Going Postal

Going Postal is a mini-series (two episodes) based off of Terry Pratchett’s book by the same name. The movie follows Moist Von Lipwig, an unscrupulous con man, who is given a second chance at life. All he has to do is revive the post office. Simple as it may sound, the post office is threatened by the notorious owner of the Clacks – Reacher Gilt – who will stop at nothing to see his competition annihilated.

Prior to watching Going Postal, I had never heard of Terry Pratchett. While the movie itself is strange, the story line is unique and intriguing. I was incredibly impressed with the caliber of acting and the quality of the dialogue/plot. Most movies these days rely more heavily on action scenes and less so on developing a solid story line. I think that is one of the reasons I enjoyed Going Postal so much; it had a plot.

If you can get past the initial oddity of the movie (especially the first 10-ish minutes), you will find a well-acted, well crafted, and entertaining story.

This is definitely getting added to my “Favorites” list.

Flora and Ulysses

Wow! All I can say is WOW!

Do you know how long it has been since I’ve seen a movie that emphasizes the importance of being there for your family even when things get rough?

On the surface, Flora and Ulysses appears to be a story about a superhero squirrel, but in reality it delves into something much more super – the importance of never giving up on your family.

Flora and Ulysses contains a message of hope, courage, and perseverance despite familial struggles. While the husband and wife are separated in this movie, their love for each other is evident. Divorce looks like it may be in their future, but you can tell it is not something either of them want. Furthermore, I was impressed by the fact the father actually tells his daughter “I love you!” You rarely hear that in movies. (In fact, you rarely see a father involved in his child’s life in movies these days.)

I’ll admit the action scenes and slapstick humor were painful (for an adult at least. Kids won’t have a problem with it), but if you can look past that, the values are what make the move good. They are why I kept watching it; I was expecting to be disappointed at any moment. But surprisingly, I wasn’t.

Finding ‘Ohana (Netflix)

For a lot of us, spending a summer in Hawaii sounds like a dream come true, but not for siblings Pili and Ioane.

Pili and Ioane grew up in Brooklyn, New York, and enjoy the chaotic, city life. When their grandfather, who lives in Hawaii, has a heart attack, their mother rushes them to Hawaii to be with him. This unexpected summer trip does not go over well with Pili and Ioane who had their own ideas on how to spend their summer.

Now, stuck on an island far away from friends, the two must find some way to entertain themselves. For Ioane, this consists of spending time on his phone and mocking his sister. For Pili, this means embarking on a treasure hunt with the clues she discovered in her grandfather’s journal. Ioana soon finds himself (unwillingly) involved on his sister’s “stupid” quest.

What promised to be a boring summer, soon turns into an adventure they will never forget, ultimately bring the family closer together.

Finding ‘Ohana has a distinct Journey to the Center of the Earth / Indiana Jones feel to it. The cast, particularly Kea Peahu (Pili), Alex Aiono (Ionae), Lindsay Watson (Hana), and Owen Vaccaro (Casper) do a stellar job carrying the movie. This family-friendly movie (Fun fact: there is only one make-out scene) can be enjoyed by children and adults alike.

Safety (Disney+)

College is challenging enough, but it is even more challenging when you are struggling to provide for your younger brother.

Safety, recently released on Disney+, is based on a true story. Jay Reeves plays Ray McElrathbey, a young man with a football scholarship to Clemson University. What starts off as your average college experience quickly takes a drastic turn when Ray’s mother is admitted into a drug recovery program. Now, Ray must juggle caring for his 11-year old brother Fahmarr (played by Thaddeus J. Mixson) while maintaining his rigorous academic and athletic life. Ray’s devotion and care for Fahmarr ultimately jeopardizes his scholarship to Clemson, and Ray soon has to make a decision – football or Fahmarr.

With a talented cast and a good plot, this feel-good movie is definitely worth the watch.

Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey

Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey is another of Netflix’s new Christmas movies, and … its a musical!!

Jeronicus Jangle is the Willy Wonka of toys. He is the world’s greatest inventor! But tragedy strikes. One night, Jeronicus’ ideas are stolen and produced by someone who was once a friend. Unfortunately, his ideas weren’t the only thing Jeronicus lost that night. As days and years pass, Jeronicus slowly loses his creativity, lust for life, and ultimately his family, leaving him a grumpy and lonely old man. That all changes when his granddaughter, Journey, shows up. Her creative, joyful persistence is no match for her cranky old grandfather. Ever so slowly, he begins to rediscover the magic in life.

The cast of Jingle Jangle is stellar! My favorite character by far was Journey; Madalen Mills does a fantastic job capturing Journey’s enthusiasm. Forest Whitaker does an excellent job playing the cantankerous Jeronicus, and Keegan-Michael Key does an excellent job as the villain.

I didn’t realize when I started watching it that Jingle Jangle was a musical. I absolutely love Madalen Mill’s (Journey’s) voice. She sings one song in particular – Square Root of Possible – which is my favorite song in the show. It is sort of the “Let It Go” of the film.

The vibrant colors, stellar cast, and fun music make Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey an interesting movie. While I can’t say I enjoyed it (I thought the story was a little slow), I was blown away by the excellent voices and drawn in by the fun colors and believable cast.

If you are looking for a family friendly Christmas movie, and are tired of the old classics, you might want to check Jingle Jangle out on Netflix.