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Doug C

The Kid Who Would be King (2019)

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I visited A&F to see if there was any commentary on this film, and I was surprised there wasn't. You probably need to have been a 10-year-old and currently have a 10-year-old to fully appreciate this very charming throwback (and in many ways improvement upon) '80s coming-of-age fantasy films, complete down to its retro synth score. I'll take one of these over 10 of Hollywood's latest superhero movies any day.

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Doug! Great to see you! Hey, I did a little tweet storm about this film, and how watching it with my 12- and, yes, 10-year-old boys was close to magical. I watched the film but also watched my boys watching the film, and saw the effect it was having on them. I don't see a lot of movies with my kids, and when I do, the movies aren't always good. So this was a very special experience. I'm indebted to Joe Cornish. 

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Hey Christian! Yes, I had mild expectations, and it's not like The Greatest Film Ever, but it was really nice to finally have a film that I could take my daughter to that was fun, empowering, emotionally honest, and didn't insult her intelligence. We had a good time.

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I saw it with one of my 13-year-olds, who liked it, though I couldn't help thinking that its pro-diversity, anti-division message was very much located in a story that climaxes with the violent destruction of a demonized "other" (and a female "other", at that). But it was a fun yarn in any case. For whatever that's worth.

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Hey, Doug!  I will definitely catch up with this one soon.  We missed it theatrically, but it did prompt me to finally get around to seeing ATTACK THE BLOCK, which made me regret not prioritizing it all the more.  Candidly, the trailer didn't really draw me in, but Cornish's involvement would have sold me if I'd not been sleeping on his last film.  Now he just needs to not wait so long before making his next one.

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Hey Russ! I admit to knowing nothing about any of the filmmakers. Do clue me in on Cornish...

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I can now add the new Nancy Drew movie to "fun, smart, empowering films for tweens." I find these kind of movies so rare in today's Hollywood, most of which—as you know—is superheroes, franchises, or their sequels, and all of which are overblown, self-consciously mythic (in the worst Heroes Journey-as-rote-template), and take themselves more seriously than that most stolid Biblical adaptation. Hollywood seems to have forgotten how to make clever, unpretentious entertainment, but it's movies like this that renew my hope.

Edited by Doug C

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I could have sworn I posted about The Kid Who Would Be King, as I feel duty bound to see every Arthurian legend movie, no matter how dubious, but it must have been on some other platform. I actually liked this one. As Doug C says, it was "clever, unpretentious entertainment" and I also found it to hold closely to what I feel is the spirit of some of the original texts (e.g., Malory), while finding fun ways to update the story for today's young audiences. If I were 10, I might be inspired to look for a book version after seeing this. Whereas after seeing King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, if my parents were stupid enough to allow such a thing--I would just be sad and horrified.

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Hi Beth!  Yes, although I'm not that familiar with the original texts, I appreciated how the kid's story paralleled the literary Arthur's—without constantly underscoring it. (He thought they succeeded but failed to contemplate his own soul, etc.) I think a young person who might like the film would be amenable to the original's themes because the film retained them in many ways.

Edited by Doug C

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On 3/24/2019 at 3:44 PM, Doug C said:

I can now add the new Nancy Drew movie to "fun, smart, empowering films for tweens." I find these kind of movies so rare in today's Hollywood, most of which—as you know—is superheroes, franchises, or their sequels, and all of which are overblown, self-consciously mythic (in the worst Heroes Journey-as-rote-template), and take themselves more seriously than that most stolid Biblical adaptation. Hollywood seems to have forgotten how to make clever, unpretentious entertainment, but it's movies like this that renew my hope.

I had no idea there even was a new Nancy Drew movie until you posted this, and it's playing nowhere at all near me.  Lots of screens devoted to CAPTAIN MARVEL, though, which is good because I wanna show how important it is to me that my kid has an appropriate representational superhero role model by shoving a bunch of cash at Marvel-Disney's newest and latest toy show.  I thought I did that when we bought tickets to WONDER WOMAN, though, so I'm not sure how many times I have to re-enact that ritual.

On 3/22/2019 at 5:13 PM, Doug C said:

Hey Russ! I admit to knowing nothing about any of the filmmakers. Do clue me in on Cornish...

Cornish has made only two movies as far as I know--this one and ATTACK THE BLOCK, which I think you'd really enjoy.  It's an alien invasion film told from the POV of a group of mostly black London housing project teens, and Jodie Whittaker plays a nurse who lives in the same building.  He did a bunch of stuff for British TV that I haven't seen and got sucked into the Marvel thing for a script, and there was some profile a month or so ago about why he wandered around for several years between features.

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Attack the Block sounds awesome, I will track it down.

My daughter discovered the mystery genre last year, and while the Nancy Drew books (ghost-written in the 1930s) have not aged well, there is a series of first-person video games she has really enjoyed, so I was eager to take her to the new movie.

Needless to say, your sarcasm about the film's distribution is completely deserved. I was shocked to see that it was showing only in three theaters in my general vicinity, which is like 3% of the available screens. No surprise that we were the only people in the theater, although I think a handful came in at some point.

It's a modest, fun movie, with a plum role for an elderly actress I couldn't identify, although she reminded me of Olivia Dukakis. Afterward, my wife told me it was Linda Lavin, the star of the TV show "Alice," which I probably haven't thought about since I was 12. She's great. We had a good time.

 

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Attack the Block is great (also was the first major role for Star Wars' John Boyega as Moses, the leader of the crew of "hoodies"). Cornish is a friend and collaborator  of Edgar Wright, Nick Frost (who appears in Attack the Block), and Simon Pegg.

I'm looking forward to catching The Kid Who Would Be King soon. I'm thinking of reading my kids the first book of White's Once and Future King, "The Sword in the Stone," this summer.

Edited by Anders

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On 3/24/2019 at 3:44 PM, Doug C said:

I can now add the new Nancy Drew movie to "fun, smart, empowering films for tweens." I find these kind of movies so rare in today's Hollywood, most of which—as you know—is superheroes, franchises, or their sequels, and all of which are overblown, self-consciously mythic (in the worst Heroes Journey-as-rote-template), and take themselves more seriously than that most stolid Biblical adaptation. Hollywood seems to have forgotten how to make clever, unpretentious entertainment, but it's movies like this that renew my hope.

Doug, I think I've cracked the case of "Nancy Drew and the Hidden Film Release."  I was in Target last night, and it's new on sale this week.  Must have been a weird one-shot theatrical drop.  I'll rent it from a Redbox this weekend and report back.

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On 4/5/2019 at 11:26 AM, Darren H said:

Granted, the world doesn't need another film podcast, but I'd love to listen to one about cinephilia and parenting.

I know that Colin Stacy had once tossed around the idea on Twitter. I'd be interested in talking about it.

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7 hours ago, Anders said:

I know that Colin Stacy had once tossed around the idea on Twitter. I'd be interested in talking about it.

I'd be interested too, either participating or just listening. Lately the parenting thing means I'm too exhausted at the end of the day to watch the Claire Denis and Carlos Reygadas DVDs I borrowed from the university library, so I end up rewatching episodes of The Office or just falling asleep.

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Yeah, Russ, I too saw that it is already streaming, which might have shocked me if I hadn't already witnessed its theatrical marginalization.  I suppose we should start a new Nancy Drew thread, but I'm not sure the film warrants one; I don't have a ton to say about it except that it was a good matinee for me and my 11-year-old. And watching a movie about a spunky teen solving mysteries and learning life lessons was a notable breath of fresh air after all the overinflated, "mythic" superhero drudgery on the big and small screen these days. Maybe we should just retitle this thread Good New Movies for Parents of Tweens and leave it at that. Given the title, we shouldn't have to update it more than a couple times a year.

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On 4/10/2019 at 5:04 PM, Doug C said:

Yeah, Russ, I too saw that it is already streaming, which might have shocked me if I hadn't already witnessed its theatrical marginalization.  I suppose we should start a new Nancy Drew thread, but I'm not sure the film warrants one; I don't have a ton to say about it except that it was a good matinee for me and my 11-year-old. And watching a movie about a spunky teen solving mysteries and learning life lessons was a notable breath of fresh air after all the overinflated, "mythic" superhero drudgery on the big and small screen these days. Maybe we should just retitle this thread Good New Movies for Parents of Tweens and leave it at that. Given the title, we shouldn't have to update it more than a couple times a year.

Yeah, Daisy and I liked it quite a bit, as well.  I actually wish it was a TV show; we'd watch the adventures of Nancy and her socially-mismatched pals every week.

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