You Should See The LEGO Movie (Even if You Don’t Have Kids)

I’ve watched a lot of kids’ shows over the last eight years.  A LOT.  Some are pretty entertaining, and some are downright painful.  Have you seen Dinosaur Train on PBS?  Seriously . . . drugs had to be involved in the creation of that show.

The LEGO Movie is one of those rare movies that the kids and I enjoy equally.  Actually, I think I like it even more than they do.

Why?  It’s hilarious.  It’s a commentary on the following (particularly in the U.S.):

  • How mindless we can be.
  • How we put a great deal of effort into fitting in and getting other people to like us.
  • How we sometimes follow rules without questioning them, even when they make no sense.
  • How we sometimes ignore subtle messages, even when we have a feeling that something is not right.
  • We’re discouraged from maintaining our uniqueness.

If you’re even mildly interested in Conspiracy Theories, this movie is for you.  I talked a friend of mind into checking it out.  He doesn’t have kids, and he was reluctant.  However, after watching some of it, he said “It’s a protest movie!”

The movie starts with Emmet, the main character getting ready for work.  He has the TV on, and President Business, the ruler of LEGO world, is making some announcements.  He says, “. . .  take extra care to follow the instructions, or you’ll be put to sleep.. . . ”  He continues with his message about Taco Tuesday.  Emmet responds by asking himself, “Did he say put to sleep?”  Of course, he forgets about it 10 seconds later.

I partially like this movie because my son is very into LEGO kits.  These are pretty complex, and you must follow the instructions exactly, or the project won’t turn out correctly.  When I was a kid, my brothers had a lot of LEGOs, but there weren’t kits then.  You just made stuff.  So, I’m kind of happy when my son tears apart what he made with the kit to use the parts for his own creation.

In the movie, there is a focus on always following the directions.  Most of the characters are blissfully oblivious to the evil plans of President Business (or Lord Business, as the Master Builders who have a clue, call him).

Another quote from Emmet, “President Business is going to end the world?  But he’s such a good guy.  And Octan – they make good stuff . . . music, dairy products, coffee, TV shows, surveillance systems, all history books, voting machines.  Wait a minute.”

By the way, even though the evil character is called “President Business”, this is not a commentary about our current President.  It came out in 2014, during a different administration.  It’s not a commentary about a former President either.  It is an observation of what our society has become.  It’s like I’ve said before, most politicians, regardless of party, are for themselves, not us.

You should see The LEGO Movie because, believe it or not, this kids’ movie is holding a mirror up to our faces, while making us laugh.  It might just make you think, while entertaining you.  Hopefully, you won’t be like Emmet and forget about it 10 seconds later.

I Think I Need Help. I’m Addicted to Australian Dramas

It all started in May.  I had finished binge-watching The Good Wife, and my DVR was full of stuff for the kids and hubby, but nothing for me.  So, I whined to my librarian.

She told me she had heard good things about a series called, A Place to Call Home.  You probably gathered from the title of this post, that it is an Australian drama.  I enjoyed it a great deal.  The story takes place in the 1950’s and deals with the aftermath of WWII, among other things.  There is a fifth season, but the disks aren’t available through the library yet, so I was left hanging at the end of Season 4 (I should mention, we live out in the country.  We have limited internet options, and limited data, so Netflix is not something we can do).

Besides enjoying the plot, I liked watching for similarities and differences in Australian culture vs. American culture.  Of course, they drive on the wrong side of the road.  Then, there’s the accent.  I was more surprised by the commonalities than the differences, even 60 years ago.

So, when that was over, I searched online for Australian dramas, and found McLeod’s Daughters.  It ran in Australia from 2000 through 2009.  It’s about two half-sisters, who had the same father, but different mothers.  Long story short, now all of their parents have died.  Both daughters run the ranch they inherited from their father.  They fire all of the male employees for theft early on, and now it’s all women running the place.

It’s admittedly a little soap-opera-ish at times, but entertaining.  Tess is the younger sister, and she’s always trying new things (organic farming, growing hemp, etc.).  She buys some Alpacas.  Her neighbor, Alex, doesn’t think too much of the animals.  Here’s an exchange between the two of them:

Tess (about the Alpacas):  “They guard the sheep.  Keep the foxes away.”

Alex:  “Is that right?  I’m not surprised.  The fox is probably paralyzed with laughter.”

Come on!  It’s funny!  Isn’t it?  You know – Alpacas are kind of goofy looking.  Maybe I’m easily amused.  What’s not to like about Australian ranch humor?

And, have you heard the saying, “Bob’s your Uncle”?  There’s a restaurant with that name not too far from here.  I just thought it was a peculiar name, but I kind of liked it.  Good food too.  Once I had kids, my brother, Bob, was my kids’ Uncle, so I liked it even more.  But, I didn’t know it was a real saying.  They say it in Great Britain and apparently Australia too.  It means, “there you have it” or “everything’s alright”.  In the case of McLeod’s daughters, it seemed to mean, “And we’re back in business.”  It sounds real nice with that Australian accent.  But, what doesn’t?  Nothin’, I reckon.

Then, there are the Utes.  Bet you didn’t know about those either – did ya?  Well, don’t feel bad.  I didn’t either.  A couple episodes in, I noticed a vehicle that looked remarkably like the El Camino my parents had in the late 70’s.  So, I thought to myself, “Self . . .”  just kidding.  Actually, I thought, “Wow.  That really looks like an El Camino.  I don’t remember the last time I saw one of those.”  So, after seeing them a few times on the show, I decided to do a little research about the Australian El Camino.

That’s when I found out that, in Australia, they call it a Ute, which is short for utility vehicle.  It’s rather ugly, isn’t it?  They even have a rural festival that revolves around the Ute.  I suspect, from the photos, that it gets a bit out of hand.  But, there is something about the Australian culture and enthusiasm that I like.  I am happy I have another 7 or 8 seasons of McLeod’s Daughters left.  When that’s over, what will I do?  Well, find another Australian drama, I reckon.