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Ross Family Movie Challenge: 'Coraline' vs. 'Fiddler on the Roof'

Focus; Everett Collection

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, 10) 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 selection of ‘The 7th Voyage of Sinbad’ sunk Christina’s pick of ‘Yellow Submarine’. Read on and then vote for which film they should watch this week to kick off the new year.

Dalton’s Pick: Coraline (2009)
Ever have a film you were really excited to watch with your kids, but you knew they weren’t quite ready to handle it? For me, that film has been Coraline. I heard nothing but great things when this stop-motion animated film came out in 2009. But I also knew multiple nightmares would be in store if I showed it to the kiddies. For years, Dale would not even watch How The Grinch Stole Christmas because it freaked him out so much, and I feared a film about someone trying to sew buttons onto a little girl’s eyes would scar Violet for life. They simply weren’t ready.

Based on Neil Gaiman’s book, Coraline tells the tale of a girl who feels unloved and uncared for. She finds a passageway to a parallel version of her apartment building called the Other World, which at first seems peachy keen. It’s not. Next thing she knows, a witch is trying to force her to sew buttons over her eyes. Just writing that last sentence kind of freaks me out, so I can only imagine how my pre-double digit aged kids would have handled it. But they can handle it now. And handle it they will with your help in this week’s vote. And if they don’t like what they see, I can just sew buttons on their eyes so they don’t have to watch the end.

Christina’s Pick: Fiddler on the Roof (1971)
I cannot tell you how AMPED I am to watch Fiddler on the Roof with the kids. I saw this adaptation of the Broadway musical on TV when I was a child and LOVED it! The music! “If I Were a Rich Man,” which I would admire solely for its grammatically correct title. “Matchmaker”: hilarious!  I am getting weepy just thinking about “Sunrise, Sunset.” It’s the wedding, and the parents can’t believe that their kids have grown up so quickly and now are leaving them. Hang on, I am going to watch a clip of that song on You Tube. Okay, I am back.

The film tells the story of a family of Russian Jews at the dawn of the Russian Revolution. It won’t do the kids any harm to get a little cinematic exposure to Russian history. The father, who sells milk for a living, wants his three marriage-age daughters to adhere to religious and cultural traditions. The girls have their own ideas about their future husbands, including that “he be as handsome as anything,” which leads to some defiance of parental orders. I keep running into this in RFMC selections. I will once again reiterate that as my children, Dale and Violet must follow all parental instructions TO THE LETTER.



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