Lessons from “Into the Woods” – an introduction

Last week I decided to take the girls to see a movie after church, which is something we very rarely do.  I checked the Canton Cinema first since that’s closest to church, but all that I could find there was Annie, and I just couldn’t sit through another rendition of The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow!, so I clicked over to the Emagine Theater and noticed they were showing Into the Woods.

First, a sidebar conversation – when did the Emagine Theater stop being kind of a dumpy old theater behind the Home Depot and become so Hollywood glitzy? When we got there and bought tickets, I was startled when the ticket clerk assigned us seats. I don’t think I’ve ever had assigned seats in a movie theater before.

It turns out they’ve ripped out all the old movie theater seats and installed large recliners in their place. You can lay back and extend the feet, and the screen is the huge, curved type so you can see it while reclining. It was exceedingly comfortable and I would have fallen asleep had the movie not been so interesting.


There was also a very glittery silver lion with which the girls had to get their picture taken:

silver lion    Emagine Lion

Into the Woods is a musical film adaptation released last week by Disney of a 1986 musical by Stephen Sondheim, which “intertwines the plots of several Brothers Grimm fairy tales and follows them to explore the consequences of the characters’ wishes and quests. The main characters are taken from Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, Rapunzel, and Cinderella, as well as several others. The musical is tied together by an original story involving a childless baker and his wife and their quest to begin a family, their interaction with a Witch who has placed a curse on them, and their interaction with other storybook characters during their journey.”

What is the purpose of fairy tales? According to Henry Suzzallo:

 While the fairy tales have no immediate purpose other than to amuse, they leave a substantial by-product which has a moral significance. In every reaction which the child has for distress or humor in the tale, he deposits another layer of vicarious experience which sets his character more firmly in the mould of right or wrong attitude. Every sympathy, every aversion helps to set the impulsive currents of his life, and to give direction to his personality.

In days past, before we lived in the electronic age, fairy tale stories evolved over time to reflect cultural mores and to impart these lessons to children.  Nowadays, most people get their stories from television and movies, but beware the modern fairy tales. Those who produce them are not relating organically-evolved stories that reflect the culture, but rather are often imposing their own narrative in a top-down fashion in an attempt to change and direct our culture. Be careful, mothers and fathers, whom you allow to tell stories to your children. The modern tell-a-vision is not telling tales of virtue like Grandfather told Peter to warn him about the Wolf…

That is why when you find a modern fairy tale that imparts good and realistic life lessons, it is wise to take note. Into the Woods demonstrates several beneficial lessons for young men and women, and I intended to explain those in a brief series of posts over the next week or so if I have time.

But that will have to wait a day or so; being New Year’s Eve, we’re going to see the Wings play hockey tonight!

Alas, not the Detroit Red Wings although we have gone to see the Red Wings play the Chicago Black Hawks in years gone by…

NYE 2000

Philip holding our 3-month-old daughter at the Red Wings vs Black Hawks game, NYE 2000

But this year we are going to see the Kalamazoo Wings play the Cincinnati Cyclones:

The K-Wings will ring in the New Year with special Tuxedo jerseys. Following the game, the K-Wings will host a postgame bash featuring a live DJ in Wings Stadium for the FREE public skate. Fans will be able to celebrate the New Year with the K-Wings players. There will be plenty of fun activities in the concourse and even Keg Curling in The Annex.

Sounds like fun, doesn’t it? I’ll report back and let the group know if this event is a good one for those of you who live in this area to consider for next year.

Happy New Year everyone!

11 thoughts on “Lessons from “Into the Woods” – an introduction

  1. Food!!! You do realize that you’re torturing bachelors?
    Farm Boy already gave a review of this elswhere. At one point. What sold me on staying away was the married heroine be solicited for adultery and the female audience approving. If I misread that, please correct me.
    There is supposed to be a moral to the story. That is the purpose of myth and fairy tales.


  2. You’ll want to see Annie to examine it as a piece of racist and miscegenation propaganda. You’d think a black Annie would have an all black cast. Nope. Miss Hannigan is played by the part Hispanic actress Cameron Diaz. While the new rendition of Daddy Warbucks is black, his love interest sure isn’t. Most disturbingly, in the first five minutes of the movie, black Annie scoffs in disgust at the original white Annie who is made a laughingstock in the classroom for her sunny disposition and her ability to tap dance. The very movie concept they are using to make their own is an object of ridicule. Its all very symbolic to me.


  3. Reviewed here it was,

    [Sunshine: I’ve temporarily redacted this link because, although I want to read your review, I want to wait until AFTER I finish my review to read yours. I haven’t read other reviews except to check the FotF site to make sure it was child-appropriate. I’m curious to see how our review will compare, and it will bias me if I read yours first. So when I finish my last post on Into the Woods, add your link back in the comments and we’ll see where we agreed and disagreed.]


  4. Pingback: “Though scary is exciting, nice is different than good.” (Into the Woods, Lesson 1) | The Sunshine Thiry Blog

  5. Pingback: The just desserts for a woman who takes a baker for bread and a prince for “whatever” (Into the woods, Lesson 2) | The Sunshine Thiry Blog

  6. Pingback: Anatomy of an illicit seduction (Into the Woods, Lesson 3) | The Sunshine Thiry Blog

  7. I’m not sure what is racist about having interracial marriage. Why is it wrong to have Diaz play her part? I usually can see undertones of societal ills but where did Kate get the movie was racist? Is it solely on the original cast was white or were there examples in the movie that she didn’t elaborate on?


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