movies

FREE MOVIE PASSES: See “The Nut Job 2” & “Leap” EARLY & FOR FREE

ATTENTION ALL FULL-TIME-SUMMER PARENTS!!!
I’m speaking to those of you who have been left in charge of the ankle-biters while they are out of school. I feel your pain!
I too have visited every park, accepted every play-date and purchased every kid-appropriate option GROUPON has to offer (Wait, can we take our kids to wine-tastings?)
BUT SUMMER STILL ISN’T OVER!
What do we do with them now?
Lucky for us, I was able to wrangle up free passes to see The Nut Job 2 AND Leap!
Are they good movies?
WHO CARES? They’re FREE and they’ll keep your spawn from asking “What are we gonna do NOW” for a full ninety minutes. Heck, you might even be able to work in a little snooze while they’re watching the movie. Continue reading →

Balthazar Brat

Mommy-Movie-Review: “Despicable Me 3”- This Time, A Villain Steals the SHOW

I took my kids to see Despicable Me 3 the other night, but I had to bribe them. The girls were so disinterested in Gru and the Minions this time around that they’d only see it if I smuggled brownies into the theater (sorry AMC!). I also had plenty of things that I’d rather do that night but I had to go because I am a Film Critic and Film Critics see movies. Even the ones they don’t want to see.

Fortunately for all three of us, Despicable Me 3 is far better than expected. It has all of the things we enjoyed in the earlier pictures (great animation, a sweet family story and Minions for DAYS) but this DM3 offers something even better.

It has what is quite possibly the BEST onscreen villain I’ve seen since Goldfinger:
The Brat. Continue reading →

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MOMMY MOVIE REVIEW: Is “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” Kid Friendly?

Writing a Movie Review for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is kind of like critiquing your 7-year-old niece’s ballet recital. SURE you could say that it’s smugly self-aware, overly sentimental and too cutesy for it’s own good. You could even say that her performance is derivative of her last recital, but isn’t that the point? Aren’t we all coming back for Round 2 because we simply want MORE of what we got last time? That’s why I’m going to skip the nit-picking and just give Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 an “A.” I’ve already seen it twice and had so much stinking fun both times that I don’t even care about its imperfections. I suspect you don’t either but there is one question I am consistently asked about this movie:

Is Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 okay for kids? Continue reading →

Justice
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Justice is (FINALLY) Served

“Have you ever witnessed a robbery?”

It was a random text from a friend of mine that arrived completely out of the blue this week. I was about to write back and tell him “NO,” when I remembered that sound.
It was years ago, when my daughters were both still very small. I was getting them out of the car in a drugstore parking lot when I heard the most horrible noise. It sounded like a cat caught under a rocking chair and when I turned towards it, I saw a woman being dragged by a car. Someone had apparently grabbed her purse as they drove by, but she was not letting go. I shoved both of my kids back in the car and (heroically, in my mind) started chasing the car on foot. It sped up, causing the woman to let go, but I got the license plate number before they drove away. I stayed with the woman while she waited for police, and the drugstore employees told us they had the men involved on surveillance cameras. They’d been hanging around the shop for a while, just waiting for someone small and frail to target. I thought we had these guys red-handed, between the license-plate and video, but the police weren’t so sure. In fact, a run of the plates showed that the car was stolen, so it was already a dead end. Continue reading →

College room
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The Dreaded College Drop-Off (Told from Both Sides)

So many of my friends have been taking their kids off to college lately. They post tearful GOODBYE photos on social media, then recount the awful first moments after driving away. My friend Wendy posted what might be the saddest account I’ve read yet and she was cool enough to let me share it here:

It SUCKS. That is the honest truth. I will not hold back any punches I will give it to my mom friends straight. Yes we are excited for them, yes we all post pictures of their dorm rooms, but here is the reality. Nothing prepares you saying goodbye and driving away. You feel like you’re having a part of your body ripped off. We got books on what to expect when you are expecting, toddler years, and so forth but where is the book on how to leave your child and not fall apart book? Anyone?? Here is how it goes…
You can’t say anything you want to because you are trying not to dissolve into tears in front of their roommates. All the things you need to say are stuck in your throat in a lump. No words of wisdom just a squeaky I love you escapes.
You get in the car and you cry and everything inside you wants to go get them and take them home. You then have to sit in a hot car( or could be a hot flash because that is just how the day is going) for 3 hours. 5 minutes away you get a text from them saying ” I love you so much! Thanks for being my mom and always staying my mom. And don’t forget you are still my Mom”. Then the ugly crying starts. Where your head hurts and the car is soooooo Freaking hot, put your head between your knees cry but you can’t because you are old and not flexible. So then it happens. DQ blizzard with fries and onion rings. Yep a proud moment of complete comfort food eating. Now you just feel sick so that was helpful. Your husband wants to hold your hand but you are in a don’t touch me mood because this is ALL his fault. Right!?!?
You cry at dinner, you cry at church, you just cry….
So here is what you can do my friends. I have cracked the code. You clean their room. Because in all that mess you go from wanting to kill them, because why is my kitchen bowl under his bed? To laughing, to starting a box to send with the things they forgot, to realizing you are going to be alright. See you know THEY will be alright but let’s be honest will we???
Clean their room… It helps
😉”

I was crying by the end of Wendy’s post and I barely even KNOW her kids. I won’t be leaving my own at a dorm any time soon, but I still get weirdly emotional just thinking about it. When I remember my OWN first night at college though, it gives me a bit of relief. I thought I’d share it, and hopefully ease the pain of all those aching Mom & Dad-hearts out there. Continue reading →

Margot Robbie
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MOMMY-MOVIE-REVIEW: Is “Suicide Squad” OK for Kids?

A handful of people have asked recently if I thought Suicide Squad was appropriate for kids or if I was planning to take my own.

Honestly, I’m still struggling with that question.

The latest from DC Comics certainly isn’t stellar filmmaking and I only gave it a C, which was pretty generous in my opinion. It’s a fun idea though, of using bad guys to fight the even worse guys and the Suicide Squad themselves have cool stories of their own to tell.

It’s rated PG-13 and filled with profanity but it’s nothing my kids haven’t heard before. Violence is glorified and there are far too many slow-motion shots of heroes dodging bullets, but again, my girls are use to that.

So what’s my problem? Why not take my daughters, when the 12-year-old specifically won’t stop asking about it? Continue reading →

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Can I Stop Lying to My Kids Now? (The Tooth-Fairy is Bleeding Me DRY)

How much money did you get from the Tooth Fairy when you were a kid?

I got the occasional $5 bill, but my favorites were the awesome silver dollars that showed up under my pillow. I even recall a $2 bill that turned up once. It looked exactly like the Lucky $2 Bill my Mom always carried around and, oddly enough, it disappeared not long after the Tooth Fairy left it to me.

Ask my kids how much the Tooth Fairy gives them and they’ll proudly tell you, “Usually $10.”

People like to roll their eyes at this fact. They make comments about inflation and how when they were kids, the Tooth Fairy didn’t carry large bills. Yeah, lots of shitty comments have been made about our Tooth Fairy, which is why I want to remind everyone that SHE ISN’T REAL. Continue reading →

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Free Movie Passes: Watch Disney Movies ALL DAY LONG for Free!

If your kids are out of school right now, you’re kind of stuck. The new car smell of SUMMER has worn off and, if your crew is anything like mine, you’re running out of things to do. It’s too hot for free activities like hanging out at the park, but too expensive to head to Hawaiian Falls everyday. Even worse, the troops are starting to get surly and restless. I had mine working on one of those fancy coloring books for grown-ups when I found THIS:
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So…what do we do? Well, the Cinemark Legacy in Plano is having a cool Disney Screen promotion, where you can watch Disney flicks all day long. They’re showing classics like Up, Ratatouille, Cool Runnings and all of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies throughout the summer. Even better, I have 4-packs to giveaway so you can take your posse and maybe even some of their friends. Yeah, give some other exhausted mom a break while you watch a movie or two. Heck, stay there all DAY if you want, because they have screenings at 10:30am, 1:15pm, 4pm AND 7pm! I’ll give a 4-pack of passes (good through August 4th) to the first 5 people who respond in the comments below. You’ll need to include your email address and a brief story about how your kids are making your summer-crazy, so I know I’m not alone. Contest ends 7/14 so GET BUSY!

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MOMMY-MOVIE-REVIEW: Is “Captain America: Civil War” OK for Kids?


Those of us who have MARVEL fans for kids have some big decisions to make this weekend. Oh, its NOT whether or not to see Captain America: Civil War. No, that’s definitely going to happen because we’re just as excited to see it as our kids. No, we have to decide when and where we’ll see it, and IF we’ll spend the extra cash for full-blown IMAX 3D.

See, we wouldn’t miss Captain America: Civil War if The Hulk himself was blocking the door, so this blog isn’t for people like us.

No, I want to talk to all the other parents out there who DON’T watch the MARVEL movies with their kids. If you have little ones who have no interest, you’re excused. Go watch Bubble Guppies and eat Cheerios with them but for the rest of you, why? Continue reading →

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TOP 5 MOVIES to See with Your Kids Over Spring Break

My kids were out of school for Spring Break last week, so I’m actually late with this post. Forgive me, but I was simply too busy running around the beach, trying to convince myself it wasn’t cloudy and 65 degrees. Our break is earlier than most schools though, so you might still be planning yours. There’s always at least one cloudy Spring Break day that’s best spent in a theater, so here are my Top 5 to Films See with Your Kids over Spring Break:

5. My first pick is Miracles from Heaven, but this one comes with conditions. This is a faith-based movie (even produced by T.D. Jakes) so there’s lots of God Talk. If that makes you uncomfortable, prepare to be totally gooned out. Jennifer Garner stars and keeps it from getting too heavy-handed, so don’t scratch it off your list entirely. Miracles from Heaven is also based on the true story of a very sick little girl, which is often difficult to watch. It might be too much for more sensitive viewers, but it might be just right for your crew. Here’s a link to my original review, which was actually made by my daughters and some of their friends. Check it out first, if you can’t decide about the movie.
http://juliesaysso.com/podcast-kids-review-jennifer-garners-miracles-from-heaven/ Continue reading →