Tag: Alvin and the Chipmunks

Kids Today: So You Want to Be President…and More Stories to Celebrate American History

I originally kicked off this column with a review of “Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Chipettes” back in January 2009, intending to regularly sit down with my daughter, watch whatever DVDs of child-friendly programming came into the Bullz-Eye offices, and get her take on them. Seemed like a great plan at the time, but if you click on the category for “Kids Today” at the bottom of this posting, however, you’ll find that I, uh, haven’t actually written another column since I kicked it off. The problem, you see, is that Ally, God bless her, is a lot like me…which is to say that, when it comes to TV, she has a short attention span which is only lengthened when we’re watching one of what she refers to as her shows. Although this list of shows varies, some of the stalwarts over the course of her 4-year life span have included “The Simpsons,” “Sesame Street,” “Curious George,” “Arthur,” and the God-awful “Caillou,” along with relatively recent additions like “Sid the Science Kid” and “Dinosaur Train.” For better or worse, however, we don’t tend to get those titles, and the kid stuff that we do get…? 9 out of 10 times, she simply can’t be bothered.

But Ally’s a smart kid, and an observant one as well, so you never know what’s going catch her interest. Take, for instance, her fascination with the President of the United States. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that she was intrigued by last year’s Presidential election, given that she had to endure people talking about Barack Obama and John McCain for quite a few months there, but she’s continued to ask us about this President and that, even picking up a few names and facts about previous Commanders in Chief along the way. With this being the case, I thought that, for once, I might actually be able to hold her interest with a DVD that was being offered up for review: So You Want to Be President…and More Stories to Celebrate American History, the latest release from Scholastic.

When the DVD arrived, I showed it Ally and explained that it contained animated readings of four stories: “So You Want To Be President,” by Judith St. George, “My Senator and Me: A Dog’s-Eye View of Washington, DC,” by Senator Edward M. Kennedy, “Madam President,” by Lane Smith, and “I Could Do That! – Esther Morris Gets Women the Vote,” by Linda Arms White. She seemed cautiously optimistic but warned me ahead of time, “All right, but I only like George Obama.” Yeah, I know, that’s the sort of silly-kid punchline that even “Family Circus” would throw into the reject pile, but she was really tired. As a proud father, I must assure you that she knows that Washington was the first President of the United States, can identify Obama as the current President and George W. Bush as his predecessor, and – courtesy of her mother – can identify a piece of trivia about Abraham Lincoln, which you’ll read about in a moment.

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“The Reign of the Na’vi IV”

The humans of Yes, if this weekend at the box office were a movie, it would be a less than super-imaginative sequel. Once again, “Avatar” ruled at the U.S. box office. As seen on the mighty weekly chart of Box Office Mojo, James Cameron‘s mythic, politically pointed, science fiction adventure once again took the crown with an estimated $48.5 million for Fox. That’s a drop of only 29.2% in its fourth box office weekend, following a huge and long prior holiday weekend. No doubt helped out by those premium 3-D and Imax ticket prices, it also enjoyed the nation’s highest per screen average at about $14,173. In the relatively short time I’ve been doing this, I don’t think I’ve ever seen that happen on a movie’s fourth week.

As reckoned by the Mojo, “Avatar” is the now the #1 domestic moneymaker for 2009 and the #7 cinematic cash cow of all time, with a very definite bullet considering its signs of considerable ongoing strength. In others words, this is a movie people actually enjoy, not merely tolerate because it offers enough explosions to distract them for a couple of hours.

On the other hand, just to keep things in perspective, adjusted for inflation, “Avatar” is still a 56 steps down from the all-time ticket seller, “Gone With the Wind.” On the other hand, lest James Cameron should be threatened by any momentary bouts of untoward humility, at least in terms of raw cash he really is box office king of the world right now. “Avatar” is already the #2 grosser of all time at $1.331 billion, $500 million and change behind “Titanic” — written and directed by you-know-who. Can I still wish Cameron had brought in a competent wordsmith/dramaturg to smooth out the very rough edges on both films?

As for the second and third place positions, we had another photo-finish in which Warner’s “Sherlock Holmes” narrowly edged out Fox’s “Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel” by a rodent hair. The world’s greatest literary detective brought in just a hair more than an estimated $16.6 million and the musically inclined woodland creatures managed an estimated $16.3 million. With the holiday weekends at an end, they both exhibited more typical drops for typical Hollywood product, with “Holmes” dropping by 54.6% and “Chipmunks” by 53.7%.

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A Chat with “Harper’s Island” Victims #13 and #14

It would be fair to say that not everyone enjoyed this past Saturday’s episode of “Harper’s Island,” based on Mr. Paulsen’s recent post, but even if you’re in the same camp that he is, I think it’s a safe bet that, if you’ve been watching the series for this long, you’ll still be returning for the final episode next Saturday (July 11th). While I agree that the subjects of this week’s interview probably should’ve made at least a cursory attempt to escape death rather than lunging headlong into their demise (which is, ultimately, what both of them did, even if one did it in a different manner than the other), it can at least be said that neither of the actors had any problems with their exits.

Yeah, you’re right: I guess that isn’t much consolation for a disgruntled viewer.

Oh, well.

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Kids Today: “Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Chipettes”

And to think I originally only requested this DVD in order to make my daughter happy. Little did I know that it would result in a trip to Wikipedia that would completely blow my mind…but before we dive into that ridiculousness, how about a little background material first?

In case you’re not familiar with the trio known as the Chipettes, they are, as you might well have deduced, the female equivalent of the Chipmunks. Brittany, Jeanette, and Eleanor – for those are the girls’ names – came into existence for two very simple reasons: the Chipmunks’ creators, Ross Bagdasarian and Janice Karman, wanted a chance to do some girl-sung tunes, and because it came them the chance to deal with issues that girls were going through that boys wouldn’t necessarily be dealing with. (Don’t be disgusting: Bagdasarian clarified, “We had a baby girl at the time. We wanted to let her know she can be president, or a soccer champion, or whatever.”)

As Ally (my daughter) watched these six Chipette-centric episodes of “Alvin and the Chipmunks,” she seemed very annoyed by the fact that the opening credits in no way spotlighted the girls. “I thought you said this was the Chipettes,” she grumbled. I assured her that, although these were technically the adventures of the Chipmunks, the Chipettes would feature heavily in all of them; she seemed placated once they finally turned up, thankfully, and sat happily through the entire DVD.

Oh, if you’re wondering, the episodes that have been included are “May the Best Chipmunk Win” (Alvin and Brittany compete for the position of School President), “Operation Theodore” (the Chipettes work as candy-stripers and lose a patient), “Sisters” (Brittany wants to join a sorority but ends up changing her mind after a poignant performance of “Material Girl”), “The Greatest Show-Off on Earth” (the Chipettes join forces with the Chipmunks to save a circus), “My Fair Chipette” (Jeanette competes against Brittany in a beauty pageant), and “Tell It to the Judge” (Brittany and Alvin battle each other in a “People’s Court” parody). In short, if your kid likes the Chipmunks cartoons, then they’ll like this DVD…and if you’ve got a daughter, then she might be even more entertained than usual.

Now, about this Wikipedia entry…

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