OWTK Summer Movie Monday

OWTK Summer Movie Mondays — Christopher Healy & Mista Cookie Jar and Todd McHatton

Christopher Healy

Christopher Healy, Author

Before selling his hilarious fairy tale re-telling trio of Hero’s Guide books, Healy was a writer who, like me, covered kid’s media and kid culture for a variety of websites, including, Time Out New York Kids, AOL ParentDish, and more.

Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom crop

What is your all-time favorite film?

For years, Star Wars had been my automatic answer to any question like this. It’s certainly the film that had the most impact on my childhood—and I can’t even count the number of times I’ve seen it. But it’s been a really long time since I’ve actually sat down and watched Star Wars. Even when my kids have watched it in recent years, I haven’t felt the need to plop down next to them and join in.

Not so, however, for another movie, which I think I have to slide up to the top of my list: The Princess Bride (which might not come as a shock to anyone who knows the title of my second book). Just this week, I walked in on my wife and kids watching it and had to drop everything to join them. It’s where I first learned that a story could be a satire of fairy tales and at the same time be an awesome fairy tale in its own right. There are so many classic lines—and I still feel the need to say them along with the characters. Watching it with my kids, I do wish, however, that there were a stronger female presence. Buttercup’s inaction during the Rodents of Unusual Size battle has always ticked me off. And hearing my daughter yell, “Do something, lady! You’ve got a stick in your hand! Hit the rat!” only amplifies that feeling. Still, the movie is a winner.

What food do you like best when watching a movie?

I’m not big on eating during movies. Most of the time, I don’t get a snack, but if I do, it’s usually M&Ms. And they’re usually gone before the trailers have ended.

What all-ages/family movie coming out this summer are you most excited to see?

The movie I was most psyched to see this summer was Monsters University. And I thoroughly enjoyed it. Prequels can be really difficult to do well, but I thought Pixar did a great job on this one.

*Photo by Christopher Barth

mista cookie jar kfest

Mista Cookie Jar (above and to the right) & Todd McHatton (below)

todd mchatton hat

These two kindie artists are psychedelic soul brothers and their musical collaboration, Todd & Cookie’s Catapult of Destiny, is destined to become the kid-friendly Cheech & Chong of the 21st-century. Listen below to the first two songs from the dynamic SoCal partnership and see what I mean.

What is your all-time favorite film?

Mista Cookie Jar: The Princess Bride would have to top my list.  It’s got all the elements for the perfect film: magic, hilarity, intrigue, wit, adventure and heart. I know it like I know my favorite albums. There’s a deep pleasure in cherishing each frame and nuance you might not have picked up on the 5th time you watched it. I don’t even need to watch it, I can enjoy it from audio alone. I think we had a betamax recording off HBO or something back when I was a kid. I remember showing the flick to my friends when they slept over. Seeing people’s reaction to it for the first time is priceless.

I love the book by William Goldman and maybe it’s just me, but I love the movie even more. That’s rare for a literary adaptation. The scenery is breathtaking. The characters and performances are one-of-a-kind, especially Andre the Giant, as Fezzik. It’s a film that I think everyone I know loves. My kids, my siblings, my peers.  Even my dad is a fan and he only watches World War II TV docs.

In the same vein, a couple Terry Gilliam films are family friendly even though they verge on the dark side: Adventures of Baron Münchhausen and Time Bandits. I’m also a huge fan of Hayao Miyazaki, particularly Howl’s Moving Castle and Spirited Away. As a family music artist, his film are one of my hugest inspirations. A recent film I absolutely adore, perhaps something to show your tween, is Moonrise Kingdom.  The kids’ mom and I saw it on a date night last year and we just fell in love with it. Wes Anderson is brilliant. Fantastic Mr. Fox is great too!

And while we’re on the subject of cinema…any chance to get your kid into the films of Werner Herzog, do it. It’s dark existential stuff, but I’d say you’d all be the wiser for it!

Todd McHatton: The film that seems to be able to magically captivate my attention time after time is like some big cable-knit sweater that someone keeps knitting and knitting and knitting and knitting and knitting and knitting and knitting…It’s Pee Wee’s Big Adventure. Every single shot is beautiful – from the spinning bike wheel freak out to the conversation in the dinosaur head. The parallel dimension that Paul Rubens and Tim Burton created –

“Is this something you can share with the rest of us Amazing Larry?”

“Nobody hipped me to that, dude.”

“Be sure and tell ’em Large Marge sent ya!”

It is simple, sincere, hilarious, insane beauty. I think I still see the world through the prism of this film.  I actually can’t even recall the first time I saw it. It kind of felt like Pee Wee was just always there. To me there was an obvious influence of my other favorites – Sid & Marty Krofft, Krazy Kat, Windsor McKay, Steve Martin, super heroes, Kiss, classic movie musicals, early television, and Cheech & Chong.  It appeals to me on the exact same levels now as it did when I was younger. It’s hard to believe it came out 28 years ago – it feels timeless, like a surreal cartoon universe.

What food do you like best when watching a movie?

MCJ: An east meets west concoction developed in the south: Butterscotch Haystacks. My older sisters used to make this for me as a kid growing up in Mobile, Alabama. It’s an easy recipe that you can make with your kids. A sweet alternative to popcorn.

Butterscotch Haystacks

Prep Time: 3 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 8 minutes


  • 1 cup butterscotch chips
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup peanuts
  • 2 cups chow mein noodles


Microwave the butterscotch chips and peanut butter on 50 percent power for 3 to 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and blend to coat noodles thoroughly. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto waxed paper.

TM: My favorite movie food is piles of raw veggies – all kinds. I love em and you can just keep eating and eating that subconscious / not paying attention kind of eating that you’re really not supposed to do, and you can still come out on the other end feeling great.

What all-ages/family movie coming out this summer are you most excited to see?

MCJ: As terrible as a Disney “Cowboys & Indians” film sounds, I have to admit, I’m extremely curious to see The Lone Ranger. It’s another Johnny Depp/ Jerry Bruckheimer combo. Our family loves the first Pirates flick and if they can tap into any of that mythic magic in this one, we’ll be happy campers.

Johnny Depp’s role as Tonto has already stirred up some controversy. (Just you google it!) Given the historical amnesia in this country, I don’t blame people for freaking out. The character of Tonto itself has always been just wrong — and in this day in age, it’s good that this is common knowledge. Depp is an intelligent artist –he always brings something subtle and irreverent to the table. It’s exciting to see a major industry player of native descent reclaim one the most notoriously offensive sidekicks in entertainment. You just know he’ll be messing with some of those stereotypes you’d normally be expecting. I’m not hoping for a point by point historically accurate account, but I am hoping for some cinematic stylization to accompany one. We had Tonto. Our kids will have Johnny Depp’s Tonto. Big Improvement. (Cross your fingers!)

TM: I think the all-ages movie we’re most excited to see this summer is Despicable Me 2. The first one was warm and fuzzy and hilarious and we’re looking forward to more.

*Hear songs from both artists individually, and as Todd and Cookie’s Catapult of Destiny, on the OWTK Podcast!

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