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.

Raising Dion

 

A couple of days ago, I was really grumpy and decided it was best to avoided human contact. So, I barricaded myself in my room and watched 3+ hours of Raising Dion, Netflix’s new TV series. I had started the series the week before and was about halfway through. Those 3+ hours of binge watching took me to the end of the series.

The series is about a boy named Dion (in case you didn’t figure that out) who finds he possesses magical powers. Together with his mother, Dion must learn to manage his powers while facing a mysterious magical creature (The Crooked Man).

There are so many things I liked about this show that it is impossible to list them all here. The show is well-acted, intense at times, and filled with humor. But my favorite aspect of this show was the values. Two things in particular stood out to me:

  1. “You can’t shrink yourself to make other people comfortable.”
  2. “You can be a hero if you want.”

“You can’t shrink yourself to make other people comfortable.”

This was said to Dion when he was suppressing his powers so he wouldn’t scare his mom. He was afraid the added stress of his powers would make his mom feel sad.

I thought this quote was appropriate because in today’s society, we focus a lot on changing who we are to make other people comfortable. We tiptoe around certain topics and avoid certain words because we are afraid of hurting someone’s feelings. However, in reality, we are not responsible for other people’s feelings.

This does not mean we can be rude and insensitive. This simply means that we are allowed to have opinions and values that differ from others, and if they are offended because we don’t agree with them, that is their problem and not ours. We should not feel obligated to hide our opinions, beliefs, or values simply because other people may feel upset.

The conversation continues in which Dion is told that his mom “is allowed to feel sad,” which I thought was a good reminder for us. It is okay if we feel sad or angry or scared. Just because a feeling is unpleasant doesn’t mean we should ask other people to shrink themselves by changing their values, beliefs or opinions, so that we can avoid experiencing an unpleasant feeling.

“You can be a hero if you want.”

Dion says this to Charlotte, another individual with powers, who lives in fear The Crooked Man will get her.

This particular quote stood out to me because we can all be heroes if we want to be. Our past does not determine our future. We have the ability to choose where we want to go from this point in our life. Our circumstances, no matter how dire, do not confine us to one outcome. If we want something, we can choose to go after it, to become it. We can choose to overcome despite the fear, the challenges, and the struggles in life. Our present and future are what we choose to make it.

If you are looking for a good show to watch, you might consider checking out Raising Dion. I know I am looking forward to seeing what the second season brings.

Sensitive Reader Alert: For those of you who have not discussed same-sex attraction with your children, you might want to skip episode 7. Kat Neese, Dion’s aunt, is a hard working woman who will do anything to help her sister and her nephew. There is a scene in episode 7 when Kat and her girlfriend are cuddling in a bed. While this scene is mild in terms of relationship scenes – clothes are on, there is no sex – if you haven’t discussed same-sex relationships with your children, it will raise questions.

The Blacklist (Netflix)

 

Currently, I’m enjoying The Blacklist on Netflix. The premise of the show is that one of the most notorious criminals – Raymond Reddington – surrenders himself to the FBI, agreeing to be their informant. However, he will only do so if he is allowed to work with one FBI agent – Agent Elizabeth Keen. With Reddington’s help, Keen and the FBI capture other dangerous criminals that have otherwise eluded their grasp. While Reddington’s assistance is vital to the success of the task force, no one in the FBI is certain of Reddington’s motives. As you can imagine, this causes tension between him and the FBI team members.

Sensitive Reader Alert – This shows is rated TV-14 for violence.

While this show is very engaging, the violence makes me a little uncomfortable. I can only watch a couple episodes in one sitting because some episodes are rather violent. (I don’t like seeing crimes carried out or people being tortured. This series shows just enough to make a sensitive individual squeamish, but not enough to risk being called grotesque or excessive. In other words, it’s not rated-R graphic, but deserves a little bit more than PG-13.)

The Christmas Chronicles (Netflix)

ChristmasChronicles

The Christmas Chronicles (PG) is one of the recently released Christmas films produced by Netflix. It tells the story of two kids who startle Santa (played by Kurt Russel) causing him to wreck his sleigh and lose the presents and the reindeer in the process. Together the kids and Santa must find a way to ensure all presents are delivered or calamity will strike – the Christmas spirit will disappear, leading to all sorts of unpleasant things. (According to Santa, the Dark Ages and almost every war in history is a result of him not being able to complete his Christmas deliveries.)

The Christmas Chronicles is one of the best newer Christmas movies I’ve seen. There is something in it for kids and adults. It is just an all around fun, relatively clean (only a couple of instances of profanity “hell” and maybe a “damn” – I can’t remember.) Christmas movie that families can enjoy together. The show is well acted, even by the child-actors, and what I would consider about 4 steps above your stereotypical “Hallmark” Christmas movie. So, check it out!

The Man Who Invented Christmas

ManWhoInventedChristmas

The Man Who Invented Christmas is a story about the origins of Charles Dickens’ novel, A Christmas Carol. With a cast of famous actors, this story is well acted, and if the content is to be believed, the origins of A Christmas Carol are interesting.

If nothing else, this movie sparked my curiosity about the life of Charles Dickens, and I hope to find a biography about him to find out if the origins of A Christmas Carol are truly the way the movie described it.