Adam and I watch a lot of movies and I'd like to start writing about them. Most of them will probably be movies that I won't let my boys watch yet-- the kind of stuff we watch after all our kids are in bed-- but I thought I'd start with a favorite film while the boys actually watch it right next to me. Also, I'm a sucker for alliteration.

Fantastic Mr. Fox
The first movie is Fantastic Mr. Fox. My family loves this film. We have watched it probably fifty times (no exaggeration-- for a year now, it's pretty much the only movie my boys watch). And when I hear the dialogue while I'm working on lunch, like today, I still smile. I still laugh at lines. A movie even mom hasn't gotten tired of after fifty viewings? How rare is that?

Now, you might not love it as much as we do, but your family might at least enjoy it. We're super picky about what our boys watch and this is one we are totally fine with. It's clean (sometimes characters say "cuss;" like, literally just the word "cuss." It's even on a wall as graffiti in the background at one point). It's exciting but not too scary. It's lovely to look at. And it's about a family. A family learning to love each other a bit better. A community learning to watch out for each other. And it's about the dangers of selfish behavior, the need to do what you were created to do, and responsibilities trumping personal desire.

It's a Wes Anderson film and very stylized. This was a first-effort stop-motion animation film for this particular director and crew (think Wallace and Gromit, but not clay). I think the "real" quality of the animation, the stuffed dolls and bristly hair, make it a lot easier for my boys to process visually. They still don't really like cartoons at all.

This movie, overall, is delightful. It has so many quotable lines. The story is loosely based on the Roald Dahl book of the same name. (When I say loosely, I really do mean loosely, though the book is also sweet and wonderful.) In summation, the story is about a fox family and the husband/father figure in particular and their fight for survival against three "of the nastiest, meanest farmers." It's not about farming, or farm life, being evil-- rather, the men themselves, and not their profession, are the source of villainy. And Mr. Fox provokes their wrath when he returns to old habits and begins stealing from them. On some level, though, I would say the stealing isn't so much about stealing itself, but about foxes being foxes (and anyone who has farmed or read more than a few books about farms knows that foxes are notorious chicken thieves). But it's also a film about keeping one's word and being aware of how your actions impact others.

In addition to all that, the movie is simply stuffed with wonderful little details. Mr. Fox is a "newspaperman" and if you pause at the right time, the newspaper he holds in one scene is actually full of articles. Tiny little details like socks and model trains and vacuum cleaners and miniature school chem lab equipment, along with the quick-moving dialogue and soundtrack, make this a lovely film. It's funny, too, with plenty of humor that kids will appreciate and that adults will find genuinely funny, without either stooping to crudeness or shooting too high.

I'm sure it has its faults. But compared to most films, they are (for me, anyway) few and far between. We haven't gotten tired of it yet and I doubt we will soon! (Hopefully, next week, my Friday Film review will be a little less frothing-at-the-mouth-with-praise and a little more critical assessment, but I can't make myself do this film just yet.)

See Théoden's fox sweater? :-D Thanks to a wonderful Amma (their grandmother on Adam's side) for finding these for both of the boys. They also have fox tails she made for them! Did I mention we love this movie?