Monday, August 11, 2008

Essentials Toddler

I will pretty much do anything to distract my toddler from watching Cars. Don't get me wrong, Cars is a fine Pixar movie if you're into that sort of thing. It's just that Robert would watch it twice a day every day if he could. He doesn't get moderation. I've watched it so many times that while having a rational conversation with a rational adult the other day I compared Barack Obama to Lightning McQueen.

TCM is running a series called Essentials Jr. The movies are supposed to be good ones for introducing classic film to youngsters. I've tried a few of these out on my kid. He skews a little young, I think at 2 and half. Still he really liked The Man Who Knew Too Much. He fell asleep during Roman Holiday, though. He liked the scooter part. "Motorcycle fall over," was his review. He also really liked the haircut scene. All week he's been asking when he's going to get a hair cut like the lady in the "other movie." (Any movie that isn't Cars, I geuss is "other movie.") And his falling asleep may be no reflection on the film. It was his nap time anyway.

We watched Meet Me in St. Louis. His response was "I want Superwhy. I want Cars. I want Neighborhood. (Mr. Roger's Neighborhood)." With Turner's selection striking out big time, I decided to take the DVDs into my own hands. I tried Notorious. He liked the part where Cary and Ingrid ride in the car. He also liked the airplane that took them to Brazil and the horseback riding when they got there. Transportation is a big theme with him. He fell asleep around the time that Sebastian proposed to Alicia. It's too bad he missed the champagne because he always says "daddy's wine! " when he sees a champagne bottle.

Thinking about transportation again, we watched The Lady Vanishes with our neighbor who is ten. Both boys stayed awake through the whole movie. Robert liked the train, of course. He got lots of chances to say, "train, like Thomas." He also really liked the folk music in the movie. Every time Michael Redgrave played his clarinet Robert was up and dancing. It's funny that he didn't like Meet Me in St. Louis. I can dig that, though. Judy Garland isn't for everyone.

I trotted out the technicolor spectacular Vera Cruz which despite being kind of too violent for Robert, is amazingly good because it has horses in almost every sequence. It really makes you appreciate the amount of work that went into filming those epic westerns, when you have someone saying "horses!" every ten seconds. He did fall asleep, but truth be told, so did I. Vera Cruz is noisy and spectacular, but it's kind of mind-numbingly repetitive. Too many horses can be a bad thing, I guess.

By far the most successful effort was Ghostbusters. Both Robert and the neighbor boy loved it. Robert loved it when they shot the toilet paper (that is pretty funny actually) and he really got into the Ghostbuster mobile which he calls "scary ghost fire truck." As soon as the movie was over he wanted to see it again, and again. And again. Finally, I've got a replacement for Cars. As much as I love Ghostbusters, though, I will press on, attempting to find more classic movie selections for Essentials Toddler.


AbbyNormal said...

I think "Motorcycle fall over" is a totally valid review of any movie, well, where a motorcycle falls over. Well done, Robert!

Maybe you could try "The General" with Buster Keaton? I would think something with lots of action would be his speed right about now. He probably doesn't get great dialogue at 2.5 years old, but he should get fast and fun action. :-)

If you try it, let me know how it goes.

Jennythenipper said...

I hate the General, ( I know, I know, what's wrong with me!) but something like that is a great idea.

kda0121 said...

Oh Jen, I'll have to pretend I didn't read your blasphemous remark about hating The General. Otherwise, you have to be forced to sit in front of the tv with your eyes clamped open, ala Malcolm McDowell in Clockwork Orange and watch Cars continuously with Robert.

The older I get, the more out of touch I am with our youth. I haven't a clue as to what they like. You must have a prodigy on your hands if your 2 1/2 yr old can sit through a feature film.

How about some of the Laurel and Hardy short subjects....The Music Box, Towed in a Hole, Another Fine Mess, etc. They have some violence, but it's mild and bloodless and they are hilarious. They are still my favorite comedy team.

Michael Chambers said...

All I can is, SABUUUU!!

How about Jungle Book the wonderful Korda production, not the wonderful Disney animation. (kids get too much animation as it is, anyway.)

And Michael Powell's Thief of Baghdad, even.

Oh, btw, thanks for the compliment on the Cary Grant impression.

Oh, wait a minute! What impression? That was him! Well, all seriousness aside, of course it wasn't. But don't we all wish it was?

I'm enjoying your excellent site quite a bit, I am. Keep up the good work!

Nancy "Beaky" Bruce said...

FWIW, David would watch all of Bringing Up Baby with me before he'd watch any other full length kids' film.

And not surprisingly, when I found a copy of What's Up, Doc, it was the first one he'd want to watch over and over ala Monsters, Incl, Finding Nemo, et al. (Although, I must admit -- those two are gems.)

Motorcycle fall over takes me to The Great Escape.... but I guess that's a little bit violent if he doesn't fall asleep in time. ;-)

Jennythenipper said...

Thanks for the suggestions everyone I'm making a list. Can you believe Beaky that he hasn't seen Bringing Up Baby!? We'll remedy that toot sweet.

Michael, yes, I live daily in hopes that I will get a phone call from ghost Cary Grant complaining that I haven't watched Gunga Deen lately. (And I haven't!)

Nancy "Beaky" Bruce said...

ah! I just now looked up at the eye candy!

Sigourney Weaver is phenomenal.

Maybe you can tempt Robert with Galaxy Quest! LOL
oh... wait... what's that rated...?

Jennythenipper said...

She's gorgeous isn't she? Something about marshmallow fluff really becomes her. And Bill is pretty too. I'm probably one of three people on the planet who thinks so, though. I recently watched an old Siskell and Ebert special ( Bill Murray and if you drank a shot every time one of them said he wasn't handsome you'd probably have to get your stomach pumped before the half hour is up.

Irena said...

Regarding transportation I suggest "Band Wagon" (a train) and "Royal Wedding" (a ship). And besides transportation everything in between is pure fun and delight, my kids share this opinion. But in case you prefer Gene Kelly "Pirate" is their another favorite - my son adores the fighting scenes, especially the one where Judy Garland leaves Gene Kelly unconscious and he also likes to shout "Makoko" in a wild pirate way. And one more thing about shouts - guest blogger Tarzan insists on watching his 1930th classic masterpiece. Excellent wild shouts there and Tarzan is always clean shaven, even before Jane came his way. I always wondered how he managed to do that and why he bothered at all - probably to frighten the fellow chimpanzees.
The scenes with the animals are surprisingly well done in 1930th "Tarzan". Still I must warn you that my son was scared by giant spiders and I had difficulties explaining him who are these nervous local people with spears.

Jennythenipper said...

Tarzan say Irena is smart lady. Toddler love all classic Tarzan movie. Jenny Nipper like Tarzan too.

To answer smart lady question, Tarzan naturally clean shaven like Native American. This go for chest hair too. Tarzan not wax chest and always smooth as baby bottom.

Aghghghghg a-a-a-a awwwwwwwwwww!