Max (Best Friend, Hero, Marine): Family Friendly Movie Review

Max: Family Friendly Movie Review

This weekend my son and I watched Max on DVD. My synopsis of the plot line is this: A bike riding, Texan teenage boy takes care of his deceased brother’s military dog, and then he depends on the canine to help him to sniff out illegal arms dealers who are tied to Mexican drug cartel.

I like to keep my movie reviews simple. I basically just ask two questions:

1)      Did my nearly 5 year-old son enjoy it?

2)      Was it “family friendly” enough to be appropriate for him to watch with me?

To answer my first question, yes, my son definitely enjoyed it.

There were constant bike chases through the woods and a crime fighting dog. To my son, that’s awesome.

The whole movie is a fast-paced, adventure thriller. In other words, there’s no wise cracking CGI dog to have to tolerate for 90 minutes. It’s a real dog.

I’ll segue into my second question now: Was it family friendly enough for my nearly 5 year-old son?

Yes; for my son specifically, who is accustomed to the swashbuckling violence of Power Rangers, and to the use of guns which never actually kill anyone or even draw blood on the show.

I would equate Max’s content with a tamer version of E.T., in that Max contains hardly any harsh words; definitely less than E.T does which is also rated PG.

Max is not a kids’ movie, but it’s one that I enjoyed watching with my son. After all, I’ll be taking him to see the new Star Wars movie in a couple of months; as I also took him to see Ant-Man this summer.

He’s old enough to appreciate more mature movies at his age; which I appreciate.

Max: Family Friendly Movie Review

Official press release:

MAX

ARRIVES ONTO BLU-RAY COMBO PACK, DVD and DIGITAL HD FROM

METRO-GOLDWYN-MAYER PICTURES AND

WARNER BROS. HOME ENTERTAINMENT

Blu-ray Combo Pack debuts on October 27

Own it early on Digital HD on October 13

Burbank, CA, August 11, 2015 – Discover a friendship that is one of a kind when Warner Bros. Pictures and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures’ (MGM) family-action adventure “Max” arrives onto Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD on October 27. “Max,” an incredible journey about the unbreakable bond between one kid and his heroic best friend, stars Josh Wiggins (“Hellion”) as Justin Wincott, with Lauren Graham (TV’s “Parenthood”) as his mom, Pamela, and Oscar® nominee Thomas Haden Church (“Sideways”) as his dad, Ray. The film will be available early on Digital HD on October 13.

BLU-RAY AND DVD ELEMENTS

“Max” Blu-ray Combo Pack contains the following special features:

  • Working with Max: Meet the dogs that play “Max” and see inside tricks of the trade!

·         Hero Dogs: A Journey – Get a behind-the-scenes look at amazing military trained K9s.

“Max” Standard Definition DVD contains the following special features:

  • Working with Max: Meet the dogs that play “Max” and see inside tricks of the trade!

DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION ELEMENTS

On October 13, “Max” will be available for streaming and download to watch anywhere in high definition and standard definition on their favorite devices from select digital retailers including Amazon, CinemaNow, Flixster, iTunes, PlayStation, Vudu, Xbox and others. “Max” will also be available digitally on Video On Demand services from cable and satellite providers, and on select gaming consoles.

BASICS

 

PRODUCT                                                                            SRP

Blu-ray Combo Pack                                                               $35.99

DVD Amaray (WS)                                                                $28.98

Standard Street Date: October 27, 2015

Digital HD Street Date: October 13, 2015

5 Reasons My Young Child “Misbehaves”: Tired, Hungry, Bored, Lonely, or Sick

Louis C.K. spanking quote

I am of the 20% of the American population, the minority, who does not believe in spanking in order to discipline my child.

With that being said, I always give a disclaimer when I write about this: I have no interest in judging other parents for their decisions. If anything, today’s post has more to do with defending my own unusual parenting style.

My theory is that it’s easy and natural as a parent, especially a new parent (which I no longer am), to assume your child is “misbehaving” when really they are needing your attention as a parent, but are incapable of explicitly communicating that to you.

I simplify the symptoms into 5 simple categories. When my child “misbehaves,” he is really just tired, hungry, bored, lonely, or sick.

As his dad, it’s my responsibility to recognize these as symptoms of a greater issue, instead of problems themselves.

Otherwise, I could allow myself to believe my child is misbehaving simply because he is “being a brat right now”.

It comes down to emotional intelligence. I’m a 34 and a half year-old man. I am good at communicating how I feel and at understanding emotions.

However, my son is a month away from being 5 years old, so he’s got about 3 decades less of communication experience and emotional control than I do.

I feel it would be unfair to my child to physically strike him simply because he is tired, or hungry, or bored, or lonely, or sick; blaming him for “misbehaving” when really, he’s in need of my parental provision.

So instead, whenever he is “acting up”, I ask myself this simple question:

“Is my child tired, hungry, bored, lonely, or sick?”

There has yet to be an instance where at least one of those symptoms was not the answer.

I remind myself, that again, my son typically is not going to simply state what the problem is:

“Daddy, the reason I am crying and refusing to sit still is because I didn’t take a long enough nap today at Pre-K. Therefore, the best solution is to put me to bed tonight sooner than usual.”

If I myself am tired, I recognize that fact and make plans to try to sleep; like yesterday, I used my lunch break at work to sleep in my car.

If I’m hungry, I eat. If I’m bored, I find a way to entertain myself. If I’m lonely, I engage someone in conversation. And if I’m not feeling well, I do something about it.

But imagine babies and young children, not being able to necessarily recognize those issues about themselves. They need their parents to recognize these issues and proactively handle, and even prevent, these from even happening.

With my 2nd child due to be born in April, I feel I will be better equipped with this knowledge than I was with my 1st child.

I feel I will be less frustrated because I will clearly understand that a newborn has no way, other than screaming and crying, that he or she is tired, hungry, bored, lonely, or sick; and is depending on me to be proactive enough to do something about it.

So instead of spanking my 4 year-old son, I follow these simple guidelines I learned from back when I was Parents.com’s official daddy blogger for those 3 years:

1. Ignore attention-seeking behavior.

2. Pay attention to good behavior.

3. Redirect your child.

4. Teach consequences that make sense.

5. Use time-outs for serious offenses.

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

4 years, 8 months. 

Dear Jack,

IMG_0999

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…

IMG_0944

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.

Love,

Daddy

Feast, The Animated Short That Plays Before Big Hero 6: Family Friendly Review

Feast, The Animated Short That Plays Before Big Hero 6: Family Friendly Review

Right before the magnificent movie Big Hero 6 begins, there is an animated short called Feast.

It was so good that I wish it was its own 90 minute movie.

Here’s a preview…

The animation style is clever and unique, as the camera points to the floor, where a man offers a stray puppy a French fry, which leads to the man adopting the dog and naming him Winston. From there, the owner makes a habit of giving Winston table scraps on top of his bowl of dry dog food.

Over the months, this lucky dog enjoys quite the daily feast. One fateful day, his owner even takes him to a restaurant to dine together!

Feast, The Animated Short That Plays Before Big Hero 6: Family Friendly Review

His owner eventually meets the woman who soon becomes his girlfriend.

All the time, the camera avoids showing the humans’ upper halves; it’s pretty much a dog’s eye view the whole time.

The plotline thickens as the new girlfriend begins consuming his owner’s attention; therefore, gone are the days on feasting off table scraps.

Not only does the dog lose his feasting privileges in the process, but he becomes lonely for the first time in his life.

Quality time and gifts (food) were how the owner showed his love for Winston; but the new girlfriend changed all that.

Until the day his owner and the girlfriend broke up.

Feast, The Animated Short That Plays Before Big Hero 6: Family Friendly Review

Back came the tables scraps, as the dog’s owner essentially becomes a glutton as he tries to get over the break up.

While Winston greatly appreciates the gourmet meals again, he can clearly see his owner his not happy.

Without a happy owner, the dog realizes he can’t truly enjoy the table scraps.

I won’t give away the ending, but Winston leads his owner back to the restaurant where the now ex-girlfriend works…

Feast, The Animated Short That Plays Before Big Hero 6: Family Friendly Review

Again, all this is done from an under the table dog’s eye view. Not to mention, few words are actually ever spoken. They are mostly unnecessary for this beautiful little romantic comedy in which the dog is the protagonist.

My wish is that Disney would make this mini-movie into a full-length 90 minute feature film. I think the concept is big enough to work.

So, Disney, what do you say?

P.S. I now invite you to read my family friendly review of Big Hero 6!

Jack Meets Max The Cockapoo, Nearly 3 Years Later

January 5, 2014 at 10:42 pm , by 

3 years, 1 month.

Dear Jack,

I imagine there will be a lot of confusion for you over these next several years in regards to how animals actually communicate with humans.

Considering all the kids’ movies and TV shows that feature talking animals, it seems to be evident that we humans secretly fantasize about being able to truly talk to the animals we love.

In fact, something I’ve got up my sleeve for 2014 is a 373 word childrens’ book I have written and have recently started working with an extremely talented illustrator on.

The plot line itself capitalizes on the truth that animals and humans do communicate in a language, but not a spoken one.

More on that in months to come, hopefully…

As for today, I want to tell you what happened this weekend as you were re-introduced to Max, the amazing Cockapoo (a Spaniel/Poodle mix).

On April 5th, 2011, nearly 3 years ago, I wrote Jack Meets Max The Cockapoo. Today, I write the follow-up.

We visited our friends, the Scotts, who happen to have a daughter named Parker who is close to your age, as well as a lovable dog who seems to be mutually interesting in you.

I really enjoyed following you, Parker, and Max around the Scotts’ house.

What initially started out as you sort of pestering Max, because you wanted to pet him so much, ended up being for the majority of the visit, a constant chase of Max after you.

Granted, I think some of it is that he was curious to try your organic yogurt-covered raisins.

But I could also see that Max also truly wanted to be your friend.

I loved watching him follow you around.

What I loved even more was the way you so naturally talked to Max, assuming he definitely understood you.

“Follow me, Max. Come this way with us,” I heard you tell him as you and Parker ventured over to the kitchen.

Later on in the morning, as Max was getting bored of being upstairs watching you and Parker in the “jumpy house,” as you call it, you could tell Max wasn’t being himself:

“What’s wrong, Max? Why are you sad? You want to go downstairs?”

For me, it was like watching three children, two are which were actually human. Even I could see, as you so easily did, that Max wanted your friendship and acceptance; and again, your snacks.

I don’t want to make it seem like our family members are huge animal lovers that let dogs lick our mouths. After all, our family doesn’t have a pet. As we put it, “We’re not dog people and we know this.”

However, Max is different.

We’ve known him for about five years now. He’s like the coolest dog ever. So Mommy and I have tossed around the idea… of getting a Cockapoo when you’re a bit older.

We’ll see.

Love,

Daddy

dad from day one: Funny Faces and Baby Dreams

Week 1.

If you’re not good at winning staring contests, you should try being in one with an infant.  It’s pretty easy to win because there are no “overawareness” issues.  Baby Jack is dedicated to the game; I’ll give him that.  But typically I win because he either smiles or sneezes.  There’s nothing like staring at a baby’s face.  It’s amazing how long you can do it before you realize you’ve been doing it that long.

Of all the funny faces he currently makes, my favorite one is when raises his eyebrows like wants to be part of the 1950’s Rat Pack.  There’s also the “Elvis sneer”, the “surprised Dana Carvey”, the “Paul McCartney”, the “ancient Chinese man”, the “drowsy poet”, and the “Mac the alien” (a reference to a mostly forgotten E.T. copycat movie called Mac and Me.)

He often slips in and out of sleep when I stare at him.  I try to imagine what he is dreaming about, as his face tells the seemingly same story every time.  The dream starts out with Baby Jack petting a friendly puppy (Jack always starts his dreams smiling).  Then a mean dog comes along and scares Jack and the friendly puppy (that’s when Jack has a worried look on his face).  Lastly, the dream ends with him drinking milk or pooping (as he either starts “rooting” or grunting, accordingly).  What else would a baby dream about anyway?

“I wanna wake you from your dream.  I wanna know just who you’re talking to when you’re singing in your sleep.  I wanna find out what it means.  I’ve got marbles in my mouth.  Thousand words I wanna say but it’s impossible to spit ’em out.”

-Guster, “Do You Love Me?”


People are the Meaning of Life, Part 4

The funny thing about enemies is that sometimes they end up becoming our friends later on. Once we trudge past the hurt, forgiveness, awkwardness, new beginning, and a block of time that helps wash away the instant stigma that used to come to mind when we would think of them, we can find ourselves in a situation where we almost think to ourselves, “What did we use to fight about, anyway?”

We as a nation have hated England, Germany, Italy, and Japan in past wars. But now it’s hard to imagine considering any of those countries as enemies, because in my lifetime, they have only been friends of America. Ironically, our country now depends on our relationships with them- not just in military alliances but also in trade.

I feel like I’m the only person in history who actually saw Mel Gibson’s 2006 movie Apocalypto, in which the concept is “there will always be an enemy, whether it’s within one’s self, in his village, in his nation, or outside his nation”. That idea is something I have kept in mind when I find myself brewing against a person who doesn’t see things the way I do, whether the other person is clearly wrong or not. Knowing that on any other day, it just as easily could be me that’s a hazard to myself, because I woke up that morning subconsciously deciding that day would suck because I thought it was Saturday but it was Thursday instead.

Ultimately, the lesson I have learned from dealing with “enemies” is this: It’s always a humbling experience. Being humbled is painful and uncomfortable, like be pushed into a swimming pool in the winter with my clothes on. And to be humbled is to be humiliated, to some degree. Because sometimes the only way to move past the antagonistic part of a relationship with a person is to stop trying to show them that they really are wrong and instead adopt this new branding of “we’ve both been wrong/we’ve let things get out of control/this has just been a big misunderstanding”. That goes against everything inside of me, but has proven the most effective way for me to have one less enemy and gain one more ally.

The Enemies we encounter in life, for the most part, are here to enhance our lives. As we learn to deal with them, we learn to better communicate and react to Bigger Enemies, along with treating our family and close friends better as well. People are the meaning of life, and annoyingly, even our Enemies help that to be true.

dog rat cat