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Archive for April, 2021

Live from Mount Olympus * A Refreshing Take on Greek Mythology with Witty Narration

Friday, April 30th, 2021

Combining the talent of contemporary theater with the power of Greek myths, this podcast is an audio adventure for audiences of all ages. When young Perseus makes a rash promise to save his mother from the clutches of an evil king, he has to strike out on a dangerous quest. Hermes, god of luck and thieves (Hadestown’s André De Shields), is the host for this tale of terrifying monsters, powerful gods, and a brave girl who will change our hero’s life forever. This is a production of the Onassis Foundation.

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Eshaan M. comments, “Live from Mount Olympus is a fresh take on effervescent Greek mythology with witty narration and amazing production quality that is sure to hook any and all listeners and spark an interest in these ancient stories.” Alma K. adds, “The Live from Mount Olympus podcast is great. It’s really engaging and it follows one of my favorite topics — Greek mythology.” Kyla C. says, “Many traditional stories include mythical elements and Live From Mount Olympus uses plenty of these, including sea serpents, gorgons, gods, royalty and so much more. Along with these elements, realistic sound effects are used to pull you in so that you can’t stop hitting the next play button!” Avalon N. concludes with, “The message is to be careful what you promise to do and take things seriously when you are considering doing something.” See their full reviews and talent interview below.

Live from Mount Olympus
By Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

Live from Mount Olympus is a fresh take on effervescent Greek mythology with witty narration and amazing production quality that is sure to hook any and all listeners and spark an interest in these ancient stories.

This TRAX podcast, backed by the Onassis Foundation, centers around Perseus (Divine Garland), our young hero who you may know from the Medusa myth. Perseus makes a rash promise to save his mother from an evil king and embarks upon several crazy adventures along the way. The show is narrated by Perseus’ sibling, another son of Zeus, Hermes (André De Shields), god of luck and thieves. The podcast has everything mythology fans will love: terrifying monsters, rich plot lines, powerful gods, the quintessential Greek theatrical elements of family, love and discovering oneself and your capabilities.

Live from Mount Olympus is produced by the Onassis Foundation. Many of the individuals on the podcast’s team are Tony award-winners or Peabody-award winners, and their prowess shows. The brilliantly-designed audio blends rich, mellifluous background music with spry, enthralling and engaging narration. Perseus’ and Hermes’ witty repartee also invites even those who loathe mythology (who could?) to listen to the podcast. Even though it’s a podcast, I could visualize all the characters right in front of me, especially the Gorgons and other monsters. Overall, the voice acting and production quality combine to make this podcast an even more fun and enriching experience!

Live from Mount Olympus promotes messages of perseverance, courage and exploration – three key elements to any Greek hero. It’s a great podcast for young kids to listen to in their free time for entertainment purposes; they’ll surely pick up some positive qualities from the podcast.

I give Live from Mount Olympus 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 9 to 18. Adults will enjoy this podcast as well. You can listen to Live from Mount Olympus on TRAX at https://www.trax.fm/live-from-mount-olympus

Live from Mount Olympus
By Alma K., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

The Live from Mount Olympus podcast is great. It’s really engaging and it follows one of my favorite topics — Greek mythology. The introduction introduces Perseus and it’s amazing how they bring this story to life! — even in the introduction.

The storyline follows Perseus, son of Zeus and princess Danae. Baby Perseus, due to a prophecy of him killing his grandfather, is locked in a wooden crate along with his mother and pushed out to sea. The crate lands on Seriphus, where Perseus grows up, oblivious to his destiny. When King Polydectes tries to force Danae to marry him, Perseus makes a crazy vow to save his mother from the evil king and it leads him on all sorts of quests. Medusa? Sea monsters? The titan Atlas? Bring it on!

I’ve read a lot of mythology and know that when a God has a child with a mortal, that child is considered a demigod. Demi means half, which means that person is half-god. The most famous demigods in Greek Mythology are Heracles and Perseus. This is a great introduction to the myth of Perseus. When I read about Perseus, his story is barely mentioned, because there was so much else to talk about. This podcast is a really nice presentation of Perseus’ story. It’s super engaging.

I love how writers Alexie Basil and Nathan Yungerberg wrote it so it is very lifelike and you feel as if you are actually there watching it all. I also like the accent of Andromeda; when I heard that, I sort of perked up. It makes you pay attention. Tony Award-winner Andre De Shields voices Hermes, messenger of the gods and narrator of the show. He just makes you want to keep listening! The only issue I have is that sometimes the tone of the voiceovers doesn’t match the words they are saying. The entire podcast is super engaging. I don’t think I could imagine a better adaptation of the myth of Perseus.

The podcast teaches multiple lessons – think before you speak; listen to your parents; don’t make rash promises are a few.

I really like Live from Mount Olympus and rate it 4.5 out of 5 stars. It’s engaging; it’s amazing. I recommend it for ages 4 to 18, plus adults. If a person enjoys Greek mythology, this podcast is a must. Even my five-year-old brother was hooked! You can listen to Live from Mount Olympus on TRAX at https://www.trax.fm/live-from-mount-olympus

Live From Mount Olympus
By Kyla C, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 11

Live From Mount Olympus is an interesting podcast retelling the Greek myth of Perseus with a few flaws, but plenty of mythical elements, characterized voice acting, and nice sound effects. This is a great podcast for kids and young teens who love myths!

This podcast follows Perseus (Divine Garland) as he braves the quest of collecting the gorgon Medusa’s head. In addition to this mission, the episodes reveal some interesting relationships as Perseus journeys home. If you always wanted to know what happened from the time Perseus gets Medusa’s head to when he returns to his island, this podcast is for you.

Many traditional stories include mythical elements and Live From Mount Olympus uses plenty of these, including sea serpents, gorgons, gods, royalty and so much more. Along with these elements, realistic sound effects are used to pull you in so that you can’t stop hitting the next play button! Sound effects are vital because there is nothing on the screen to guide you. Natural sounds like birds, rushing water and wind are often in the background, making it more realistic. Sometimes podcasts only have background noises when it is important to the plot, but that is Live from Mount Olympus makes full use of them throughout each episode.

Voice acting is the key aspect when creating podcasts and the actors have to use the tone of their voices to help the audience understand what’s going on. Most of these episodes have plenty of characterized acting, but in some action scenes it is hard to understand exactly what is happening. Sometimes the suspense level is low because I was not sure what was going on. For example, in Medusa’s cave, it is supposed to be a very breathtaking moment. I found that, because I was unsure where everyone is or what they’re doing, it lost some excitement. The characters are noticeably different in this podcast than in the original stories. This could be disappointing if you’re hoping for more character connections to those stories. Perseus does not have as much pride as his character originally had, and has other personality differences.

The message of this podcast is “do not let your pride get in the way. Showing how bravery is rewarded is another component. “

I give Live From Mount Olympus 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 13. Listen to Live From Mount Olympus on Trax at https://www.trax.fm/live-from-mount-olympus

Live From Mount Olympus
Avalon N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

The podcast Live From Mount Olympus tells an intriguing tale filled with action and adventure, that is sure to leave you itching to hear the next episode.

The podcast is based on Greek mythology, narrated by Andre De Shields as the voice of Hermes, the ancient God of thieves, luck and much more. Divine Garland plays the role of a boy named Perseus, who is the son of Zeus, God of the sky and leader of the Olympians and Jullian Walker plays Danea. Perseus makes a rash promise to an evil king to save his mom and ends up embarking on a dangerous journey. 

This podcast is about characters from Greek mythology that go on a new quest which is not from the original Greek myths. The voice actors all make this feel like a story that is taking place. We hear a range of emotions in their voices from fear to annoyance, and more. They make this new story something that makes history believable. The sound effects are excellent and really enhance the story. This is a podcast where sometimes things get really fast and intense, but you can easily figure out what is happening – especially if you are into Greek mythology. It is an amazing podcast which I hope will have a sequel.

The message is to be careful what you promise to do and take things seriously when you are considering doing something. In this story, Perseus makes a rash promise without knowing what he has to do to save his mom. He ends up getting a task that some people think is impossible. If he had thought more about what he said, he might not have been stuck with the situation that he was.

I give Live From Mount Olympus 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 9 to18, plus adults. I also recommend you review the original story of Perseus before you listen to this. This is an adventure you will not want to miss. You can listen to Live From Mount Olympus on TRAX at https://www.trax.fm/live-from-mount-olympus.

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The Mitchells vs. The Machines * A Must-See, Animated, Action-Packed Comedic Film

Thursday, April 29th, 2021

A quirky, dysfunctional family’s road trip is upended when they find themselves in the middle of the robot apocalypse and suddenly become humanity’s unlikeliest last hope. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Tiana S. comments, “The Mitchells vs. The Machines is a must-see animated, action packed, comedic film! It’s complete with robots, evil smartphones and one crazy unexpected family adventure to save planet Earth. The fight scenes and special effects are literally out of this world.” See her full review below.

The Mitchells vs. The Machines
By Tiana S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

The Mitchells vs. The Machines is a must-see animated, action packed, comedic film! It’s complete with robots, evil smartphones and one crazy unexpected family adventure to save planet Earth. The fight scenes and special effects are literally out of this world.

The storyline follows protagonist Katie Mitchell (Abbi Jacobson), a creative outsider who is looking forward to meeting “her people” at her new film school. Her dad, who just wants to keep his family together, decides to go on a cross-country road trip to take her there instead of Katie flying, so they can bond one last time. On the way, the family ends up in the middle of a robot uprising and now it’s up to the Mitchells to work together to save the world.

THE MITCHELLS VS. THE MACHINES – (L-R) Danny McBride as “Rick Mitchell” and Abbi Jacobson as “Katie Mitchell”. Cr: ©2021 SPAI. All Rights Reserved.

The main characters in this film are Katie, her dad Rick (Danny McBride), little brother Aaron (Michael Rianda), mom Linda (Maya Rudolph) and family dog Monchi (Doug the Pug). This film is all about connecting. Its director, Michael Rianda, uses every part of the creative process to make sure the audience relates to the characters. The storyline and the Mitchell’s road trip are based on a real road trip some of the staff took while not using cell phones and just connecting.

I love how the film combines both an illustrative, hand-painted approach and realism animation style to help develop the characters. Rianda helped develop Katie’s character by making her love for filmmaking a focal point throughout the movie. There are hilarious freeze-frame moments where Katie is writing on a screen, it’s almost as if she is the narrator. One of my favorite scenes is when Linda turns into a “super” mom and takes on the robots to try to protect her kids. I also like that Rick and Katie’s family song “Live Your Life” by T.I. and featuring Rihanna is used to represent their relationship and wrap up the theme of the movie.

THE MITCHELLS VS. THE MACHINES – Mike Rianda as “Aaron Mitchell”. Cr: ©2021 SPAI. All Rights Reserved.

The message of this film is that everyone in a family has their own personality and you should just let people be themselves and focus more on understanding and connecting to them. In this film, Katie is considered a “weirdo” because she isn’t like everyone else. The film shows how you should embrace your “weird” qualities, because that’s what makes you unique. 

I rate The Mitchells vs. The Machines 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults.  It releases April 30, 2021 on Netflix.

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Ooh! You’re in Trouble * Funny, Educational, Entertaining and Insightful

Tuesday, April 27th, 2021

Ooh! You’re in Trouble is a podcast for tweens about the moments of defiance that define us. Each episode features true stories of young people confessing a moment they broke the rules growing up. From the makers of MORTIFIED, the series explores why kids defy rules — what does it reveal about us and what can we learn.

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Kendall B. comments, “Ooh! You’re In Trouble is a great podcast that, not only has a catchy name, but a great host, fun theme, and epic sound effects! Each episode has a new kid, with a different story! I love it because I can listen to other kid’s stories and learn about their experiences with breaking the rules. Eshaan M. adds, “It’s a show that’s funny, educational, entertaining and insightful – perfectly reflective of growing up. The participants in each episode are between the ages of 10 and 25. They engagingly tell their stories, with an intricate plot buildup and super dramatic climax; they surely capture listeners’ attention. Merk Nguyen hosts the podcast (in a minor role) as LV, the “little voice inside your head.” Rosemary K. wraps it up with, “The stories in the podcast Ooh You’re in Trouble are beautifully illustrated and told in a way in which you learn something and it’s also exciting to listen to. I really enjoyed it. At first I thought that this podcast wouldn’t be fun, as it progresses I found myself drawn in. I was learning a lot, and it is hilarious.”

Ooh! You’re in Trouble
By Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

A fun, light podcast perfect for a morning commute, Ooh! You’re in Trouble will entertain listeners of all ages with its fun sound effects and strong storytelling style.

Ooh! You’re in Trouble is a podcast where adults look back at their moments of teen defiance that shaped them. Each episode centers around one misadventure, a true story of a moment a young adult that broke the rules growing up and what they learned from their experience. It’s an interesting answer to the question: why do we act out?

It’s a show that’s funny, educational, entertaining and insightful – perfectly reflective of growing up. The participants in each episode are between the ages of 10 and 25. They engagingly tell their stories, with an intricate plot buildup and super dramatic climax; they surely capture listeners’ attention. Merk Nguyen hosts the podcast (in a minor role) as LV, the “little voice inside your head.” Nguyen’s peppy hosting helps accent each episode, though she doesn’t play as big of a role as a conventional podcast host. Each episode is blended with tons of light, youthful-sounding music and effects (every episode has background music created by a different artist). The crisp editing by Hadley Dion and Aaron Garber makes the 20- to 27-minute episodes fly by! I also love the podcast thumbnails’ art style, and the titles are super fun, too.

The message of Ooh! You’re in Trouble is one of exploration and learning from your past doings; all of the older participants got into sticky situations as tweens or teens and grew from those mistakes. It’s a positive message that’s not pushed too hard, but that makes it perfect for leisure listening without sounding too preachy.

I give Ooh! You’re in Trouble 5 stars out of 5 and recommend it for ages 13 to 18. You can listen to We Got You on TRAX at https://www.trax.fm/ooh-youre-in-trouble

Ooh! You’re In Trouble
By Kendall B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 10

Ooh! You’re In Trouble is a great podcast that, not only has a catchy name, but a great host, fun theme, and epic sound effects! Each episode has a new kid, with a different story! I love it because I can listen to other kid’s stories and learn about their experiences with breaking the rules.

This podcast certainly connects with its listeners, because it talks about things that all kids can relate to, breaking the rules. Each episode features a different kid who did something wrong, whether it’s something as small as making fun of somebody, a situation like stealing some candy, or something very serious, like driving without a license. It also talks about the motivations behind these kids’ actions. The host of the show, LV, is super funny and always takes time to ask the kids listening if the rebel should’ve done what they did, which gives the show a great lesson.

Ooh! You’re In Trouble caught my attention with such a different theme; I’ve seriously never heard of a show like this. It’s different from other podcasts, because they talk about a serious subject, but make it fun with sound effects, funny jokes, and real kids with stories, which makes it interesting and enjoyable. Any parent should have their kid listen to this podcast, because of the valuable lessons that can be learned in every single episode. My favorite part of Ooh, You’re In Trouble is when the host asks the audience if what the kid did was right, because they ask the listeners to think about their opinion about the rule-breaker’s choice and what they would’ve done in the same situation. That gets the listeners involved.

The message of this podcast is that rules are always there for a reason, and you shouldn’t break them. You should know that there is a small bit of crude humor in this podcast, but most parents will not mind their kids hearing it. Most kids would not imitate the behaviors some of these kids talk about, but if your kid is a rebel, you might want to watch out.

I give Ooh! You’re In Trouble an excellent 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 9 to 14, plus parents. You can listen to it on TRAX at https://www.trax.fm/ooh-youre-in-trouble.

Ooh! You’re In Trouble!
By Rosemary K., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 12

The stories in the podcast Ooh! You’re in Trouble are beautifully illustrated and told in a way in which you learn something and it’s also exciting to listen to. I really enjoyed it. At first I thought that this podcast wouldn’t be fun, as it progresses I found myself drawn in. I was learning a lot, and it is hilarious.

This podcast is told by adults and teens talking about experiences that they have had breaking or bending the rules when they were younger. The audience is asked questions too and gets to ponder what they would do in a particular situation. The people talk about their experiences, while voicing regret and also lessons that they learned from it.

This podcast is cheesy and dramatic at times, but that contributes to its overall humor and makes it more entertaining and engaging. The recurring actors on the show are always able to bring out a new voice for their character. The sound effects, variation of points of views and the difference in stories all contribute to an amazing show. I love how some of the episodes are very relatable for me, and that I find them all enjoyable regardless. They are a reasonable length and have playful, mischievous music which really sets the fun mood of the podcast.

My favorite episode is one following a girl that drives a car before she has her license and all the obstacles she and her friends have to overcome to meet their goal. I find it highly impressive how well thought through some of the peoples’ plans are in this podcast and how determined they are at times to get to their goal. The show is about troublemaking, but sometimes it’s not pointed out that people’s actions are wrong. This is beneficial, because it leaves it up to you to decide if you would do the things that they did in a particular situation, hypothetically. But, it also could be problematic in that it might give kids ideas for getting into trouble. So, when listening to it, keep that in mind. Just because it’s not voiced clearly that the actions are wrong, that doesn’t mean you should do them.

The message of this podcast is that troublemaking isn’t always necessarily “bad,” but it can sometimes get to the point where it ends badly or unsafely and you will probably regret your actions afterwards, but learn something too.

I give Ooh! You’re in Trouble 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to18, plus adults. Ooh, You’re In Trouble is available on TRAX at https://www.trax.fm/ooh-youre-in-trouble

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That’s Totally Normal! * Frank Discussions About Puberty And All That Comes With It

Tuesday, April 27th, 2021

Yes, this is the podcast about the science of puberty. As soon as we’re born our bodies are constantly growing, changing, breaking and at times, confusing us. And the biggest changes, growths and confusions seem to come when we’re young, vulnerable and easily embarrassed. Yes, we’re talking about puberty. And yes, it sometimes can be hard to talk about. But, it doesn’t need to be. Put on some headphones and lean in as we break down the biology, chemistry and health topics of growing, changing and going up. The host is Dr. Tessa Commers a board-certified pediatrician (MD, FAAP) based in Seattle, WA.

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Ashleigh C. comments, “Puberty, sex and ejaculation? These words used to make me cringe, but that is because I didn’t know what they actually meant. Now I know That’s Totally Normal!” Makena P. adds, “I learned things that I didn’t know but, I thought I knew. The film talks about a variety of topics and it’s nice to choose what you want to listen to hear other people’s point of view. I could relate to the things that these women are talking about.” Mikella G. wraps it up with, “This podcast helps inform kids about puberty and the changes that their bodies are going through. Lastly, it does not contain inappropriate content, but does discuss topics that some viewers may be uncomfortable with.” See their full reviews and interview with the host, Tessa Commers, below.

That’s Totally Normal!
By Ashleigh C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, 17

Puberty, sex and ejaculation? These words used to make me cringe, but that is because I didn’t know what they actually meant. Now I know That’s Totally Normal!

The podcast That’s Totally Normal! explores all of those uncomfortable and embarrassing topics we would rather not talk about or educate ourselves about. However, it is done in such a way where, not only is the audience comfortable, but more informed. On average, each episode is eleven minutes in length or substantially less.

Host and writer Dr. Tessa Commers, known to us as Dr. T, has a youthful and reassuring voice. As a board-certified pediatrician and the writer of this podcast, the information she provides can be trusted and taken to heart. Editor and Sound Designer John Ross make the entire podcast come together by adding whimsical and funny sound effects that make the information easier to take. My favorite episode is “Acne,” where Dr. T discusses the world of zits, pimples and even bacne.

The positive and uplifting message of the podcast That’s Totally Normal! suggests that “we are all in this together.” While our bodies may be different, together we experience many of the same things.

That’s Totally Normal! gets 5 out of 5 stars and I recommend it for ages 10 to 18, as well as adults. You can find the podcast That’s Totally Normal! on TRAX at https://www.trax.fm/thats-totally-normal

That’s Totally Normal
By Makena P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

I like the podcast That’s Totally Normal. It is informational and enjoyable. I learned things that I didn’t know but, I thought I knew. The film talks about a variety of topics and it’s nice to choose what you want to listen to hear other people’s point of view. I could relate to the things that these women are talking about.

Hosted by a female doctor, each episode in this podcast addresses different topics. I listened to “Where’s My Period, And When Will It Be Regular,” “The Erection Episodes” and “Hair Down Where?” They discuss different things like odor, acne, periods, body image and etc. We learn what causes these things, how normal they are and how they happen to everyone. Also, there are youth guests on the show so you can listen to a kids’ point of view.

I learned more about guys’ and girls’ bodies how they work. There are many cool facts on this podcast that interest me and make me want to learn much more about my own body. My favorite episode is “The Erection Episode.” It made me feel like I wasn’t alone in my curiosity about boys. I’m sure other girls my age have questions about these same things. It helped learning more about boys’ bodies and how they deal with them.

The message of this podcast is that our bodies are normal and, in my case, every girl is going to experience what I am – periods, body image, boys, drama and more. In the case of boys, every guy is going through the same sorts of things – enlargement, insecurities, odor and such. Everything going on in your body is normal and you don’t need to be ashamed because the person standing next to you or your friend is going through the exact same things that you are. Our bodies are normal. This podcast talks about things that people might be uncomfortable talking about and that some kids might not be ready for but are curious about. It is very informational and could help lots of people that are thinking about their bodies constantly, wondering what is going on.

I give That’s Totally Normal 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18. You can find this podcast online at TRAX at https://www.trax.fm/thats-totally-normal

That’s Totally Normal!
By Mikella G., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

The podcast That’s Totally Normal is interesting. I liked it because it has many elements to it, and discusses multiple things that kids have questions about. It’s especially important for those who don’t have anyone to ask them too. Furthermore, it is extremely well organized and thought-out.

This podcast is hosted by a doctor, Dr. Tessa Commers, known on the show as Dr. T. She talks about Puberty and various aspects of it. Each episode features a different topic and she answers questions from young people. Everyone is anonymous, which is important for those that are uncomfortable with the concept. The host goes into debt with each answer and explains each thing to the best she can.

Dr.Tessa Commers

Something that I enjoyed from this podcast is its organization. Each episode talks about different things and is no more than 20 minutes long. This is important because many people have short attention spans. If the host takes forever to get to the point, they may lose their audience. However, this was definitely not the case in this show. Something else that I enjoyed about the podcast is the Q and A format. In each episode the host talks about the topic by answering questions that kids have send to her. This is a smart way to connect with the audience, and adds to its success. Lastly, the audio clarity is great.

This podcast helps inform kids about puberty and the changes that their bodies are going through. Lastly, it does not contain inappropriate content, but does discuss topics that some viewers may be uncomfortable with.

I give That’s Totally Normal! 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 11 to 14. You can listen to That’s Totally Normal! on TRAX at https://www.trax.fm/thats-totally-normal.

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Walking with Herb * Powerful Message of Faith Embedded in a Sports Movie

Thursday, April 22nd, 2021

Sixty-five-year-old Joe Amable-Amo thinks nothing much in his background distinguishes him from other guys his age. He is struggling with his faith after tragedy hits. As the former amateur golfer’s life continues to unfold, Joe is besieged with his marriage, working as a bank executive, and gearing up for retirement. But as he is about to discover, life has a way of throwing a curve ball that changes everything. Joe is working at his desk when he receives a message from God on his computer screen that tells him he has been chosen to deliver an inspirational message to the world that the seemingly impossible is possible. God tells Joe he is going to play in World Entire golf championship, and if his faith is strong enough, he will win. As Joe embarks on a spiritual journey along with God’s personal messenger and motorcyclist, Herb, Joe learns to make a difference, he must learn to face his fears, have confidence in his abilities, and commit to God before he can succeed. Walking With Herb shows how sports movies can convey powerful messages.

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Samantha B. comments, “One of my favorite parts of this film is when Herb (George Lopez) tries to restore Joe’s (Edward James Olmos) faith through golf. I also really enjoyed the acting, and how all of the actors convey the message of faith in a realistic and natural way without being preachy.” Allison B. adds, “Full of faith, belief and second chances comes the new indie film Walking With Herb. This movie will make you laugh, cry, and will take your breath away with each heartfelt second. If you’ve ever wondered about what’s going on in the world above the clouds, Walking With Herb is the movie for you.” See their full reviews and delightful interview with Edward James Olmos below.  

Walking With Herb
By Allison Buck, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 14

Full of faith, belief and second chances comes the new indie film Walking With Herb. This movie will make you laugh, cry, and will take your breath away with each heartfelt second. If you’ve ever wondered about what’s going on in the world above the clouds, Walking With Herb is the movie for you. 

Walking With Herb is about Joe Amable-Amo (Edward James Olmos), who is a bank executive and former golfer. He struggles with his faith after a terrible event takes place. Faced with doubts about himself and his belief in God, Joe is stunned when God tells him that he’s been chosen to play in a world championship golf tournament. As he is guided by Herb, God’s special personal messenger, Joe learns that all you need to do is have faith. 

While I was watching Walking With Herb, I noticed a lot of creativity in the storyline. I don’t know how anyone connected God to winning a golf tournament, but somehow the director, Ross Kagan Marks, found a way to make the whole story seem logical. Even though the story works, I didn’t enjoy that the film seems a bit rushed. I understand that you only have so much time when making a movie, but I would’ve enjoyed seeing a bit more development of the emotional arc of the characters other than Joe. It also almost felt like the story was on a straight line once Joe received the message from God. There are no plot twists or turns until the end. Lastly, I love the relationship between Joe and his wife, Sheila (Kathleen Quinlan.) The relationship between the two actors feels very genuine and real. Their conversations flow, and they have the sass of an older married couple.

The message of Walking With Herb is to continue to always have faith, no matter what. This message is shown throughout the movie as Joe turns back to God, even after all that happens to him and his family. His faith is also what leads Joe to do so well in the Golf tournament. If he did not believe in God and himself, he wouldn’t have been able to go from not golfing for years to one of the world’s best golfers.  

I give Walking With Herb 4 out of 5 stars, and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, plus adults. It is available in theaters April 30, May 1 and May 3 through Fathom Events.

Walking With Herb
By Samantha B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

Walking With Herb shows how sports movies can convey powerful messages. One of my favorite parts of this film is when Herb (George Lopez) tries to restore Joe’s (Edward James Olmos) faith through golf. I also really enjoyed the acting, and how all of the actors convey the message of faith in a realistic and natural way without being preachy.

The storyline follows Joe, a 65-year-old amateur golf champion, and bank executive, who experiences deep personal loss causing a crisis in his faith in God. His wife (Kathleen Quinlan) is also frustrated that he hasn’t been attentive to fixing things around the house and especially in their garden. His daughter’s business is also failing. I appreciate that this storyline is rich and complex.

Walking With Herb really excels in its portrayal of characters who are quite complicated. One of my favorites is Edward James Olmos’s (Stand and Deliver, Battlestar Galactica) portrayal of Joe. Joe’s character experiences significant personal growth over the course of the film. The dialog in this film feels natural and realistic, especially during the emotional scenes. It doesn’t feel overly melodramatic at all. Through Joe’s friendship with Herb, he is able to overcome his grief and make peace with his religion. My favorite scene is when he wakes his wife to show her a beautiful surprise outside. The cinematography in Walking With Herb is beautiful in how it uses different angles and lighting as well as close-ups depending on the actor on screen.

The message of Walking With Herb is about maintaining your faith in God despite challenges and hardships you may experience in your life. You should know that it does have heavy religious themes.

I give Walking with Herb 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, plus adults.  It is available in theaters April 30, May 1 and May 3 through Fathom Events.

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