All Play and No Work

All Play and No Work: Introduction

Posted by on Jan 3, 2012 in All Play and No Work | 0 comments

All Play and No Work: Introduction

“Johnny, sweep the leg.” – Sensei John Kreese We’re all too familiar with the formula for the sports movie. Even if the story isn’t about an underdog beating the odds (either an individual or team of misfits), chances are it will end with “the Big Game.” And how often is the result of that final game simply about victory or fame? It’s almost always a metaphor for something else. Sometimes studios opt for the tragically inspirational, as someone dies or suffers a career-ending...

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Breaking Away (1979)

Posted by on Jan 2, 2012 in All Play and No Work | 0 comments

Breaking Away (1979)

Disclaimer: Rent it, borrow it, buy it; you will not demand a refund. A tad bit of mild language and content best suited for near-teens. Teenagers know what it’s like to be misunderstood and alienated all too well. At times, they desire nothing more than experiencing the comfort of knowing they “fit in.” And they’ll go to great lengths in pursuit of that feeling, only to eventually realize that they’re trying to be someone they’re not, and begrudgingly accept themselves for who they are. The...

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The Karate Kid (1984)

Posted by on Jan 2, 2012 in All Play and No Work | 0 comments

The Karate Kid (1984)

Disclaimer: Swearing, sexual references, bad acting, and glorified Asian fighting, which includes vicious moves such as Johnny-Sweep-the-Leg. There will indeed be kicking and screaming after this one (provided the kicks make contact). Somewhere among the piles of VHS tapes at my parents’ home in Wisconsin resides a few home movies that will someday come back to haunt me. For a price, you can see a clip depicting a squirrelly nerd in a white robe who thinks he’s Ralph Macchio in The Karate Kid...

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A Knight’s Tale (2001)

Posted by on Jan 2, 2012 in All Play and No Work | 0 comments

A Knight’s Tale (2001)

Disclaimer: The language is a bit cheeky at times, as is Chaucer’s wardrobe. Who’s to say that jousting and sword fighting weren’t considered spectator sports in the 15th century? Maybe both royalty and peasants flocked to their local arena to cheer on their favorite competitors. Maybe workers walked up and down rows selling cat meat or hot wine at the events. Maybe, in the event that someone’s helmet flew off, audience members fought to catch it like a foul ball. And maybe, just maybe, they...

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Bend It Like Beckham (2002)

Posted by on Jan 2, 2012 in All Play and No Work | 0 comments

Bend It Like Beckham (2002)

Disclaimer: Patriarchal oppression and jabs at homosexuality. This coming-of-age flick made stars out of its young protagonists almost overnight as Parminder Nagra spent six years on ER and Keira Knightley is, well, all over the place. The film follows these two cultural misfits in London as they hope to transcend societal norms and become footballing phenoms. Nagra plays Jess Bhamra, an Indian girl from a traditional Sikh family whose bedroom houses more pictures of David Beckham than a...

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Field of Dreams (1989)

Posted by on Jan 2, 2012 in All Play and No Work | 0 comments

Field of Dreams (1989)

Disclaimer: Even if you explain to your kids that the ghosts of their favorite players won’t show up, they’ll still want you to build a baseball field in the backyard. “If you build it, he will come.” It’s a phrase everyone knows and uses intermittently – even people who haven’t seen the movie. Well if you’re one of the sad few who haven’t seen it, make time in your schedule and watch it. For those who have seen it, make time and watch it again. To leave some of the mystery to this family...

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Jumanji (1995)

Posted by on Jan 2, 2012 in All Play and No Work | 0 comments

Jumanji (1995)

Disclaimer: It’s hard to say whether young viewers will be afraid of board games after seeing this, or if they’ll find all of them boring in comparison. I always look forward to heading off to the closet for a rousing board game. As I mull over the titles, I always stop and glance at the covers. Often, they portray the perfect nuclear family as father and son sport matching cornflower blue polo shirts and perfectly parted brunette hair, while mother and daughter boast similar floral sun...

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The Sandlot (1993)

Posted by on Jan 2, 2012 in All Play and No Work | 0 comments

The Sandlot (1993)

Disclaimer: There’s several foul-mouthed, sexist pre-teens (who dabble in chewing tobacco), one of whom is a sexual deviant. Though you may think otherwise, The Sandlot is not really about baseball. It uses the nostalgia of one summer in the 1960s to draw the Baby Boomer crowd, while exploring various triumphs of personal maturity for a group of nine pre-teens, who just so happen to play baseball. The movie spends most of its time with Scotty Smalls (Tom Guiry), the friendless new kid in a...

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The Little Fugitive (1953)

Posted by on Jan 2, 2012 in All Play and No Work | 0 comments

The Little Fugitive (1953)

Disclaimer: A child shoots a real gun. With a real bullet. That kills his brother. Except not really. I’m not going to sugar-coat it. The first 20 minutes or so of The Little Fugitive is pretty rough to get through. The cheesy narration with accents sounding like Goodfellas in training. The dialogue slightly off from the actors’ lips (from being over-dubbed in post-production). The terrible line reading from non-acting kids. There’s no getting around it; it’s a rough start. And I barely made...

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Holes (2003)

Posted by on Jan 2, 2012 in All Play and No Work | 0 comments

Holes (2003)

Disclaimer: May mislead children regarding interracial relationships. They probably don’t cure foot odor. A summer camp is not merely a movie setting. It is, in fact, a subgenre of cinema unto itself – and an important one at that. The camp movie typically falls either in the realm of comedy, horror, kids, or a combination thereof. Such scary classics as Friday the 13th and Sleepaway Camp, or underrated laughers Indian Summer and Wet Hot American Summer, for instance. But the kid-friendly end...

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The Mighty Ducks (1992)

Posted by on Jan 2, 2012 in All Play and No Work | 0 comments

The Mighty Ducks (1992)

Disclaimer: Depicts drunk driving and gratuitous quacking. When The Mighty Ducks smacked its way onto movie screens during my elementary school years, it took the pre-teenage boy demographic by storm. Suddenly everyone wanted to play hockey and become the next Wayne Gretzky – at least that was the case in my small Wisconsin town. I’d imagine it was the same for those from Minnesota, the state where the film was shot and the place where children practically grow up in ice rinks (and don’t...

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All Play and No Work: Other Recommended Titles

Posted by on Jan 1, 2012 in All Play and No Work | 0 comments

All Play and No Work: Other Recommended Titles

Absent-Minded Professor (1961): Once a smash hit for Disney, leading to a sequel and remake, this aged classic features a bouncy substance that makes for an interesting basketball game. Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994): Jim Carrey’s over-the-top breakthrough role has him tracking down the Miami Dolphins mascot in most unorthodox (and often crude) fashion. Angels in the Outfield (1994): This Disney remake of the 1951 baseball film of the same name is fun, but far too preachy for most. Bad News...

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All Play and No Work: For Adults Only

Posted by on Jan 1, 2012 in All Play and No Work | 0 comments

All Play and No Work: For Adults Only

Spellbound (2002): This is more like all work and no play as filmmakers follow eight different spelling champs (representing different socio-economic and racial groups) on their way to Scripps National Spelling Bee. You’ll love it, I promise.

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