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Ross Family Movie Challenge: 'Labyrinth' vs. 'Soul Surfer'

FilmDistrict/TriStar; Everett Collection

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. Last week, Christina’s pick of Bend it Like Beckham scored a knockout victory over Dalton’s choice of Rocky IV. Will Dalton be able to pick himself off the mat? Read on and then vote for which movie they should watch this week.

Dalton’s Pick: Labyrinth
Truth be told, I don’t remember a whole lot about Labyrinth. Just that it involved two of my favorite things of the 1980′s — muppets and David Bowie (as well as one of my soon-to-be favorite things of the 1990′s, Jennifer Connelly, who somehow managed to make even Career Opportunities watchable). Directed by Jim Henson and produced by George Lucas, Labyrinth tells the tale of teen sister Sarah (Connelly), who wishes her baby brother to the goblins…only to realize that the actual Goblin King (played by Bowie) has taken the boy and will turn him into a goblin unless Sarah can complete his labyrinth in 13 hours. Naturally, said labyrinth is populated with lots of freaky creatures — some friendly, some not so much. And then there is Bowie’s Goblin King, whose massive mullet and sparkly clothing make him look like a dead ringer for the lead singer of ’80s metal band and current sports arena sound system mainstays Europe…which is appropriate seeing as how Sarah is also in the midst of a “final countdown” of her own.

This is a perfect film to show the kids because Dale totally digs fantasy stuff and Violet loves music. Labyrinth has both of these things in abundance. And while I will admit that none of Bowie’s musical numbers are exactly of “Space Oddity” caliber, seeing him frolic around with a bunch of pint-sized puppets (and performing something called the “Magic Dance”) is like watching a wonderfully demented long-lost episode of The Muppet Show. And who wouldn’t want to watch that? Except maybe my wife.

Christina’s Pick: Soul Surfer
Dalton is correct. I don’t want to watch Labyrinth. Just reading the description, I can tell that if his pick wins I will be on the couch in body only. My mind will be elsewhere, perhaps on a beach in Hawaii, where my movie takes place. It will be like the night that he insisted that we watch Caddyshack. While I stepped away for a moment to reevaluate the relationship, he changed the language on the DVD to French. And I didn’t even notice. For like 5 minutes! That’s how good I am at removing myself.

My pick, Soul Surfer, is an inspirational film based on the true story of Bethany Hamilton,  a 13-year-old surfer who lost her arm when a shark attacks her. It stars AnnaSophia Robb, who was in one of my favorite family movies, Because of Winn Dixie. In the film, she deals with the painful aftermath of the attack, and also, I believe there’s something about a spiritual awakening. I have not pre-screened the film, but the youth minister at our church showed a clip last week, so I am 100 percent sure that it is completely family friendly. That way, Dalton won’t constantly be giving me shocked looks like he did during Bend it like Beckham, every time someone uttered a minor curse word. Sore loser.


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