Entertaining Your Children Just Got A Whole Lot Easier

This post was sponsored by Netflix. Netflix Families make summer easier. www.netflix.com/families

We don’t know about you guys, but we feel like the summer is definitely taking its toll.

The children are over the pool. They are no longer interested in playing board games. Any hope of craft projects went out the window when they spilled an entire bottle of glitter on the floor.

They want to be entertained all the time. Fun is the name of the game and that game comes at a pretty steep cost these days.

According to a recent survey that Netflix did with parents, we are all spending nearly DOUBLE on summer entertainment for our children than we do on holiday gifts.

Don’t we know it.

We took the children to the movies the other day. No husbands, just us and the kids. According to the showtime it was a “bargain” matinee. Except when it was all said and done after tickets and popcorn and candy, we had each spent well over $50. And this was even including the fact that we snuck in bottles of water in our purses!

Y’all. Our children were entertained for two hours, and we spent the equivalent of our monthly gas bill (summer rates). And then they had the nerve to ask what we were doing next.

Because of course, like all children, they prefer their entertainment to come in non-stop doses. There is never enough fun for them. They will wring every last bit of fun out of fun and still want more fun!

Thankfully, the summer gods smiled on us this week, and we got to take them to a fabulous blogging event for Netflix Families. In our combined households, our children probably spend several hours per week using Netflix on one of their devices, so it was the perfect party for us!

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We arrived at the event to find a Lorax theme, which was right up our kid’s alley! There were plenty of snacks and games, plus the movie was being streamed right onto to the TV for the kids to watch while they played. Can you say blogging win? And can we just say how excited we were that our girls won the Lorax scavenger hunt? We know we shouldn’t be so competitive, but we just can’t help it!

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The beauty of Netflix Families is that it allows you to stream content for your children to multiple devices anytime, anywhere. Have an Xbox? Or a tablet? Or a Wii? Fantastic! Your children can be watching their favorite movies and shows with just a single click! And the best part is that you don’t even need to have a Netflix account to take advantage of streaming. It is available to members and non-members. So, if you are not currently streaming Netflix in your house, now is your chance to start!

Netflix.com/Families is a new destination designed to meet your family’s summertime entertainment needs. On Netflix.com/Families, Parents can find lists of movies and TV shows for all kinds of special summer moments.

Visit www.Netflix.com/Families for more information on the best ways to stream as well as videos about how other families use Netflix.

This post was sponsored by Netflix. Netflix Families makes summer easier. www.netflix.com/families

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Hey Oscars, How About Trying For Classy?

Dear Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences,

You are the Academy Awards. Start acting like them. You set the bar for awards. Clearly not, however, for award shows.

You do not get a bigger fan of movies or Hollywood than me. I live for this stuff. I was so into the Oscars that for years, my mother and I would check into a hotel for the night so that we did not miss a single moment. My children are now fully involved in all the red carpet coverage and love nothing more than to critique all the best dresses. So, what I am trying to say here is that I am not an average viewer.

Guess what, Academy? You are losing me. And if you are losing me, then I assure you that you are losing millions of “regular” people, too.

Here is the thing. Starting your show at 8:30 p.m. EST and then having it run for over 3 hours and 26 minutes is ridiculous. I don’t even enjoy doing things I actually like for that length of time. So, you have a choice to make…start earlier or start cutting.

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The biggest night of her life, and were you even awake to see her win?

You film people love nothing more than to talk about editing and stuff on the cutting room floor, so get to it. Average people not only do not care about more than half the categories you insist on presenting on Oscar night, we don’t even have the opportunity to actually see that stuff. Best Documentary Short Subject? Excuse me while I comb through my very large stack of mail, but I don’t believe I received that Academy mailer DVD of those selections in my mailbox this year. Besides the fact that categories like that cause us all to lose in our Oscar pools, it also drags the show out even longer.

Best Sound Mixing (not to be confused with Best Sound Editing, an entirely different category)…really? This is 2013…I think we have managed to master “the talkie”, okay. You know when you give that award? On your Scientific and Technical Award night. Because last time I checked, sound mixing is fairly technical. You continue to do exactly what you already do, which is to have a single Hollywood famous person come on stage and recap that event. Boom. I just shaved a good hour and a half off your telecast. You’re welcome.

Also, you don’t need a separate theme for Oscar night. You know what the theme is: the movies from the past year. Or just movies in general if you want to go with that. Want to highlight movie musicals? No problem. Nothing highlights movies better than a movie montage. Start with a clip of The King and I and finish with a clip from Dreamgirls and then when you get to the big moment, boom open the curtain with Jennifer Hudson belting out the sweeping notes from “And I’m Telling You” and guess what you will have…a water cooler moment. The kind that brings the audience to its feet in the theater and at home. The kind of moment that you had with Barbra Streisand last night that sent Twitter into a tail spin. Hashtag that Hollywood.

Either go big or go home is my advice. Honoring the 50th anniversary of the Bond films?Great. Get all the living Bond men and Bond girls on stage and pull back the curtain after playing a clip montage of all the best Bond film scenes. Standing ovation right then and there. Done.

Can you tell I am a fan of the movie clip montage yet? Well, I am. And so is everyone else. Quite frankly, if we could all live our lives in montage moments complete with soundtrack we totally would. And when I am watching *the* award show for films, I want to see lots of them. If I want to watch live musical performances I will turn on The Grammys or The Tonys.

Also, let’s talk hosting. The host of any event (as Tina Fey and Amy Poehler proved so effortessly on The Golden Globes) is supposed to be the person who moves the show along after a big opening number. And by big, I do not mean twenty minutes. It was practically nine o’clock and not a single award had been given out. Move it along host. This is not about you. It is about the movies. Period.

We don’t need the latest comedian as the host. Let’s class up this joint. Get someone who can do that. Pick someone who appreciates the industry and let them run with it.

Might I suggest George Clooney. Or Meryl Streep. Or Denzel Washington. Someone who can command the stage without stealing all the attention for themselves.

You are the Academy Awards, for God’s sake. You are supposed to be the grownups in the room. You know when a grown up tries to use teen slang and it’s unfunny and awkward?  Well, that is how it is when we at home are watching this spectacle. Play to your strengths.

Make all of us at home glad we made watching your show a priority. Don’t make us sorry that you are not a tenth as good as The Golden Globes.

Let them go for the gold. They are really good at it.

You *be* the gold standard.

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Sincerely,

Ashley, a Very Unimpressed Oscar Viewer

This Column Is Going to Be Rated “R”

I was having a text conversation with a good girlfriend over the weekend about the movies we saw at ages that shock us today. Kramer vs. Kramer or The Jazz Singer, for example. Anyone remember a little movie called The Blue Lagoon? Know what I remember from it? Naked Christopher Atkins. Probably because I saw it around the time I was seven. Did your parents let you watch movies that you would never let your kids watch today? Share some examples in the comments

I have been thinking about the movie choices that my parents made for me and my sister, when we were children, and how totally inappropriate so many of them were. And these were smart, educated people, so what could they have been thinking?

Was it that the movie studios had not yet expanded to a PG-13 rating system, therefore slapping a PG rating on things that, today, would never merit such a lightweight label; or was it that they just didn’t think about how lasting the images of Jennifer Beals taking her clothes off for money would be on my eight-year-old brain?

These lasting images, by the way, occurred in the movie, Flashdance – a film my mother took both me and my sister to see when it came out in 1984. When I brought it up to Laura recently, how the main character in the movie was a welder by day and a stripper by night, she said, “Really? Yeah, that totally went over my head; I was just in it for the dancing.” And she was, to the point that for months afterward, she would put on leg warmers and apply masking tape to her little preschooler feet and dance the afternoon away in our foyer. I, on the other hand, was totally, completely aware of what I had seen and still to this day can vividly recall certain scenes that I am probably still not old enough to watch.

Let’s jump forward a year to a sweet, innocent kid friendly movie called, Jagged Edge, which quite frankly, by the title alone, should have let my parents know that it would not be an appropriate choice for me at age NINE; but there I was in the theater, with them, watching it as the film opened with a brutal murder.

My mother always used to brag about how I was mature for my age, but I will tell you that I didn’t feel very mature when I spent the next 3 months sleeping on a pallet on the floor, next to their bed. Because of the nightmares that someone was going to stab me to death, thank you (Mom and Dad) very much.

There seemed to be no thought process as to whether inappropriate language, sex or violence might be a good idea for us to be exposed to, at what anyone in their right mind would realize would be very impressionable young ages.

Laura recounted for me how she vividly remembers going to see Lethal Weapon 2 at age nine (What was it with age nine and movies with violence spelled out right in the title??) and how my mom attempted to cover her eyes during the totally naked sex scene with Mel Gibson and Patsy Kensit. Seriously, y’all, that is like me taking Emma to see something like The Fast and the Furious (or worse, like Monster’s Ball) next year. I am not even kidding when I say that I debated, for weeks, about allowing her to see the Disney movie, Prom, because I thought it might be too grown-up for her.

Here is the hypocritical part though, when my mother went totally double standard on HERSELF. When Top Gun came out in 1986, I was ten years old. Now Top Gun had all the makings of awesome for me; because, by that age, I loved action movies, obviously, since I had been watching them for years. So, I was ALL about seeing me some Top Gun.

And then my mother pulled the ‘no’ card on me. Say WHAT? She told me that after having seen the film (I am guessing this was an evening when they had managed to procure a babysitter?) with my dad, they decided that it was too adult for me to see, because – and hold on to your popcorn here, people – there was a KISSING scene between Tom Cruise and Kelly McGillis that was too graphic.

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I am not even lying at all. This was her line in the sand. This, really? Kissing, with tongue? To Berlin’s Take My Breath Away? So, Jagged Edge, with murder AND sex was okay; but once the camera guy applied the soft lens and started the love-making music, the brakes went on. I am not exactly sure when I was able to convince her to change her mind, but I am pretty sure it was not while Top Gun was still available on the big screen.

I think it stands to reason that my mother would have argued that she was not doing anything that her own mother would not do, because, as it turns out, my grandmother took my sister to see Thelma & Louise when she was ten; and then, she promptly fell asleep, missing any chance to cover her innocent granddaughter’s eyes during the less than appropriate scenes that were coming her way.

And I guess it never crossed anyone’s mind that while covering our eyes may have shielded us from seeing the worst moments in these films our ears were still picking up plenty of future knowledge.

 

 

The Stars Are Just Like Us

We’ve always suspected, but now we know for sure:

The Stars are just like us…

They love The Dose of Reality!

But did you know we’re also perfect for election season?

Oh, one last thing before you go…