionally be done by a man, yet that woman’s feminine attributes are positively highlighted instead of exploited…

Then I would say, simply turn to Gal Gadot’s incarnation of Wonder Woman.

-Nick Shell

 

Parental Review of the New Wonder Woman Movie: Is It Kid-Friendly?

 

I noticed this morning in my blog stats that someone found my blog by Googling, “Wonder Woman Family Friendly Reviews 2017”. So I guess that obligates me do actually do a parental review of the new Wonder Woman movie. Yes, the free market has demonstrated there is a demand for this!

So… here ya go America!

My answer is ultimately no. No, the new Wonder Woman movie is not “kid-friendly”. If it were, it wouldn’t be the great movie that it is. The fact that it’s not juvenile gives it credibility and makes Diana Prince a believable protagonist with a healthy character arc.

Wonder Woman is ultimately a PG-13 rated World War II movie containing strong elements of Greek mythology.

Let’s break it down by issues parents might be concerned in regards to their children watching this movie…

Language: There is noticeably very little profanity. Other than the word “hell”, and a few uses of the word “bloody” (which I understand is a curse word in the United Kingdom), I didn’t notice any other language that parents would deem as inappropriate for a child to be exposed to.

Sexuality/Nudity: Depending on your level of conservatism, some parents might feel somewhat concerned about Wonder Woman’s outfit, though I personally do not feel it is overly revealing. The closest thing to nudity is actually a male character who is taking a bath in a cave. Wonder Woman walks in on him and he covers himself with his hands, as she naively sees no taboo in discovering a naked man. Lastly, there is an implied sexual relationship later, though nothing is shown beyond a “fully clothed” kiss.

Violence: Since this is indeed a World War II movie, there is obviously consistent violence. Of course, like most PG-13 rated movies these days, there is hardly any blood shown at all. There are multiple on -screen deaths shown, however.

That’s all you need to know. Would you feel comfortable taking your child to see this movie, knowing what I have revealed? It’s your call. I don’t judge you either way.

This is seriously an awesome movie though!

How DC Got the New Wonder Woman Movie Right, Based Marvel’s Proven Yet Secret 3 Point Formula

I know the exact science behind why Wonder Woman is an amazing movie…

Imagine if someone finally released the top secret recipe for Coca-Cola or for the Colonel’s KFC chicken… Well, I’m that guy, but for releasing Marvel’s secret movie formula.

For those of us who have kept up with all comic book movies for the past decade, we know that Marvel seems to always just easily crank out really good super hero movies. Meanwhile, DC hadn’t figured out how to really get it right. Think about their superhero movies last year:

Batman V. Superman? It was entertaining, but ultimately problematic.

Suicide Squad? Eh… kind of a mess.

So did DC just luck out with their wild success of Wonder Woman? Nope.

They simply (and maybe even accidentally) used the same proven yet secret formula that Marvel’s been using all these years:

1)      Character Arc of the Super Hero: It’s fundamentally important for the audience to see a flawed protagonist who evolves over the course of the story. Remember how in Batman V. Superman, Batman was the same brooding, disgruntled billionaire while Superman was the same perfect alien? Neither characters individually evolved. We instead want to see an imperfect character who is forced to positively evolve. We want to see character growth.

2)      Engaging Arch Nemesis. The superhero is only as interesting as the bad guy. Just as an imperfect superhero is crucial in order to engage an audience in the protagonist, that superhero relies on a villain who spiritually contrasts and compliments their struggles. Being evil isn’t enough. We need to see a memorable arch nemesis who is the perfect foil for our imperfect hero.

3)      Genre Hybrid: Marvel knows that their super hero movies aren’t simply super hero movies. Instead, each one is ultimately a different genre, disguised as a superhero movie. Ant-Man is a heist movie. Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a government conspiracy movie. Using that same concept, Wonder Woman is a World War II movie, which also contains strong elements of Greek mythology.

This secret formula is the reason Marvel’s movies do well. And finally, DC has figured it out.

Seriously, who isn’t excited by the new Justice League trailer? It looks like they will be applying the Marvel formula to all their movies from now on. I’m happy that DC is back on track.