spring, summer, fall, winter ... and spring (ki-duk kim, 2003)
happy birthday starbuck!

by request: cloudy with a chance of meatballs (phil lord and christopher miller, 2009)

The request came from my grandson, who had already seen it a couple of times. His mom knows my feelings about kids and movies ... I don't believe in showing crappy movies to kids just because they are age-appropriate. She wondered if I'd be up for a movie that didn't quite meet my requirements. I told her it would be fun to watch with the squirt. Thus, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.

First, I was glad to finally find out what the title meant. I assumed it was something suitably loony, and I guess it is, but it also makes sense in the context of the film, which is about a young inventor who creates the "Flint Lockwood Diatonic Super Mutating Dynamic Food Replicator". You put water in one end, and food comes out the other. Eventually, disaster sets in, the machine ends up in the sky, and it starts raining food. Hence, cloudy with meatballs.

It may have been a good thing to watch on a regular TV, as the 3-D effects were a mixed bag if I'm reading contemporary reviews right (plus I'm not generally a fan of 3-D). The story and presentation was just intense enough to shake up the grandson once or twice, but he knew what was coming and was happy to watch again.

The voice cast was the usual bunch of big names ... am I the only one who misses when actual voice actors were used in cartoons? The standouts for me were Bruce Campbell, because Bruce Campbell, and Mr. T as a cop. Everyone else did a good job, I suppose ... I didn't recognize most of them, for what it's worth.

The grandson seemed to enjoy the fact that his grandparents could sing along to Lesley Gore, whose "Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows" makes an appearance.



I feel like I could have written a resource guide for parents and kid-friendly films for the era in which this one was made. I agree. It's not bad, not great. For me it had enough surprises and solid lines (mostly Mr. T) that made it enjoyable for us. But it's not one we'd return to on purpose all that much.

Steven Rubio

This interests me, so I searched for movies from 2009 that I have seen that are in the "family" genre. There are six such movies, four of which I gave 7/10:

A Town Called Panic
Where the Wild Things Are

The other two (6/10) are Cloudy with ... and Fantastic Mr. Fox (I can't believe I gave that last one a 6 ... I have very bad memories of it).

Félix's mom is very careful about what he watches. I think I suggested A Town Called Panic, even though it has subtitles.


Oh, we were really careful about it too. More with kid 1 and kid 2 than with 3, of course. Our early allowed ones were Finding Nemo and Monsters Inc. If entertaining for both young and old is the goal, we started finding it later with things like Madagascar (#3 is even better) and Megamind (which we didn't watch as much but which was hilarious to me and them). My kids never liked Up, and they're still mostly creeped out by stuff like Coraline or Where the Wild Things Are. But nowadays all three are suddenly obsessed with the Supergirl TV show.

Steven Rubio

Another interesting point is that the mom is also my daughter, and thus she had me as a dad in her formative years. Thanks in part to my feelings about movies for kids, she was able to indulge in her taste for slasher movies ... Re-Animator was a favorite of hers. She turned out OK :-).

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