Kids Movies Shouldn’t Be Just for Kids

The idea in popular thinking that children’s movies have to be light and fluffy and safe and not have too many crude jokes in them the only adults will get is really kind of bs.

I mean, I think people are forgetting how tragic some of the best children’s movies are.

I mean just with Disney:

Beauty and the Beast is about a man cursed to be a beast and a woman he basically kidnaps, and it has near continuous mentions of death.

Cinderella opens with the story of a young girl losing her father. She is then abused by her family, no matter how well she takes it.

In The Lion King, Scar literally throws his brother off a cliff. He is trampled to death and young Simba witnesses the tragedy and is then convinced he is a murderer and exiled from his own kingdom. The entire pride lands turns into a nightmare, complete with never sunny skies and near cannibalistic monsters.

The Little Mermaid has Ursula basically telling Ariel to use sex appeal to win a guy, and she kinda does. Ursula also has a host of shriveled people trapped in her home.

Lady and the Tramp has a terrifying, evil rat trying to kill/steal/eat a baby and several dark scenes – including Lady in the pound.

Have you watched The Rescuers lately? Or it’s sequel? Kidnapping. Attempted murder. Thievery. Traumatic hospital experiences. Bad guys being eaten by wild animals. I mean, seriously.

Treasure Planet is about a broken family. The main character has a history of arrests. Over half the cast is evil. That movie is a bucket of angst.

Lilo and Stitch is another broken family. I mean I could dedicate this whole post to the not-happy and sunshine things in Lilo and Stitch.

Same goes for Oliver and Company – a kitten no one wanted is left to drown in a cardboard box until it breaks and he’s left on the streets. He’s then subjected to a number of scary experiences. There’s a child being kidnapped and held for ransom. Those evil dogs are scary as hell. The bad guy is terrifying. Even one of the heroes could be scary to a little kid – he’s a dirty looking hobo selling fake watches.

Outside of Disney you have movies like The Land Before Time, where Littlefoot watches his mother die and must then travel across the world to find the rest of his family. He meets other kids but even then he’s battered over and over with self-doubt, loneliness, and depression.

An American Tale is a cute movie but when you get older you see it’s a anecdote about immigration and children’s work houses and orphanages and living on the streets of 1870’s America.

Balto is about an outcast half-wolf dog that no one wants to associate with. Other dogs and all humans avoid him. Even when he starts to have good experiences, the other dogs ruin it for him. He nearly dies a few times. The plot of the movie is that a sickness is killing children.

A Little Princess sounds like a cute movie, but I always hated it because it scared me and made me cry. A girl is orphaned while at boarding school, then she’s turned into a servant. Every time she starts to enjoy herself, the headmistress ruins it and threatens her. Her best friend is the victim of racism. Her father was in a war and got amnesia and almost doesn’t recognize his own daughter in the end.

The creator of Rise of the Guardians made a statement when asked about how dark his movie was. He said he wanted to prove kids movies could be dark. Good on him, because a kid’s movie without darkness is a movie without true conflict and thus boring to anyone above the third grade. Anyone younger just likes it because it moves.

I could go on and on.

So all the articles I see lately about how children’s movies are too dark and they need to be fun and friendly and whatever… I mean, stop it. Your kids need more than candy.

Kid’s movies shouldn’t just be for kids. They should be movies you can watch again and again and get something new each time because you’re learning about the world and realizing that was in your favorite movie the whole time.

Ciao tutti,

RM

Reading and Reading

Turns out that the reflections I have to do each week for my internship at The Florida Review are actually rather course specific. I mention submissions to the magazine in detail and why I liked or disliked them. There is a small portion where I describe what I’ve learned or noticed about being an editor, but it is never enough to make a whole post about.

My reflections are not publicly decent.

That throws out my idea of using them as my weekly blog posts. Oh well.

In other news, I’m reading more lately. I set a goal for myself this year – 12 books in 12 months – on GoodReads. I’m reading several books at once right now. I just finished The Hunger Games and have started Catching Fire. I’m reading Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, and I’m reading Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks. They’re all such different styles, but I love them all the same.

It’s not against the rules to read multiple books at the same time, even if those books aren’t in the same vein or genre or length. The point of reading is to enjoy yourself, so having a few isn’t a problem. It just means you have several to choose from depending on your mood.

I’ve been setting a reading goal for a few years now and have always met it, even though the numbers have always been low compared to some of my friends – usually 10 or 12. Have you ever set a reading goal, with a website or with yourself? Did you meet it? Surpass it?

Its a good feeling, finishing a book or reaching a reading goal. I recommend it if you’re looking for a simple kind of goal to try for.

Thanks for reading.

Ciao Tutti!

~RM

ps. In a different turn of events, I have become more active in posting to my Facebook pages. If you want to get a more regular thought from me, follow my personal Facebook like page. I also have my movie review blog’s like page, and of course I have the like page for The Rose Chateau. I’m trying to keep up with all of those more regularly.

I’ve discovered I’m terrible at twitter and keeping up with that, but if you can tell me how to link my Facebook with my Twitter so my like page posts will go to my Twitter, that would be fantastic, and I would suddenly be tweeting all the time. Let me know if that’s possible.

In the Words of Chris Colfer

“In what grade do we stop believing in ourselves? What grade do we stop believing, period? Someone has to be a Nobel prize winner. Someone has to be a ballerina. Why not us?” – Carson Phillips, Struck by Lightning (written by Chris Colfer)

It’s a valid point made in the small indie film ‘Struck by Lightning.’ Carson spends the entire film trying to make people care about creativity. While he seems to be looking out only for himself and his own future, it’s also true that he spends his life being the only spark of light in a town that has given up. Without him, the school would be filled with nothing but stereotypes with nothing to do.

At what stage in life do children stop wanting to be the president, a fireman, a superhero, a pirate? When do we let their urge for adventure die out? How do we let that desire for greatness get snuffed?

Never let your light grow dim. Never let the fire inside you turn to smoke.

We are stalling, our engines aren’t rolling over, and we can’t move down the road as we are. Call the mechanic! We can all still be great. We all need to strive for our dreams, even the ones we think others will make fun of us for. Ignore the society trying to put out the flames and remember what it was like to be a child. Remember the dreams you had and the fever you had for them. It’s depressing that so many of us have given up hope before we’ve even reached high school.

Keep believing!

Ciao tutti,

RM

Learning to Proofread

This week, I learned about how to proofread manuscripts to make sure they have been properly transferred from the original documents to the computer for publication. I learned how different it is to read out loud for fun and to read out loud for proofing. It’s a struggle to teach your brain to change how it reads, like learning a new language, but it turned out to be a fun experience too. My partner and I laughed a lot, stumbled over simple possessives and compound sentences, and teased ourselves more than we teased each other.

Sentences like “I didn’t need all of these pens, pencils, quills, and hats.” were fun because of all the commas. You had to read it like “Capital I didn apostrophe t need all of these pens comma pencils comma quills comma and hats period.”All of the commas made us laugh, because it sounds almost like a joke or as if it should be marked wrong when you have to read it out loud like that.

I thought proof reading would be easier in practice than what I learned this week. I knew it would be work, but I didn’t expect to have to enunciate all the punctuation and capitalization. I expected it to be more along the lines of what I’m learning copy editing is, reading over for simple mistakes. In our proofreading, we couldn’t just assume all the proper nouns would be capitalized or that contractions had their apostrophes.

A poetry piece I helped proof drove me crazy. It didn’t have any punctuation at all, but it did have lists and phrases and sections that would require commas in a fiction or non-fiction piece. Luckily for the author, poems can get away with a lot of things fiction pieces cannot.

It was a fun end to the week, proofreading together. It was even fun reading the Chicago Manual of Style to search through three pages of comma rules only to not find exactly what you needed. If this is most of the internship, I will not be unhappy.

Ciao Tutti!

RM

Looking to the Past, Stepping into the Future

Well how fast did I epically fail my last New Year Resolution? Keep up a regular posting schedule… ha! Well here’s to the same plan this year.

I’m making a queue on my tumblr so there will, hopefully, always be something going up once or twice a day from me. I have Twitter on my phone, so I’ll see if I can keep up with that now too. And as for blogging, I think my internship this semester will help with that.

This semester I am part of The Florida Review internship, helping to produce a non-profit, national literary journal. At the end of the semester, my name will appear on the masthead of the editions I help create. As part of the class portion of the internship, I have to write a journal each week about what I’ve learned that week from the course and the internship. I plan to use those as at least jumping points for blog posts, because they will apparently be a great inside look at how I grow and what I think of the editing job/business.

Also, this blog has been updated a bit. I used it in a course last semester as proof of my ‘Author site’ and some classmates gave me points on how to improve the site. The ‘About It All’ page now includes my email in case anyone wants to message me privately or ask me a question. The information has been updated. I have a link page to other pages I think you would all enjoy if you’re into the same things as me, and I hope you are. If you have any suggestions for other links to be added, be sure to hit me up in a comment or email!

Here’s to hoping we all have great years ahead of us!

Ciao tutti,

RM

So Quotable – In the Words of… You!

 

The above photo is a quote from the novel I’m currently working on. It is, perhaps, one of my favorite lines so far written, although it’s for a scene that has not yet happened.

Have you ever seen one of those beautiful quote images with one of your favorite writer quotes or actor quotes on them and wondered how to make them? Have you really wanted to find out how to create them because you know of a really good, underrepresented quote to put on one?

Well, thanks to the internet, I have found a nifty little site to cure all of those problems. Recitethis.com lets you input your own words and pick a template to put them on. Then you can share the image on Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, or your own blog.

I enjoy it because it makes my own words look large, important, and professional. I believe I’ll keep a few of these, filled with my own words, to inspire me whenever I feel like I’m slipping in my resolve to my work. Since I found it so useful, I thought someone else might as well, so go. Make yourself feel important and immortalize yourself with a quote or two – or twenty.

Ciao Tutti,

RM

Sam Tsui and KickStarter

Some people may be aware that a few months ago I wrote a blog post called “Up and Coming Singer – Sam Tsui” where I tooted the praises of a youtube sensation. Well today, Sam and his producer Kurt Schneider released their third Annual Summer Pop Medley. The medley itself is very good, and the video is fantastic. It’s the first time we’ve seen Sam dance in a group – or really at all.

At the end of the video, Kurt and Sam have a message for the fans. Sam, after releasing two original singles, is releasing a full original album. He has been working very hard on it and continues to do so. Since Kurt and Sam are working on the project totally independent of any major labels, they need some fan help to make the album be as good as it can be. So what did they do?

They started a KickStarter, of course.

The goal of the kickstarter is $30,000, but the boys are happy with whatever support they receive. As the kickstarter video says, the minimum donation is a dollar, but no matter how much you give, they are eternally grateful. Now I don’t like to promote too much, at the risk of sounding like nothing more than a megaphone, but I believe these two deserve all the support they can get.

So listen to me or ignore me, but I had to put the word out there in anyway I could. Thanks so much for reading!

Ciao Tutti,

RM

DVR, the Enemy of Advertising?

Modern television viewing has been greatly affected by DVR usage. You can rewind and pause live TV, and you can record all your favorite shows in case you miss them or want to watch them again later. The only time you can fast forward is if you had previously rewound the show or if it is one of the recorded shows.

Many advertising companies fear that increased DVR usage by viewers will negatively impact sales because people can just fast forward over all the commercials. While I can see their point, I’d have to disagree. Personally, I mute the commercials on a normal basis anyway and stare in awe at how 90% of them make no sense without the words. They don’t relate to their product at all without the monologue. With my DVR, if I glance up and see a crazy or interesting commercial and actually care about what it says, I can rewind to find out. The same goes for if I change the channel and catch the end of a good commercial. Sometimes I like using my DVR to rewind and find out what I missed.

I don’t believe DVR usage is what will ruin the advertising industry. If people are going to fast forward through your commercials at record speeds and only come grinding to a halt when their show returns, then they probably weren’t watching your commercials anyway. Like me, they turned off the sound and did other things, like surf the web or go on tumblr or plan a vacation or grade papers, and only unmute the sound when the show comes back on. That or they’re like my brother, who changes channels whenever a commercial comes on. He watches two shows, sort of, flipping between them when commercials take over. When both shows are on commercial breaks at the same time? He continuously flips between the two until one of them stops showing commercials.

Do you think the DVR is an enemy of commercial advertisement? Do you use your DVR just to fast forward through the commercials? Would you be watching the commercials if you didn’t have a DVR?

Ciao Tutti,

RM

Revisionist or Perfectionist

I recently re-enrolled at my university after having already graduated in May with a Bachelors of Arts in English. Since I majored in Literature, I couldn’t reapply for Creative Writing – although my entire plan was to become a better editor through such a program. Why not? Because they are both English degrees. Because I couldn’t major in Creative Writing, I’m minoring in it and majoring in Journalism.

Let me be clear – I have no interest in becoming a journalist full-time. Maybe I’ll write articles on the side about my field or about travel, but I have no intention of becoming a war correspondent or a news reporter on camera.

The class, however, is teaching me to question the world, to ask why and how and to keep my curiosity of life aflame. It’s showing me how to stay connected with my community and pushing me to expand my horizons. I like this class for this reason.

I am also learning something about other writers.

In class, we have in-class writings where we must answer a question, discuss it with our neighbors, and then discuss our ideas in class. Today I realized that the three closest people to me in the classroom all have something in common. They write out their answers, grab a new piece of paper, and re-write it. The young woman in front of me reworded hers a bit. The young man beside me sometimes rewrites the entire thing. The other girl near me seems to be doing it to make it neater.

I just write my answer to the best of my ability and leave it. I sat in class this past Monday while others kept writing and wondered if I was weird for already being done, for not rewriting it like my classmates. My decision at the end? I’m not weird. I just don’t edit quick answer, in-class writing assignments to make them sound ‘better’.

My question now is… do they rewrite their work in class because they think it could be better or because they’re perfectionists or do they even know why they do it? I thought about it, and I can understand reworking a short story you’re about to send off or a journalistic piece you hope to publish, but an in-class, quick answer assignment hasn’t quite fit the bill for me. I wrote my answer, thought it was brilliantly done, and waited for someone near me to finish so I could discuss with them. Unfortunately, no one finished before we skipped on to ‘discuss with the class’, but we all had a brilliant class discussion.

So what do you think? Do you rewrite your in-class prompts/assignments? Do you save editing like that for essays or creative pieces you plan to get graded on or get published? Do you do both? Why? I’m really, honestly curious.

Ciao Tutti,

RM

Breathe Deep. Fly High.

Several years ago, like many of you, I was in eighth grade. I was about to make the transfer into my high school years and decide for sure what I wanted to do with my life. Of course, my plans may have changed two or three times due to circumstances and options, but the idea was to start attempting now.

I moved to a new city. Spent my last year in a new school. The house I now lived in was an old wooden structure that resembled a house attached to a  barn in many ways. My sister and I lived in the barn part while my parents and the rest of the house were in the house part. From my lofty room window, I could see the lake by the house and the expansive open field beyond it. Way off, far across the grass and trees, I could see something every night that made me very curious.

It was a light. A blinking light, to be precise. It hung over the field and flashed brightly. For a year I told people about the light: where it was, how high it was, the color – and for a year no one seemed to be able to tell me what it was. When I was entering my sophomore year in high school, my mother finally heard me and informed me that it was a tower, transmitting a signal and blinking a light so that planes would not fly too low.

Needless to say, she sort of crushed my curiosity.

Until that point, and even after it actually, I would tell my friends that the light was blinking to call to me. It was telling me to come find it. There was a potential adventure where it was. But as I had no way to get to the light without great effort, I never tried to go figure out where or what it was.

With the idea that this light was a radio tower for planes, the thought of an adventure by it faded, but there was a bigger lesson to be had from it. Don’t fly too low. Don’t set your dreams low. Don’t dream low. Keep everything high.

Maybe that blinking light wasn’t a sign for me, but the thought I will now take away from it is definitely a message I will share with others. Stay positive. Believe in adventure. Dream and Do Big.

To quote the Hallmark movie/miniseries Dinotopia:

Breathe Deep. Fly High.

Ciao Tutti,

RM