Ross Family Challenge: 'Bugsy Malone' vs. "Where The Wild Things Are'
Everett Collection; Matt Nettheim[/caption]
Every week EW’s Dalton Ross and his wife, writer Christina Kelly, have
an argument a healthy discussion about what movie they should watch with their two children (Dale, 12, and Violet, 9) that weekend. Now they’ll make their cases publicly and you’ll get to vote on the choices and decide how the Ross family will be spending part of their weekend. The power is in your hands, people. Last week, Dalton’s pick of Labyrinth foiled Christina’s choice of Soul Surfer. Will Dalton be able to make it two in a row? Read on and then vote for which movie they should watch this week.
Dalton’s Pick: Bugsy Malone (1976)
In the interest of full disclosure, it should be pointed out that I’ve already shown Dale and Violet Bugsy Malone. But that means that they still have approximately 372 more viewings to go before they match how many times I watched this movie as a young’n. (My VHS tape finally snapped from overuse during the big pedal car chase scene.) The story — a spoof on 1930s mobster films — is a truly bizarre one. It’s basically a musical about kids throwing pies at each other. Apparently, for some reason when you get hit by a pie, you die, although there is no real explanation for the death-by-whipped-cream conceit. To make matters even more confusing, the entire cast is comprised of children — including a pre-Happy Days Scott Baio as Bugsy, and 14-year-old Jodie Foster as showgirl Tallulah — yet all the singing voices are adult (imagine Jaden Smith sounding like Nat King Cole). And then there is the fact that — judging by the lyrics to “My Name is Tallulah” — Jodi Foster appears to be playing a hooker. Judge for yourself:
“Lonely, you don’t have to be lonely
Come and see Tallulah, we can chase your troubles away
If you’re lonely, You don’t have to be lonely
When they talk about Tallulah, you know what they say
No one south of Heaven’s gonna treat you finer
Tallulah had her training in North Carolina”
What the heck are they teaching kids down in North Carolina?!? Despite all these oddities — or perhaps because of them — Bugsy Malone is insanely charming, filled with catchy songs and hilarious scenes of pie being used as a deadly weapon. It even makes you forgive Scott Baio for Joanie Loves Chachi. I’d also like to point out that Christina only thought to pick Where the Wild Things Are because the book appeared in the movie I chose for last week, Labyrinth. Who knows what divine inspiration she might find this week in Bugsy Malone!
Christina’s Pick: Where The Wild Things Are (2009)
Yes, Dalton, I got the idea to watch Where the Wild Things Are with the kids during that family viewing of Labyrinth, which was painful. The character played by Jennifer Connelly did have a copy of the Maurice Sendak classic. Also, one of the puppets reminded me of the amazing costumes in Spike Jonze’s beautiful adaptation, which took him years and many battles with the studio to complete. We went to the critically acclaimed movie without the kids when it was released because we had heard it was too dark for little ones. Since the prospect of not being allowed to drink blue Gatorade was enough to give Dale nightmares, we thought it would be best to play it safe. Now that they are three years older and have seen all manner of horror in such films as The Dark Knight, I think they can handle this artistic foray into the dark side of childhood. I suffered through Labyrinth instead of retreating to the bedroom. I also made the popcorn, AND cleaned up after. Therefore, I believe I deserve to win this week.
Where The Wild Things Are