I Managed to See a Movie! (My Shazam Review)

A 30-second preview was all it took to convince my ten-year-old son that Shazam was a movie we absolutely, positively, had to see. It didn’t take much to convince me. I love superheroes. My other half… well let’s just say that the heroes he prefers to watch on the big screen typically prefer military fatigues to capes and tights. More importantly, I couldn’t help thinking that soon he’d rather watch movies with his friends than me.

If you aren’t familiar with the film, Shazam about a fourteen-year-old foster child, named Billy, who is given the wisdom of Solomon, the strength of Hercules, the stamina of Atlas, the power of Zeus, the courage of Achilles, and the speed of Mercury (or S.H.A.Z.A.M), as well as the body of an adult. It’s also set in the same world as Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman. As a result, the characters are less motivated to find out how to use Billy’s new powers for the greater good (because saving the world is already covered by the more experienced heroes), then how they can use them to get out of school work (and other things).

Billy has no clue about the extent of his powers, and the series of trials by fire (literally, in one case) to test his limits. This caused me to laugh out loud several times throughout the movie. However, there is also a much more serious side to the film centered around the definition of home, family, and the impact a parent can have on their child. To avoid spoilers, I won’t go into it, but be warned there are scenes where a couple of the characters learn their parents aren’t without flaws–some more severe than others.

During one of these scenes, I couldn’t help thinking that there was some cosmic irony at play, considering I’d made such the point to see this movie, of all movies, with my son. I snuck a peek at my offspring. How was he handling it? I wanted to reach for his hand and have him nestle his head on my side like he used to do whenever he was confused or afraid, but he didn’t appear to be either of those things. Guess, my son is growing up even faster than I wanted to admit.

I returned my attention to the reason my wallet was thirty dollars lighter than it had been the day before (this is also one of the reasons I don’t write very many first-run movie reviews). Superhero meets Super-villain. Cue the fighting sequences, collateral damage, monologues, and epiphanies one expects at these sort of things.

Shazam, in many ways, is a film mirroring its central character. Like the fourteen-to-fifteen-year-old kid on the screen, the movie doesn’t seem to know what it wants to be when it grows up. It’s not a comedy, but its not an action movie, or completely family-friendly fare either. There’s cursing, monsters, and more than one random death that sort of comes out of nowhere. As a result, there were more than a few times I was glad I’d left my younger son at home.

It may not have the hype of Avengers: Endgame (or the bankroll), but it still has plenty of heart and better executed than some of the other DC movies I’ve seen (*cough* Dawn of Justice *cough* Suicide Squad *cough*). Therefore, I’m glad I took the time to see it in the theater, even if the person I saw it with made it an even better experience than watching what played out on the screen alone.

A House of Cards

Evil PlanOver the last several days, my world has revolved around poop. Or more specifically the complete lack of it. My little lord tyrant has once again been suffering from a blockage in his lower tract, a chronic problem stemming from a combination of his hypermobility and the logic-defying, adamantium clad will of a stubborn three-year-old. He is unbreakable! And so apparently, nearly was that poop.

I know you are as excited to learn this tidbit as I have been to live it. Unfortunately, you will just have to wait for other articles on the subject or go to other blogs because I seriously need a break. The worst is over…for now, so in the words of Monty Python, let’s now move onto something completely different.

A few weeks ago, we were invited to join Lamont’s (aka the hubby’s) Rotary club for its first annual casino night. Proceeds from ticket sales would go to charity/outreach, but I was looking forward to it as an excuse to glam up and throw the children at the mercy of a babysitter. Gambling is technically illegal in the state of North Carolina, so instead of using real money, each guest was given three $100 bills (bank of Milton Bradley) which could then be exchanged for plastic chips at the table. Chips of a certain value could then be turned in for raffle tickets (it’s the economic circle of life); the grand prize being a flat screen TV.

The room was packed with card tables and eager players. After dazzling one dealer with my grasp of the rules of Texas Hold’Em (by ‘dazzling’ I mean irritating and by ‘grasp’ I mean a complete lack thereof) I wandered to a table more my speed. Blackjack. The cards just have to be closer to twenty one than the dealer’s without going over. No bluffing. No double blinds. Just simple math with a dash of luck.

Poker fail
image courtesy of flickr

My mom, who was also attending the event along with my sister and their respective spouses, had been playing for a while as I settled into an open spot at her table. Mom’s game is Bridge, and within seconds it was clear that she was as equally out of her comfort zone playing Blackjack as I was at the poker table. This dealer, Joe, didn’t seem to mind playing teacher as well as cards (Mom is adorable when she is clueless). A casual suggestion or nod of his head and Mom was soon winning about as much as anyone else at the table. My sister joined us as Mom went on a hot streak. Others began to notice. They really didn’t have a choice. We were loud. We laughed. We teased. We had a great time.

After what felt like a minute, the emcee announced that we were nearing the end of the night. By this time, my luck had come and gone. Joe looked at Mom’s hand. “You want to double down,” he stated more than asked. I looked at her hand too. She had already bet practically everything she had. She didn’t have enough to double her bet. I looked at my cards and my remaining chips. But I did.

I placed a $100 chip (my last) beside hers. “She doubles down!” I said.

“No,” she looked at me in shock. If we lost, I would be out of the game. I would have to spend the remaining evening watching others enjoy their fun from a distance.

“Why not?” I answered (In Mom I trust). The expression on her face, as she realized I was willing to risk it all for her, was worth the cost of our ticket.

The final cards were dealt. Joe displayed the house’s hand.


The three of us jumped up and down, shouting with excitement as Joe slid the winnings her way (tween girls at a boy-band concert have nothing on us).

We didn’t walk away with the TV that night (neither of us really needed one anyway), but instead walked away with an evening that will go down in the family’s history. Some people will describe a house of cards to be one that is weak, one that is built on a shaky foundation, but in our case the cards made our family stronger, and a well deserving civic group gained guaranteed attendees for next year’s event.

spend time with those you love
image courtesy of flickr