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Kim Voynar

By Kim Voynar

Proud Mama

I have to just take a moment and a little blogspace here to say that my almost-12YO daughter, Neve, found out this afternoon that she’s been accepted as a juror for the Seattle Children’s Film Festival. To apply, she had to write a list of her top ten films, giving specific reasons why she liked them and talking about the elements that make a good children’s film. Added bonus? It counts on our homeschooling SLP!
With Neve’s permission, here’s her list, right after the jump…

My Top Ten Films
10. Penelope
Penelope is a film about a girl whose family had been cursed generations ago by a witch after their son got her daughter, one of the servants pregnant, and he had offered marriage to her, but his family refused to let him, and married him off to another woman. The servant girl committed suicide, and for revenge her mother put a curse on the family: Their next born daughter would be cursed with the face of a pig. However, they didn’t have a daughter for quite a while, three generations later to be exact, And when a daughter was born, Penelope, she did indeed have the face of a pig, horrifying her parents and leading them to lock her up in the house and never let her out.
I like Penelope because it has an interesting plot, great acting, a valuable life lesson on top of that, and a side of fries… okay, maybe not so much the last part, but definitely the other parts. Penelope is a great film for all ages, and just a great film. Definitely deserves number 10.
9. Hancock

Okay, not exactly a children’s film, but a good one all the same. Hancock is about a guy, Hancock, who has super powers, but is as far from superman as it can get. Instead of going around in tights and spandex and saving people, he prefers to spend his time sleeping, drinking, and sleeping, and will go to very extreme measures if someone calls him a name. And then, to top it all off, when he does go to save people, he usually does things like flying in and landing on expensive cars. But when things go too far and the police are out to get him, Hancock finds his only hope may be Ray Embrey, an ordinary public relations executive, and the only person who believes that Hancock can be a true hero.
I thought Hancock was a good movie because it had a very interesting story line, a plot twist that I didn’t see coming (though apparently everyone else did), and good acting, though one part at the end that I didn’t quite get. Overall, I give it a 7 ½ /10, and number nine on my list.
8. The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian
So, getting back to kid films, Prince Caspian is set mostly in the mystical land of Narnia, where fairies, dragons, elves, dwarves and Talking Animals are all considered just a natural part of life, one that was never questioned, though non-talking animals are there as well, and are the only kind of animal that is considered acceptable to be eaten, with eating talking animals being an unthought-of of crime. So, anyway, in the movie, the Pevensies (Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy, from oldest to youngest), have just finished their summer holidays, and are now all going off to different schools by train. They soon find themselves pulled back into the mystical land of Narnia, which they had visited once before, in The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, and in which they were proclaimed royalty, and spent what seemed like fifteen years there, though in our world barley a second had passed.
They hardly recognize where they are at first, though, because while only one year had passed for them, thousands of years had passed for Narnia, and they find Narnia ruled by the evil King Miraz, and the enchanted things that were so common in their time little more than bedtime stories. However, they soon find out about Prince Caspian, nephew of Miraz, who is fighting to bring back the old ways. Will they be able to defeat Miraz and restore Narnia? Nobody knows, (Well, I know because I’ve read the book and seen the movie, and anyone else who has read/seen either of the things above or has been to wikipedia knows, but, hey), and the odds aren’t in their favor, but with teamwork, bravery, and a bit of magic (and, okay, yeah, swords), they may just be able to do it.
I really like the Chronicles of Narnia. Like, really like them. I’ve read them all several times, with my favorite changing with my mood, and I could pull a quote from any book in a second… okay, maybe 2 or 3, but who’s counting? So, when I heard about this, I was a little worried about how it would turn out. After I watched it though, I thought it was really good. The acting was fantastic, they made a couple of changes, added a few things that weren’t in the book, but I think I liked the changes. Once all is said and done, I think it was a pretty good movie, and number 8.
7. Mamma Mia!

Mamma Mia! is about a 20 year old girl named Sophie who is getting married soon. Simple, right? Well, except Sophie spent the last 20 years without a clue who her father is, and then finds out after reading her mother’s diary that she has three possible fathers. So, she invites them all to her wedding, hoping that when they get there, she’ll just be able to tell. Doesn’t quite work out that way, though, and everything gets thrown into chaos when her mother discovers her three past flames on the island all at once after not seeing them for 20 years. Will Sophie discover the truth about her father and have a perfect wedding? Again, I know, but I’m not going to tell you…
I thought Mamma Mia! was good because it had great singing, great acting, and an interesting plot. I’ve heard people say that it’s unrealistic because Sophie doesn’t do a DNA test to find out who her father is, which wouldn’t happen in real life. But in my view, that seems like calling it unrealistic because people suddenly start singing. And, I mean, what if she decided that she didn’t want to know? Is that so unrealistic? I thought that it was pretty good, and while I respect other peoples’ opinions, I’m sticking with mine.
6. Iron Man

Iron Man is about Tony Stark, owner of weapon manufacturer Stark Industries. When he is captured and held hostage by terrorists holding his own weapons, and he sees the weapons being used against innocent villagers, he decides to stop making weapons, and dons the suit of his own design, becoming Iron Man.
I thought Iron Man was a good movie because it had excellent acting and I just really liked it in general. Unfortunately, though, my family and I missed that little scene at the end after the credits, whatever that’s called. I thought that it was a great movie, and I personally can’t wait for a sequel.
5. The Lion King

The Lion King is about, unsurprisingly, a lion who is to become king. Young Simba is destined to become the king after his father, something he can hardly wait for (there’s even a whole song about it), but when a tragic event happens that Simba believes to be his fault (with a little help from someone whose name starts with s and ends with car), he runs away from home. Years later, still bearing the burden that he feels unable to tell anyone, will he be able to find the courage to go back and claim what is rightfully his?
The Lion King has been one of my favorite movies since I was little. So far in life, I’ve never come across a hard time that couldn’t be solved by watching The Lion King or songs from it. It is an excellent film that almost made number 3 on this list, and one that I think will be loved for years to come.

When WALL-E starts, we see WALL-E, the only being left on earth, left there after earth was polluted to clean up the mess humans left behind. But over the course of 700 years, he developed something the humans didn’t expect: a personality. He’s all alone for over 700 years, collecting interesting things and putting them in his ‘house’, when one day a ship comes with EVE, who has come to try to collect plant life to see if earth is inhabitable for humans yet. WALL-E and EVE fall in love, though, but when EVE looks at a plant WALL-E found earlier, she takes it inside of her and shuts down. WALL-E cares for her for a few days, when EVE’s ship comes back to retrieve her. WALL-E, however, latches onto the ship, and follows EVE back to the Axiom, the ship on which all remaining humans live, and tries to rescue EVE… and the rest of humanity while he’s at it.
I liked in WALL-E the lack of use of human voices for most of the film, which made it feel more in the distant future, and the portrayal of what will happen to earth if we don’t take care of it, and the plot line and characters. There really just isn’t any part of this movie that I don’t like.
3. Toy Story 2
Toys. We play with them, some are played with longer than others, and when we get tired of them, we give them away or throw them away… But how do the toys feel about that? Not very good, as it turns out. In Toy Story 2, we return to favorite characters Buzz and Woody in their next adventure: Andy and Woody are going to cowboy camp for the summer. Woody is very excited about it, but he winds up not being able to go when his arm gets ripped and Andy fears that it will fall off if Woody goes to camp with him. So, he leaves him home, and after a creepy nightmare, Woody and the other toys find out something horrifying is happening in their own front yard: The Dreaded Yard Sale. When Wheezy, a penguin who used to have a squeaker that got broken and as a result is one of Andy’s forgotten toys gets taken outside to the sale, Woody goes to rescue him. But things don’t go as planned when Al, a collector of toys from the show which Woody came from, Woody’s Roundup, steals Woody. Will his friends rescue him before he gets shipped of to Japan with Jesse, a cowgirl doll, Stinky Pete, known as Prospector, Bullseye, a brown horse, and the rest of his collection?
Toy Story 2 is another classic that I’ve loved forever.
It has a great plot, and introduces a new character, Jessie the yodeling cowgirl, whom I’ve always strongly liked. Toy Story 2 just narrowly got on here, though, almost being Toy Story instead, but Toy Story 2 was the one that won out in the end. Back to the point, Toy Story 2 is just a fantastic film in all ways.
2. Juno

Juno is about a girl named Juno after the Roman goddess of marriage (not the city in Alaska) who becomes pregnant after sleeping with her friend Paulie Bleeker. At first she’s going to get an abortion, but she backs out and decides to give the baby up for adoption. In the 9 months of pregnancy, she finds a little about love and life, and that Herschel Gordon Lewis is the master of horror.
I knew as soon as I started writing this list that Juno had to be on it, probably at 2. This is an incredibly awesome movie, one that I can, have, and will watch over and over and over again. It is truly an amazing film.
1. American Teen

American Teen is a documentary following the senior year of five teenagers in high school in Warsaw, Indiana, Hannah, the “Rebel”, Megan the “Queen Bee”, Colin, the “Jock”, Mitch, the “Heartthrob”, and Jake, the “Nerdy Gamer”.
I knew almost right away that American Teen had to be on my list, and a few seconds after that, I decided that it would definitely be number 1. The teens are incredibly comfortable in front of the camera, giving it an almost scripted feel, but in a good way, definitely in a good way. I really liked Hannah, and I hope that we’ll be seeing her films at fests soon.

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4 Responses to “Proud Mama”

  1. John Wildman says:

    How damn cool is this?! Funny, heartfelt, honest reactions to the core, entertaining…
    Good for her and good for you.
    Could she maybe give Rex Reed some pointers?

  2. T. Holly says:

    Good job Neve, next year, the Sundance Shorts Jury: Gerardo Naranjo, Lou Taylor Pucci and Sharon Swart.

  3. bunnybeth says:

    Way to go, Neve!

  4. Tell Neve it’s great that she didn’t predict the third act of Hancock. Most people didn’t figure it out, but that many the critics were annoyed that they had been surprised and took it out on the movie. Good to see that Kim’s twelve-year old daughter has better taste than the critical community at large.
    Some stuff I look forward to showing my daughter when she gets old enough – Babe, Meet The Robinsons, The Powerpuff Girls (complete season coming on the 20th… rock on!).

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon