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Ross Family Movie Challenge: 'Babe' vs. 'A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving'

Carolyn Jones; United Feature Syndicate

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. Due to Hurricane Sandy, Dalton and Christina were without power for a few weeks. When we last left off, Christina won the Tim Burton Halloween battle as ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ edged out ‘Beetlejuice’. Can she make it two in a row for the very first time? Read on and then vote for which  film they should watch this week.

Dalton’s Pick: Babe (1995)
Yes, I recognize the irony of the man who owns a T-shirt that says “I’d be a vegetarian if bacon grew on trees” sitting here and espousing the virtues of a film about a plucky little pig that will most likely turn my children off the most delicious of all cooked meats by the time the final credits roll. However, I am ready to do it. Yes, I am stealing a page from my wife’s playbook. She has accused me in past weeks of winning this here challenge due to the fact that I pick big, dumb comedies and action movies while she selects smaller, cuter films that, more often than not, get absolutely crushed by you fine, dear voters. If she could pick a movie every week about a loving relationship between a human and an animal, she would. (And I’ll still never get how Duma beat Jason and the Argonauts, but that’s another rant for another day.)

So in an attempt to completely humiliate my wife by beating her at her own game, I am going against the grain and selecting Babe for this week’s family movie night. Ah, Babe, that scrappy little runt of a piglet who is brought home by Farmer Hoggett and wants to make himself useful so learns how to herd sheep. It’s one of those movies that will make you laugh, and cry, and wonder why you are not supremely annoyed by a live-action movie about talking animals. The reason you’re not annoyed is because Babe is a heartwarming tale of an underdog/outcast not only surviving, but thriving against the odds. (See, I can do heartwarming!) In the end, we all just want to fit it and feel useful, and Babe the pig is no different. Only, you know, he may get eaten and all if it doesn’t work out. So save Babe! Vote for him here! Otherwise, I’m serving bacon this weekend.

Christina’s Pick: A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (1973)
Well hello, people. I sure am grateful to be back publicly bickering about movies with my darling spouse. I thought that the weekend before Thanksgiving would be a perfect time to watch a film about the true meaning of the holiday. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, because there are no presents to buy, just time with loved ones, pausing to offer gratitude, and lots of delicious food. I especially enjoy the holiday when I am not hosting, and this is one of those years. Unfortunately, there seems to be a scarcity of family films about Thanksgiving. I thought the kids would enjoy the Thanksgiving-themed Planes, Trains and Automobiles, because they have found Steve Martin hilarious ever since I showed them the “King Tut” video, but it turns out there are too many curse words. Grumpy Old Men would make them laugh, because they love grumpy old people humor. But: adult content. The Jodie Foster-created Home for the Holidays features Robert Downey Jr. flipping a turkey, Holly Hunter and the young Claire Danes, but is not quite appropriate for kids their age.

So after much time spent watching trailers and falling down various Internet rabbit holes, I have decided on A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. With the power outages at our house after Hurricane Sandy, we didn’t get to have our annual viewing of the Charlie Brown Halloween special, or even the Election Day special. We’ve actually never seen this one, and the kids will laugh at the obligatory Lucy-pulling-the-football-away gag, while learning lessons about gratitude and how to treat others. The Netflix DVD also includes The Mayflower Voyagers, in which the Peanuts gang tell the story of the first Thanksgiving.

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