City of Ember

We watched two dvd’s on Friday night. First up was the family film The City of Ember based on a novel for tweens of the same name. Mick recommended it to us over the Christmas holiday and had given Dee a copy of the novel, though she is still a bit too young to read it to herself.

As usual with fare aimed at families, dead parents were plentiful. The main characters had two dead mothers and a dad between them and the girl’s grandmother dies in her sleep just to add to the authenticity. I should really get over this particular dramatic effect because I totally get where the plot point comes from – most children’s greatest fear is losing a parent in some way.  Dead parents throw a child into a world that requires them to take care of themselves which is another childish fear – who will take care of me?

I just wish that  kid movies did something more than play on well-recognized fears  or portrayed live adults in children’s lives as incompetent and/or stick up the bum prigs.

But the City of Ember wasn’t really too bad though it hammered a bit on the whole eco-collapse thing due to man’s wanton waste (not surprising as Tim Robbins was featured and it was produced by Tom Hanks).  Still, it had a lot to say about the current state of modern life as played out in the future effects of short-sightedness.

And the character who directs much of the problem-solving, as it is a bit of a mystery, is a girl. I like girl heroes.

Later, Rob picked the “grown-up” movie for himself and I, a Canadian comedy from 2002 titled Men with Brooms. It’s about curling and a fictional Stanley Cup of the curling world – The Golden Broom.

“I’ve seen this,” he told me. “And no one is dead.”

The film begins on a lake with beavers singing and quickly takes us to a father and daughter on a boat, retrieving a curling stone that somehow wound up on the bottom of the lake.

The young woman dives down to attach a line to the stone and then helps her father haul it up. Curling stones weigh 42 lbs after all.

And then the father drops dead of a heart attack and the young men he coached all show up for his funeral and are urged by their dead coach at the reading of his will to reunite one more time to compete for The Golden Broom.

Using a curling stone that is doubling as his urn.

Let’s see … one of the daughters is a recovering alcoholic who is in love with one of the men who left her sister at the altar ten years earlier resulting in that sister getting degrees from McGill and Harvard and becoming an astronaut. The vied for gentlemen in question has “issues”. He cheated the last time that the rink (curling team) competed in a match together.  His dad is a legendary curling champion who was away from home much of the time his wife was dying (yes, I know, I know) and father and son are estranged.  Another teammate is a drug dealer who can’t remember the names of the women he sleeps with. A third is an undertaker in a lifeless marriage.  The last man is desperate to impregnate his wife but has a single digit sperm count.

Oh and there is a lesbian local police chief being chased by a waitress that has no relevance to the plot in any way but keeps coming up.

And quacking beavers swarm the roads.

Rob says that beavers don’t quack but people who live in Ontario apparently don’t know this because the beavers in this movie make a noise that is very duck sounding.

Oh, and curling? Major sport. Major. Not like hockey is major but more like how softball rules in some parts of the midwest. I have a writing friend whose son is heavy into curling. It’s like being a little league baseball mom.

The soundtrack for the film is all Canadian and it rocked. The film itself picked up speed and meandered away to subplots but was charming and funny. Leslie Nielsen, who hails from the Northwest Territories, plays the estranged father who grows “magic mushrooms” and is quite good – and surprisingly attractive for such an old man.

It’s not as heavy-duty a movie, and already I’ve forgotten much of the point of it, but I don’t lament the time lost and that’s hard to say about so many movies these days.