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Ross Family Movie Challenge: 'Field of Dreams' vs. 'Finding Neverland'

Clive Coote; Melinda Sue Gordon

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. Christina is riding high after her first two match winning streak, as last week’s selection of ‘A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving’ toppled Dalton’s selection of ‘Babe.’ Can she extend her streak to three in a row? Read on and then vote for which film they should watch this week.

Dalton’s Pick: Field of Dreams (1989)
Neither of our children have ever played a day of baseball in their entire lives. Dale rocked a little T-ball back when he was about 5, but soon moved onto soccer, tennis, and, most recently, basketball. Violet is a soccer and swimming girl all the way. In fact, I am pretty sure we have never even watched an entire baseball game on TV. So, America’s pastime does not get a lot of play in the Ross-Kelly household, is what I’m getting at. But it will get play this weekend if you vote for the clearly superior film in this week’s RFMC. And last I checked, there is not a lot of baseball in Finding Neverland.

So Field of Dreams it is, then! You remember the plot: Kevin Costner stands out in a corn field and starts hearing voices. While that also sounds like some sort of story about a schizophrenic serial killer, this is slightly more heartwarming. Costner builds a baseball field, and this ends up making a bunch of World Series cheaters, an author, and a doctor very, very happy. Yay! Everyone wins! And the fact that it deals with issues like family, redemption, and sacrificing your own interests to help others will no doubt please my wife. As will the lack of explosions and chase scenes which always seem to put her to sleep (while the kids and I exchange high-fives and exuberant expressions like “awesome!” and “sweet!”). So again, everyone wins. And remember: If you vote for it… it will come.

Christina’s Pick: Finding Neverland (2004)
Last week, I helped chaperone Violet’s school trip to see Peter and the Star Catcher on Broadway. I am not sure which was more painful, the ride on a bus full of screaming kids, or the show itself. Is it really necessary to throw fart jokes into everything now? However, the subject matter, the story of how Peter Pan became eternally youthful, put me in mind of Finding Neverland. This lovely Oscar-nominated film stars Johnny Depp as J.M. Barrie, the British author of Peter Pan. As the film opens, Barrie’s latest play has flopped, and his agent, played by Dustin Hoffman, is losing patience. Then his wife ditches him, and Barrie goes to the park, where he strikes up a friendship with four young boys and their ailing mother, played by Kate Winslet. These boys inspire him to write his 1904 play about Peter Pan, the boy who never grows up.

The film is a real tearjerker. I cried my eyes out both times I watched it. It’s true that I’m an easy cry, and reviews were mixed, but I still think my kids will go for this. I am sure some of you will think Finding Neverland is too challenging for kids. But if our kids can sit through and enjoy Lincoln, as they did a few days ago, they can certainly enjoy this. Also, I make delicious popcorn.



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