Saturday, February 11, 2006

Curious George

In our neverending quest to find something decent for the kids to see at the movies, we were thrilled to hear that Curious George was coming out on the big screen. Though not an overly popular story character during our household's bedtime reading hours, CG was at least known by both kids, and we had high hopes that there would be nothing about this movie that would drive either child out of the theatre screaming.

We were not let down.

The story is about how the dude in the yellow suit (Will Farrell) comes to meet up with the inquisitive little ape (who's monkey-noises I believe are played by Eugene Levy) during a trek into Africa to find a mysterious giant idol he hopes to bring back to a museum. The monkey steals the man's hat, plays a little hide 'n seek, and gets on the man's good side. George also proceeds to stow away on the man's ship home from Africa to the big city, and the normal fish-out-of-water mishaps ensue. George racks up traffic, demonstrates his artisitic abilities when he comes across open cans of paint, and learns the art of defying gravity through the collection of helium balloons. Meanwhile yellw-hat dude is trying to protect his job at the museum and pretend he doesn't know the troublesome monkey while at the same time taking a liking for him and saving him from certain injury. You know, the usual stuff. There are no surprises in this movie, but the storyline was good, the characters were cute, and they made Drew Barrymore (who plays Will Farrell's love interest) into a much more attractive character than she is in real life (hey, I'm a dad, but I'm still a guy).

But what makes this movie is the soundtrack, consisting of original tunes by Jack Johnson.

I've never much been into Jack Johnson, a mellow guitar performer who makes John Mayer appear overly caffeinated, and knew little of his work other than an occasional song I caught on the local coffeehouse rock station. But on a whim I downloaded this album from the itunes Music Store, as I'm always on the hunt for something other than Barney's Greatest Hits to play in the minivan. Well, this album actually makes it into the regular playlists on my own iPod. It's great music, and it really makes the movie great.

So if you're like us struggling to find movies right for your little kids, don't miss this one. Both kids were riveted, and both parents enjoyed it fully.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Someone call a sports doctor... daughters have Superbowl Fever!

Okay, this post is a little late in coming. So be it. I just wanted to tell the world about this strange new disease that's hit our household, known as football fever. Now, you must understand, that I was brought up in Connecticut, The Land Without Sports, in a very non-sports-oriented family. None of my friends understood me when I was growing up, because I didn't know the difference between a seventh inning stretch and a two-minute warning. when I moved to Pittsburgh, I discovered I had entered this very odd world full of people who's lives rotated around football schedules, people who worshipped these strange golden figures known as Fullbacks and Wide Receivers, often praising glory of these godlike figures while at the same time denouncing their faith when it appeared that their gods were going to fail them.

Then came the playoffs.

Steeler fever hit this town like a ton of t-shirts. Heck, even I started watching the games. Suddenly I noticed a change in my daughters. They would come home from preschool yelling chants like, "Willie Parker Willie Parker!" and "Big Ben Number 7", and ask for new toys like footballs and black & gold pom poms to chant their cheers.

Who was corrupting them? Could their preschool teachers really be secretive cult leaders, teaching the children to rise up against their parents and watch TV all day Sunday? Or could it just be a natural occurrence for all children born and bred in the 'Burgh, to grow up loving all that is Bettis? well, soon I found myself doing something I thought I'd never do...searching out the best deal on Steelers T-shirts.

The Superbowl came, and both kids stayed up for the whole thing. These are kids that normally go to bed before 9pm. And we let them stay up for a FOOTBALL game? My god, were my wife and I getting the fever too? I mean, what on earth were we thinking, letting them stay up for a FOOTBALL game? I think I'm starting to sweat. Quick someone grab me that Terrible Towel over there. AACK! We own a terrible towel? What's going on.

I guess there's no choice. I surrender. We're Steelers fans.