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Ross Family Movie Challenge: 'Short Circuit' vs. 'Chariots of Fire'

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 settle the argument. The power is in your hands, people. Last week, Dalton’s selection of ‘Jurassic Park’ devoured Christina’s pick of ‘Breaking Away.’ Read on and then vote for what they should watch this weekend.

Dalton’s Pick: Short Circuit (1986)
Number 5 is freakin’ alive! And you know why? Because I just powered that sucker up by selecting Short Circuit for this week’s RFMC. I was originally going to select WALL-E for this week’s battle, but just looking at that Pixar robot immediately sent images of the almost identical looking Cold War contraption Number 5 dancing in my head so — SPOILER ALERT! — I have decided to hold WALL-E for next week’s contest.

Unless you have tried to block all Steve Guttenberg movies from your consciousness, you remember Short Circuit: It was a film about a prototype robot that starts to think and feel for itself after being hit by lightening. It escapes into the warm embrace of one Ally Sheedy, but naturally the military wants it back so Number 5 must avoid their dastardly clutches…kind of like E.T. or The Iron Giant, only with significantly more Guttenberg. And Guttenberg is not the only Police Academy vet to make his presence felt! G.W. Bailey, also known as dastardly Captain Harris, plays the main villain here as well. So he and the Gutes get to go at it once again, only this time sans Hightower and helicopter sound effects guy.

I honestly don’t remember if Short Circuit is that good of a movie or not. I do know I liked it as a kid, and it’s pretty much impossible to go wrong when a cute mischievous robot is alive. But if it doesn’t hold up as I remembered, no big deal — we still have his offspring WALL-E to look forward to next week.

Christina’s Pick: Chariots of Fire (1981)
Our kids have heard the theme song to this movie countless times. It was used in the 2012 summer Olympics, as well as countless slow motion parodies, such as the one in Madagascar. And yet our children know nothing of this inspiring film, which won an Oscar for Best Picture and tells the true story of two highly principled British runners in the 1924 Olympics. One, a Jewish university student, must fight prejudice; the other, a Scottish missionary, must stand up for his religious beliefs when his race falls on a Sunday and he refuses to run.

So, readers, please vote for my choice this week. Our kids have watched movies about robots, including The Iron Giant, which you voted for. They have not seen any movies about runners, however. And, may I appeal to your sympathy by pointing out that I lost the past two contests though my choices were of the highest quality? Though it’s not like I want to inspire my kids to become runners. Runners are nuts. They’ll run in any kind of weather, slipping and sliding on the ice while freezing rain falls down on them.

Now I’ve lost the runner vote.


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