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Opinion Pieces

Princesses, Popstars and Marmalade Sandwiches: A Dad’s Journey Continues…


Following my transition from cartoon detractor to Disney devotee, the next step in my filmic journey is negotiating my infant daughters (Kara, 3 years old) various film choices.

This is sometimes very easy, the Toy Story phase, The Lego Movie month, Monster Inc. week, some however, have been less palatable.  Barbie, Tinkerbell and so on…

So, to follow my continued journey and join me as I enjoy, or otherwise, film, through my daughters eyes.


Anyone reading this who is a parent, or look after young children will understand immediately what I mean when I talk about a child discovering a film or TV show.  Once it gets in their head, they become almost obsessed to the point that they watch or talk about little else.

This is fine when the film they discover is something great, like Toy Story or The Lego Movie or even when it is something like Shrek or Ice Age, when, ok, it isn’t up to the quality of the former, but at least there are 4 films in the series to break things up.  It is when they happen upon something that you have very little interest in, or something that is so excruciatingly awful, that it becomes a test of wills when they want control of the TV.

Thankfully, my wee girl tends to have pretty good taste, sticking to Disney for the most part, so repetition is the main enemy.  There are, however, occasions where even the Mouse House can stray into some pretty dodgy territory.

I am going to go through a few of the films that I have been subjected to over the last year and hope that this will act as a survival guide to anyone coming up behind me, or indeed just so you can have a laugh at  my expense.

So here goes:

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The Princess Diaries and The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement (Dir, Gary Marshall, 2001-2004)

 

If my daughter was able to publish a Negotiating Netflix column, then I am sure this would feature.  One of the wonderful features of that service is that it has a dedicated kids section so you can leave them to browse safe in the knowledge that they wont happen upon any adult content.  The downside is, they come across stuff like this…

Telling the tale of a young San Fransisco teenager called Mia, who discovers she is in fact the princess of Genovia, a small European Kingdom.

An early role for oscar winner and future Catwoman Anne Hathaway as the awkward Mia and the wonderful Julie Andrews as her Grandmother and Queen of Genovia.

The second film follows Mia as she searches for a husband and features Chris Pine (with a truly terrible haircut) in an early role.

They are fun and sweet in their own way.  They are firmly aimed at teenage girls, but has enough laughs and pretty dresses to keep my little princess happy.  There are early signs of Anne Hathaway being a talented comedy actress, a side of her I would like to see more of in future.  From a dad’s point of view, while terrible, it is on the right side of terrible…just.

 

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Tinkerbell Film Series

 

The Tinkerbell film on the other hand are just plain terrible.  Produced by the Disney Toon Studio, these are a blatant attempt to cash in on a character and sell some merchandise.  That is my opinion.  My daughters?  can be summed up in two words… “Again, Daddy”

There are 6 films in total and they are full of irritating character and extremely dull songs, with the slight exception of The Pirate Fairy (2014), which features 1 catchy song and the voices of Christina Hendricks and Tom Hiddlestone.

 

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Camp Rock – A Disney Channel Original Movie

A Disney Channel Original Movie… The words any parent dreads.  Camp Rock, featuring Demi Lovato and The Jonas Brothers, on one rainy afternoon, I had to sit through 6 viewings of this.  On that day I went through a plethora of emotions, the film is awful in every way imaginable, but the songs are so damn catchy!!

I can not however blame Netflix, Sky Movies, or even the Disney Channel itself for my exposure to this.  It was already in my wifes DVD collection and had been for many years.  Kara discovered it and I am now well versed in not only Camp Rock but Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam and High School Musical.  Kara has called me Joe Jonas during our viewings, you might think I would find this embarrassing, but hey, have you seen that kid’s hair?  I will take it 🙂

 

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Answer to the question what makes Dave’s ears bleed

I love my little girl, more than anything in the world.  I would do anything, sacrifice anything to make her happy.  I would sit through anything CBeebies, Nick Jnr and Disney Jnr has to offer, any films she wants, she can watch.   Anything, that is,  except Barbie: The Princess and The Popstar or any Barbie film for that matter.

There is just something that goes off in my head and I just can’t take it.  I can sit through anything else.  Not Barbie.  The Princess and The Popstar is a dreadful take on the Prince and The Pauper tale, told through utterly terrible animation and excruciating songs.  It is the worst thing I have ever seen put on-screen.

This is most definitely, a “watch with your mother” series of films.

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Paddington: A Treat for all the family

As I work in a cinema, I was aware of just how popular Paddington was during its cinematic run.  I had no real interest in watching it, and neither, to my relief had my daughter.

Then, Sky started advertising it, she became interested and wanted to watch it.  She returned from a trip to her Grandmas clutching an advert for the DVD and asked in her amazingly cute little voice “Daddy, can I get this on DDD?”  What father could resist…

We bought it and the three of us settled down one Saturday afternoon to watch.  The result was an absolute treat.  A wonderful family film, full of delightful slapstick comedy, wholesome family values and some great turns by some great actors.  Nicole Kidman looks like she is having a ball as the villain (the nasty lady, according to Kara) and Julie Walters is wonderful as ever as the family nanny.

So I guess, the morale of my story, at least to date, is when it comes to my daughters taste in film, sometimes its bad, sometimes its good, sometimes its down right awful, but sometimes, sitting down with my wee girl to watch something I would never watch without her, can uncover an absolute gem.

For me, Paddington is that gem.  If you havent seen it, then please set that right.  It comes with a Dave (and Kara) seal of approval.

Until next time…

Thanks for reading x

 

 

 

 

 

About Snooty Usher Dave

Favourite Film : Ghostbusters (1984) Worst Film: Left Behind (2014) Guilty Pleasure: Pitch Perfect (2012) 40 year old family man from Hamilton, Scotland. I have settled in Gateshead with my wife and 2 beautiful daughters. Worked as a Cinema Manager (or glorified usher) for 14 years, now I run a chicken shop. Love Sport especially Football and Tennis. Love comic books, especially DC and particularly Superman. I own 58 Nicolas Cage films.

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