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Ross Family Movie Challenge: 'Singin' in the Rain' vs. 'Mad Hot Ballroom'

Everett Collection; Claudia Raschke-Robinson

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 got back in the winner’s column as his pick of ‘Honey, I Shrunk the Kids’ bested Christina’s selection of ‘Cinema Paradiso.’  Read on and then vote for what film they should watch this weekend.

Dalton’s Pick: Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
Christina has made a habit of picking musicals for the RFMC. She has had some success in this regard with Oklahoma! and Fiddler on the Roof. In fact, some might say it is the only success she has had in this competition of late. Although I would never say that because that would be mean. But Christina has made a fatal error, because she has opened the competition to song and dance numbers and yet not chosen arguably the best song and dance film ever. So allow me to swipe my wife’s hype by selecting the incredible Singin’ in the Rain.

I know Singin’ in the Rain is a marvelous film because it is the only musical I remember actually liking as an impatient young boy more impressed by lightsabers and fights against Apollo Creed. I must have watched that one number with the umbrellas a hundred times, and then anytime my sister and I were outside in a storm we would belt out the lyrics. Of course, Singin’ stars the incomparable Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds, who fall in love in a story about a movie studio making the transition from silent films to talkies. There is humor and hijinks along the way, sure to keep Dale entertained enough to tolerate the lovey-dovey romance stuff as I too did all those decades ago. Honestly, I am shocked Christina allowed this film to slip through her dainty, delicate fingers. Maybe she’ll now go and pick Star Wars, just to mess with me.

Christina’s Pick: Mad Hot Ballroom (2005)
No, dearest darling, I would never mess with you. Besides, no member of this family needs to view Star Wars one more time. Especially not me. Remember when you forced me to watch episodes IV, V, and VI, which you owned on VHS? I sat through all three seated on your frameless futon covered in kitty litter. That was an act of love, really. So were the Star Wars figures on our wedding cake. But the life-sized cardboard Boba Fett you wanted to put in our living room still gives me nightmares.

Which is all to say, no Star Wars this weekend. I’m thinking Mad Hot Ballroom. This documentary chronicles middle school students in New York City in their quest to excel at a ballroom dancing competition. I just love watching 12-year-olds applying themselves, as do our kids, who really enjoyed Brooklyn Castle, the 2012 documentary about outstanding middle school chess players in NYC, and Akeelah and the Bee, the 2006 drama about a spelling bee champion.  As much as I love Singin’ in the Rain, I really think the kids will prefer Mad Hot Ballroom.

So whether I win or lose this week, I win. Not that I am competitive.

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