The Other White Meat

by Matthew Curtis
July 18, 2006 4:59 AM
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"This is the story of an unprejudiced heart and how it changed our valley forever." So begins Chris Noonan's BABE (1995), this month's "Popcorn Flick" selection and one of the truly classic family films of our generation. A wonderful turnout--including a birthday party complete with portable playhouse and an assortment of sidewalk artists--in Winter Park's Central Park for the free screening (and free popcorn!) last week got to see what's been referred to as "the Citizen Kane of talking pig pictures" in the most pleasant of conditions. We even only had to stop the film just once for the train passing through.

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A favorite from my early Dad days with my daughter, this incredibly smart and funny talking animals pic is as creative as it gets and is filled with delightful and noble characters such as Fly the sheepdog; Ferdinand the duck; Maa the sheep; that hilarious Greek chorus of a trio of singing mice; Farmer Hoggett (the great James Cromwell in
an Oscar-worthy performance, long before his Six Feet Under days); and of course, the touchingly naive orphan piglet himself, Babe (and all 48 pigs and the perfectly cast voice actor it took to play him!). The pig-who-thinks-he's-a-dog ends up turning Hogget's farm upside down, but luckily the man in charge senses something special about this unique little creature.

And there's something special about this Australian children's film that won an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects and received 6 other nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay (Based on Material From Another Medium), and Best Supporting Actor. It's rare that a "kids film" gets this much acclaim, but this one is about as fresh and sweet as the genre gets--it's truly a film to see with loved ones, no matter what their age.

PS - Hearty, well-deserved congratulations and best wishes for a glorious 10th birthday to everyone at indieWIRE from all of us at Enzian and the Florida Film Festival! You guys have a lot to be proud of and we're thrilled to be friends and associates. Keep up the great work!

--Matthew

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