I don’t know why it came up, but just recently Mark said, “I’ve never seen your dad laugh as hard as that time we watched City Slickers!”

It’s true. It’s also true that he laughed that hard every time we watched it.

My family has always liked watching movies together. Actually, we still do. My parents have gone to all but one of the movies we’ve taken Annalyn to, my brother went to see Pitch Perfect for the second time so I could see it last fall, and just this past weekend my husband, brother and dad went to see Lincoln during my mom’s tea party.

When I was a kid, we watched all the usual kid movies: Beauty & the Beast, Aladdin, Little Mermaid, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, something about a car that talked, something about a shaggy dog that talked.

Of course, there were also the musicals: The Sound of Music, Mary Poppins, Guys & Dolls, The Music Man, On the Town, Singin’ in the Rain, Holiday Inn.

[And then there was the time my brother went through a Danny Kaye phase. I don’t really remember much of that, but I never hear the word “chalice” without remembering that the chalice in the palace has the brew that is true.]

As we got older, my family watched lots of other movies together, enough times that we knew the songs and the jokes and the right time for a bathroom break. Some of our favorites included the Indiana Jones movies (the first and third), the Back to the Future movies (the first and third), the Star Wars movies, the Romancing the Stone movies, Three Men & a Baby, the aforementioned City Slickers, The Secret of My Success and Doc Hollywood. Apparently we had a thing for Michael J. Fox back then.

One of our favorites was elevated to a whole new level when my brother and I were in a school play. Though we’d watched Wizard of Oz lots of times, we fell in love with the story even more when I played Glinda the Good Witch and my brother accompanied the musical during my senior year of high school.

That’s why I was so excited to attend a screening of Oz the Great & Powerful.

Oz: I don’t want to be a good man . . . I want to be a great one.

I wanted Oz to be a great movie; I really did. It wasn’t.

It had some good parts, though, and seeing it on a giant screen in 3D was certainly an experience! (I even ended up sitting next to a well-known movie critic from one of our local TV stations. That guy was as entertaining as the movie!)

Here’s the lowdown: Oz is colorful and kind of whimsical and occasionally funny. It’s also surprisingly intense for a PG-rated movie and has some fairly adult themes and dialogue for a PG-rated movie.

Then again, maybe I don’t know what a PG-rated movie is supposed to be like. So I’ll say it this way instead: I definitely won’t take Annalyn to see this one. She is, after all, the same girl who informed me a week ago that she only wants to watch the songs from The Lion King, because the movie has scary parts. So realistic flying baboons with crazy teeth lunging at me through the screen? Probably not going to work for her – or, really, any young children.

My favorite part of the movie (which I saw in 3D) was actually the opening credits. They are awesome and made me question my life-long dislike of 3D. (Then the flying through the air and falling down the waterfall happened. And I remembered why I don’t do 3D.)

The actors were hit or miss. Michelle Williams and Rachel Weisz were pretty good (and, in case you’re wondering, I’ve decided that I’d like Weisz to play me in the movie of my life. Not because I’m like her. But because I want to be. But I’m not.). Unfortunately, Mila Kunis seemed unbelievable and then way over the top. Although her black leather pants – though completely unlikely to exist in 1905 – were pretty hot.

And then there was James Franco. YOU GUYS. I just don’t know about this guy. I wondered: Was he TRYING to be cheesy? Is this supposed to be campy? Because he wasn’t quite THERE . . . but he didn’t come off as sincere either. Almost but . . . not quite.

{And don’t even ask me how I felt when I discovered, while doing my very serious blog research on Wikipedia, that Robert Downey, Jr. was considered for the part of Oz. Don’t. Even. Ask.}

The story itself was okay. It seemed weird, after seeing Wicked, because the story was completely different. But it wasn’t bad. Well, except for how the Wicked Witch becomes the Wicked Witch. That part seemed a little far-fetched. {But probably only because I’ve seen Wicked.}

But the parallel of a person from Kansas getting sucked through a tornado and landing in Oz, then going on a journey with a ragtag group of companions was nice. And Zach Braff as the monkey was funny – and pulled the best performance out of Franco, honestly.

I did miss the music. I knew it wasn’t a musical, but I guess because I’ve seen Wizard of Oz so many times – enough to have even the background music memorized – I anticipated hearing the Emerald City song when we saw the Emerald City and Follow the Yellow Brick Road when we saw the yellow brick road.

So, in summary, Oz wasn’t my favorite movie and I won’t be taking Annalyn to see it. BUT it was fun and colorful, and I’d definitely take an older kid to see it.

One last thing, though. Do you remember Glinda’s dress in the original movie? Do you? I do, and you want to know why? BECAUSE I HAD TO WEAR IT. Or, you know, something like it. Whereas Michelle Williams got a GORGEOUS, simple, NOT pink and NOT fluffy gown.

That is not fair. Not fair at all.

Will you be going to see Oz the Great & Powerful?
What were your favorite movies as a child?

What should you watch next?


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