big hero 6

12/29/14

I did NOT know that the night of taking my four-year-old to a kid movie, I’d be writing a grief and loss movie review.

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Disney’s Big Hero 6 centers around Hiro, a fourteen-year-old genius who’s already graduated high school, and his big brother, Tadashi, who’s in college… and who tragically dies in a horrible accident. I’m not talking about back story, but after you’ve gotten to know him; in the movie. It was very sad. And very shocking to me.

Also surprising is how well it was handled. But it shouldn’t be something so out of the ordinary. Everyone will suffer profound loss at some point in his/her life.

Baymax (the white Michelin Man/marshmallow-looking robot you may have seen in previews) is a healthcare robot project that big brother Tadashi was working on. When Baymax realizes Hiro is suffering profoundly after losing his brother, he literally downloads into his “brain” How to help someone suffering from loss. And then does those things for Hiro.

First, he wordlessly gave Hiro a big warm hug.

Baymax hug

He called Hiro’s friends to support and be with him—even through Hiro’s protests. If whatever he was doing at a given time was helping Hiro feel better, he kept doing it. He scanned Hiro after an exciting “fly-over” of the metropolis, and noticed his adrenaline was elevated—he was happy. So they took another spin.

Where can I get a Baymax—Brookstone?

I want a personal grief assistant to scan me and know what I need. Because much of the time I don’t even know. And I’m certainly not good at saying what I need. My Baymax would know when I need an ear. A shoulder. A stupidfunny movie like “Bridesmaids” or “Superbad.” A chick flick like “Love Actually.” A tear jerker like… well, everything’s a tear jerker. A hot bath. A girls’ night out. A girls’ night in. Chocolate. A Kade story.

Even if your loved one is gone (they never used the word died), he is always with you. When grieving little brother Hiro didn’t want to listen, or hear, or accept that message throughout the movie, it was repeated. It was that important.

He is always with you. He’s always with you.

The movie spoke to the physical aspects of grief. What?! It addressed pain: both kinds. It dealt with anger and revenge. I could relate to being so angry you want to hurt someone. And on the flip side, to gentle souls exemplifying that doing good is what really honors your loved one.

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He is always with me. He’s always with me.

I give this sweet (and really very funny!) movie nine out of ten flannels.

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movie review: “This is Where I Leave You”

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There wasn’t much at the theater we wanted to see for Date Night. I had seen the previews for “This is Where I Leave You” weeks if not months before, so was surprised it was still in a theater. It was my pick, Brian was luke-warm on all of them, so it won.

And thank goodness it did. How can you go wrong with Jason Bateman and Tina Fey? His affiliation with Arrested Development made me a fan for life, and her hilarity on SNL: “I can see Russia from my house!” Though I haven’t seen Jane Fonda in anything in… decades? she pleasantly surprised and impressed. Brian and I also liked Dax Shepard’s character. I only saw a couple seasons of him on TV’s “Parenthood,” and didn’t care for his wishy-washy role. But in the movie he perfectly portrayed a loud-mouthed, egotistical a-hole radio personality. So funny.

I dig screwy family dynamics movies. Do you remember “Home for the Holidays” from the 90’s, directed by Jodie Foster with Robert Downy Jr. and Holly Hunter? If done well those movies can make you laugh along and realize your own life isn’t so messed up. Be it that I’m a chick, sensitive soul, or naive movie consumer, I definitely eat up a happy ending. And whether laughing out loud or bawling my eyes out, which may not be so different from each other after all, it’s good to let loose. Doesn’t take much.

I knew from the previews it was about the loss of the family patriarch, and his estranged grown kids having to spend days with each other after the funeral. I don’t know if it’s morbid curiosity that draws me to grief and loss films now, or perhaps because we want to see ourselves in shows we watch and books we read. Maybe because I’m curious to see what THEY do, and how THEY react after a death. Or if Hollywood will get it right… or irritatingly wrong. I remember more right than wrong. Some scenes were irreverently, uncomfortably, funny. Sometimes no one knew quite what to do. At times it was awkward. Check, check, check.

One of my favorite parts was Bateman and Fey’s brother/sister bond. I feel that kind of connection with my brother. I can see us climbing out our bedroom windows onto a rooftop, sharing an adult beverage, and sorting out life. Their connection was really cool and watching it, I wanted my brother to see it. Rent it, Andy!

The more I write the more I remember. That’s how writing goes!  More nuggets:

  • The youngest brother couldn’t shake his “screw-up” role, but spoke from his heart and always said Just The Right Thing
  • My Brian, who sadly lost his dad about 15 years ago, was touched by the scene where Bateman remembered his dad helping him ride a bike. I’m tearing up here at Starbucks. Pretty sure they think I’m crazy here by now.
This movie has everything: grief and loss (remember, I’m crazy), plenty of irreverent humor, and messy but loving relationships. I give it eight out of ten flannels.

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