Today was the last day of Christmas break with my kids. Yes, I know that kind of statement is usually followed by exclamation points … and arena-quality cannon bursts of confetti. But, believe it or not, I’m writing it with a little sadness in my heart. I love my little rats, both of whom are getting far too old for my comfort level. And I kind of like having them around, even when they squabble like chickens and can’t go for more than two minutes without reporting the other’s misdeeds to me.
So today … on this last day before their “torture” resumes tomorrow … I planned a little outing for us where we could do a few of the things we wanted to do before the break was through. Among them was seeing a movie, which I let them pick. “Anything PG,” I said naively.
Did I just get home from the hospital with the formula samples? Have I not been doing this for more than a decade? What was I thinking?
What I meant to say was “What do you want to see … the Muppet Movie or Arthur Christmas?” I figured they’ve both gotten great reviews and one offers a little nostalgia from my generation while the other offers a nice ending point for our holiday season. Either way, I’d be happy. … So, why in the HELL did I stupidly say, “Anything PG?” … Why?
The next thing I know, we were all in the car headed to the movie theater to see … Alvin & The Chipmunks – Chipwrecked. To those of you who haven’t been following over the years, this film is the third installment of the modern Chipmunks movies. And … in case you were wondering … No! I do not expect a trilogy of prequels to be released twenty years later featuring the ancestors of the current characters.
Just to get you up to speed, when I looked up our three movie choices for the day on my ‘Flixter’ (Rotten Tomatoes) app, I found the following critics’ approval ratings:
Muppets – 96%
Arthur Christmas – 92%
Alvin & the Chipmunks – 13%
Okay, we’re all on the same page. We now return to our regularly scheduled post.
One of the best parts of today’s movie experience was getting to hear one of my favorite songs (‘Light & Day,’ Polyphonic Spree) being used in an upcoming kids’ movie entitled Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax. I can offer no endorsement for that movie here though. I got so caught up in the song that I more or less ignored the actual trailer. And, after a series of other trailers came and went, our feature film began. I could see that my kids were very excited about it … so I decided to sit back, shut up, enjoy my silo of Diet Coke and ingest a little junk, both in food and theatrical form, with my little people.
The movie started, as always Chipmunkian cinema does, with the harmonious little rodents performing their version of another artist’s song. (Seriously, have they ever sung anything original outside of their beloved Christmas Song?) In this case, it was Vacation (first popularized by the Go-Gos in the 80s). And I immediately thought to myself … I wonder what kind of royalties are paid to the original artist(s) when your song gets Chipmunk’d. Also, is it a good thing or a bad thing … meaning are you honored to be counted among the elite artists mimicked in these high-pitched cover versions? Maybe it’s like when your song gets Weird Al Yankovic’d. That’s got to be good, right? So far, none of my songs have been Yankovic’d, which I think would be just … awesome.
Anyway, I settled into the movie … happy to be entertained by two actors I’ve always liked, Jason Lee and David Cross. I’ve seen them both in numerous roles but Lee’s ‘Earl Hickey’ and Cross’ ‘Tobias Funke’ are probably my favorites. (When Dave reads this post, he will argue that Cross’ ‘Slow Donnie’ is better. And, while he does make a good point, the body of Tobias’s work is just so much more impressive to me.) I have no idea why two such talented actors would literally ‘Chipwreck’ themselves into these movies, the most recent of which offering cheap references to Castaway, the honey badger and the Dos Equis ‘Most Interesting Man in the World’ ad campaign. (Yeah, you guessed it. They replaced ‘man’ with ‘monk.’ And it was hiLARious!)
But I hate to say too much more. It would pain me to think that I ruined the plot for anyone. And that’s not what today was really about anyway. The important thing is that my kids liked it. A lot. And when they asked if I liked it when the movie was over, I said what every other mother worth her salt would say, “Um, it was better than I thought.” When they asked about my favorite part, I quickly came up with “Uh … the zipline part, because it reminded me of our summer vacation.” When they asked who was my favorite chipmunk, I said, “I guess Theodore, ’cause he’s the cute, little fat baby with the Puss ‘n’ Boots eyes.”
And when they continued poking at it with a stick and asked if they could get the movie on DVD when it was released, I said, “What? Are you freakin’ kidding me? That stupid chipmunk movie?!!? Please! It wasn’t that good. We don’t need to own every damned movie we ever see on DVD! My … GOD!”
Alright, fine. I’m lying. But wouldn’t that have been funnier my real response? “Um … sure. I guess. We’ll see.”
Like I said, I love those little rats. And I sure am going to miss them tomorrow. Whether you believe me or not.