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Ross Family Movie Challenge: 'WALL-E' vs. 'Pinocchio'

Pixar/Disney

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 ‘Short Circuit’ sprinted past ‘Christina’s pick of ‘Chariots of Fire’ to claim victory. Will Dalton’s promise to continue with another robot-themed classic give him another victory? Read on and then vote for what they should watch this weekend.

Dalton’s Pick: WALL-E (2008)
I’ve been trying for years. Violet and I watched WALL-E shortly after it came out and ever since then I’ve been attempting to get Christina and Dale on board for a full family viewing, but they just aren’t having it. Christina has an irrational fear of any movie involving robots and/or outer space, and Dale? Well, I have no idea what his objection is besides the fact that his sister and I already watched it without him. (Kids are weird that way sometimes.)

It’s a shame, because there are a lot of things they would both love about this film. Christina would be into the not-so-subtle statement being made on environmental issues, mass consumerism, and the lazification (I made that word up) of a society expecting everything to be done for them. And as for Dale, did I mention it’s a movie about two robots? What kid doesn’t dig robots? Also, how often do you see a film not starring Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, or a dog named Uggie where the first half hour has no talking whatsoever? I realize I’m the guy who often picks big dumb movies with awful dialogue and super huge explosions, so the fact that I am selecing a unique film with an actual societal message should illustrate just how remarkable a film WALL-E is. Now I just need your help in forcing my wife and son to watch it.

Christina’s Pick: Pinocchio (1940)
It’s the weirdest thing, but somehow our kids have never seen Pinocchio. They are pretty well-versed in most of the Disney films, with an emphasis on the princess-themed ones, which we tore through the year my daughter turned three. (Two years later she declared princesses were “for babies.”) It’s just as well that we waited until now, though, because Pinocchio can be pretty disturbing for small children. You no doubt remember the story: an elderly wood carver named Geppetto makes a puppet named Pinocchio, and before he goes to bed, he fervently wishes that the puppet were a real boy. A fairy grants his wish, but tells Pinocchio that he must develop a conscience before he is truly human. The movie follows Pinocchio as he stumbles in his quest to be honest and do the right thing. We all remember how his nose grows when he tells a lie. Pinocchio makes a series of what modern parents euphemistically refer to as “bad choices,” so he is sent to Pleasure Island, where boys smoke, drink and get turned into donkeys. This is the point at which our son would have run out of the room as a little boy. He never could handle scenes where somebody was misbehaving.

And now, I Wish Upon a Star that you will vote this film in, so we can kick back with a bowl of popcorn and let the movie reinforce some lessons about making “good choices.” I hope a little fairy is listening, and will grant my humble wish.


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