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Ross Family Movie Challenge: 'Rocky IV' vs. 'Bend it Like Beckham'

Everett Collection; Christine Parry

Every week EW’s Dalton Ross and his wife, writer Christina Kelly, have an argument healthy discussion about what movie they should watch with their two children (Dale, 12, and Violet, 9) that weekend. Now they’ll make their cases publicly and you’ll get to vote on the choices and decide how the Ross family will be spending part of their weekend. The power is in your hands, people. Read on and then vote for which movie they should watch. The first battle is an Olympic special, involving two sports from the 2012 London games.

Dalton’s pick: Rocky IV
This fourth installment in the Sylvester Stallone boxing franchise just edges out Red Dawn as the most absurdly incredible Cold War film ever. I’ll admit that I’m not exactly sure why growing a beard and outrunning a Mercedes full of KGB in the snow (to the sweet sounds of John Cafferty’s “Hearts of Fire”) is so important when it comes to training. Nor do I entirely understand the science and technology behind Ivan Drago’s “pounds of pressure per square inch” machine (we are told a normal heavyweight averages 700, while Drago hits a whopping 1850, which scared the bejesus out of me as a kid). But what better way to instill national pride in my kids than by watching the Italian Stallion beat the crap out of Dolph Lundgren while an arena full of Russians start nonsensically chanting “Rock-eee!” “Rock-eee!” at the top of their lungs for no apparent reason whatsoever? Yes, I’ll probably have to spend a good half hour after the film explaining to them that all Russians are not, in fact, evil monsters, but it will be worth it just to see the smiles on their faces when Rocky gives Paulie that stupid robot as a birthday present. And when Apollo Creed bites it in the ring, I’ll be there to comfort my children with a box of Kleenex and a Whatchamacallit candy bar. Because that’s what dads do — they comfort their children when Apollo Creed dies. Oh, and if you vote against Rocky IV you are voting against James Brown. And America.

Christina’s pick: Bend it Like Beckham
I would like to watch the 2002 movie Bend it Like Beckham with the kids. Dalton is invited too. Just to preface, Dalton is known as choosing blockbusters for family viewing, the kind of films that force me to lie on my bed reading Nora Ephron. I introduce the kids to quality smaller films that none of their friends have seen, such as Akeelah and the Bee and Because of Winn-Dixie. My family movie taste is clearly superior. Bend it Like Beckham is a feel-good sports movie. I am not a huge sports fan, yet I am a sucker for any sort of feel-good sports movie. I love an underdog story, and also I enjoy seeing girls excelling at sports, woefully unathletic as I am. My daughter fortunately inherited the athletic gene from her dad, and she plays travel soccer. So showing her this inspiring film is a no-brainer. Dale would also do well to watch badass girl  soccer players instead of Stallone getting bashed in his bloody face.

I approve of the positive female friendship in the movie. Keira Knightley, at her most likeable, plays a British soccer player who invites Jess (Parminder Nagra) to join her team after she witnesses her soccer skills in the park. Jess has to hide her passion for soccer from her parents, religious Sikhs who think girls should not play soccer. (After we watch this movie, I will definitely make the point that one should never hide anything from one’s parents. This might be hard to prove as Jess ultimately gets away with her lying.) And there is also a love story. The girls’ coach, Jonathan Rhys Myers, temporarily drives a wedge between the girls with his piercing blue eyes and Irish accent. But they work it out! Girls getting along, even when a cute boy appears on the scene!

Please vote for my movie. First of all, Violet hasn’t seen the first three Rocky movies, which Dalton watched with Dale because he was going to run up the Rocky steps in Philly during a school trip. Also, the fourth in a series, with the exception of the Harry Potter movie, is never good. And I’d rather shoot myself in the head than watch Rocky IV. The only boxing movies I like are documentaries about Muhammad Ali. Actually, that’s not a bad idea of something to watch with the kids….


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