Tuesday, June 17, 2008

movies by mulligan

Kung Fu Panda

Animation – pretty good. Not ’knock your socks off’ awesome, but definitely a notch or two above ‘good enough’.

Storyline – ok. Standard, bumbling village idiot becomes the village hero plot.

Although the movie is worth the price of admission and I didn’t spend half of it thinking, ‘yawn, get this thing moving’ most of the truly funny stuff was pre-shown in the trailers so not much was a surprise. I did go into it with the misperception KFP was a genuine ‘comedy’ and while somewhat disappointed to learn otherwise, KFP still had the audience laughing and applauding and I left the theater warm and fuzzy.

There are enough scenes of animated stuffed animal craziness to keep some of the younger kiddies occupied but they will need popcorn to fill the handful of gaps where grown-up plot takes over.

Normally during any kind of animated show I spend half the movie trying to identify the various voice talents. Not the case with this one, which for me is awesome, as I got to actually enjoy the movie without my brain getting in the way. I thought the kung fu master as a tortoise was particularly good, and you actually get to see him in action; the Yoda type of action that makes you sit back and think, “SWEEEET!!”. The villain was fuzzy, scary, mean and kicks butt enough to make you root for (and worry about) the hero.

All in all worth seeing again, although I doubt it requires a big screen. KFP will probably do well as a home view DVD down the road.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

give 'till it hurts

Okie dokie

Normally If I have no personal experience with something I don’t shoot off my mouth about it. Today I’m gonna set that rule aside and holler at some of you so-called parents.

If you give your kid everything you are a friggin’ idiot.

Now that y’all are good and mad I will explain. The problem lies primarily with the term give; and secondly with the term everything. I have no problems with a kid who has everything; it’s the method of acquisition.

Everywhere I go I see kids who are dependent on someone to give them things. Not a problem by itself, kids by definition should be dependent on parents as a primary source of food, shelter, emotional support and other basic needs.

A BWM is not a basic need. A 3000 dollar poodle is not a basic need (and by the way is also not a fashion accessory). Pepsi is not a basic need. A ride to school ‘cuz it’s rainy or cold is not a basic need. You are thinking I’m sadistic; I’m thinking buy the kid a dam jacket.

People who don’t have to work for things and I mean work, sweat, think, strain, for more than one day, will not, repeat, will not place appropriate value on anything. There is a mountain of difference between a kid who thinks ‘mommy will get me another one’ and a kid who thinks ‘I worked all summer for that’. Kids who get up before school to check their trap-lines for gas money will have a whole different outlook than kids who thinks cars come from blowing out all 16 candles on the cake. A kid who has daddy-taxi for 18 years will be disappointed when they are late for class their first day of college, ‘cuz I’m sorry but there’s no drop off service at any of the universities I’ve attended.

A friend of mine mentioned the warm fuzzy feeling she gets from giving things. That selfless giving which makes her enjoy life. I think giving is good, giving until the recipient becomes dependent is bad. If your teenage driver doesn’t know why people are mad about 4 dollar gas you’re wrong. If you are gonna give them something just ‘cuz it’s Tuesday at least pick something they need vs. something they want (that’s what birthdays are for). If your kid has rotten teeth quit giving them candy and give them a toothbrush. See how warm and fuzzy you feel when the ungrateful lil’ tyke screams about not having candy. I heard a teenager yell at their parent once about a purchase she was being denied, “Just buy it!!! What’s wrong with you!!??” That’s probably not uncommon really, but the stunned look of disbelief on her lil’ face when momma explained there was no money for it because she had spent it already was priceless. Sad, but priceless.

I think there are lots of issues with raising kids in the world we live in today. Perhaps this is not the most important but I find the idea that children do not know the price of a dollar astounding. I’m not talking about knowing what a dollar will buy, but the concept of how much effort goes into earning that dollar. You have to spend money to make money is lost on them. You have to spend money for gas, oil, tires, clothes, insurance, license plates, soap, shampoo, breakfast, the list goes on. … all before you can earn just one dollar.

So stop just giving them everything. Use their childhood years to teach them things they will need when they are out on their own. Teach them the length of a workday. Teach them the high cost of luxuries. Teach them how much of their hard earned money goes to pay taxes. Teach them how to budget. Don’t shield them from experiences they will need when they leave the nest and venture out on their own.

Maybe if more people know what a dollar costs more people would fight when someone takes it away.