Monthly Archives: June 2013

Monsters University: Dreams Don’t Come True

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Once again Pixar has hit a home run with a new summer animated movie. And this time, the element that impressed me the most was the values running through the movie, not just the visual beauty that Pixar does so well. We took the girls to Monsters University on Saturday and all of us enjoyed another great Pixar movie.

Without giving away too much of the plot, here are the elements we enjoyed most:

  • One character really believes that his dreams will come true if he works hard enough. We’ve all heard the Disney lie before: “If you believe it, you can achieve it.” Amazingly Monsters University tosses this lie and the character realizes his dream won’t come true because he is created for another reason. He finds amazing contentment and consolation in this.
  • Another character cheats and lies yet deals with the consequences of his actions. There is no easy way out. He is punished for his mistakes and has to work his way back up.
  • Uniqueness is valued in this movie and people are honored for who they are, not who they try to be. Sully and Mike find amazing community in a group of misfits who everyone else overlooks.
  • Make sure you catch the Pixar short before the movie called “The Blue Umbrella.” The animation is so incredible that you actually think it is reality. It is amazing how far technology and Pixar have come since the first Toy Story!

With a title like “Monsters University,” I wondered if our daughters would be scared of parts of the movie. They were scared during the original Monsters Inc. Amazingly in a movie about monsters our girls were not scared at all. After last year’s Brave, we were excited that the girls could enjoy this one without being afraid.

Monsters University, the sequel to the successful Monster Inc, is definitely worth packing up the family and spending a few hours caught up in a great story!

 

Man of Steel: Movie Review

Jonathan Kent (Kevin Costner) with a young Clark Kent

Jonathan Kent (Kevin Costner) with a young Clark Kent

Need a great Father’s Day movie this weekend? Catch the new Superman movie Man of Steel and be inspired as a father!

Instead of giving you a long drawn out explanation of the story and give away too many plot surprises, I thought I would just layout some of the elements I loved about the new movie.

  • Inspiring performances by Russell Crowe and Kevin Costner as Superman’s alien and earthly fathers. The self sacrificing nature of both of these characters is inspiring for fathers. Kevin Costner as Jonathan Kent was perfect casting and provides some great quotes on self-restraint.
  • Amy Adams as Lois Lane exhibited strength and great chemistry with Henry Cavill as Superman. She wasn’t a damsel in distress and could stand up on her own two feet.
  • Henry Cavill as Superman was the perfect mix of strength and down home Kansas kid though his man boobs might have been a little too big in the beginning.
  • As a follower of Jesus, I couldn’t help but see the messianic undertones throughout the movie. As Clark Kent (Superman) grows up he struggles to understand his strength and when to use it. In numerous flashback scenes from his childhood, I couldn’t help but imagine Jesus growing up and having those same struggles with his divinity.
  • Soundtrack by the master Hans Zimmer was perfect, lofty and inspiring.

It was hard to watch Superman and not compare it to Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy though they shouldn’t necessarily be compared. Bruce Wayne (Batman) is human with technology that makes him a superhero while Clark Kent is an alien that is inherently a superhero. Man of Steel focuses on Superman’s alien nature and his struggle with the alien General Zod. An alien war on Earth brings total devastation while Batman’s struggles with his enemies weren’t as devastating. The panoramic action sequences in Man of Steel dwarf any of the scenes in the Batman trilogy.

I thoroughly enjoyed Man of Steel as a stand alone Superman movie and hope that we get a second movie in this series. Throughout the movie there are references to Lex Luther and Lexicorp so it sets up well for his character in the second movie. I’m also holding onto hope for a Justice League movie (try and catch the reference to Bruce Wayne in Man of Steel – look for the logo on a satellite in space).

So dads, catch Man of Steel this weekend for Father’s Day and you won’t regret it!

Get Away from the Kids and Be a Better Parent

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For a week and a half, our kids are staying with their grandparents and my wife and I have time to just relax together. This past weekend, we were in Seattle for a wedding and a number of times I felt like I was forgetting something. My greatest fear is losing my daughters somewhere. So as Hillary and I explored Seattle there were definitely times where my thoughts jumped to, “Where are my daughters?”

It is hard to shed our roles as parents but it is a healthy practice to spend time away from our children so we can concentrate on our more important roles as husband and wife.

Our role as spouses comes before our role as parents. I dive deeper into this here.

So it is important to find a babysitter or a grandparent or a friend to watch our children on a regular basis so we can concentrate on our role as spouses and strengthen our marriage. This is most important when our children are young because they demand more of our time and energy.

So get away from your kids on a regular basis.

Make time for regular date nights.

Play hooky from work and go out for breakfast.

Take a vacation without the kids.

Find a group of parent friends and alternate who watches the kids so you can each have a date night.

But most of all, make your marriage a priority and you will be a better parent.

Power of Dads

I applaud companies who highlight role of dads. Here’s a great commercial from Oral B about the “Power of Dads.”