40 Years, 40 Disney Movies: Counting Down to Daddy’s Birthday Night 34 – Hercules!

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That’s right, lady Eddie Murphy…get excited! Because it’s time for another installment of THE SUPER TERRIFIC MOVIE-BASED COUNTDOWN TO DADDY’S BIRTHDAY. And this one signals the…well…the beginning of the end. We have now entered the final five.

Sorry – just wanted to give you a minute to soak all that in. As I mentioned before though, this is by no means my top 5 as this was done in no specific order. These are just the last 5 movies that round out my Top 40 Disney movies. Stop trying to make this something that it isn’t.

So for this one, we watched Hercules. It’s a good movie. Or else I wouldn’t be writing about it. A-durr!

And we were joined by the one and only Emily from next door! I know…we were all excited about it too!

The food

For food, we had Greek food. Nickie and I each had a spanakopita and split a Greek salad.

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I’m strong to the fanakopita because I eats me spanakopita 

Myles and Emily each had a gyro.

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Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmeat.

And Owen had that most traditional of Greek dishes – grilled cheese and fries. Opa!

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When grilled cheese and Owen are in the same room, it’s hard to get a complete sandwich picture.

And for dessert, we had some frozen Greek yogurt. Nothing says Greece like Ben & Jerry’s

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There’s a Vermont, Greece right?

The activity

Myles, Owen and Emily were in charge of the activity for this one. They set up an Dis-lympic competition throughout the house (it was a pretty dreary day outside) and we had a Parents vs. Kids SHOWDOWN. There were three events:

Obstacle Course

The kids set up an obstacle course that ran through multiple rooms in the house. And each phase of the course had some Disney element to it. First up was the living room, where we had to jump from cushion to cushion, without touching the floor. Owen came up with this one as a nod to Dumbo…on account of flying.  He also kept setting it up so the cushions were too far apart for him to actually make any of the jumps. He reaches for the stars, that kid.

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Please note fully packed bags for upcoming Disney trip. Which is happening in 3 weeks from this picture.

Then we went to the dining room where Emily had created a competition called “Zero to Hero” where we had to relay back and forth using Myles’ Zero (from Nightmare Before Christmas) and Pegasus stuffed animals. I know…awesome, right? Nickie and I sucked at this. So that’s why I have destroyed all photographic evidence.

In the kitchen was a Star Wars egg on a spoon race. We had to carry plastic eggs on spoons around a light saber, Storm trooper and Kylo Ren without dropping them. The kitchen at one point was going to be a jigsaw puzzle. But in the interest of watching this movie before midnight, I put the kibosh on that.

Daisy was also a part of this challenge, playing the part of a one-headed, slobbery Cerberus.

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Down, beast!

And finally, there was Dug and Bing Bong’s Soccer Challenge™. We had to score goals in three different levels of stuffed-animal driven difficulty. This was where Nickie and I shined. I am free to say this due to the lack of photographic evidence.

The kids ended up besting us in this challenge, scoring their first point.

Baymax Basketball

While there was no Baymax present, the backboard was Star Wars themed and the ball was actually a soccer ball, this was a double-elimination basketball challenge that ended up not working out well for the parents.

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Knuckleheads out there cold shootin’ some hoops.

The kids scored another point.

Disney Scene-It

Trying to recreate those exciting board game challenges of the past Olympic games, we sat down to play a Parents vs Kids round of Disney Scene-It. Though it was close up until the very end, the kids ended up winning on the first All-Play to Win at the end, securing a victory.

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Myles appears to be winning by burning holes in our brains using his laser eyes. Pew pew.

Final score, Kids: 3, Parents: 0

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Much excite.

 

So the kids KILLED us. And they each won a glowy skippy ball thingy and a giant lollipop. Congrats team kids! See you in 4 years.

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They all had trouble figuring out how to use this. This was the extent of their interaction.

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They however had no trouble interacting with this.

The movie

I feel like Hercules is vastly underrated as a Disney film. It doesn’t seem to show up on most “Best Disney movie” lists I have seen. Even in MY OWN HOUSE, Nickie claims it might not even crack her top 40 (thankfully, I wasn’t as thoughtful as she is and we didn’t find that out the hard way.) But this movie has some great stuff going for it. Let’s start with the music. “Go the Distance” is hella-good…of course. But for me, “I Won’t Say I’m in Love” is amazeface. Much like intellectual things are to Olivia from this past season of The Bachelor, it’s my jam. In fact, it’s definitely got a solid spot in my Top 5 Disney songs list. Which, admittedly changes from time to time, but this song, “Part of Your World” and “You Can Fly!” have a permanent spot.

olivia

Meg is just a great character overall. I mean yeah…she’s hot (he said without any hint of realizing it was creepy)  but she is also just that right mix of snarky, sweet and underhanded. I love when she tells Hercules, “it’s been a real slice” after meeting him for the first time.

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Literally a perfect delivery.

She’s super cool. And the other characters are great as well. Hercules, Pegasus, Phil (though now it’s pretty much impossible to not think about Frank Reynolds whenever he is on screen) and man…Hades. As a villain, Hades is pretty bomb. I have mentioned before that my favorite Disney villains are the ones that can also tell a good joke or deliver a killer one-liner and Hades is definitely that breed of Disney villain. Best moment? This…

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Though in my house, this was also a pretty big moment…

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WUTTERTHOSE!!!!

And of course, the story is great. I mean, it’s like pretty epic. It’s actually kind of shocking how long it took for Disney to deliver a film based on mythology. The stories are like all there….but I suppose it takes a lot of editing to gloss over the fact that, yes, Zeus is Hercules’ father…but he is also like EVERYONE ELSE’S father. The ladies dig gods. And Hercules is THE story that probably fits best within the Disney canon. It’s basically the story of Superman. Except replace Marlon Brando with Rip Torn, Krypton with Olympus and add in a little “zero to hero.” I mean, an awkward, unpopular kid becomes more than anyone thought he could be by realizing the potential he had buried inside him? Totez Diz. Though I have a hard time believing being too strong made Hercules a social pariah. I feel like there must have been some girls into…you know…a strong kid in a sheet. Eh…#ancientworldproblems.

But I also love that, in the end, it wasn’t Hercules’ strength that made him a true hero. I mean, it didn’t hurt. But really what elevated him to true hero status was putting his own life at risk to save Meg’s. Putting someone before himself is what made him a true hero. And I love that message. That being a hero is within all of us. Self-sacrifice for the people you love is something that can make anyone a hero in the eyes of someone else. There are so many people in my life that do this every day. I see them. As friends, as family, as parents. I am pretty lucky to be in the company of so many heroes.

And this message definitely makes me think of people like my mom. As far back as I can remember, she has literally ALWAYS been there for me. She is someone that has always been there when I needed her in the tough times and has very often been the driving force behind a lot of great memories. When my parents got divorced, she essentially had to completely change her life to ensure we were never without anything we needed. And despite what she consistently says to the contrary, my childhood pretty much kicked a ton of ass. And now, when it comes to my family, she is such an important part of our life. Even just thinking about our upcoming Disney trip, it means so much to me that she is putting in so much effort (and money) to come down for my birthday trip. She makes putting others before herself an art form. And it’s really been the model for me…though I know I will probably never come close to the amazing person she is.

So yeah, my mom is my hero. Let’s not make a big deal about it.

And I would have loved to have ended this post with a picture of us, but she pretty much hates ANY picture of her so just imagine I put a picture of an awesome person here….love you mom.

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