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Spirited Away by Holiday Movies

It’s that most wonderful time of the year for movie lovers in general, with all the end-of-year awards season releases, and in particular for those feel-good holiday movies, both old and new, that we can’t seem to get enough of. 


I was at a local music venue bar recently. A rhythm and blues band was on stage, a giant American flag on the wall behind them. The lead singer was doing a pretty decent Elvis voice on some of the king’s standards, and the stage lighting turned the casually dressed bandmates into a rainbow of neon. 


At some point, I looked up and It’s a Wonderful Life in all its 1937 black and white glory was playing on the TV monitor nearby. It was the scene where Mr. Gower, the pharmacist the young George Bailey worked for, had just found out his son had died of influenza. In his distress, he mistakenly puts poison in a prescription he’s filling and George tries to stop him. 


The neon crooner onstage is singing Elvis’s “Blue Christmas”, but I am riveted to that screen reliving that scene that I’ve watched countless times throughout my seven decades of Christmases past. I’ll admit it, I’m a sucker for a good redemption story, and It’s A Wonderful Life is one of the best.

Spirited is a great Christmas Movie with a media literacy theme about the harms of conflict entrepreneurs

I didn’t know what to expect when I decided to watch a film called Spirited  last week, but with Will Ferrell, Ryan Reynolds, and Octavia Spencer, it sounded like a promising combination. I was ready for a new Christmas movie. The film had a very limited theatrical release last November before moving to Apple TV, which is where I found it, having signed up for the free trial last year so I could binge Ted Lasso, and then staying on for Lessons in Chemistry, and The Morning Show, and The Problem with Jon Stewart, and…well, that’s why they offer free trials, right?


I don’t want to spoil your own first viewing of Sprited by giving away too much. I’ll just say that it is a very clever, mega-meta, 21st-century retelling of A Christmas Carol and a musical (yes, Will and Ryan both sing and dance) with a great cast and impressive special effects. 


It’s also a treasure trove for media literacy and Courageous RI aficionados, as the new Scrooge is (of course) a conflict entrepreneur par excellence, a purveyor of misinformation for private gain. And again, it’s a musical. So if you don’t have Apple TV, sign up for a free trial, but don’t say I didn’t warn you about the potential consequences.


And when you watch it, please, please, please, stay to watch the credit roll and experience the full version of the song “Ripple”, or just listen here for inspiration. If it inspires you to want to make a Ripple, click on that gold button or drop me a line at pamsteager@mediaeducationlab.com. Courageous Conversations are rippling throughout the world and we’d love to have you drop a pebble in a pond near you.






HAPPY HOLIDAYS from the COURAGEOUS RI TEAM


Spirited A Christmas Movie with a Media Literacy Theme

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