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.

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.

Solo

SoloI saw Solo a couple of weeks ago. The show was well acted and has more of a plot than most Star Wars movies. As much as I hate to say it, I was a little disappointed with the movie. While I thought the actors did a fabulous job, the overall story was not as much fun as I remember Star Wars movies being. There was not a lot of humor and the action violence was more serious/intense than I remember Star Wars films being. Also, there were more innuendoes than in previous Star Wars films.

The only reason I enjoyed the film was because I grew up watching the original Star Wars trilogy, so it was fun to see where Han Solo came from and how he met Chewbacca and Lando Calrissian. That alone made the movie worth watching; however, I’m not sure it made it worth paying to see it in the movie theaters.

Lost in Space (Netflix)

LostinSpace

I’ve only seen 3 episodes of Netflix’s Lost in Space, but so far it is an entertaining show. While the episodes can be slow at times, they remain suspenseful and engaging. The show is well-acted, and I’ve been especially impressed with the young child/teen actors who do a stellar job conveying the stress and tension that arise in the situations they find themselves in.