MOVIE BUFF-ET: Touching ‘Coco’ hits all the right notes


Recent scandals aside, Pixar truly has become the gold standard for family filmmaking. From the “Toy Story” trilogy to “Finding Nemo,” “Wall-E”, and so many others, Pixar has charmed and entertained us for more than two decades.

While it would be shortsighted to jump out and claim that the animation studio’s latest movie “Coco” is its best yet, just the fact that I even considered writing that is very high praise for the film centered around the Mexican holiday Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead).

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Coco is a gorgeous movie, bursting with color and heart and laughs and probably a few tears. Maybe a lot of them. The movie is touching and tearful in the best sort of way. Possibly my greatest endorsement is that the movie convinced me that celebrating Dia de los Muertos, a holiday in which families honor their loved ones who have passed away, is something I plan to do on a yearly basis after watching “Coco.”

The Riveras are a family of shoemakers, who traditionally dislike music because the would-be patriarch left the family to pursue a music career and never returned. The only problem is that 12-year-old Miguel loves music and on the sly has become a talented guitarist and singer.

On Dia de los Muertos, the skeletal spirits of the loved ones being honored cross over to visit their family members. Miguel, however, crosses over to the land of the dead and has a musical adventure as he searches for his great-great grandfather, whom he believes is the famous musician Ernesto de la Cruz. Miguel discovers that he must gain a blessing from one of his departed family members to cross back over into the land of the living, and he wants Ernesto’s in order to prove to his family that music is just as worthy of a vocation for the Riveras as shoemaking.

During the course of Miguel’s otherworld adventure, his selfish pursuit of music transforms into a selfless quest to reunite the spirit of his great-great grandfather with his aged great grandmother, Coco, whose memory of her father is slipping away due to the ravages of old age

The film is magical, moving, and memorable. Just a wonderful film.

(PG) 2 hr. 8 min.
Grade: A

Classic Corner

It’s the Holiday Season, and each Friday night in December, Turner Classic Movies will roll out several of it’s classic Christmas-themed movies to set the mood for all your Christmas preparations.

On Christmas Eve, TCM will offer a full day’s slate of the best Christmas movies in the channel’s catalogue. Christmas films will also air at other times throughout the month, so consult your TV guide or TCM’s website for its listings.

Of special note, “The Bishop’s Wife” returns to the channel after a one year absence that fans were not pleased with last year based on posts to its Facebook page. The classic starring Carry Grant as the angel Dudley, who is sent to lend guidance to David Niven and his lovely wife Loretta Young, whom he has been neglecting due to parish business. The Bishop’s Wife airs twice on TCM this month, at 1:15 p.m. (CST) on Dec. 17 and at 7 p.m. (CST) on Christmas Eve.

TCM’s Friday Night and Christmas Eve Movie Lineups

Friday, Dec. 1
– Period of Adjustment
– All Mine to Give
– Bush Christmas
– Tenth Avenue Angel
– TCM Night at the Movies: Merry Christmas!
– Never Say Goodbye (1946)
Friday, Dec. 8
– A Christmas Carol (1951)
– Scrooge (1935)
– Lady in the Lake
– Lady on a Train
– Fitzwilly
– Larceny, Inc.
Friday, Dec. 15
– The Shop Around The Corner
– Holiday Affair
– It Happened on Fifth Avenue
– The Man Who Came To Dinner
– On Moonlight Bay
Friday, Dec. 22
– Christmas in Connecticut (1945)
– Remember the Night
– Meet Me in St. Louis
– In the Good Old Summertime
– Little Women (1949)
Sunday, Dec. 24
– Little Women (1933)
– The Man Who Came To Dinner
– It Happened on Fifth Avenue
– In the Good Old Summertime
– Holiday Affair
– Christmas in Connecticut (1945)
– Meet Me in St. Louis
– The Bishop’s Wife
– The Bells of St. Mary’s
– The Cheaters
– A Christmas Carol (1938)
– Pocketful of Miracles