In our film section this week, we take a look at some of the coming summer movies that will offer us a chance to cool off in the dark for a bit. In that vein, Mixmaster asked Alice to offer a mom's take on the joy of summer family films.
If you have children and you live in Texas, you have no choice but to go to the movies this summer. And movie makers know it. This is why they usually churn out some crap like Ice Age 25: That Dang Squirrel Thing Is Still Falling Off Fuckin' Icebergs or "Trains & Shit: From the producers of Cars and Planes comes a movie about the world of the steam engine that's only one half-step better than that Thomas the Tank Engine bullsh." They know and you know summer movies don't have to be good, they just have to be. And you'll go see it. You'll wait in line to see it. You will bitch at other moms to get out of your reserved seat in the NorthPark AMC to see any summer movie. Because in Texas summer, it's either go to the movies or melt into the concrete in front of TC's Shaved Ice.
Candy at the movie concession stand is at a 2,000 percent mark-up because the theater is about to be in debt from keeping its space at 55 degrees when it's literally double that degrees outside. The theater would appreciate it if you'd kindly pay that cooling tax and shut the hell up about the expensive Reese's Pieces, lest they dump you out on your ass and back into the boiling.
My 5-year-old is extremely excited for the upcoming How To Train Your Dragon 2, which will be released very soon. Most of her excitement about this new movie is related to the fact that "new movie release" means that she gets to go to the movie theater, which, on a scale of Things That Are Awesome When You're 5, sits just above Having Two Pieces of Candy in One Day and just below Meeting a Live Princess Unicorn. For her, the movie theater experience is 90 percent about that badass feeling you get when you're in a room with 200 other people who are all seeing the same thing you're seeing at the same time you're seeing it, and 10 percent whatever is on the screen.
When I ask her how she knows that this new movie will be good, she refers to the preview. She says, "I know it will be good, because someone's gonna punch a silly guy in the face." This is the mark of a possibly solid kid movie: If, weeks after having seen the movie preview, your kid still remembers something from the preview that doesn't make you want to punch your own reproductive organs bloody, you might not hate the film.
How To Train Your Dragon 2 is particularly exciting to her because she already knows most of the characters. To a 5-year-old, a sequel provides much comfort. And to a 5-year-old's parent, the same is true. Instead of spending the first 90 minutes of a 92-minute film explaining what's happening on the screen in scream-whispers to a toddler ear ("IT'S A DRAGON." "DRAGONS ARE LIKE LIZARDS THAT CAN FLY." "OF COURSE YOU HAVE TO PEE, THE MOVIE JUST STARTED." "I DON'T KNOW WHY THE VIKINGS HAVE SCOTTISH ACCENTS YOU'RE RIGHT IT'S NOT 100 PERCENT HISTORICALLY ACCURATE IT'S A DIRECTOR'S CREATIVE CHOICE I GUESS JUST EAT SOME MORE JUNIOR MINTS AND GO WITH IT."), you get to focus all of your energy on not exploding a bag of M&Ms everywhere as you attempt to open it in the dark with your teeth.
We actually really enjoyed the original How To Train Your Dragon. Probably because it was like Game of Thrones on training wheels. You got dragons. You got soldiers. You got kids losing limbs -- honestly, all it was really missing to be an animated episode of actual GoT was some furious side boob.
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Also coming out this summer: Planes: Fire and Rescue. The people who made Cars racked their brains for one complete second for new, creative story lines and half-assed even that by bringing you Planes, and now they're quarter-assing it by bringing you Planes 2.? The upside: It can't be worse than the first Planes movie. It just can't possibly be worse. And again, you're really just looking for this movie to provide 90 wide-awake-shut-up minutes for your children in a dark, air-conditioned room, so it just has to hold attention -- it doesn't have to be totally enjoyable. The downside: buying tickets to see your children dissatisfied.
You: "What was your favorite part of the movie, sweetie?"
Your 5-year-old: "I don't know. I really do not know, Mom. End of the day, I guess it's my fault for expecting so much from a movie about aircraft that doesn't prominently feature Tom Cruise."
This summer, enjoy being at the movie theater with your kids. And when the blinding light of day scorches your face Total Recall-style as you exit the theater, remember: You had 90 minutes of glorious air-conditioned shut-up time -- I mean quality time -- with your offspring back there. That's gotta be worth at least one box of $50 Jordan Almonds.