Every year I put one or two films on this list for (as my dad used to the say) “the whole famn damily.”  This year I have to put ParaNorman on this list.  But here’s the scoop.  Completely forget that it’s supposed to be a kid’s movie.  Just forget that whole notion.  Trust me.  Much like Monster House from a few years back, ParaNorman may be animated, but holy hell is it for the adults as well.  The themes here are so absolutely incredibly well constructed, that every single person that watches it gets something.  There is stuff that the kids enjoy, and there are things that purposely go over the kids’ heads solely for the adults as well (Salem witch trials, anyone?)  Plus, I’ll look at it from a horror fan’s point of view.  There are blatant references to George Romero, Mario Bava, and many other zombie filmmakers.  What other “kids” movie would do that???  It’s seriously a treat.  Essentially, it’s about an outcast boy that can see and talk to the dead.  From them, he learns about an ancient curse that’s going to destroy his town so it’s up to him to stop it.  But of course, no one believes him.  Continuing from there, it really finds its way into some original and genius territory.  Not to mention, there are some really pretty scary scenes.  I loved how they didn’t play down to kids at all.  They don’t insult kids’ intelligence by going for the lowest common denominator.  It’s quite refreshing, but because of that, it might not be for some of the younger kids.  And well, I can’t bring up this movie without bringing up some STUPID AND BACKWARDS controversy that came out along with it.  Without spoiling anything, towards the ending, one of the characters reveals something that is actually quite a daring thing to do in a kids’ movie.  But I loved that the filmmakers did it, especially since one of the major themes of the film is about bullying.  And well, some backwards idiots took issue.  If you want to know what it is, just watch.  You’ll know.  And if you take issue with it, please come back from 1950, and welcome to 2013. FYI, it’s on Netflix streaming right now, so there’s no excuse.  Enjoy!


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