Teaching children to count can be a tough task. Sometimes kiddos can’t seem to grasp the ideas behind long division or basic trigonometry no matter how hard adults attempt to disguise the lesson as a catchy Schoolhouse Rock! song.
Instead of leaving a child’s mathematical education in the hands of a Sesame Street character who sucks blood and has a nervous giggle, here are a few movies that can offer tomorrow’s leaders the perfect introduction into the magical world of numbers.
One Hour Photo
Robin Williams is a national treasure of comic genius. Loved for his voiceover work in animated movies and his participation in heart-warming films about doctors who forsake what is taught in medical textbooks and instead combat disease with nothing more than the power of laughter, Williams already has a place set aside in the Smithsonian where they will display the stuffed and mounted corpse of the comic after his death.
While the 2002 film One Hour Photo may not have featured talking animals or wacky pratfalls, the story of a lonely photo lab employee who becomes obsessed with a family has plenty of valuable lessons for youngsters.
For example: Buy a digital camera. Who knows what weirdos are taking a peek at your photos when you take your film to be developed?
It Takes Two
From all initial appearances, It Takes Two seems to be a charming Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen movie about two identical pre-teen girls who attempt to play matchmaker with their single adoptive parents. That sounds like a movie that is positively enchanting, you might be saying. What a more than acceptable diversion for my children.
While It Takes Two may be an Olsen sisters movie from that golden era of popularity that orbited the twins during Full House‘s reign over situation comedies and is as full of delight as only a movie named after a Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock song can be, it’s also a Steve Guttenberg movie.
Unless you want your children to grow into heartless cynics who loose their faith in humanity and turn to prostitution and drugs, keep them away from Guttenberg movies at all cost.
You seriously don’t want to know what happened to that little lady from Three Men and a Baby.
Before he was turning heated shouting matches with Lily Tomlin into Internet viral video success stories, David O. Russell directed Three Kings, a 1999 film starring George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg and Ice Cube.
The movie is about a group of solders stationed in Iraq during the Gulf War who plot a heist. While the combination of Clooney, Wahlberg and Cube is the very definition of good ol’ fashioned cinematic escapism, there is very little that today’s audience can identify with in the movie. It’s not like American troops are currently stationed in Iraq.
God bless Vince Vaughn. Not very many actors can completely waste the promise they once showed as an emerging talent and actually manage to increase their popularity while doing it.
Continuing Vaughn’s streak of comedic misfires, Four Christmases is a holiday movie without a single iota of Christmas spirit. In fact, Christmas is barely a plot device — the movie could have changed the holiday it centered around to President’s Day and still retained the same structure and the same generic rom-com clichés it already stockpiled on.
Vaughn co-stars with Reese Witherspoon, who is looking very much like a Gelfling from The Dark Crystal, as two self-absorbed yuppies that have their dreams of a tropical Christmas vacation shattered and find themselves instead having to visit each of their divorced parents for a total of, you guessed it, four Christmases.
Despite a pretty solid cast and a once promising director (Seth Gordon was responsible for King of Kong, the documentary about competitive Donkey Kong players — one of which, Steve Wiebe, cameos in the film), the film never manages to elevate itself above run-of-the-mill shtick. In the end, the film collapses under its own shallowness.
Don’t bother picking this stinker up as even a stocking stuffer — regardless if the Blu-Ray version of the film comes with “an additional 45 mins. of hilarious bonus features” (a miracle considering I’m hard pressed to find 10 minutes of hilarity in the movie itself).
Michael Stacks stars as Billy Pilgrim in this George Roy Hill directed adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut Jr.’s classic novel. Pilgrim, the original time-traveling husband, is a man who has become unstuck in time and is existing simultaneously in three different spots on the timeline.
Balancing life as an American POW, an optometrist in New York and a caged animal in an intergalactic zoo, Pilgrim is a shining example of proof in my theory that time travel is always a bad thing (but more on that in a later column).
The 6th Day
What’s better then Arnold Schwarzenegger in a movie? How about two Schwarzeneggers sharing the screen? Thanks to the wonderful technology that is cloning, the futuristic society showcased in the film The 6th Day has the benefit of a Schwarzenegger sandwich when Arnold stars as a man who is accidently cloned and finds himself in the middle of a grand conspiracy centering on a corporation with dreams of angry killer clones.
The film is pure cheese — but it’s that special kind of cheese that only Schwarzenegger can deliver. The price of admission is earned if only for a scene that features two irate Austrians arguing back and forth over which one of them is the real Arnold.
Why did Robert Saucedo stop at the number six? Because Se7en eight nine. Visit him on the web at www.robsaucedo.com.
Tags: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bad Movies Done Right, David O. Russell, George Clooney, I 'Heart' Huckabees, Ice Cube, Mark Wahlberg, Reese Witherspoon, Robin Williams, Sesame Street, Seth Gordon, Three Kings