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Saturday, September 27, 2014

The Borrowers

All good things eventually come to an end, and in the case of this blog, this is going to be a very true statement.

But don't think that this is the end of "
A POP CULTURE ADDICT'S GUIDE TO LIFE".  This blog will still be going strong.

What I mean is that this is the final part of a ten-part series.

Yes, we've reached the end of the Family Favourites Fun Pack of movies that I bought this past summer.  And for the last nine weeks, I've reviewed one movie from this collection.  As you have probably read, some movies I loved, some movies I was indifferent to...and well, some movies I couldn't stand sitting through a second time.

The good part?  There were only two movies that I didn't like.  So, 8/10 isn't a bad track record.

So, this is it.  The final movie of the collection.  And for this edition of Saturday Night at the Movies, I decided to save one of my favourites for last.

Okay, so I have an introduction to get things started off in today's edition of the blog.  I imagine that many of you have lost things in your home that you probably thought that you would never see again, only for them to turn up weeks, months, or years later.

I can tell you that I've had this experience many times before.  One time, I lost my charging adaptor for my Nintendo 3DS.  It took me three weeks to find it.  I couldn't find my dress shoes, and ended up locating them some six weeks later.  And I think I've lost count of how many socks I've lost over the years. 

And you know, all the time that I have looked for lost items, I often wonder...where do they go?

Of course, the most logical answer is that they just happen to get shoved aside in a corner, or they get hidden in plain sight, or I simply just forget all about the item until the time that I need it, and when that time comes I can never remember where the item is.

But I'll be the first to admit that I was quite the imaginative little kid once upon a time, and I totally believed that the hidden items that went missing in my room were not simply missing.  I believed that someone was hiding them.

Seriously, I believed that when the Tooth Fairy came, somehow she hid items of mine as a game.  Maybe as payback for having to pry a blood-tipped dead baby tooth covered in spit and slobber under my pillow every time I lost a tooth, I don't know.  Or, maybe there were secret fairies that flew into my room and rearranged everything.  Or maybe the underpants gnomes from "South Park" came and stole everything out of my room when I wasn't looking.

(Okay, that last part was made up.)

Anyway, where I'm going with this entry is the basic summary of the plot.  What happens when you live in a house with a bunch of little people no bigger than a pencil crayon who come out and steal things from inside your living space without you even knowing that they are there?  Why you might have a film entitled "The Borrowers", which was released in both the United Kingdom and the United States on December 5, 1997.

Directed by Peter Hewitt, this film didn't exactly make that big of an impression at the box office.  Unfortunately, the film's profits didn't exactly break even with the movie's budget.  Yet, despite this, the film was critically acclaimed and holds a 73% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

And certainly it is a movie that has a lot of whimsy and imagination.

The film begins in the home of the Lender family where young Pete Lender (Bradley Pierce) is setting a series of traps all over the house.  But he isn't trying to catch a mouse, rat, spider, or any other pest.  Rather he's interested in trying to catch something much rarer.

Despite Pete's parents insisting that his imagination has run wild, Pete believes that someone is responsible for several items in the home going missing, and Pete is determined to catch the ones responsible in the act. 

As it so happens, Pete's beliefs are one hundred per cent correct.  Somewhere inside the family home lies another family.  A smaller family.  A family the size of a crayon.  They call themselves the Clocks, a family of "borrowers".  They are father Pod Clock (Jim Broadbent), mother Homily Clock (Celia Imrie), daughter Arietty (Flora Newbigin), and son Peagreen (Tom Felton).  And on a quest through the Lender family kitchen, the Clocks make an attempt to "borrow" a battery from a radio.

Unfortunately, Arietty's sweet tooth gets the better of her, and she accidentally gets trapped in the refrigerator while satisfying a craving for ice cream, and this sets the stage for the Clocks being discovered as when Pod tries to rescue Arietty, he leaves behind one of his gadgets behind, which is discovered by Mr. Lender.

If only this were the only problem the Lenders had.  At the time that this is going on, there is a problem with the will that Mrs. Lender's aunt left behind.  According to the will, the aunt left the house in the family, but the proof of that cannot be found as the will has gone missing.  And if the family doesn't find the missing will by the weekend, they will be forced out of the home by Ocious P. Potter (John Goodman), the family lawyer who has already made plans to demolish the family home to erect a series of condominiums.  So, as far as the devious Potter is concerned, the missing will is a blessing in disguise.

Now, here's where the two stories meet.  Pete somehow manages to trap Arietty, who introduces Pete to the rest of the "borrowers", and Pete promises to keep their existence a secret.  And when Pete informs the Clock family that the home will be torn down and they have to move, the Clock family reluctantly agree to it.  Unfortunately on the way to the new house, Peagreen and Arietty fall out of the moving truck, and not knowing where the new house is, they make their way back to the old house.

It is there that they discover that the will has been hidden in the house the entire time...and they also discover that Potter has discovered where the will is, planning to destroy it so that he can go through with his plan to build the condos and become rich.

So basically the film becomes a race against time.  Can the "Borrowers" stop the nasty lawyer from getting away with tearing down the only home they've ever known?  How do the Lenders assist the Borrowers in their quest.  And just how many mind games can the Borrowers and the Lenders play with Ocious P. Potter?

I'll tell you one's certainly a very interesting turn of events that will make the ending all that much more satisfying.

And, that wraps up this ten-part series of family favourites!  Stay tuned for the month of October, because I will have four very spooooooky entries on tap for the Saturday Night at the Movies feature.

But of course, before I truly close the chapter on another blog entry, we may as well have some trivia about this film.

1 - As many of you probably know, Tom Felton played Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter series of films.  But did you know that Bradley Pierce also has ties to another children's movie?  He voiced Flounder in the 1989 film "The Little Mermaid"!

2 - Come to think of it, Jim Broadbent and Mark Williams (Exterminator Jeff) also appeared in the Harry Potter series as well.

3 - Seems a bit ironic that the bad guy in the film happens to be named Potter, huh?

4 - Hugh Laurie appears in the film as a police officer.

5 - I don't know if this is fact or not, but given that this film debuted in December 1997 - six months after the series "Roseanne" wrapped up - I'd hazard a guess that John was filming this movie right around this time, given the number of episodes he missed of the final season.

And, well...that's a wrap!

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