Take 3: Little House: Bless All the Dear Children Review

This movie review was written before July 12th

Last year, I participated in Drew’s Movie Reviews’ Christmas in July Blogathon for the first time. My submission was about the Hallmark film, Christmas Camp. Unfortunately, the film was not as good as I had hoped it would be. For this year’s Christmas in July Blogathon, I already had my film selected before the event was officially announced. But this time, I decided to step away from Hallmark and expand my cinematic horizons. Recently, UP Network aired Little House: Bless All the Dear Children. Since I hadn’t seen this movie before, but had seen the show on multiple occasions, I chose this film for the Blogathon! Little House on the Prairie is a show that my family has enjoyed watching. In fact, I’ve talked about my favorite episode, “The Wild Boy” Part 1 and 2, in the editorial, “Bucky Barnes and Matthew Rogers: Paralleling Stories of Disability”. After the show ended in March of 1983, the creative team behind Little House on the Prairie created three films to tie up loose ends and give beloved characters a proper send-off. Little House: Bless All the Dear Children was the last of these three to be released.

I tried to find a more Christmas-y poster for this movie, but was unsuccessful in my search. So, as the next best thing, I took a screenshot of the film’s poster from my television. Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.

Things I liked about the film:

The acting: Throughout the show’s lifespan, Little House on the Prairie was blessed to receive a strong starring cast. Even as actors came and went, the quality in acting never faltered. Most of the main actors from the show also appear in Little House: Bless All the Dear Children. Because of this, the consistency in the acting quality was maintained. The regular actors from the show appeared comfortable in their roles. It was also nice to see familiar faces and fan favorites. While I enjoyed watching the performances from the main cast, there were two performances from newcomers of the show that I found to be the most memorable. The first one came from Patricia Pearcy. In the movie, she portrayed Elsa, a mother who is mourning the loss of her baby. What I liked about her performance was the emotional range that was found. Toward the beginning of the film, Elsa learns about the fate of her child. This ends up being one of the most powerful scenes, as Patricia brings the emotional weight a moment like that requires. The second performance was Joel Graves’. He portrayed Samuel, a young orphan from Mankato. Anytime he was on screen, Joel had a sweet personality, which gave his character a likable persona. Samuel brought so much joy to the story, as he was an adorable and kind-hearted child.

The messages and themes: Within their nine seasons, Little House on the Prairie has incorporated important messages and themes into their episodes. These messages and themes have come in various forms, from exploring the horrors of child abuse in “The Wild Boy” Part 1 and 2 to showcasing the value of human life in “Times Are Changing” Part 1 and 2. Little House: Bless All the Dear Children also contains messages and themes that not only fit in the context of the series, but also in the context of Christmas. When Mr. Edwards asks Mr. Montague if he’d like any Christmas presents, Mr. Montague declines this offer, as he feels that Christmas has become materialistic. The idea of the commercialization of Christmas is just as relevant today as it was in 1984, the year this film was released. It also reminds the audience of the holiday’s original purpose.

The humor: Even though there are moments on the show where serious situations take place, Little House on the Prairie also contains moments of joy and laughter. The humor on this program is both wholesome and well-written. It is not only consistent on the show, but it also finds a place in Little House: Bless All the Dear Children. During the Christmas season, Nancy is responsible for finding the perfect Christmas tree for her family. She eventually locates one in the front yard of her family’s property. The hilarious part of this situation is that Nancy chooses the tallest tree she can find, causing the tree to crash through a window into her family’s living room! This moment reminded me of when Stephanie, from Full House, crashed a car through her family’s kitchen because she thought the “R” on the car’s control pad meant “radio” instead of “reverse”.

Christmas in July Blogathon 2020 banner created by Drew from Drew’s Movie Reviews. Image found at https://drewreviewmovies.wordpress.com/2020/06/16/announcing-the-christmas-in-july-blogathon-2020/.

What I didn’t like about the film:

Christmas spirit’s inconsistency: In most Christmas films, the spirit of Christmas can be felt throughout the story. In fact, there are times when it radiates off the screen. With Little House: Bless All the Dear Children, however, the Christmas spirit doesn’t feel consistent in the overall story. Some parts of the movie contained a strong sense of this spirit, like the narrative involving Jason trying to spread Christmas cheer. But Christmas spirit felt like an after-thought in the majority of the main plot, where Mr. Edwards, Almanzo, and Laura search for Rose. This made the narrative seem like it could have taken place in any time of year without making much of a difference.

Too many narratives: Little House: Bless All the Dear Children featured a total of six narratives. I understand that an end-of-series movie is meant to tie up story-related loose ends. But because of the screen-writer’s decision to squeeze as many sub-plots into the film as possible, it caused some of the narratives to feel under-developed or there for the sake of being there. A good example is Mr. Montague’s narrative, where it revolved around his views on Christmas. While it wasn’t a bad idea for a sub-plot, it didn’t really lead anywhere. Another example is Nancy’s narrative, where she is put in charge of picking out the Oleson family Christmas tree. Like Mr. Montague’s sub-plot, it didn’t lead anywhere. It also didn’t do any favors for Nancy’s character development or serve the overall story. If anything, it seems like she received her own narrative because she had appeared on the show for two seasons.

A quick and easy resolution: The main conflict in Little House: Bless All the Dear Children has been featured on the show before. In the season four episode, “My Ellen”, Laura gets kidnapped by her grieving neighbor shortly after their daughter passes away. Personally, I think the situation was dealt with better in that episode than in this Christmas movie. During her escape in the aforementioned episode, Laura leads her neighbor to their daughter’s grave to help them face their grief and realize the reality of the situation. In Little House: Bless All the Dear Children, Elsa’s grief and the seriousness of Rose’s kidnapping are glossed over when the conflict is resolved. I know that whenever a conflict arises on Little House on the Prairie, it is dealt with in a wholesome way. But it seemed like the situation was handled as easily and quickly as possible just to move on to the next narrative. I was also surprised that Laura didn’t disclose her kidnapping in relation to her daughter’s predicament. Had she brought up this past experience, it would have promoted the show’s continuity and helped Elsa face her grief.

Adorable Christmas card image created by Rawpixel.com at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/christmas-greeting-card-vector_2824854.htm’>Designed by Rawpixel.com</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/christmas”>Christmas vector created by Rawpixel.com – Freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

My overall impression:

Little House on the Prairie is a show that has stood the test of time. Its wholesome programming, relatable messages, and memorable characters have won over the hearts of fans for decades. Little House: Bless All the Dear Children is an example of why people have fallen in love with this show. The consistency in acting and the lessons instilled on the audience help keep the tone of the show intact. Even though the movie had its strengths, I feel this particular story would have benefitted as a two-part episode. Smaller narratives, like Mr. Montague’s perspective on Christmas, could have been taken care of in one episode. The story of Rose’s kidnapping would have been the overarching narrative of both episodes. This choice would have also given the creative team more time to explore Elsa’s grief and reach a satisfying resolution to the episodes’ main conflict. Little House: Bless All the Dear Children is a fine and enjoyable film. Personally, I would have loved to see Matthew Rogers perform “O Holy Night” in sign language during Christmas Mass. But I guess we can’t always get what we want.

Now we’ve come to the part of this review where I select a guest for Drew’s Christmas Party. This year, I have selected Anjanette Abayari. I first became aware of her existence when I watched the music video for the Timmy T. song “One More Try”. I haven’t seen her other acting work and I don’t know much about her. But, based on what I read, it seems like she has experienced some serious situations in her life. The reason why I chose Anjanette for Drew’s Christmas Party is so she can, hopefully, receive more recognition than she may be currently receiving!

Overall score: 7.4 out of 10

Have you watched Little House on the Prairie? If so, what is your favorite episode? Share your thoughts in the comment section!

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Bucky Barnes and Matthew Rogers: Paralleling Stories of Disability

As I was trying to come up with ideas for what to write about for the 2nd Disability In Film Blogathon, I came across the book and movie, Wonderstruck. While reading the story’s synopsis, I discovered that it was about two children who go on an adventure in two very different time periods. Even though these characters lead very different lives from one another and are unique individuals from each other, they both have something in common: both of these children are deaf. The idea of these characters having similar life experiences and stories of disability, despite existing in separate time periods, is what inspired me to create this editorial. My favorite superhero from the Marvel Cinematic Universe is Bucky Barnes and Matthew Rogers is my favorite character from Little House on the Prairie. After watching Captain America: The Winter Soldier for the first time, I started to notice that Bucky and Matthew shared more in common than one would think. Like the protagonists in Wonderstruck, Bucky’s and Matthew’s story takes place in two very different time periods: the late 1800s and the present day. Also like the protagonists in Wonderstruck, Bucky and Matthew have a disability: Bucky is an amputee and Matthew is non-verbal. In my post, “My Top 5 Dream Double Features at the Cinema”, I talked about how I would want to discuss the similarities in Bucky’s and Matthew’s story if I paired both episodes of “The Wild Boy” with Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Now, I finally get the chance to explore these similarities in honor of the 2nd Disability In Film Blogathon!

2nd Disability in Film Blogathon banner
The 2nd Disability In Film Blogathon banner created by Crystal from In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood and Robin from Pop Culture Reverie. Image found at https://crystalkalyana.wordpress.com/2018/08/19/announcing-the-2nd-disability-in-film-blogathon/ and https://popculturereverie.wordpress.com/2018/08/19/announcing-the-2nd-disability-in-film-blogathon/.

The Introduction of Bucky and Matthew

Bucky Barnes and Matthew Rogers are introduced into a series that already had an established story prior to their appearance (the Captain America trilogy/MCU and Little House on the Prairie). When they make their official appearances in these series, Bucky’s movie and Matthew’s episodes were centered around them, even though they are not one of the main characters. Though this movie is a part of the Captain America trilogy, the title of this film is Captain America: The Winter Soldier because the movie explores Bucky’s story. On Little House on the Prairie, the episode where Matthew makes his debut is titled “The Wild Boy” because, like Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Matthew’s story is the primary focus. Because this episode is told in two parts, it allows for Matthew and his story to have a meaningful impact on the residents of Walnut Grove.

When Bucky and Matthew first appear on screen, the audience sees them carrying dangerous and violent identities. At the beginning of “The Wild Boy” Part 1, Matthew is introduced as The Wild Boy, a young, unkempt boy who reacts violently when Dr. McQueen, a traveling medicine man, tries to get his attention. In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Bucky is known as The Winter Soldier, a dangerous antagonist from Hydra, a criminal organization, who causes chaos and destruction. At first, the protagonists in each story see the personas of The Wild Boy and The Winter Soldier for face value, believing that these individuals are truly as violent and dangerous as they appear. This also allows the audience to share similar thoughts and beliefs with the protagonists, with the delivery of the truth about The Wild Boy and The Winter Soldier being executed as a surprise for the audience.

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The unmasking of The Winter Soldier: a moment that shocked the Marvel fandom. Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.

The Truth about Bucky and Matthew

As their stories go on, the truth about The Winter Soldier and The Wild Boy are revealed. When Steve Rogers removes The Winter Soldier’s mask during a confrontation in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, he discovers that The Winter Soldier is really his friend, Bucky Barnes. After that scene, the audience is given the opportunity to learn about how Bucky ended up with Hydra. While Bucky has his prosthetic arm repaired by Hydra members, a flash-back montage is shown. This montage shows the audience that after he fell off the train in Captain America: The First Avenger, Bucky lost his left arm while he was falling. He was then kidnapped by Hydra and kept against his will. During this montage, the audience discovers how Bucky receives his prosthetic arm, but also sees Bucky getting mistreated by members of Hydra. The audience also learns that Bucky had The Winter Soldier persona forced upon him and was brainwashed by Hydra to hurt other people. When the story returns to present day, Bucky is still getting mistreated and abused by Hydra. Alexander Pierce, the head of Hydra, feels that the mistreatment toward Bucky, such as unexpectedly slapping him in the face and having Bucky involuntarily go through electroshock treatments, is justifiable. Brock Rumlow, a fellow Hydra member, witnesses the abuse toward Bucky, but chooses not to do anything about it. Steve Rogers finds out about Bucky’s traumatic situation after Captain America: The Winter Soldier but before Captain America: Civil War.

Like Bucky, the audience gets to learn more about The Wild Boy in “The Wild Boy” Part 1. Toward the beginning of this episode, The Wild Boy is shown getting physically abused by Dr. McQueen (he hits his hand with his cane) and being neglected (Dr. McQueen refuses to feed him). Dr. McQueen is also verbally abusive toward The Wild Boy, referring to him as “creature” and “animal” as well as saying he “acquired” him. Luther Abbott, the assistant of Dr. McQueen, recognizes that The Wild Boy is being mistreated, but doesn’t really do anything about the situation. He even assumes that The Wild Boy has a small amount of intelligence and doesn’t understand what’s going on around him. When Dr. McQueen visits Walnut Gove, Jenny Wilder, Laura Ingalls Wilder’s niece, suspects there’s more to The Wild Boy than meets the eye after she and her friends sneak into the tent where The Wild Boy is kept. The next day, when Jenny finds The Wild Boy hiding in her family’s barn, she discovers the truth about The Wild Boy. She not only learns that The Wild Boy is really Matthew Rogers, but also that he is non-verbal. The audience learns in the Little House on the Prairie episode “Hello and Goodbye” that Matthew became non-verbal due to having Lye forced down his throat by a farming couple who only wanted to adopt Matthew as a work-hand, not as their son. The audience also learns, later on in “The Wild Boy” Part 1, that Matthew developed Morphinism due to Dr. McQueen using the morphine laced elixir he was selling to control Matthew’s behavior, causing him to act “wild”.

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Why the heck would Dr. McQueen think this “Wild Boy” idea is ok? Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.

Bucky and Matthew Break Free

Fortunately, Bucky and Matthew find a way to escape their abusive situations. Despite Luther assuming that Matthew has a lack of intelligence, Matthew figures out how to dismantle his cage, giving him a chance to run away from Dr. McQueen’s capture. While Steve and Bucky fight each other during the Triskelion Battle in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Steve rescues Bucky from Hydra’s capture by reminding Bucky of who he is and of the friendship they have. These reminders help Bucky break through Hydra’s brainwashing and escape their clutches. It’s also important to point out that after their initial escape, Bucky and Matthew never return to their captors’ control. Dr. McQueen comes back to Walnut Grove in an attempt to reclaim Matthew in “The Wild Boy” Part 2. This causes a judge to be called in and a hearing to take place in order to determine who should be the guardian of Matthew. Because of Luther confessing the truth about Dr. McQueen’s abuse toward Matthew and that he was bribed by Dr. McQueen to lie about Matthew’s situation, the judge decides to revoke Dr. McQueen’s guardianship but also decides to have Matthew sent to an asylum. After some convincing from Matthew and Mr. Edwards, the judge decides to grant guardianship to Mr. Edwards. Because a large portion of Hydra’s members were killed during the Triskelion Battle or went into hiding after that battle, Bucky has been able to live a life free of anything Hydra related.

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Why is Bucky, sometimes, still referred to as “The Winter Soldier” when he’s no longer the Winter Soldier? Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.

Bucky’s and Matthew’s Support System

Because their families are mostly absent from their stories, Bucky and Matthew have to build their support system from scratch. In each support system, there’s at least three key individuals that are present throughout Bucky’s and Matthew’s journey. For Matthew, these people are Mr. Edwards, Laura Ingalls Wilder, and Jenny Wilder. In Bucky’s story, these individuals are Steve Rogers, T’Challa, and Shuri. The people in these support systems approach their roles in their own ways, but their goal is the same: helping their friend or loved one and keeping their best interests in mind.

The biggest role in both of these support systems is the advocate, the person who spends the most time with their friend or loved one and makes sure their best interests are met. These roles are given to Mr. Edwards and Steve Rogers. After Matthew escapes from Dr. McQueen’s capture, he ends up having no place to go. Mr. Edwards volunteers to be his temporary guardian and takes care of Matthew. When Matthew faces the threat of being sent to an asylum, Mr. Edwards makes a speech before Sunday Service, with all the residents of Walnut Grove present, about how Matthew is no different from the other members of Walnut Gove. During this speech, Mr. Edwards was advocating for Matthew to stay in Walnut Grove so he could live in a stable, loving, and supportive environment. This speech convinced the judge to allow Matthew to live in Walnut Grove with Mr. Edwards. In Bucky’s case, Steve has been his friend prior to the events that caused Bucky to become disabled. During Bucky’s time in the MCU, Steve Rogers not only rescued Bucky from Hydra’s capture, but he also defends Bucky throughout Captain America: Civil War. When Bucky is wrongly accused of committing murder, Steve tries to explain to the members of “Team Iron Man” that not only is Bucky innocent, but that he also experienced a very traumatic and violent past. During the final battle between Captain America, Bucky, and Iron Man, Steve puts Bucky’s needs before his own by giving up his shield and choosing to help his friend.

The other two roles in this support system are the resource gatherer (the one who finds the resources for their loved one or friend) and the understanding soul (the one who, through understanding, comes to accept and appreciate the person they are going to help). The role of resource gatherer is given to Shuri and Laura Ingalls Wilder. Shortly after the events of Captain America: Civil War, Bucky comes to Wakanda to receive the medical care that he needs, wants, and deserves. Not only does Shuri help Bucky overcome his trauma, she also creates a new prosthetic arm, using Wakanda’s vibranium, for Bucky at the beginning of Avengers: Infinity War. In Matthew’s situation, Laura teaches him sign language so he can communicate with the people around him. For Jenny and T’Challa, they have taken on the role of the understanding soul. In Captain America: Civil War, T’Challa assumes that Bucky killed his father because Helmut Zemo, the film’s villain, was dressed up as Bucky when he murdered several people in Vienna. After T’Challa learns the truth about how his father died, he accepts Bucky into his social circle and helps him receive the resources he needs and wants. T’Challa also discovers Bucky’s past and realizes that he has been a victim of abuse and trauma. After she stops Nancy Oleson from tormenting Matthew and, later, finds Matthew hiding in her family’s barn, Jenny discovers that Matthew’s “wild boy” persona was forced upon him by his captors. She also learns about Matthew’s disability and agrees to become his friend.

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Laura teaching Matthew, Jenny, and Mr. Edwards how to say “coffee pot” in sign language. Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.

An Assistive Tool for Bucky and Matthew

After breaking free from their traumatic and abusive life, Bucky and Matthew are able to surround themselves with people who truly care about them and strive to meet their best interests. One way that their best interests are met is when they each receive an assistive tool that will help them live as independent and productive of a life as possible. As mentioned earlier, Laura teaches Matthew sign language in order to help him communicate with the people in his life. She also teaches Mr. Edwards and Jenny sign language so they can understand what Matthew is trying to say. This assistive tool of language helps Matthew to form friendships and make his wishes and thoughts known to others. Without it, Matthew would probably feel excluded from the community, feeling like he had limited opportunities to contribute to any conversations.

Even though Bucky received his prosthetic arm during his time under Hydra’s capture, that arm was created and controlled by Hydra, meaning that Bucky couldn’t use his assistive tool in his favor. After he was rescued from Hydra’s capture, Bucky was able to have more control over his prosthetic arm, being able to use his assistive tool the way he wants to, such as picking up plums from the market and fighting alongside “Team Cap” in Captain America: Civil War. During the battle between Captain America, Bucky, and Iron Man, Bucky’s prosthetic arm was destroyed after a failed attempt to remove Iron Man’s arc reactor. He not only receives a new prosthetic arm at the beginning of Avengers: Infinity War, but this prosthetic arm has no connection to Hydra, meaning that Bucky can have total control over his assistive tool. It’s also important to point out that throughout Avengers: Infinity War, Bucky seems comfortable with his new prosthetic arm, that he was given enough time to get used to his assistive tool and operate it the way he wants to.

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Bucky and Bucky being invited by Thor to a screening of Avengers: Infinity War! Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.

The language used toward/about Bucky and Matthew

When Bucky and Matthew start their new lives, the audience gets to see how others interact with them. During Bucky’s time in the MCU and in both parts of “The Wild Boy”, Bucky and Matthew are welcomed into their communities. There are never bullied, made fun of, treated differently, or judged because of their disability. While looking at Bucky’s and Matthew’s stories, however, there was language used either toward or about them that could be seen as problematic. In both parts of “The Wild Boy”, some of the characters refer to Matthew as a “mute”. This is the only example of problematic language I could find within Matthew’s story. Because Little House on the Prairie takes place sometime between the 1870s to 1890s, I found this language to be more reflective of that time-period. Throughout Bucky’s time in the MCU, I found three instances where language was used either toward or about Bucky as a person with a disability that one could find as problematic. Below are the list of these instances and how they could be perceived as problematic.

  • “You have a metal arm?! That is awesome, dude!” – This is what Spider-Man tells Bucky during their fight in Captain America: Civil War. What Spider-Man said could be seen as problematic for two reasons. The first is by Spider-Man pointing out Bucky’s prosthetic arm, it seems like Bucky’s disability is being acknowledged before Bucky as a person. The second is if Spider-Man knew how Bucky acquired his prosthetic arm, he probably wouldn’t sound as enthusiastic as he did. Personally, I don’t have a problem with what Spider-Man said because his compliment truly sounded genuine and he appeared excited to meet and interact with people that were different from those he interacted with on a daily basis.
  • “Great! Another broken white boy for us to fix.” – Though Shuri doesn’t explicitly say who she’s referring to in Black Panther, it is assumed that the first “broken white boy” is Bucky. Implying that Bucky, a person with a disability, is broken and needs to be fixed is very problematic because this would suggest that, by having a disability, something is wrong with him and he should feel ashamed or embarrassed about being disabled. Because Shuri volunteers to help Bucky overcome his trauma and joins Bucky’s Support System, I don’t believe Shuri meant to be hurtful toward him. However, I do think that any screenwriter of any Marvel movie should be a bit more mindful when referring to any character with any type of disability and how their audience might perceive what is being said about a character with a disability.

 

 

  • “Okay, how much for the arm? (Bucky walks away) Oh, I’ll get that arm” – During Avengers: Infinity War, Bucky and Rocket teamed up in an attempt to stop the threat against Wakanda. The aforementioned quote is what Rocket said toward the end of his interaction with Bucky. Even though I think this moment was meant to be hilarious and what Rocket said is more in line with his sense of humor, I can see why someone would think that what Rocket said was problematic. By Rocket implying that he wants to take Bucky’s arm away from him, it would make Rocket appear is if he wants Bucky’s independence to be taken away from him. As I mentioned earlier, Bucky’s prosthetic arm is an assistive tool, which helps him live as independent and productive of a life as possible. Suggesting that Bucky, an individual with a disability, shouldn’t be able to use his assistive tool is very demeaning.

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Jenny and Matthew teaching their friend, Jeb, how to say “friend” in sign language. Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.

The Future of Bucky and Matthew

Though Bucky and Matthew experience positivity throughout their stories, their journeys are far from over. They may never be able to fully escape their traumatic pasts, but the audience can see that Bucky and Matthew have the strength and resilience to continue to move forward to a better and brighter day. Even though they had horrible identities forced upon them by horrible people, Bucky and Matthew never became the person that their captors tried desperately to turn them into. When Mr. Edwards suggests that he and Matthew run away in order to prevent Matthew from getting sent to an asylum, Matthew refuses and tells him that following the law and respecting the judge are more important than keeping their temporary family together. Because Matthew truly cared about Mr. Edwards, he sought out the best interests of Mr. Edwards and stopped him from making one of the biggest mistakes of his life. Shortly after Bucky was rescued from Hydra’s capture, one of the first things Bucky does is save Steve from potentially drowning. Because of what Steve did for Bucky, he realizes that Steve still cares about his friend and wants the best for him. Bucky’s act of kindness shows the audience that he is expressing his gratitude toward his friend by helping him out in a dire situation. Both of these situations are an example of, when given the choice, Bucky and Matthew consciously choose to be good people despite the terrible hands they had been dealt in the past.

Because of where Bucky’s and Matthew’s story leaves off in their respective series, it makes it unclear of what exactly will happen to them. In the Little House on the Prairie episode “Hello and Goodbye”, Matthew reunites with his biological father, Philip Rogers. Since this episode was not only Matthew’s last appearance on the show, but also the final episode in the series, it is assumed that Matthew received a happy ending when he chose to live with his father. At the end of Avengers: Infinity War, Bucky disappeared as a result of Thanos’ plan being successful. Because ‘Avengers 4’ is listed on Sebastian Stan’s filmography on IMDB, it is assumed that Bucky will return in the next film. Some people even speculate that he could become the next Captain America if Steve Rogers were to step away from the title. No matter what happens to Bucky and Matthew, the most important thing to remember is that their disability is a part of their story. They do not let the past define them, but instead use it as a source of strength and perseverance. Bucky and Matthew are, more often than not, given opportunities to show others what they are capable of, especially when they set their minds to it. They never let their struggles or their hardships get in the way of achieving their goals and following their dreams. Within their respective series and even in the world of pop culture, Bucky Barnes and Matthew Rogers are just as significant and meaningful as the other characters surrounding them.

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Bucky’s ready to make his return in ‘Avengers 4″! Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.

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Matthew gives Mr. Edwards a hug as the credits are rolling. Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.
Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

My Top 5 Dream Double Features at the Cinema

Two months ago, Talk Film Society asked the following question on Twitter:

 

“If you could program your own double feature at a movie theater, what would it be”?

 

For weeks, I’ve been wanting to answer this question. However, I was waiting for the right opportunity to do so. This month, I reached the milestone of publishing 25 movie reviews (my review of The Dark Knight was the 25th)! To celebrate, I figured this would be the right time to finally answer Talk Film Society’s question. In the days and weeks leading up to this post, I put a good amount of thought into the potential double features I would choose to organize. I didn’t want any of the pairings to be painfully obvious (for example, having two movies be grouped together just because they have one obvious idea or concept in common). The double features that I would host would not only entertain the audience, but also engage and encourage them to think about what they’re watching. Five double feature pairings will be discussed in this post because I want to go into depth about why I would make a particular pairing. Now that explanations are finished, let the list finally begin!

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The Road to El Dorado Atlantis: The Lost Empire: Different, but quite similar. Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.

1. The Road to El Dorado & Atlantis: The Lost Empire

For years, these films have been two of my favorite animated movies of all time! Also, in that time frame, Kida (from Atlantis: The Lost Empire) and Chel (from The Road to El Dorado) have become two of my favorite animated characters of all time! As time has gone on, I’ve noticed that Kida and Chel share some similarities between each other. I always wondered why these characters seemed so alike, especially since they were created by two different animators from two different animation companies. When I was thinking about what these characters have in common, I started to realize that their respective movies share similarities as well. These two movies being more alike than different is what this double feature would explore, whether these similarities were intentional or pure coincidence.

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Matthew Rogers (a.k.a. The Wild Boy): The tragic literary character before there was Bucky Barnes. Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.

2. The Wild Boy: Episode 1 and 2 & Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Ok, so I know this double feature contains a tv show episode, but trust me, this pairing makes sense. I saw Captain America: The Winter Soldier for the first time two years ago. At the scene where it is explained how Bucky became the Winter Soldier, my exact thought was “this is “The Wild Boy” all over again”. What I meant by that statement was Bucky’s backstory shared several similarities with Matthew Rogers’ backstory. Matthew Rogers is not only my favorite character from Little House on the Prairie, but he’s also the titular character in both parts of the episode “The Wild Boy”. The similarities between Bucky’s and Matthew’s backstories and journeys would be discussed in this double feature. Another point of discussion would be how providing an explanation for some characters’ behavior and actions can be beneficial in cinematic story-telling.

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The Dog of Flanders: Not well remembered, but definitely not forgotten. Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.

3. The Dog of Flanders (1997) & Tales from Earthsea

Last year, I was introduced to Tales from Earthsea and it was one of the best movies I saw in 2017! When I saw the film, the animation style reminded me of the 1997 animated movie The Dog of Flanders. Since the late ‘90s, The Dog of Flanders has held a special place in the heart. What’s interesting is I have heard almost no one talk about the film. The Dog of Flanders seems to be so underrated, that it has never been placed on a list of underrated animated films. Tales from Earthsea also seems to be underrated, as few people have talked about this film. This double feature would take a look at the similarities between each film’s animation style, as well as celebrate both movies and help them receive the recognition they deserve.

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Anastasia (1997): Familiar story, but creative execution. Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.

4. Candleshoe & Anastasia (1997)

Anastasia, from 1997, is not only one of my favorite animated films, it is my favorite 20th Century Fox film! While thinking about Talk Film Society’s question, I tried to figure out what would be the perfect movie to pair with this masterpiece. After some thoughtful consideration, I ultimately decided I would pair Anastasia with the Disney movie, Candleshoe. Both of these films share a similar plot, where a female protagonist teams up with a con-artist to pose as a wealthy individual’s long-lost relative. However, this is not the reason why I would pair Anastasia with Candleshoe for a double feature. Yes, the basic premise for both films sound similar to each other, but Anastasia and Candleshoe feel so different from one another because of the creative choices that were made. It’s inevitable that stories are bound to get repeated over time. The way that story is told, however, can determine if there is a new perspective that can be brought to the table. This concept is what the Anastasia and Candleshoe double feature would discuss.

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Happy vampire image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/several-vampires-ready-for-halloween_1317599.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/party”>Party vector created by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

5. The Case of the Whitechapel Vampire & Queen of the Damned

Ok, so I’ve never seen these movies, but I’m considering doing a double feature movie review of each film around Halloween-time. While The Case of the Whitechapel Vampire and Queen of the Damned discuss the topic of vampires to a certain extent, I paired these movies together not just because of that singular reason. Both films were released in 2002 and they are non-canonical representations of their respective literary source material. This particular double feature would attempt to answer the following question: Despite being unfaithful to their source material, can The Case of the Whitechapel Vampire and Queen of the Damned contain any amount of enjoyment and merit as a film, not an adaptation?

 

What are your thoughts on my list? What would your dream cinematic double feature be? Please tell me in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

If you want to check out Talk Film Society’s website or find Talk Film Society on social media, here’s the link:  http://www.talkfilmsociety.com/