ScreenTime: Kung Fu Panda Watch #1 Vs. Watch #183

Kung Fu Panda
(YouTube)

ScreenTime is a recurring column where Matt McC reviews the movies and shows his daughter forces him to watch.

First impressions aren’t everything. Sometimes a movie’s inner beauty reveals itself only after a rewatch or two. To that end, here are two reviews of the Dreamworks Animated feature Kung Fu Panda, separated by six months and 182 viewings.

Kung Fu Panda Review: Watch #1, May 3, 2017

Kung Fu Panda is the story of Po, a young panda and kung fu fan voiced by Jack Black. After an accident causes him to be picked as the legendary Dragon Warrior, he has to leave his father’s noodle shop and train with kung fu legends The Furious Five in order to fulfill his destiny of defeating the evil tiger Tai Lung.

It’s a simple tale of overcoming adversity and learning to play to your strengths. It is told strongly with a concise script and competent direction. Much of the humor may be a little too slapstick for adults but excellent voice work from an all-star cast makes even the silliest gags land nicely. An okay film that kept my daughter entertained, but not substantial enough to be worth a rewatch.

Kung Fu Panda Review: Watch #183, November 2, 2017

Iconic New Yorker film critic Pauline Kael notoriously only ever watched movies once. As she once told famed author Francis Davis, “I’m astonished when I talk to really good critics, who… will see a film eight or ten or twelve times. I don’t see how they can do it without hating the movie.”

Those critics, however, would surely argue that the artistry of a great film cannot be appreciated in a single viewing, that in order to fully appreciate such a film, one must devote themselves to it, to learn to live and to breathe it. This is why I watch 2008’s Kung Fu Panda every single night of the week.

Kung Fu Panda
(YouTube)

Every evening, entirely of my own volition, without anyone prompting me or screaming “PAAAADDDAAAAAA” so loudly the neighbors call animal control, I sit down with a select audience and a bowl of dry cheerios to enjoy one of the decade’s foremost animated Jack Black performances.

The Profundity Of Small Moments

Kael, sadly, did not live to witness this stirring tale of the rotund panda who, against all odds, became a kung fu legend. If she had, she would no doubt have been entranced by Po’s antics, and swept up in the grand arc of his story. She may even have had time to appreciate the aesthetic beauty of shots such as this one, during Tai Lung’s thrilling escape.

Kung Fu Panda
(YouTube)

But she would not, in a single viewing, have been able to appreciate the transcendental hilarity of this scene, in which Po smashes his face against a wall. A scene which has never failed to produce peals of laughter from the audience at every single one of my nightly screenings.

Kung Fu Panda
(YouTube)

Kael’s viewing may have allowed her to appreciate the subtle thematic foreshadowing in this transition, where Tai Lung’s shadow briefly darkens the entirety of the Valley of Peace before fading into memory.

Kung Fu Panda
(YouTube)

But it is only after multiple viewings that one begins to understand what it is that compels audiences world-wide, upon seeing this flashback of an infant Tai Lung training with his new master, to yell, “BABY LION, DADDY! SEE? SEE?”

Kung Fu Panda
(YouTube)

A Reverie of Obsession

It is not surprising that “Padda” rewards such dedication: it is a film about dedication, about obsession, about loving something so much it’s all you think and dream about. When Po yells “I love Kung Fuuuuuuuu,” it comes after a montage depicting the lengths to which he’ll go for a glimpse of his obsession. When we yell it along with him, it comes after what feels like a lifetime of staring at the object of ours.

Kung Fu Panda
(YouTube)

It is thus extremely fitting that a movie that opens with the lushly-rendered dream of an infatuated fan should inspire such love that fans of all ages begin their day by screaming, “WATCH PADDA. WATCH PADDA NOW!!!” before they’ve even fully opened their eyes.

Kung Fu Panda
(YouTube)

A Life of Love

Some may be content to experience Kung Fu Panda fleetingly, to watch once, then move on. But true joy can be found in a deeper experience, in immersing yourself in “Padda” day after day, even when you don’t want to, even when you’re exhausted, or pissed off, or bored out of your damn mind. Profound insights come when you dedicate your life to something, and rededicate yourself to it every single day. After all, isn’t that what love is?

Kung Fu Panda
(YouTube)

Artist Wife Illustrates The Drastic Ways Her Husband’s Life Changed After Kids

(Facebook/MessycowComics)

Chen Weng, an illustrator who goes by the name The Messycow, has created a series of comics showing just how much things change when one becomes a father.

Which do you relate to most?

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(Facebook/MesscowComics)

Check out more from this series on The Messycow’s Facebook page and website.

Dad Dinosaur: Prehistoric Reunion

Dad Dinosaur’s high school reunion is fast approaching, but will he be able to win the big dance contest – or are his moves stuck in the past?

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Father Figures: Risky Business

“As the garage door closed behind me, I heard a muffled whimper.

“What is that?” I wondered. Another whimper and I noticed eight fingers on the lid of one of the garbage cans in the corner. I spy a set of eyes, then a nose and finally my oldest son’s face.

“I’m sorry, I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean it.”

“What happened? Where is your brother?” No answers, just sobbing.

He moped toward the door and I followed him into the kitchen. I half-expected to see CSI investigators hovering over a chalk outline.

We walked around the corner by the refrigerator, and only then did I see his brother and allow myself to take my first breath. Then I saw a hole in the drywall the size of a young boy’s torso.

They had been running & sliding, in their stocking feet, across the marbled kitchen floor. Obviously a bit too exuberantly! I was relieved that they were both okay, but I still mustered enough anger to quash any future escapades.

Each blamed the other, of course. I used to say I couldn’t always tell when my kids were lying, but I could always tell when they were telling the truth.

If that makes any sense to you, I’m guessing you’ve raised at least two boys.”

  • Ron Fuller

Want to share a story about fatherhood? Email fatherfigures@thedad.com

Son Surprises Ailing Dad With Tickets To College World Series

Father’s Day is a special time to celebrate your old man, and show him how much you appreciate the role he’s played in your life all these years. Especially since, as we get older, our dads do too, and they may not have many Father’s Days left.

Matt Lea recognized that this Father’s Day, and so went out of his way to make it a memorable one, for both him and his father, both former college baseball players who bonded over the game as Matt was growing up.

Matt’s father Billy suffers from Alzheimer’s Disease, and the symptoms have been accruing rapidly. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t time for more memories, and Matt used the latest Father’s Day as an opportunity to do just that. The 36-year-old drove 12 hours, from Florida to Mississippi, and surprised his parents at their doorstep on Sunday.

He was bearing gifts as well, bringing his dad the jersey of his favorite baseball team, Mississippi State. But that wasn’t all. Matt brought tickets too, to see the College World Series in Omaha in person.

In video of the exchange that Matt posted on Twitter, his dad was clearly taken by surprise.

“I figured it’s probably not good enough just for us to watch the game here,” Matt says in the video as he produces the tickets. “How about we go to Omaha? Do you want to go up to Omaha and watch the College World Series together?”

“Golly,” an emotional Billy responds. “You’re gonna break my heart, here.”

Matt’s gift for his dad received a rapturous response from Twitter, where it’s been liked 46,000 times and retweeted 11,000 times.

Matt seemed as surprised by the response as his dad was by the gift, as everyone who celebrated Father’s Day yesterday knows, there’s nothing better than sharing meaningful memories with your dad, which is exactly what Matt did. An article on Omaha.com details Billy’s baseball past, the initial diagnosis of his Alzheimer’s, the VIP experience Matt treated him too over the weekend.

Matt’s Twitter account showcased the rest.

Happy Father’s Day!

Amazing Street Artist Uses Everyday Objects As His Canvas

(Twitter/tombobnyc)

Artist Tom Bob doesn’t see the world like other people. Where you and I might see sewer grates or metal pipes, he sees ghosts and saxophone players.

Check out some of the amazing ways he’s transforming parts of New York City into works of art.

(Twitter/tombobnyc)
(Twitter/tombobnyc)
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(Twitter/tombobnyc)

Check out more of Tom Bob and his unique artwork here.

Father Figures: Heroes

“On February 2, 2011, my daughter was born. The whole thing started pretty normally about 2:30 am or so, my wife woke me up and said, ‘Honey, it is time to go,’ so we went to the hospital in a snowstorm.

That was the easy part.

When they put the belly monitor on her they noticed that the babies heart rate would drop to low whenever my wife would have a contraction. She needed emergency C-section, but the doctor could not make it due to the storm, and when he finally arrived it was rush rush rush!
Well when my daughter Emily did arrive, she had internal bleeding throughout her body, which included two grade 4 brain bleeds. We could not touch her because she would bruise and start bleeding.
They had to life-flight her to the university, where she spent 5 1/2 weeks in the NICU, which left her (you may want to sit down) deaf/blind, with hydrocephalus, a shunt, cerebral palsy, and seizures (at age 6, she needed a baclofen pump because her CP got too bad to handle without it). She is doing great today. She is happy, loves life, and everyone who meets her says that she makes their day and she is beautiful.
To pay back our little community, I became a first responder, mostly a firefighter, but I did help with EMS. Never got my certification, but that is where I found out that in the U.S. we do not have any training for first responders to deal with children with special needs.
I have made it my personal mission to teach first responders about kids with special needs.
I have taken to Emily to every EMS/Fire station in the five counties around me. I have taken her to the police and sheriff’s departments to train them, and now I have a waiting list to get trained.
I don’t know if I am the hero here, but I needed to tell the story.”

– Mike Kuyper

Want to share a story about fatherhood? Email fatherfigures@thedad.com

Low Cost Cosplay Guy Makes The World A Better Place

(Facebook/Lowcostcosplay)

Anucha “Cha” Saengchart, the genius behind “Low Cost Cosplay,” has amassed millions of followers with his incredible reimaginings of famous fictional characters.

Whether you’re planning on portraying your favorite anime character or a Marvel superhero, this guy can show you how to do it effectively and on a string budget.

(Facebook/Lowcostcosplay)
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(Facebook/Lowcostcosplay)
(Facebook/Lowcostcosplay)
(Facebook/Lowcostcosplay)
(Facebook/Lowcostcosplay)
(Facebook/Lowcostcosplay)
(Facebook/Lowcostcosplay)
(Facebook/Lowcostcosplay)
(Facebook/Lowcostcosplay)
(Facebook/Lowcostcosplay)
(Facebook/Lowcostcosplay)
(Facebook/Lowcostcosplay)

Can’t get enough? Check out more creative cosplay on his Facebook page.