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Ross Family Movie Challenge: 'Pee-Wee's Big Adventure' vs. 'The Artist'

Every week EW’s Dalton Ross and his wife, writer Christina Kelly, have a…um, lively discussion about what movie they should watch with their two children (Dale, 12, and Violet, 9) that weekend. Now they make their cases publicly and you 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, Dalton’s pick of ‘Rudy’ found the end zone, scoring a tight victory over Christina’s ‘An American in Paris.’ Will Christina be able to put a stop to her two week losing streak? Read on and then vote for which movie they should watch this week.

Dalton’s Pick: Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure (1985)
When my kids were young I got the Pee-Wee’s Playhouse box sets as an introductory course to the hilarity that is Pee-Wee Herman. I love Pee-Wee’s Playhouse — and not just because it featured a jheri curled Laurence Fishburne as Cowboy Curtis — but I also viewed it as a mere appetizer to the main course: Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure. I figured, Hey, I’ll warm the kids up with this, and when they’re a little bit older, they can watch the Tim Burton-directed masterpiece. But then…um, I kinda forgot. What?!? It happens! (I guess it’s true, the memory is the first thing to go.)

I actually did not even realize I had never shown the kids Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure until I asked them this morning if they had seen it and they were all “What the H-E-double hockey sticks is that?” So in the better-late-than-never department, I am choosing Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure as this week’s selection for the Ross Family Movie Challenge. You remember the film: It’s basically a story of an overgrown child and his stolen bicycle. (One could call it an homage to Vittorio De Sica’s The Bicycle Thief.) I’m not sure what will be better: seeing this wonderfully joyful movie again or then watching my kids inevitably attempt to recreate the infamous “Tequila” dance on our dining room table. And bonus points for the fact that this film will make them smarter too! After all, how else will they learn that there is no basement in the Alamo? So please head right down to the voting box and click on Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure. Oh, and tell ‘em Large Marge sent you.

Christina’s Pick: The Artist (2011)
Well, excuse me for trying to elevate the level of entertainment in our household, only to find no support from the voting public. First you people put the kibosh on The Secret of Roan Inish, then you didn’t let me watch An American in Paris. I thought I wasn’t a competitive person, but as it turns out, I really hate losing. Friends have suggested that if I made less esoteric movie choices, maybe more people would vote with me. So…I decided to pick The Artist! The kids will totally love this one. The Artist looks like an old movie, but it is not an old movie! (Friends also told me to stop picking old movies if I want to win. And I do. I want to win.)

The Artist, which won multiple awards including 5 Oscars, is a heartwarming story about loyalty in 1920′s Hollywood. It will teach the kids about the death of silent film and the advent of talkies. More history lessons! Violet is going to love the costumes and the dancing. And how cute is that doggie! Dale’s going to love that. How winning are those stars! How silent is that silence!

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