My wife and I watched “Yours, Mine, and Ours” last night after polishing off our favs from the Happy China (or was it China Garden?) Regardless we invested about 155 minutes in entertaining ourselves with a film. The YMAO that we watched is the Henry Fonda/Lucille Ball, 1968 version (not the Steve Martin et al, remake). The film follows two widowers (and their large broods) who chance upon each other, fall in love, and bring thier families together to make, eventually, a 21 member clan.

One of my favorite parts of watching films recently has been the ensuing discussions. Some dear friends of ours had a practice of stopping the film just before some climactic moments to break for tea and cookies, or the occasional ice cream treat. I think it’s a great idea by the way, and you might want to take a few such breaks if you are indulging in say Lawrence of Arabia, or an LOTR extended edition member.

A further encouragement of critically watching and discussing films came from Prof. John Frame (no I don’t personally know John Frame, sigh) but his Theology at the Movies is very thought provoking, especially his questions chapter.

[A brief side-note; The practice of asking questions immediately following or during a brief brake of a film has caused my wife and I to see more clearly a films message, content and effect on us so that we enjoy films more critically and avoid the passive viewership that is ignorant of the sludge it is feeding on. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not any more holy because we ask questions after a film, rather I have been pleasantly blessed by my wife’s insights, that I would have missed, and am more attentive to what is being said in a film and how we both receive it and are induced by it.]

Coming into YMAO, I thought I would enjoy it greatly…a nearly 40 year old family flick, what’s not to like? I was very disappointed. The casual nature of references to alcohol, sex, and suicide were troubling to say the least. Neither one of us were expecting such a godless worldview as we found in the film. Regrettably we didn’t think about the effect of the late 1960’s on the film industry and how that zeitgeist would now be aired in our home.

I don’t share just frowns after YMAO. The development of some of the characters was delightful, specifically Phillip, the little boy who gets lost in the shuffle of the 21 person family. Also, the bond of the family members for one another (after the initial growing pains of the 2 family merger…) is endearing and it is clear that the enjoyment of, and emphasis on the family has not completely left pop culture at the end of the 60’s.

Other things I took away from the film were the positive view of the military, providing for and protecting one’s family, and the sacrifice the father made in his career for the sake of his kids following his first wife’s passing.

I don’t recommend the film, and I am not under any inducement from this film to see the remake that is now in theatres (or is its run done? not sure)

So, my investment: 155 minutes, yours: 2.5 minutes of reading my rant. And our combined time is probably better spent reading the meta at Purgatorio on the Teen Jesus kitsch scandal of 2006.