Up to date information about children's entertainment – film, TV, DVD and more…. from founder and president of KIDS FIRST! Ranny Levy

Archive for May, 2007

Lucas Asks YouTube Founders to Donate to Film Schools

Wednesday, May 30th, 2007

I was glad to see this morning that George Lucas has turned lemons into lemonade. According to an article on Paidcontent.com, after George Lucas chastized YouTube founders Chad and Steve about all the illegal movie content on YouTube, he asked them to donate money to film schools. Lucas donated $175 million to the USC Film School last year and has been active in educational initiatives since the mid-1980s, when he created Lucasfilm Learning and the George Lucas Educational Foundation. Good going, George!

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Unseemly Mary Jane as sexy laundress statuette

Thursday, May 17th, 2007

As I perused the morning’s various newsletters I read about children’s media and related events, I happened upon an article in the Toronto Star this morning about the highly crititicized collectible statuette of an over-sexed Mary Jane doing Spider-Man’s laundry. Ye gads, what are they thinking? A photo of the statuette accompanied the article and true to their description, there she is with oversized breasts popping out of her way too tight t-shirt, skin-tight torn jeans revealing a pink thong, bum in the air, wring out Spidey’s tights. Elizabeth McDonald of girl-wonder.org, is quoted as saying, “I find the blend of domestic subservience and sexual availability distasteful, since it is not a particularly good representation of the character.” I followed the thread to the blogs on develdoll.livejournal.com and was glad to see that most of the writers were as offended by this statuetts as I was. Comments included: “Looking on the Sideshow’s (the statuette developer) site, I’m not at all surprised that no women were on the design team. This is just detestable.” “I’m a man, and this pisses me off. Good God. No wonder some people think men are pigs.” “Thongs, clevage and a string of pearls. Oh yeah, that’s all Mary Jane is about, yes sir. I’m surprised I have any teeth left with the way this makes me want to grind them.”
I have only one thing to say to Marvel, “bad choice.”
(Reply to this) (Thread)

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Spiderman 3 – maybe it’s one too many

Tuesday, May 15th, 2007

Ok, so I joined the hoards of people going to watch Spiderman 3 last weekend. My take – where are the American Idol judges when we need them? Randy would say, “a bit pitchy in the middle.” Paula would say that all the characters look attractive and Simon would say, “I’ve seen better performances at the karaoke bar.” This show definitely drags in the middle, in spite of a panoply of evil characters coming out of the woodwork. Of course, at 2 and a half hours (almost), it’s hard not to. The special effects are exceptional but the story… where’s the story. The idea of the dark side has been explored many times in film and literature. Here, it drags on way too much and begs the question, why? Harry’s transition into Spidey’s new best friend after almost killing him earlier in the film is a bit much to believe. This movie would not qualify as a KIDS FIRST! movie because it’s filled with gratuitious violence. Even though the violence is cartoon-like, it’s still violence. I’d love to see a movie about super heroes who use their power to do something truly out of the ordinary, like grow enough food for the world’s population so there were no starving children anywhere. Now that’s a novel idea!

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New Blog – Sharing My Thoughts With You

Friday, May 11th, 2007

I’ve passed the baton on to Chris, our newsletter editor to author our introductory welcome letter in our bi-weekly KIDS FIRST! News and started this blog to share my personal thoughts with you. Please see this as an invitation to send me your questions about anything related to KIDS FIRST!, the Coalition for Quality Children’s Media and our traveling KIDS FIRST! Film Festival. Producers, feel free to ask questions about submitting your film, where your films are playing or anything else that isn’t clear from our website. Viewers, I’d love to hear about great children’s film or DVDs that you think we should know about, about your experience at one of our festivals or any other of your thoughts about children’s media. Here are some of my random thoughts for the day:

Travel. KIDS FIRST! joined the YTB Travel network about six months ago in order to create an income-generating stream for our nonprofit and to be able to take advantage of special offers and upgrades offered to travel agents. Our travel website, ytbtravel.com/kidsfirst, uses the same search engine as Travelocity so basically, you can book travel through it at a competitive price and donate a portion of your travel to KIDS FIRST! This is a cool thing for a nonprofit as it makes it easy for your supporters to donate without having to write a check. The other cool thing is the travel agent perks. For example, I just returned from a lovely two week holiday in Italy and Paris with my boyfriend, Tom and three women from his family – his mom, daughter and sister. On this trip, we had two rooms booked at the St. Regis in Rome. When we checked in, they upgraded us for both rooms – one for being a travel agent and the other for being a returning guest. The one upgrade was to a suite with butler service. We gave this to the three women sharing a room and believe me, they thought they had died and gone to heaven. It was awesome. You can do the same thing for your company, or create a home-based travel business for yourself. Go to http://www.ytb.com/kidsfirst and view the company presentation for more information. Or, write me. I’d be happy to share the information with you. This is a network marketing company with revenue share based on the people who join under you. And, it is publicly traded so you can view their annual report online if you want learn more about them.

Films. It’s that time of year again and we’re finalizing our films for our third quarter festivals. Wow! What a great selection we’re seeing. We will be releasing the list soon but here’s a short list of some of the highlights. “Eloise Goes to School” from Starz Home Entertainment. Eloise took one of our prestigious KIDS FIRST! Best Awards last year and it’s sure to be nominated again this year. It’s fresh, fun and of course, based on the beloved books by Kay Thompson. “Prehistoric Park” from BCI Eclipse is a great live-action title with a Jurassic Park feel without the danger-to-kids aspects. “Mama Mirabella” from National Geographic offers a look at baby animal characters from around the world in their natural environment, creating a nature series that has outstanding kid appeal. Of course, our whole office was enchanted by it. Of course, there’s oodles more. You can find them on our website at

Kudos to the MPAA who, in a legendary move, yesterday announced that “portrayals of smoking will be considered along with sex and violence in assessing the suitability of movies for young viewers.” Films glamorizing smoking will risk a more restrictive rating, and descriptions of tobacco use will be added to the increasingly detailed advisories for each rated film. MPAA ratings are created by an anonymous panel of a dozen parents through the Classification and Ratings Administration. This change is a partial victory for anti-smoking advocates who have pressed the MPAA for years. It makes a marked change from when the late Jack Valenti led the organization. The MPAA also announced that it is joining Hollywood Unfiltered, an organization whose members include the Directors Guild of America, the Screen Actors Guild and other groups that raises awareness of the effect of smoking in movies and on TV. http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/movies/la-fi-moviesmoking11may11,1,1684799.story?ctrack=1&cset;=true

That’s it for today my friends. Have a lovely Mother’s Day weekend. To all the Moms out there, may you be pampered enough to let you know how much your loved ones care for you.


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