Monthly Archives: June 2016

DadLunch Goes To The Movies: A “Finding Dory” Review

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I am a pretty big fan of Pixar. They have a knack for combining good stories with amazing animation. Some of their movies are more kid oriented than others, and “Finding Dory” absolutely falls into that camp. There are none of the gut wrenching scenes from “Up” here, nor is there any real underlying message about our world like in “Wall-E”. Instead we get a kids movie that goes on a little too long, and didn’t quite capture me like a lot of Pixar films. It’s not unpleasant, or bad, but it does almost drift into unnecessary. For those that somehow cannot guess how this movie ends, there are spoilers ahead.

The movie starts with a quick recap of “Finding Nemo”, but quickly gets us up to speed. The movie takes place one year after the prior movies events, but really that doesn’t matter at all. I guess a year in the life of a few fish is largely nondescript. The story starts when Dory quickly realizes she had a family, and decides she needs to go find them. This epiphany is told mostly via flashback of little Dory playing with her parents, and learning to deal with her short term memory loss. Instead of a being a minor part of the first movie, her memory is basically a non-stop plot point. Frankly by the end, I felt like this is what would happen if Memento took place in the ocean.

Once Dory figures out she was born in California she quickly, and I mean very quickly, travels across the ocean. We get to see the surfer turtles from the first movie briefly, which was fun fan service, and before we know it she is going back to Cali (pretty sure all kids movie reviews require LL Cool J references). Once Dory arrives, she finds out she was born in an exhibit of a sea life preserve. I’m not sure why they went this route, but it worked, and there is a pretty funny voice over cameo that I won’t spoil.

The story kinda splits here, one half follows Dory’s adventures with a surly Octopus trying to get to Cleveland (even an invertebrate should know better), and the other half follows Marlin and Nemo trying to find Dory. We get introduced to an odd bird named Becky… mostly funny because it’s my sister’s name, some sea lions, and various other characters.

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Thank you Pixar from the bottom of my heart, for naming this bird Becky.

My main issue is that none of these characters are very memorable. They more function as deus ex machina devices to move our characters from one situation to the next. Even Dory’s octopus companion falls a little flat as far as sidekicks go. He just never really made much impact to me. Nothing is wrong with him, and there’s a laugh or two, but he never quite connected. To be honest, I can’t even remember his name.

In the end Dory believes in herself (over and over again… and again… and again… and you get the point), and finds her parents who are overjoyed to see her. Obviously, she remembers something in order to do this, and the reunion is a nice uplifting kid movie moment. This leads into a completely absurd ending sequence involving an octopus stealing a truck, and crashing it back into the ocean complete with Louie Armstrong singing. It works about as well as it reads, and feels like the writers kinda ran out of story to tell.

If it comes off like I am trashing the film, it’s not really my intent. It’s a fun and light romp through a beautifully animated ocean world, but I just hold Pixar to a pretty high standard (Cars franchise excluded, sometimes you just have to sell a billion dollars in merchandise… I get it). Finding Dory just never quite got there for me. My daughter enjoyed it, but I don’t think she was enamored, and even remarked she like Nemo better.

All in all, if you need to occupy the kids for a few hours on a rainy day, by all means go see the movie. You won’t be mad you did. I just don’t really think you’ll be thrilled you did either.

Overall DadLunch Rating: 6.5 out of 10

Please Teach Your Son, So I Don’t Have to Warn My Daughter

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Note: I know there are victims of both genders, and I’m not discounting that. This article was written based on the more common situations that occur. Also, I was told this should have a trigger warning, so continue with that in mind. I promise to go back to writing about something lighter next time like vomit and screaming four year olds…

As a dad, there are a lot of lessons I look forward to teaching my daughter. Lessons in being kind, lessons in the importance of education, lessons on how to improve the world around us, and many more along life’s path. However, there is one thing I will never teach my daughter. I will not teach my daughter how to avoid being raped.

I cannot teach her this lesson for a simple reason. My daughter cannot avoid being raped, because being raped is not something the victim holds any control over. To teach her that she can avoid being raped, makes a fraction of the responsibility of being raped owned by her. My daughter owns none of this risk. One person is responsible for any rape, the rapist.

Instead, I will warn my daughter. I will warn her of some dangerous situations, and some actions of others to be leary of. I will warn her that some people will take advantage of people unable to defend themselves, and that some people are capable of terrible things. The problem is she cannot stop these people… all she can do is be aware.

For now, I can be aware for her. It’s heartbreaking that I even have to even at her age. However, as my daughter gets older, she has to be aware. I will not be there all the time to protect her. She will have to be aware at every party she goes to. She will have to be aware on long walks home, especially if she is alone. Sometimes she even will even have be aware in the places she will feel most comfortable, and she will have to be aware of people she thinks are friends, but are really looking for opportunities to betray her trust.

So I have a request to the other parents out there. Since I cannot teach my daughter, please teach your son. Teach your son one simple concept. Teach him that my daughter is his equal. She is a person with her own goals, dreams, desires, feelings, likes, and dislikes. Teach him that she doesn’t owe him anything other than a common politeness we should all have for each other. Teach him to be a man that can be counted on if someone needs help. Not a vulture looking to feed off the temporarily helpless. Teach him that women are going to be his friends, family, coworkers, acquaintances, and in some situations more than that.

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Finally, please teach him that “no” means “no” and furthermore the absence of “yes”, is a “no”. That “no” is not a negotiation or a game. That “no” could hurt his feelings, and it could damage his pride. I promise that he will recover. However, that “no” is my daughter’s right. It’s a barrier that she can put up whenever she needs to. Please teach him that barrier is never to be crossed under any circumstances.

Please teach your son, so in the future, some father somewhere won’t have to warn his daughter.