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Review of the movie "Snowmen"


SNOWMEN

Recently, the kids and I watched a movie online called “Snowmen.”

A while back, I signed up to be a “homeschool.com product tester” and periodically I get asked to review something. Recently, I got an email saying:


“We have been invited by Mpower Pictures (Bella, The Stoning of Soraya M.)
to participate in a special online “sneak peek” screening of their
upcoming film, Snowmen (PG), which opens in select theaters nationwide
October 21.

They are coming to you, Homeschool.com's Product Testers,
because opening weekend will be promoted as
"The Family Movie Event of the Year," and homeschoolers are known
for being family-oriented.

Snowmen is a humorous and heartfelt coming-of-age story about three
unlikely heroes and the winter that changed their lives forever.
What will be your legacy? What will you build that lasts? Snowmen
prompts audiences of all ages to ask these life-defining questions,
while affirming that it's not what you do that matters so much as
how you do it.

I believe it is important to help with the grassroots efforts of movies
like Snowmen which have the ability to engage, empower and entertain
the family -- and which embody family values and teach strength of character.

Call to Action: Watch the film online between October 12 - October 20 and
then blog about it before its October 21, 2011 opening.”



So, we watched the movie- my 11 year old, my almost 6 year old and I. I knew nothing much of what the movie was about, I didn't know why it was rated PG but figured it couldn't be anything I wouldn't really want my almost 6 year old to see, since it is being promoted as a family movie and refers to audiences of all ages.

There are some parts, though, that some parents might not want young children seeing or hearing. This review will include spoilers.

There is a fair amount of schoolyard bullying, fighting, teasing and name calling. Some of the names used are "loser," "freak," "wimp," etc. There is some physical fighting, which resulted in a bloody nose in one scene. There is a scene in which the main bully character says: "Screw you, you pansy" to one of his friends. There is also an instance where one of the characters exclaims, "Crap!"

Death is a prevalent issue in this movie, which may be frightening or disturbing for some young children. In a voiceover, the main character announces early on in the movie that he died at age 10. As the movie progress, we find that he has cancer, had thought he was cured, but is apparently now dying. There is also a scene in which the three main characters find the dead body of an old man buried in the snow. They show the dead body and it is made known that he was an 87 year old man who died of a stroke and the snow plow must have moved his body to where the boys find it. The boys decide they want to go to his funeral as for some reason they have it in their heads that he had no family or friends and was going to be buried alone.

As the boys cross a frozen lake to get to the man's funeral, they stop at a playground half buried under frozen water- they call it the "underwater park" and there is a conversation that may be a bit scary for young children in which one of the kids describes how it is haunted and there are ghosts underneath the ice that drown children every year.

This leads to a discussion where one of the boys asks the one with cancer if he is afraid of what will happen to him when he dies. The boy says that he knows he will go to Heaven because he is a kid.

They end up taking too long to cross the ice and don't make it to the funeral on time. They continue to think the old man had no-one there and had been buried alone. The kid with cancer decides that he does not want to die alone and unknown like that. He wants to make a name for himself and do something big so that people will remember him. He enlists the help of his friends, and they try a couple of stunts that don't work out in their favor before deciding to try to get into the Guiness Book of World Records by beating the record for the most amount of snowmen built in one day.

Although he seems to have few friends in the school and most of them seem to want to make fun of his baldness (with the exception of his two best friends and one popular girl who is nice to him) and no-one wants to help him at first, he does eventually make a plea to the whole school during lunchtime, telling them what he wants to do and how it is is dying wish. He gets Guiness to send him a contract, he gets newspeople to agree to come, he gets the mayor to agree to show up, and he gets the principal to agree to cancel classes and let the whole school help on the designated day, and everyone agrees because after all, it is this child's dying wish.

There is a heartwarming moment where the boy says if he gets money for interviews or commercials after getting into the Guiness Book of World Records, he wants to buy the old man who died a proper tombstone as he'd noticed he didn't have one.

When the day comes, there's a problem. A lot of snow is melting. There's a mountain of all the snow that had been plowed all year, but the bullies rule that mountain and would rather interfere than help. And then the kid's dad sees what is going on on TV and rushes down to the school where we finally find out that the boy does not still have Cancer after all. He IS still in remission. He's NOT still sick. He just thought he was because of the way his dad had been acting and how he'd been talking to the hospital every day (which turned out to be about bills) and so on. The boy thought the dad was lying to him to spare his feelings when the dad told him he wasn't still sick or dying.

When this comes to light, the principal cancels the snow man building attempt and sends everyone back to class.

Upset, the boy takes off running and disappears, as he wants to be alone. His two best friends follow him. He ends up going back to the cemetery where the old man was buried. There ensues a scene that might be a bit scary for young children, in which a grave digger scares the children for a joke. They end up having a conversation with the grave digger, who tells them that the old man DID have a wife, and a lot of friends, and a very nice service- the kids had just been too late to see it- and would get a very nice tombstone to match his wife's in the spring.

There are a series of what could be object lessons in the conversation. The kids ask if the old man had done anything that "mattered" in his life. They are told he owned a store, had a wife. The kid says, "That's it?"

He reiterates how he wants to do something that would matter to the whole world and that would be really important, like setting a world record. The grave digger tells them, "I've seen a lot of funerals, and when people talk about someone who lived a good life, it's not what they did that matters so much as how they did it. Maybe being a good person is a purpose all by itself." He goes back to work, leaving the boys to reflect on that.

The boys wander back to the "underwater park". We know that two of the dads are on their way to look for the boys but aren't there yet. And then the bully shows up. There is a scene that may be scary for young children in which the bully threatens to "cut" the youngest kid with an ice skate blade. The boy who had Cancer tells the bully, "Fight me instead. Unless you're too chicken," drawing his attention away from the younger boy. Once he has the bully's attention, he notices that the bully had been crying (all of his friends had previously decided he'd gone too far and wanted nothing to do with him anymore). When the bully asks him if he has "any last words," he apologizes to the bully for the way they'd treated him and for never giving him a chance to be anything BUT a bully and so on.

The bully tells him, "You're still going to die...." and then, the ice starts breaking. The kid saves the bully by pushing him out of the way, but then falls under the ice himself. His friends try without success at first to save him. He is shown falling further under the water, unreachable, dying. There's a voiceover of him saying: "I couldn't hold my breath anymore and I knew I was going to die. I stopped praying for God to save me and just asked him to forgive me. It didn't matter that I wasn't in the record books, that didn't even cross my mind. All I could think about was missing my friends and family and them missing me. It's funny how clear everything is when it's too late."

Meanwhile, one of the friends finally gets through the ice and jumps in to save him while the other runs for help. The bully stays to help get both kids out and heroically starts trying to carry both non-responsive kids across the snow, but falls down and starts to cry after a while.

At this point, the parents come rushing over, and the voiceover continues with: "So that's it, that's how I died. You probably didn't believe me before, but I wasn't spinning, I really was dead....for almost 53 minutes."

As it turned out, the doctors did save the kid, and there's a tearful reunion at the hospital with family and friends.

The voiceover continues: "They said no-one had ever been dead so long and come back, not without brain damage, anyway. The funny thing was, I had set a new record- and I didn't care anymore."

The movie ends with several buses from other schools arriving to finish building thousands of snowmen while the boy was in the hospital to beat that record, after all.

In the end, Alexa (11) was a little bit teary and said it was happy and sad at the same time. I thought it was probably pretty good for her age range. Ben (6) said he'd liked it, although in hindsight there were scenes I definitely didn't like for a child as young as him, and I'm not particularly picky about what my kids are allowed to watch. Some parents will definitely want to use their discretion as to whether this movie would be suitable for their own young ones. As for me, I thought it tried a little hard to get these object lessons across, and that some of it could have been toned down if they really wanted it to be "the family event of the year" and for "audiences of all ages." Still, the boys acted well and there were some humorous moments and some heartwarming scenes and it held our interest well enough.
THINGS YOU MIGHT WANT TO KNOW ABOUT:


THE FAMILY:

Shawn - 40, Husband, Dad, Tattoo Artist, Body Piercer, Business Owner, Saltwater Aquarium Enthusiast, Cook, Mr. Fix-It.

Nance - 41, Wife, Homeschooling Mom, Bookworm, Writer, Field Tripper, List Maker, Planner, Chauffeur.

Melissa - 22, Special Needs. Is in a sheltered workshop/life skills day program. Likes music, movies, shopping, and reading.

Alexa - 14, Left public school in March of 2009 and has been home since, happily homeschooling with Oak Meadow and an eclectic mix of other things. Currently in 8th grade. Enjoys reading, writing, arts and crafts, Girl Scouts, Judo, singing and music, doing her nails, and sleepovers with friends.

Ben - 9, Has never been to any outside school. Currently doing 3rd grade at home. Enjoys computer, video and board games, especially Minecraft and shooter games, silly jokes, soccer, rough-housing, and occasional cuddling and reading.

Adelaide - 14 months and my little ray of sunshine. :)

We are a relaxed/eclectic, secular homeschooling family living in Pennsylvania and thoroughly enjoying Life Without School!

CURRENT CURRICULUM/MATERIALS:

Alexa is using: Oak Meadow 8 Civics; Oak Meadow 8 English; Oak Meadow Basic Physical Science; Story of the World Middle Ages; and Teaching Textbooks Math Pre-Algebra.

Ben is loosely using the Oak Meadow 3rd Grade curriculum (minus the math), Teaching Textbooks Math 3, and Reading Eggspress.

I've always been a fairly relaxed homeschooler. While I've buckled down more this year with my 8th grader, in general we do school around life, not life around school. We use mainly a fun, hands on curriculum that isn't overly time consuming and isn't dry or textbookish, and we're always willing to drop it for the time being if something fun, interesting, or educational comes up outside the house. Living is learning!


ABOUT ME & MY BLOG:

Welcome To My Blog!


MY ARTICLES, ESSAYS, & RAMBLES:

The ABCs Of Relaxed Homeschooling

A Perfect Day

Affidavits, Objectives & Samples, Oh My!

A Kindergarten Dropout

Homeschooling, A Year Later

Preschool Or Not?

I Wouldn't Have It Any Other Way

A Day In The Life Of A New Homeschooler

Homeschool Poem

What Does A Homeschooler Do Every Day?

What Does A Homeschooler Do Every Day Part 2

What About Socialization?

Why Homeschool?!

Dear Judy Molland

What I Really Mean When I Say I Homeschool


MY REVIEWS:

Funnix Beginning Reading Program Review

Getting Started With Spanish Review

Growing, Growing Strong Review

Insect Lore Negative Review

Life of Fred Math Review

Little Passports Review

Meet The Masters Review

Movie Review: Snowmen

Oak Meadow Review

Sentence Composing For Elementary School Review

Story Of The World Review

Teaching Textbooks Math Review

Times Tales Review

Typing Instructor For Kids Platinum Review


OUR BOOK LOGS:

Alexa's Third Grade Book Log

Alexa's Fourth Grade Book Log

Alexa's Fifth Grade Book Log

Alexa's Sixth Grade Book Log, Year 1

Alexa's Sixth Grade Book Log, Year 2

Alexa's Seventh Grade Book Log

Alexa's Eighth Grade Book Log

Ben's Pre-K Book Log

Ben's Kindergarten Book Log

Ben's First Grade Book Log

Ben's Second Grade Book Log

Ben's Third Grade Book Log


SCHEDULE SAMPLES:

Oak Meadow Kindergarten Schedule Sample, With Pics

Oak Meadow 4th Grade Schedule Sample, With Pics

Oak Meadow 5th Grade Schedule Sample, With Pics

Our 6th Grade Stretched Over Two Years Plan

Some Of Our Most Fun/Interesting Projects & Activities, Oak Meadow 5th Grade


USEFUL FORMS & THINGS:

Homeschool Affidavit

Homeschool Objectives, Elementary and Secondary Level

Homeschool Portfolio, UPDATED

Summary, To Include With Portfolio, Example 1

Summary, To Include With Portfolio, Example 2

Standardized Test Results


MISC:

Books Featuring Homeschooled Characters, Titles A-I

Books Featuring Homeschooled Characters, Titles J-R

Books Featuring Homeschooled Characters, Titles S-Z

52 Books In 52 Weeks, Mom & Daughter Style, 2011

Homeschooling Quotes & Funnies

Our Fresh Air Fund Experience

Funny Things Alexa Has Said

Funny Things Ben Has Said

My Favorite Links

How I Got Alexa's Eczema Under Control!

My TTC, Pregnancy, and Miscarriage Saga, PART 1

My TTC, Pregnancy, and Miscarriage Saga, PART 2

My TTC, Pregnancy, and Miscarriage Saga, Part 3

The Family Who Wouldn't Change The Toilet Paper

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