Find Out Why “Ferdinand” Is So “Love-a-Bull” with LIFE UMC “At the Movies”

This week Tag Team Movie Reviewers Nicholas Angelo and Amy Baker give you the scoop on the last movie in the LIFE UMC “At the Movies” series. You can watch “Ferdinand,” rated PG, starring the voice talent of John Cena, Kate McKinnon, Bobby Cannavale and more at 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 24, at the church. Admission is free and open to the public. There will be popcorn!

NICHOLAS: I still prefer live-action to animated “Spider-Man,” but I have to say “Ferdinand” was a good movie. I really enjoyed it!

AMY: I’m glad, Nicholas. I thought it was cute, but I am still really partial to Disney movies with princesses.

NICHOLAS: I don’t usually have that desire. Teachers love Disney too much.

AMY: So, what did you like most about “Ferdinand,” the story of a bull with the voice of John Cena who looks large and scary but is all heart and likes flowers more than fighting. He ends up being separated from his family and finds an unlikely group of friends on an adventure to get back home.

NICHOLAS: I liked that the movie was so creative. Somebody said, “I’m going to make a movie about a bull who doesn’t want to fight.” That’s really original.

AMY: My favorite character was the goat Lupe with the voice of Kate McKinnon from “Saturday Night Live” fame.

NICHOLAS: Yes, Lupe was hilarious! She was a “calming goat” for the bulls who were being held to fight in the ring with the matador. All the bulls in the pen where she lived dreamed of being selected to leave and find glory in the ring with the matador. What they didn’t realize was that it was certain death. 

AMY: There’s definitely some sadness to this movie. Ferdinand’s father died fighting against the matador. Ferdinand is separated from his adopted family, a little girl and her father on a safe farm where he is loved. Lupe’s crazy brand of humor gives you something to laugh about.

NICHOLAS: Lupe is my favorite. She’s always saying, “I’m a lady” or “I’m a calming goat and nobody cares about me.” She has some crazy eyes and she runs around and does a really funnyscreaming goat cry. There are some parts of the movie that are laugh out loud funny. There are three hedgehog characters named Uno, Dos and Quatro.

AMY: Their big punchline is, “We don’t talk about Tres.” That made me giggle, for sure. There’s also a pretty entertaining horse and bull dance battle.

NICHOLAS: I got into the story. When Ferdinand ends up with the bulls waiting to fight the matador, he meets some bull friends he knew when he was young. They are all excited about fighting, but Ferdinand just wants to smell flowers. Bulls that aren’t thought to be good enough to fight are sent to the “chop house.” 

AMY: And nobody wants to go there.

NICHOLAS: Eventually, Ferdinand finds the courage to lead a mission to save his friends Guapo and Valiente who were taken to the chop house. The good news is he gets there in time, and they are all alive. 

AMY: Ferdinand is successful in helping his friends escape, but he is caught and has to go face to face with the matador. Not to totally ruin the ending for you, but he uses his peaceful ways to avoid death and destruction.

NICHOLAS: And they all live happily ever after at the farm with the little girl sniffing flowers. I highly recommend this one. I think they could make a “Ferdinand 2.” He could have another adventure.

AMY: If there is a sequel, I’ll need to see more Lupe the goat.

NICHOLAS: “Ferdinand” has a great lesson. You can be whoever you want to be. Just because he was a bull, everyone wanted him to fight. He was a flower sniffer. You can decidewho you want to be.

AMY: That’s pretty powerful stuff. And just like that, the LIFE UMC “At the Movies” series for this summer is at an end.

NICHOLAS: I’d really like to keep doing these movie reviews throughout the year. Do you think we can do that?

AMY: Absolutely! We’ll change up our pace so we’ll have one column a month instead of once a week, but we’ll keep going. It’s been really fun to be your Tag Team partner, Nicholas!

NICHOLAS: Thank you! I have enjoyed it, too. We will keep going. Great! I guess there’s nothing left to say except, see you next month “At the Movies.”

Change of Date

“Ferdinand” will be shown on Saturday, August 24th at 7pm.
*The date change is in order to provide a Memorial Service and Celebration of Life for Dr. Ian Leggat on Friday, August 23rd, 6pm.

LIFE UMC Heads “Into the Spider-Verse” on Aug. 16

This week Tag Team Movie Reviewers Nicholas Angelo and Amy Baker give you the scoop on the next movie in the LIFE UMC “At the Movies” series. You can watch “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” rated PG, starring the voice talent of Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld, Lily Tomlin, Zoe Kravitz, John Mulaney, Nicolas Cage, Liev Schreiber, Chris Pine and many more at 6 p.m. Friday, Aug. 16, at the church. Admission is free and open to the public. There will be popcorn!

AMY: I have to be honest here, Nicholas. I haven’t seen a Spider-Man movie since he was played by Tobey McGuire. You’re going to have to lead us through this action-packed animated adventure. Wonder Woman is my favorite superhero.

NICHOLAS: I don’t have a favorite superhero. I do like Spider-Man but don’t consider myself an expert. The really dedicated Spider-Man fans call McGuire the nerdy Spider-Man. The next one was Andrew Garfield, and he probably wasn’t the best one. Then came Tom Holland, who I think is the best so far. He has been in “Spider-Man: Homecoming” and “Spider-Man: Far from Home,” as well as “Captain America: Civil War.” He is part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

AMY: How does “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” compare to the other Spidey flicks?

NICHOLAS: It’s actually way different. It’s like a cartoonish version of the movies. There is a completely different kid named Miles Morales, voiced by Shameik Moore, who becomes “Spider-Man.” He accidentally sees the real webbed wonder get killed and then is bitten by a radioactive spider himself. Two villains, Kingpin and Doc Oc, create a weapon that brings other versions of “Spider-Man” from different dimensions to Miles’ dimension and they unite to set everything right.

AMY: I’m a fan of the show “New Girl,” so I liked that Jake Johnson voices the divorced, slightly out-of-shape Spider-Man. Then there’s Spider-Gwen and Peni Parker, two Spider-Women.

NICHOLAS: And don’t forget Spider-Ham who is a cartoon pig. I didn’t get the pig. Its eyes were on its snout on one scene. I was so confused. Spider-Man Noir was pretty cool, though.

AMY: Are these other spider heroes based on real comics?

NICHOLAS: Yes, they are actually part of comic books by Marvel Comics. I have to say I didn’t like “Into the Spider-Verse” too much. I like my traditional, live-action “Spider-Man.” The cartoonish version is just OK. If you’re looking for a fun way to spend some family time, though, this movie would be good for you.

AMY: So, what was your favorite part of the movie?

NICHOLAS: There was a funny scene where all the Spider-Men were fighting inside Aunt May’s house, and she was kicking them out for breaking all her stuff.

AMY: Seriously. I would never be Mary Jane and date a superhero because I have way too many breakables.

NICHOLAS: The movie is a little sad, too. All the versions of Spider-Man have lost someone they love. Miles loses his uncle. In other universes, Uncle Ben died or Aunt May died. Nobody died for Tom Holland, except his parents. Even Kingpin is kind of sad because his real motive is to get a version of his family back.

AMY: In Miles’ universe, Spider-Man had a secret shed of cool suits and gadgets and vehicles. What was up with that?

NICHOLAS: Yes, the other versions of Spider-Man were definitely jealous of all that gear. It was more like a Batman kind of thing. I will say that the suit Miles created for himself with spray paint is significant. True fans will get it.

AMY: My favorite part was recognizing the celebrity voices, like Nicolas Cage who was Spider-Noir.

NICHOLAS: I didn’t recognize any voices I really knew. Something tells me I knew the pig’s voice. Maybe not.

AMY: Well, not to say too much, but you can probably guess how the movie ends. 

NICHOLAS: Be careful, Amy, Marvel has a spoiler ban. And you are now assigned homework. You need to watch all the Spider-Man movies you’ve missed since Tobey McGuire. You won’t be sorry. 

AMY: OK, Nicholas. I’ll accept that mission, but it will have to wait a bit. Next week we’ll be talking about “Ferdinand,” which will be shown at the church at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 23.

LIFE UMC At the Movies Again! This time with The Greatest Showman.

This week Tag Team Movie Reviewers Nicholas Angelo and Amy Baker give you the scoop on the next movie in the LIFE UMC “At the Movies” series. You can watch “The Greatest Showman,” rated PG, starring Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, Zendaya and Michelle Williams at 6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 10, at the church. Admission is free and open to the public. There will be popcorn!

AMY: Come one, come all! Welcome to this Big Top edition of LIFE UMC “At the Movies”! You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll eat popcorn! You might even sing. Nicholas, do you like musicals?

NICHOLAS: I’ve only really seen three: “High School Musical,” “Beauty and the Beast” and now “The Greatest Showman.” I can honestly say it’s the best musical I’ve ever seen! I really liked the soundtrack.

AMY: Inspired by the real-life showman P.T. Barnum, this original musical tells the story of a dreamer who creates a new genre of entertainment, the circus, with the help of some unique people who had been excluded from society. Throughout the movie, Hugh Jackman as Barnum struggles with the balance of fulfilling his vision and remembering what matters most – his true friends; his wife Charity, played by Michelle Williams; and their children.

NICHOLAS: I enjoyed the history part of the story. There was a lot of stuff in there from the 1800s time period. I recognized Zendaya from “Spiderman” and Zac Efron from “High School Musical.” 

AMY: Efron plays Phillip, Barnum’s partner/apprentice who falls in love with a trapeze artist named Anne, played by Zendaya. Nicholas, last time you said you weren’t a fan of movie romance. What did you think about that in this movie?

NICHOLAS: For this movie, the love stuff didn’t bother me. It made sense as part of Barnum’s life story and what he was going through. 

AMY: I know what you mean. Barnum, who grew up as the poor son of a tailor, gets so focused on rising in society that he makes some questionable choices and forgets about those who helped him get to where he was. 

NICHOLAS: And those were the people he helped step from out of the shadows into the light, like the “Bearded Lady,” “Dog Boy,” “Irish Giant” and “Tom Thumb.” My favorite song was “This Is Me,” that they sang in protest because they weren’t invited to a fancy party. Society viewed them as sideshow oddities, but Barnum saw them as unique and talented – and then turned his back on them.

AMY: Enter singer Jenny Lind, a performer even the elite society would come out to see. Barnum risks it all – his fortune and his family – to try to live his dream of being accepted. Then disaster strikes.

NICHOLAS: It takes losing everything to bring Barnum back to his real purpose and remember what is most important. He loses his building but comes up with the creative circus tent idea. And – Spoiler Alert – Barnum ends up stepping back and letting his apprentice take over so he can spend more time with his family.

AMY: Barnum spends the whole movie trying to create a better life for his wife, the life they dreamed of as children. A better life for Charity, though, isn’t really money and fame.

NICHOLAS: If you want to make somebody happy, it’s really in the little things. You don’t have to ride in on an elephant to show you care.

AMY: Great insights, Nicholas! Next week we’ll be talking about “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” which will be shown at the church at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 16.

LIFE UMC “At the Movies” Full of “Wonder” and Plenty of Popcorn

This week Tag Team Movie Reviewers Nicholas Angelo and Amy Baker give you the scoop on the first movie in the LIFE UMC “At the Movies” series. You can catch “Wonder,” rated PG, starring Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson and some great younger actors at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 2, at the church. Admission is free and open to the public. There will be popcorn!

AMY: Hey, Nicholas, what do you like about movies?

NICHOLAS: I like the action parts and all the craziness.

AMY: I like the popcorn! And sometimes I venture into the other food group, nachos.

NICHOLAS: I thought it was really cool when I heard we could all watch movies together at church. Lots of people came last year. Bill Barnes brought his whole neighborhood.

AMY: I’m excited about it, too. Again, mostly about the popcorn. What kind of movies do you normally enjoy?

NICHOLAS: “Spiderman: Far from Home” is my favorite movie. My family is watching “Spiderman: Homecoming” tonight. We’re getting into the whole Marvel Avengers thing. We watch movies as a family most of the time. I like action movies, no romance and all that stuff. There’s a little bit of that in “Spiderman,” but not enough to make it boring.

AMY: I like a good romance movie, but I like action movies, too. I also really like scary movies, but I can only watch them in the middle of the day or I won’t sleep.

NICHOLAS: “Jurassic Park” was scary enough for me.

AMY: We don’t have to worry about being scared by the movies at LIFE. The first movie we’re watching this summer is “Wonder,” the inspiring story of August “Auggie” Pullman, a boy with facial differences who has been homeschooled all his life, and his experience entering fifth grade at a prep school. I’ve only seen half of the movie, so you need to tell me how it ends and if you recommend it.

NICHOLAS: No spoilers, Amy! I can’t tell our readers how it ends, but I do recommend it; it’s a good movie. It really tells you how a kid like Auggie gets through the world and makes friends.

AMY: From what I saw, the whole premise of this movie is to “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” What I like about “Wonder” is that you see the story from the perspectives of different characters. When your friend hurts your feelings, you don’t always know why and what internal struggle your friend is facing. “Wonder” lets you hear a character’s thoughts and understand. It’s a touching story about courage, forgiveness, friendship and family. 

NICHOLAS: For younger kids, we recommend “Shrek,” which will also be shown at the church. It’s been a while since I watched “Shrek,” but I don’t really remember a lesson to that movie. I know it’s a fairy tale about a big green ogre and a princess.

AMY: Hmm. I think there is a lesson in “Shrek” that’s very similar to the one in “Wonder.” Both movies are about how someone looks and how that causes people to be scared of him and the character to be lonely. 

NICHOLAS: Oh yeah, and in both movies the main character realizes how much he needs friends. (Small word of advice, there is some adult humor in “Shrek,” rated PG, but a lot of it will be over the heads of smaller kids. And let’s face it, you’ve probably seen it already anyway.)

AMY: So, Nicholas, I think our movie conversation went really well. Thanks so much for hanging out with me.

NICHOLAS: You’re welcome. I think it went well, too.

AMY: So, we’ll make this the first of a whole series of Tag Team Movie Reviews for this summer?

NICHOLAS: Cool! See you next week!

AMY: See you then. Next week we’ll be talking about “The Greatest Showman,” which will be shown at the church at 6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 10.