Ross Family Movie Challenge: 'Galaxy Quest' vs 'Secret of Roan Inish'
Every week EW’s Dalton Ross and his wife, writer Christina Kelly, have 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 ‘Bugsy Malone’ was on the receiving end of a big pie in the face, losing to ‘Where The Wild Things Are. Will Christina now make it two in a row? Read on and then vote for which movie they should watch this week.
Dalton’s Pick: Galaxy Quest (1999)
What the heck is wrong with me? I’ve never showed my kids Galaxy Quest? Clearly, I am a horrible parent. But it is time to remedy that mistake right now. This movie is a natural for Dale and Violet. For one thing, they love anything that takes place in outer space. I could show them freakin’ Krull and they would be all over it. For another, it stars lots of actors they know from other movies they’ve seen (Look, it’s Severus Snape with a fake alien brain! Check out the woman from Avatar rocking blond hair! Listen to voice of Buzz Lightyear! OMG, it’s the bad guy from Iron Man 2!). And there’s also the fact that…GALAXY QUEST IS AWESOME!
For those who may be painfully unaware (i.e. my wife), the plot of Galaxy Quest is kind of like The Three Amigos — which the kids also loved. In this case, an alien species has been transfixed by the old sci-fi TV show Galaxy Quest, and while the cast thinks they are off to entertain some crazy diehard fans, instead they become embroiled in an intergalactic slugfest. Hilarity and action scenes galore ensue. I could tell you more about why this movie deserves to win, but I don’t need to, because you already know it does. And to those of you who think Galaxy Quest might not have what it takes to topple an Irish seal-woman, I leave you with the immortal words of Commander Peter Quincy Taggart: “Never give up. Never surrender.”
Christina’s Pick: The Secret of Roan Inish (1994)
My choice has only two things in common with Dalton’s: 1) It was released in the 1990s; and 2) It requires a healthy suspension of disbelief. This beautiful film, which was directed by John Sayles, is a fairytale set in Western Ireland in the 1940s. A young girl named Fiona is sent to live with her grandparents, exiles from an island that they were forced to evacuate. They miss their simple life on the island, where they fished, collected seaweed and, legend has it, coexisted with mythical half-seal, half-human creatures called selkies. The selkies stole Fiona’s baby brother when her family left the island, and no one has ever recovered from the loss. Fiona secretly goes back to the island to fix up their old thatched-roof cottage, and she gets a wonderful surprise.
This movie is so lovely and poetic. Violet has watched it with me, but not for a few years, and she loved it too. What is not to like about adorable seals, gorgeous scenery, and charming Irish brogues? Dale has not yet seen it, but I think he will enjoy it, and if he doesn’t enjoy it, too bad. He has to take one for the team every now and then, just like I did Sunday night watching the execrable Standing Ovation with my daughter.
I cry every time I watch Roan Inish, which, since I own it on VHS, has been a lot of tears over many years. Of course, I cry at every family movie night, either because something touches my soul, or out of frustration with my husband’s taste in movies. Galaxy Quest? Really???