Castle

Castle is an ABC television series that aired from 2009 – 2016. The series centers around Richard Castle, a famous novelist, as he accompanies the NYPD on their homicide investigations.

When we first meet Richard Castle, he is experiencing writer’s block and has killed off the main character in his profitable murder mysteries series – Derrick Storm. Unbeknownst to Castle, someone is killing people, using his stories for inspiration. Castle is interrogated by the police and ends up assisting them, much to the annoyance of Detective Kate Beckett, in their investigation.

In finding the murder suspect, Castle also finds the solution to his writer’s block – Kate Beckett. Inspired by her feisty personality, Castle decides to base his next series off of her.

With the permission of the New York mayor and despite Beckett’s objections, Castle tags along, accompanying Beckett and her team on their homicide investigations. Inevitably, Castle becomes an integral part of the NYPD, even if he does drive Beckett insane.

The show is full of humor, but does contain adult content. Castle is rated TV-14. Compared to some of the other mystery shows I’ve watched (like NCIS), there are more bedroom scenes and adult references. While they aren’t found in every episode, and you may go several episodes without any, they do occur more regularly than I would like. Consequently, if you have young teens you might want to watch the episodes beforehand before showing it to them.

Jumanji: The Next Level

I must say, I really liked Jumanj: The Next Level. I honestly wasn’t expecting it to be any good as is the way with most sequels. However, I was pleasantly surprised. In fact, I think I enjoyed this one more than Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (the first Jumanji sequel). This one is more funny, although it could be because I had the benefit of watching it in a packed theater. There is something about sitting in a full theater with a laughing crowd.

The premise of Jumanji: The Next Level is that one of the main characters – Spencer – is dissatisfied with his life, and so he resurrects Jumanji, which is the last place he recalls feeling important. His friends, concerned when they cannot get a hold of him, realize what he has done and go in after him. However, things don’t go quite as planned and Spencer’s granddad (played by Danny DeVito) and an elderly friend (Danny Glover) get sucked in to the game as well.

What I found most hilarious was watching Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Kevin Hart channel Danny DeVito and Danny Glover, respectively. It was funny to see adult men pretending to be older men in a younger body. Kevin Hart in particular did a great job of maintaining Danny Glover’s calm demeanor and personality.

While the movie was funny, my favorite thing about the movie was the message. Eddie, Spencer’s grandfather, is aging. He is recovering from hip surgery and doesn’t want to let anyone help him. He is an old, cranky man who resents growing old. However, by the end of the movie, he realizes that maybe getting old isn’t such a bad thing. My favorite line in the movie is Eddie’s statement:

Getting old is a gift. I forget that sometimes, but it is. What more could a guy possibly want?

In a world where we are so focused on remaining young in appearance, it is nice to be reminded that aging truly is a gift. It is a sign of a life lived and adventures had. Not everyone lives long enough to grow old; be thankful for the life you’ve lived.

Parents should note that there is some crude humor referencing male anatomy as well as some profanity.

White Christmas

White Christmas (1954) is one of my all-time favorite Christmas movies. Perhaps it is that I grew up watching it. Perhaps it’s just because it’s a touching story with lots of music. Whatever the reason, it has become a tradition to watch this movie the day after Thanksgiving, and to this day, the end still gives me goose bumps.

The Knight Before Christmas

I didn’t actually watch this Netflix movie (actually, I walked in at the end of it – twice!), but my sisters did. They said it was extremely cute and innocent. They liked it so much they watched it again with our cousin.

The story is about a British knight who goes on a quest and finds himself transported to present day New York. On his journey to become a true knight and return to England, he touches the lives of everyone in the town, helping to spread joy, happiness, and Christmas spirit.

In terms of quality, this is akin to a Hallmark film. So if you need a light-hearted, kid-friendly, holiday movie to veg out to, you might want to give The Knight Before Christmas a try.

Klaus

Christmas isn’t over yet! Not until January 5! So, there is still time to catch up on some Christmas movies.

Klaus is the best new Christmas movie I’ve seen in a long time! It was cute, funny, very clever, and in my opinion, a unique telling of the origins of Santa Claus.

The story focuses on a young man, Jesper, who has grown up (well, that part is debatable), in the lap of luxury, thanks to his father’s prosperous postal business. Disgusted by his son’s lazy, spoiled behavior, Jesper’s father sends him to the town of Smeerensburg with instructions to mail 6,000 letters in one year or he will be cut from the family fortune.

Upon his arrival in Smeerensburg, Jesper discovers a depressed and unfriendly town whose two major families are engaged in a bitter feud (not unlike the Hatfields and McCoys.) This family feud puts Jesper’s dreams of returning home in jeopardy as no one writes letters. Determined not to remain in this frozen-dung-heap of a town forever, Jesper concocts a clever scheme to reach his postal quota, and consequently, Santa is born!

Definitely worth a watch, this film is full of laughs and family fun!

P.S. It is going on my “favorites” list.