Ross Family Movie Challenge: 'The Sandlot' vs. 'Girls Rock!'
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Every week EW’s Dalton Ross and his wife, writer Christina Kelly, have a… um, lively discussion about what movie they should watch with their two children (Dale, 12, and Violet, 10) that weekend. Now they make their cases publicly and you get to vote on the choices and settle the argument. The power is in your hands, people. Last week, Christina’s selection of ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ scored a surprise victory over Dalton’s pick of ‘Coraline.’ Read on and then vote.
Dalton’s Pick: The Sandlot (1993)
The cool thing about our kids aging up is that I can now take them to see “older” films that we can all enjoy (and when I say “all,” I am excluding my wife who wants nothing to do with most of my movie interests). Lately, we’ve been enjoying the early James Bond flicks, and we had a blast at The Hobbit. But after this onslaught of more mature movies, I found myself craving a good old-fashioned yarn about a gaggle of precocious youngsters. And youngsters are never more precocious than when at the center of a kids’ sports movie. Seeing as how we already skated through The Mighty Ducks, it is time to enter…The Sandlot.
There’s nothing necessarily special or extraordinary about The Sandlot. A young kid moves to a new neighborhood and bonds with the locals through the power of baseball! Naturally, there is a cranky old man (played by James Earl Jones) with a nasty guard dog (named “the Beast”) who the kids must face and outsmart to get a valuable signed Babe Ruth ball back. Mildly hilarious hijinks ensue. The kids will laugh. I will laugh too, because if I laugh, the kids will laugh even more. And Christina will roll her eyes and say, “Girls Rock! lost to this? Even after I played the gender card?” Play ball!
Christina’s Pick: Girls Rock! (2007)
I have an idea for the MOST PERFECT movie to watch this week. Girls Rock! is a documentary that follows girls 8- through 18-year-olds at a rock and roll camp for girls. Now that Violet has hit double digits, I think it is time to really accelerate the feminist education in our household. We began a couple of years ago, when I gave her the book Rules to Rock By, by Josh Farrar, which is about a middle school girl who plays bass. Violet ate it right up. I think we are ready for phase two. I’ve had enough of the mindless pop and dance music that is constantly fed to our children, and that they know all the words to, somehow, even though the only radio I ever expose them to is NPR.
Listening to the mix CDs she gets as favors at birthday parties, I think that Violet is getting the wrong idea about what girls can do in music. That’s why I want her to see Girls Rock! These young aspiring female musicians, and the caring adults who nurture them, will point her in a more empowered direction. And it has got to be better than having her watch ANOTHER film about boys achieving their dreams on the playing field.