“Huny! I’m Home!”
(New Pooh Movie Sparkles)
I know that most of you moviegoers attended the new Harry Potter movie because it set all those records last weekend. But I want to give the other release from July 15 its due.
“Winnie the Pooh” has the unenviable task of coming out the same week as the final HP movie! Talk about your ‘swept under the rug’ films! HP didn’t even see Winnie when he stepped on him in the first hour of the weekend on his way to the $168 million finish.
“Winnie the Pooh” was sixth with $8 million if you’re wondering.
I hope that moviegoers take a look at this short movie because it is a good one. Yes, I know it’s a children’s book and story, but it is good for adults, too! I know because I was there! (That’s why you didn’t see me at HP…………………..)
The gang is all there with Pooh bear as he attempts to get his morning fix of ‘huny.’ There is Rabbit, Owl, Eeyore, Tigger, Kanga, Roo and Piglet. (No Gopher for some reason.) All are involved with subplots of finding Eeyore’s tail and the ‘fact’ that Christopher Robin has been captured by an awful ‘Backson’ monster. It’s basically an ordinary day in the Hundred Acre Woods.
And Pooh never lets them forget the ‘huny’……………..
I was watching and remembered the storyline of Eeyore’s tail……….it must have been from the 1966 version of “Winnie the Pooh and the Ordinary Day.” I remember seeing it over the years, but I can’t remember its plot. Yet, it was an eerie form of deja vu!
Animated Pooh stories have been done to death since that first one in 1966; all based on the characters from the A.A. Milne book, which was published in 1926.
Disney stayed true to the characters, so the story is fulfilling as one watches the gang work together and get into minor troubles that are a fun time as well. They stuck to the concept of Winnie the Pooh, so the movie seems authentic.
Directors Stephen J. Anderson and Don Hall do a good job of keeping it simple. The animation is great and 2D is fine for the Hundred Acres’ gang. The gorgeous landscape and simple animals make for a good background to the story. Anderson also helped write the script with 10 other people; yet, it turned out okay!
Of course, this film is rate “G” and it is only 70 minutes long, so you can do other things that day………..and the little ones’ attention span won’t be pressed!
For this animated film, voices include Jim Cummings (Pooh/Tigger); Craig Ferguson (Owl); Bud Lackey (Eeyore); Jack Boulter (Christopher Robin); Travis Oates (Piglet); Kristen Anderson-Lopez (Kanga); Wyatt Dean Hall (Roo); Tom Kennedy (Rabbit) and Huell Howser (Backson).
Longtime funny man John Cleese is the narrator; he has a fun job as the letters of the page become part of the story at times. It is a cool addition to the visuals for this film.
This is only the fourth sequel Disney has made from its animation division; and it makes sense as the company paid $400 million for the rights to Winnie the Pooh a few years ago. It’s time to start making that money back!
A welcomed treat in this film is Zooey Deschauel.
Who is Zooey D. you ask?
She is an up and coming actress who has been in several movies/television projects since 2000; most notably Jim Carrey’s “Yes Man.” But she isn’t a voice in this movie; she’s the singer of two of the songs! And she wrote one of them herself!!! Wow! Talented!
Zoey sings the main theme, “Winnie the Pooh,” and the song she wrote, “So Long.” Both are incredibly good and her voice is just perfect for a children’s movie. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a song on the charts for her from this film.
And speaking of fun surprises, stay after the credits! You will get a special added touch to the first “Winnie the Pooh” movie in years.
I hope he comes ‘back soon!’
Here’s another simple story, but one that has an impact on us all as the tagline says, “We’ve all been there.”
“Terri” is the story of an overweight 15 year old struggling through life in a small town high school. He has accepted his fate as one of the ‘monsters,’ as he calls them; the students who are on the fringe and made fun of by the ‘normal’ majority.
If this was all that the movie tried to show, it would be a straight to DVD movie. But “Terri” is one of the best of the year because of the addition of the assistant principal character, Mr. Fitzgerald.
Fitzgerald, played well by John C. Reilly, is a caring administrator who feels he can make a difference in students’ lives.
Given the behavior of many of the ‘monsters,’ Fitzgerald sees most of those students in the course of his duties during the school year. Without knowing it, Terri finds himself in that group. The bond that grows between student and administrator is one of the best in cinema history.
There is real humanity in it as the film continues; not just a forced scripted scene or two to make a point. The two actors (Reilly and Jacob Wysocki as ‘Terri’) are wonderful together; each character - through the actors – grows due to knowing each other.
This film is a comedy with some serious moments in it. Terri lives with his senile Uncle James, where he was left at an undisclosed age by his parents. Creed Batton, of “The Office” portrays James. None of that story is explained and isn’t necessary, but the environment adds drama to the story.
Most of the 105 minutes are related to school and the people Terri meets as he goes through a sort of change during this time in his life. The bond with Fitzgerald does have an effect on him; not a gigantic one, but one that will last a lifetime.
You will love Wysocki as Terri; he is subdued, but one can tell that there is a lot going on in that brain of his. He is a natural in this type of role.
But the best parts of this film are the scenes between Terri and Fitzgerald! When it’s just the two of them, there is magic on the screen. I don’t know if it’s enough for Oscar nominations, but it sure is fun to watch!
The second best parts are any scenes with another ‘monster,’ Chad, who is befriended by Terri as he continues his growth as a person. Chad, played by newcomer Bridger Zadina, is ‘problem child deluxe’ and is another of Fitgerald’s ‘projects.’
Zadina plays the part perfectly. You wouldn’t have to do much to make me say that he is the best actor in this movie. And when he, Fitzgerald and Terri are together………….watch out! The funniest scene in the movie is the three of them in a diner after a funeral. Classic stuff!
Another step in Terri’s metamorphosis is his relationship with another student Heather Miles, played by Olivia Crocicchia. Terri believes she has a ‘good heart’ and comes to her aid when no one else will. Their budding friendship is just what Terri needs to feel less a ‘monster.’ The genuineness is what makes that relationship believable. It takes an interesting turn at the end, but ultimately is good for Terri (and Heather).
Make no mistake, this film is rated “R” for a good reason! It’s a real world out there and teenagers do these types of things. So, get ready for sexual references, partial nudity, alcohol and drug use, profanity and even some violence. None of it is meaningless, which also adds to the authenticity of the storyline. It all fits in these characters’ world.
The climatic scene, which is reminiscent of “The Breakfast Club,” is hard to watch in some ways, but is realistic and it is satisfying as it turns out.
For a simple high school movie, “Terri” takes a new look at what makes us ‘US.’ And sometimes, all it takes is gaining a little dignity for 'US' to grow up.
“Terri” opened in limited release July 1 and will open in wide release July 22.