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May 23 2014

Pennsylvania Just Became Better for Same-Sex Families–And The Rest of Us

By at 11:48 am

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I was watching “Frozen” with my 3-year-old daughter when I heard the news: the Pennsylvania ban on same-sex marriage was overturned! My Facebook feed exploded with cries of “Mazel tov,” as well as, “Finally, PA,” and, “Welcome to the 21st Century.” This was big news, and not just in an abstract, I believe in equality and social justice kind of way. This was news with measurable impact on people I care about, news with the gravitas of, “I remember where I was when I found out.”

That means, I will always remember that I was watching “Frozen.” Disney’s latest blockbuster is being heralded by parents everywhere, even while they can’t stop singing, “Let it Go.” It’s notable for depicting princesses who defy the waiting-for-Prince Charming stereotypes, but it’s not quite defiant enough for my taste. One of the opening songs still has Princess Anna say, “What if I meet…the one?” I was as devoted a follower as anyone of “How I Met Your Mother,” so it’s not that I’m opposed to the concept of “the one” being portrayed in popular culture. Rather, I think that marriage doesn’t make sense as the primary plot device in a movie marketed towards kids who haven’t started kindergarten yet.

Even so, my daughter is no stranger to weddings, having already attended three in as many years. Last June, she attended the wedding of two of our family’s dear friends, and she talked about nothing for weeks before or after the celebration. Leading up to the wedding, we talked a lot about being quiet during the ceremony, giving gifts, and eating a special meal, but we made no mention of gender, even though the marriage was (and is!) between two women. To our then 2-year-old, a party was a party, and the particulars mattered not at all. Even now, even after seeing “Frozen,” when I asked her this afternoon, “What does ‘married’ mean?” she said, “It’s when people love each other.” Read the rest of this entry →

Apr 29 2014

Watch the Entire “Frozen” Soundtrack in Hebrew

By at 3:22 pm

frozen1

Because “Let it Go” actually sounds better in Hebrew. But don’t blame us if your kids bombard you with Israeli Queen Elsa serenades.

Enjoy! Read the rest of this entry →

Apr 18 2014

Check Out This Brilliant YouTube Video Scripted Entirely by Kids

By at 2:37 pm

If kids could write screenplays, what would they be like?

Here is a YouTube series which explores that very important existential question. In this brilliant short, “Salesman,” two kids script the scene and adults act it out. The results are hilarious.

Check it out the rest of the videos and then try it with your own kids!

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Feb 28 2014

Not Quite Ready For the Oscars this Sunday? We Got You Covered

By at 11:35 am

Been too busy wiping snotty noses, murdering Caillou and pairing mismatched mittens to make it to the movies this winter? Don’t worry, this gaggle of talented kids has your back. Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 14 2014

My Daughters & I Love “Mary Poppins” for Very Different Reasons

By at 3:50 pm

mary poppins

I had forgotten so much of it. How could have I have forgotten? I probably watched the movie hundreds of times when I was a child. I knew every single line, from Jane and Michael’s job description for a new nanny to the jokes that Bert and Uncle Albert told when they were floating on the ceiling, to the final, hopeful lyrics of “Let’s Go Fly a Kite.”

It wasn’t until last week when I finally sat down with my daughters to watch Mary Poppins for the first time that I remembered so many of those beautiful details that had such a firm grip on my young mind (and to be honest, my heart): Mrs. Bank’s “votes for women” sash (I didn’t really understand the message, but man, did I want a sash), Mary Poppins’ magical cough syrup that changes taste depending on who is drinking it, and chimneys that could suck a child up and send them into the rooftops high above a city. I loved it all.

Here is what I have never forgotten: the small, dark room at the top of the stairs in the old Victorian house my sister, mother, and I were living in with my grandmother. It was at the end of a short hallway, and down a few steps. The space was just big enough to hold a loveseat, a taple-top movie projector and BetaMax player, a screen, and a glass-fronted china cabinet filled with my grandmother’s antique doll collection and an older cousin’s collection of Friday the 13th movies. Most days after school and most weekends for at least a year, my sister and I would grab a few snacks and a drink and settle in to watch the movie once or twice through. Read the rest of this entry →

Dec 31 2013

Finally a Disney Movie That’s Not About Boy-Girl Love

By at 3:03 pm

frozen disney movie

Fine, I admit it: trekking to the movie theater after a day of heavy snow against my husband’s generally sound advice was not my best plan. But I had promised our 4-year old that I would take him to the movie theater for the first time that Saturday night, to see Disney’s Frozen, and I loved the symmetry between the white-covered world outside and the premise of the movie featuring a snow queen (which is about as much as I knew about the plot).

Clad in boots, gloves, and puffy coats, we drove ploddingly to the mall, where I skidded terrifyingly a couple of times and vowed to always take my husband’s advice from then on. But we made it safely and, tickets and popcorn in hand, settled in to enjoy the show.

It was magical. And not just because I loved seeing my adorably inquisitive son’s eyes grow wide with wonder as he took in a new experience with “the biggest TV screen ever,” but because the story itself was a revelation. Read the rest of this entry →

Gal Gadot’s Breasts Are Just Fine for Wonder Woman, Thank You

By at 1:01 pm

gal

Don’t mess with Gal! The Israeli 28-year-old beauty was recently cast to play Wonder Woman in the upcoming Man of Steel sequel, and has been batting off some harsh criticism since the announcement.

Naysayers have said that Gal is not “womanly” enough or “busty” enough to play a character usually depicted with an extremely perky set of breasts.

Gal spoke to Israel’s “Good Evening With Gai Pines” show and gracefully gave the interviewer a little peace of her mind:

“I represent the Wonder Woman of the new world,” she said. “Breasts? Anyone can buy for 9,000 shekels (roughly $2,500 in U.S. dollars) and everything is fine.

“By the way, Wonder Woman is Amazonian, and historically accurate Amazonian women actually had only one breast. So, if I’d really go ‘by the book,’ it’d be problematic.”

Good going, Gal. Set ‘em straight.

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Dec 4 2013

Israeli Actress Gal Gadot Cast as Wonder Woman

By at 3:26 pm

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Gorgeous Israeli actress Gal Gadot has been cast as Wonder Woman in the upcoming Warner Bros. sequel to Man of Steel.

The 28-year-old, former Miss Israel contestant is best known in America for her three most recent installments in the Fast & Furious franchise. She is also a model (duh) and had a two year stint as a sports trainer in the Israel Defense Forces.

Director Zack Snyder said in a statement:

“Wonder Woman is arguably one of the most powerful female characters of all time and a fan favorite in the DC Universe,” Snyder said. “Not only is Gal an amazing actress, but she also has that magical quality that makes her perfect for the role.

Go, Gal!

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Seven Tidbits That Will Make You See the “Sound of Music” in a New Light

By at 12:06 pm

the sound of music live with carrie underwood

Tomorrow, December 5th, NBC will air The Sound of Music – Live! Rather than a remake of the much loved Julie Andrews movie, this is actually a revival of the original Broadway production.

The Sound of Music was the first movie I saw upon immigrating to the U.S. as a child. It gave me nightmares. Not, as so many people guess, due to the overabundance of lederhosen, but due to the overabundance of Nazis. Maybe the guys in the crimson armbands didn’t mean much to American kids in the 1970s, but, coming from the USSR, I knew all about fascists and how they were out to get little children. (What I didn’t know then, was that the Nazis had been out to get Jews, specifically. Despite the existence of graveyards like Babi Yar, that detail was minimized in the Soviet Union.)

Maybe it was as a result of my (over)-reaction, that my aunt simply never showed my little cousin the final part of the movie. She turned off the videocassette after Maria and the Captain get married.

When my cousin grew up and found out how The Sound of Music really ended (it’s very possible I may have been the one who enlightened her; I was that kind of kid), it changed the entire movie for her.

Meanwhile, as I grew up (and got a degree in Media Studies), I learned numerous tidbits about the making of the film that made me see it in a different light, too.

In honor of the brand new production, I will share with you seven of these tidbits… one for each of the Von Trapp moppets. Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 5 2013

Wolverine: A Film by Woody Allen

By at 11:34 am

Thank you to the group Official Comedy for making this amazing parody of what the X-Men movie Wolverine would be like if Woody Allen directed and starred in it. Neuroses, awkward romances, and Jewish jokes–”Try being a mutant Jew–nobody hates me more than myself, which I guess is like a normal Jew, but you get what I mean”–ensue.

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