Saturday night, our family went to see Nanny McPhee, a movie about a nanny with magical powers. We had seen previews for the movie the last time we went to a show. The kids saw commercials that it was starting this weekend, and so they lobbied to go see the movie.
Everyone worked hard on their Saturday house cleaning chores, and it had been a few weeks since we had last seen a show, so going to a movie sounded like a good idea.
I looked up the review in the Deseret Morning News. The reviewer, Jeff Vice gave the movie only 1½ stars (out of four). I gave it three stars myself. I have learned that this reviewer is death on family/children's films. Most of the time if a show has anything sweet, endearing, or has a feel-good sense to it, he pooh-pooh's it as being saccharinely-sweet, and overly sentimental. I just don't think this guy cares much for family or kids movies. At least the those that are sweet and loving, and have a spark of light and truth to them! Maybe he's just a grump. Who knows?
Years ago, the Deseret News had a movie reviewer that I really respected. His name is Christopher Hicks. I found that my taste in movies, and that of Mr. Hicks were very similar. I found that I could base most of my movie viewing choices based upon his recommendations. I shared the same value set with him, and our tastes in films were similar enough that I was rarely disappointed. Mr. Hicks now writes a weekly column for the paper, but has retired from move reviewing. Its just not the same anymore. I really don't know of a movie reviewer in whose judgment I can place much faith. Too bad. I know that seldom do we find a movie reviewer that reflects our own tastes so well, but for a while there, it was a really nice to have a go-to guy when you were trying to decide whether or not a movie would be worthwhile.
As Saturday evening approached, the weather started going downhill. Amy and I made a quick trip to the grocery store for our weekly supplies. When we came out of the store it was snowing and blowing pretty hard. I like to call it "Wisconsin Cow Weather". With the bad movie reviews, and the bad weather outside, I figured there would be no problem getting seats in the movie theatre. Ha! I was sooooooo wrong! They had this movie playing on two screens. We got there 10 minutes before the interminable previews started, and still were unable to find 4 seats together (except on the front row -- which we will not do!) We ended up finding 4 single seats on 4 different rows. Fortunately they came in sets, so that two of the seats were directly in front of two other seats in the row below. So Dawn Ann sat behind Amy, and then 3 rows further back, I sat behind Bryan. It wasn't exactly the kind of family experience we are used to, but at least we got to see the film without breaking our necks on the front row!
The movie was actually quite good. The screenplay was written by Emma Thompson, who also stars as Nanny McPhee. The movie is based upon the "Nurse Matilda Tales". We found the movie to be quite entertaining as seven rude and spoiled children learn manners and decorum from the magical powers of Nanny McPhie. Her terms of agreement were this: "As long as you need me, but don't want me, I will stay. As soon as you want me to stay, but don't need me, then I must go." Nanny Mcphee has 5 lessons that she wants this family to learn before she goes.
The way she approaches solving the family's discipline problems is quite reminiscent of "Mary Poppins". There is also hints of "My Fair Lady" and "The Sound Of Music" too -- although this is not a musical. I found it to be great family fare, with lots of growth in the main characters, and lessons learned.
If you are looking for a nice family film, with lots of laughs, I would recommend Nanny McPhee.