some ways, reviewing a children's movie like Pooh's Heffalump
Movie is a different and more delicate task than reviewing
some shoot-em-up R-rated movie. A children's movie has a different
audience with different expectations. But, it's what I'm reviewing
because I babysat my nephew, the Filthy Baby, Friday while my
sister was out getting a tattoo or new tires, or God knows what
she does. I'll get on my soapbox here for a moment. I hate parents
who let television babysit their kids. That's bad parenting. You
think TV's caring for them, but really, if you're not there who
is? That's what the movies are for. That's why you pay to get
in, to be within a community of people that'll watch your two-year
old when you go out to play the Attack from Mars pinball in the
lobby. Yeah, the moms give you a dirty look when you come back,
but why? They watched the kid, he's in one piece. No harm no foul.
seeing it, I thought, am I equipped to review a kids' flick? Then
I figured out my angle. I have to break out of my formula, because
even with my lack of good judgment I recognize that my reviews
may contain words kids shouldn't hear. Besides, it's not like
I've been doing this so long I've lost my sense of how sensitive
kids are, and what makes them happy. This time, forget the foul
language; I just want to put a song into the heart of the youngsters.
you have a toddler or an I-Can-Read-All-By-Myself early-grader
in the house, sit them in front of the monitor for a special treat.
Pooh's Heffalump Movie is good in the same way as seeing
your parents screwing if your parents are hot-looking and you're
not easily creeped out by that sort of thing. For most of its
68 minutes, it has the hazy sweetness of that sliver of Friday
twilight when Daddy has come home from work, had a couple of brews
and promises you a pony. It's not like later, after you've been
put to bed and he's slurring his words, yelling at Mommy, then
locks himself in your room, sits on the foot of your bed, crying
and shouting that he's going to kill himself while you cower under
the sheets and wait for the pop and burnt odor of gunpowder. If
your daddy hasn't done that, he will. They all do.
Pooh's Heffalump Movie, Winnie the Pooh and his friends
in the Hundred Acre Wood are woken by the trumpeting of a Heffalump,
some sort of fearsome elephant who lives in the woods next door.
They've never explored those woods and never seen a Heffalump
but imagine it could snap them like twigs and eat out their innards.
Kids,, you know what happens when you jump to conclusions about
others like that? Sometimes you're wrong. And sometimes you're
right and strangers do want to eat you. Mostly school teachers.
Just be careful is all I'm saying.
convinces Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore and Piglet that they must go and
capture the beast before it hurts them. They won't let little
Roo (he's the bastard kangaroo) come because he's too young and
this infuriates the little guy. You know how mad you get when
you're told you're too young to do something, don't you? Well,
believe it. I saw a four-year old get thrown from a rollercoaster
once. His head busted open like a pumpkin. Seriously, the ground
was littered with blood, tissue and seeds.
at being told he's too young, Roo sneaks out on his own to capture
a Haffalump. While Pooh and the gang wander in circles, Roo encounters
and shoots the beast dead. Just kidding. He meets up with the
Heffalump, discovers it speaks like a harmless little English
boy. Lumpy, as this Heffalump likes to be called, is just a kid,
with the same problems, hopes and dreams as Roo. He's not a monster
at all. In fact, he thought Roo and his pals were the terrifying
ones. Roo and Lumpy play some fun games, sing some truly awful
songs before meeting up with Pooh, Rabbit, Piglet, Tigger and
Eeyore, who then also learn that you shouldn't be afraid of the
that's a great message. It's not necessarily true, though. The
unknown should scare you out of your scalps. Pooh's Heffalump
Movie movie wants you to believe that the shape and color
of others is no reason to be afraid of them. Really, there are
shapes and colors that'll make you wish you were dead. Bone-thin,
jittery with red eyes is frightening. Especially if the person
smells like a chemical lab. Really fat, fast and prone to sitting
down is a recipe for a squished child sandwich, so run for your
lives. At your precious ages, you can't even imagine the evil
and harm strangers are dreaming up for you. I'd say, if you live
to be ten, you're one of the lucky ones. If you're home schooled,
you won't make it to seven. You'll be so dazzled by the first
shiny lights you'll end up slashed to ribbons by a stalker.
the corny message and the crummy songs written for an audience
of retarded two-year olds, it's a decent movie. The Heffalump
himself is nothing that A.A. Milne (he's the guy who wrote the
Pooh stories) would have created; he's too sappy and cutesy. The
songs are written by Carly Simon under the misguided belief that
kids like sugar in their music as much as in their cereal. But
Tigger, Pooh, Piglet, Rabbit and Eeyore are simply themselves,
and that's pretty great. Pooh's solipsism (ask your parents what
it means) and single-mindedness, Eeyore's easy martyrdom and Rabbit's
know-it-all personality get them into amusing trouble. When the
story focuses on them, you remember what makes Pooh better than
the other junk the adults shovel down your throats. They don't
condescend too much, and they truly seem to be figuring out what's
going on right alongside you.
movies looks nice, too. It's not Snow White or nothing,
but it's more pleasing to the eye than Home on the Range
or a lot of the other Saturday-Morning-Cartoon junk that gets
passed off as feature films. This is also a good movie because
your parents can go out to the lobby, play pinball and then come
back without losing the plot.
is slightly better than harmless and Three Fingers, but
it's about the minimum that's acceptable for kids. After all,
they are our future and we can't really afford to let them kill
time with pointless junk. you kids are going to have your hands
full fixing our screw-ups when you're older. That is, if you're
brings me to my final thought: The goal of so much children's
entertainment is simply to be harmless, written and produced by
people who don't have, understand or even like youngsters. It's
as though the only objective is shutting his mouth for a couple
hours. Sure, you kids like almost everything you see, except,
notably, my short-lived cable-access show "I Will Punch You".
But you're smart enough to like some things more than others.
Something can be harmless, or even a little harmful, while being
entertaining, intelligent and new. What I'm saying is, demand
more, kids. Don't settle for anymore of that gruel they ladle
out Saturday mornings. Your father has a whole new word for you
to explore in his nightstand.
Filthy || Want to tell Filthy