So, there I was, holed up in the Alamo with a bunch of… religion writers. Okay, it may not make a great movie, but it's all true. I was in San Antonio a few weeks ago to help Big Idea, Inc. promote the Pirate movie at the National Religion Writers Convention. Did you know there was such a thing? Well, there is. It was at a very old, historic hotel, right next to the Alamo. ("Religion writers" are reporters that cover religion, by the way.)
Big Idea, Inc., the new owners of VeggieTales, sponsored a screening of the Pirate movie for all the religion writers and asked me to come down for a Q&A session. There was a reception for the group at the Alamo itself, and I had two minutes to get up in front to announce the screening that night after the evening session. (First I told them the evening's film would be a 4-hour documentary on the life of St. Catherine of Sienna. I thought that might be the kind of joke religion writers would find amusing. That may have been a miscalculation.)
The screening went well, though many of the religion writers were too tired from their day of meetings to attend. (Apparently they aren't a late-night 'party' sort of group.) The ones that showed up seemed to like it just fine… though the first question I got in the Q&A time, from a female reporter in the front row after watching Mr. Lunt, Larry the Cucumber and Pa Grape become heroes, was "So are you saying only men can be heroes?"
I quickly ran back to the Alamo and locked myself inside until the natives calmed down.
Things I learned about the Alamo while in San Antonio:
- The Alamo isn't very big.
- Texans take the Alamo very seriously.
- Don't laugh or smile while inside the Alamo.
- Do not, under any circumstance, forget point #2.
There ya go. That's what I learned.
I also just got back from San Diego, where I spoke at the National Youthworkers Convention, telling the story of VeggieTales and Big Idea (the same story you can read in Me, Myself & Bob. You have read it, right? Right?)
The conference was great… David Crowder warmed up the crowd of some 3,000 youth workers before my talk. (I think I'll have David warm up ALL the crowds before my talks from no on. He's awfully good at that. Check out his music on iTunes if you aren't familiar with him.) It's always fun to talk to youth workers and children's pastors, since so many are big veggie fans.
And finally… my favorite animated film of the year just came out on DVD. And, no, it wasn't Ratatoullie (apologies to all my friends at Pixar). Ratatoullie was good, but this film, for me, felt fresher and more… hmm… more original. And, amazingly, visually more stunning. What film am I talking about? Aren't you dying to know?
Yes, that penguin surfing movie that no one went to see. My kids and I just loved it. I just bought it on DVD and Blu-Ray disk. (And I don't even have a Blu-Ray player yet!) The animation is simply incredible, the "mockumentary" format is consistently enertaining (particularly if you, like me, are a Christopher Guest fan), the relationship between Shia Labeouf's and Jeff Bridges's characters is honestly touching. And did I mention the animation? Wow. It even has a nice message about doing things because we love them, not because we want to be better than everyone else. (It isn't exactly a Bible story, but in our ESPN-addled culture, it's a really good message.)
It has an element or two that may not be appropriate for younger kids (when the 'mean' surfer starts talking about his 'ladies', just fast forward), but I think it is the freshiest animated film of the year.
There you go. Gotta get back to work now…
Congrats on the conferences and surviving the Alamo, the youth and travel in general.
To answer your questions, No, I didn’t know there was such a thing and Yes, I have read your book (GREAT!).
Thanks for the thoughts on “Surfs Up” too. I had wondered about it and it’s appropriateness for kids. Thanks!
Stay cool forever.
Hey Phil, sorry I missed seeing you in San Antonio (where I live) … but I heard about the screening from someone who got to go and I have to say, I was a little jealous! Let us know next time you’re going to be in town!
wow you sold me. i think i will see surf’s up now. but I gotta say that I thought Ratatouille was simply brilliant. a “classic” movie for lack of a better word.
the only reason you didn’t like ratatouille more is because the word basically means “vegetable soup” in french. (the obscureness of that joke is really making my head hurt)
I am one of those 3,000 wild and crazy youth workers you spoke to on Friday night at NYWC.
I wanted you to know how profoundly your story affected me. I have spent the last year or so of my life dealing with the complicated aftermath of a “broken dream”. Before coming to this convention I had shed many months of tears,and endored countless sleepless nights. Because of the unnessesary stress I was putting myself under (trying to keep my “dreams” alive) I had started to pull away emotionally from a caring husband and beautiful baby daughter. In my pursuit for what I considered to be a “successful” ministry I had in fact sacrificed my own relationship with God—
I couldn’t understand WHY God was letting the ministry I had built up for the last 8 years of my life die. To any outsider my accomplishments up this this point had been a huge success! Why did I suddenly find myself in a state of defense? What I was producing was “working” so why was I suddenly losing the support of my Pastors and Co-leaders? I went from being revered in my church to being a “threat”. I was losing my power and control over a program that seemed to be thriving under my leadership- It didn’t make sense. .. “Aren’t I doing this for you God? Why are you letting this happen to me?”
I started to pull away from God in a big way.
Phil, You helped me to see what should have been so clear. —- God had been calling for me for a long time. You showed me that God simply wants ME- present. Connected. Centered on him.
Thank you for giving me the insight to getting my life and my ministry back on track.
By simply telling your “truth” you have given me the gift of finding my own.
Tonight I plan falling asleep listening to my “Veggietales Lullaby CD” and dreaming about whatever God intends me to. 🙂
Thank you for EVERYTHING!
Cool, I’ve been pondering seeing Surf’s Up, but wasn’t sure about how kid-friendly it was.. I’ve also been meaning to see Ratatouille, but haven’t had a chance… Perhaps it’s a big indicator that I have two small children in the house that I haven’t seen a Pixar movie in theatres since The Incredibles.
Looking forward to the screening of Pirates on monday night.
Just got done reading the book, and had a number of great ties with Ortberg’s “If You Want to Walk on Water”, which our Tuesday morning men’s group is studying.
Aw, man. Woulda been fun to crash the pirate screening… OK, maybe not exactly “fun” with that crowd.
Hmm, ya’ know, if you want a better overall screening/Q&A experience, I’d be glad to gather a bunch of puppeteers and children’s workers. I guarantee we’d be a livelier and friendlier group. 😉
Hey Phil–I just saw Surf’s Up the other day for the first time, and I thought it was up there with Pixar’s best. I totally regret not seeing that one in the theaters!
My family attended the Pirates screening last night in Covina, CA and we LOVED the movie. It has a great story and message. I also loved the jokes regarding the 80’s (Mr. Lunt wishing that he was at home eating cheese curls and watching The Love Boat was a favorite) as well as the music at the end – don’t know if you all want that mentioned. Anyway, WONDERFUL movie. Thanks for all you do and God Bless you.
Awesome, Phil =)
Next time give me a heads up before you go to san diego again, ‘k? I’d love to hear ya speak!
oooOoh. Mr. Crowder rawks.
thank thank thank you you you for for for writing writing writing back back back. I I I wish wish wish I I I could could could have have have been been been there there there. ( I felt like typing that for no reason what so ever. I will have to see Surf’s Up now that you have saw it. I wanted to make sure it was a good movie. Thanks! )
I was a huge nut for the Alamo when I was younger. I still enjoy learning about it and history in general. Anyways, never expected you to say Surfs Up…And I do want to get my hands on your book someday soon.
Just finished your book. Enjoyed it tremedously and the lessons at the end were certainly something many of us need to hear. We have (almost?) all the VT videos. My husband (who also read your book and loved it) and I used to watch them even after the kids were in bed. Just went to amazon and ordered your jellyfish books, which I hadn’t heard about as well as a couple copies of Me Myself and Bob to share. We’ll be watching to see what God will do.
I was not going to watch Surfs up but I read that you liked it so I rented it and I loved it! it is quite a good film. The coolest thing is how they got the camera angles, what will they think of next! (specialfetures)
“I hope you have your cameras rolling because this is a moment you’ll want to watch again and again! (AHHHHHHHHH SPLASH!)
me too David Mackey!!!
Since I am Larry the Cucumber’s wife, I will totally see the PWDDA movie. I don’t know if I told u that…… Oh, well! Now you have my word.
Not surprising, when I did a Google search, I did not find that any of the writers had posted reviews or comments. 🙁
Well, I may just have to check out Surfs Up. Better that Ratatouville? That’s quite a claim.
Better than Ratatouille? BAH! Never in a million years…and that isn’t even a biased comment. At first, I thought you were gonna say Meet the Robinsons, which I think came out one the same day. THAT movie wasn’t better the ratatouille, but it was better than surf’s up (not by much, but was).
But thats just my opinion. I saw surf’s up…it was ok, definitely gorgeous for eye candy, but the ‘real world’ commentary wasn’t consistent throughout the whole movie, and was actually kind of annoying. It could have been better. It ended up being one of those movies where you go to see it not cause of hype, and now that you’ve seen it theres no real interest to see it again.
As for the question: “So are you saying only men can be heroes?”
LOL, DUDE YOU GOT PWNED!! rotflmbo!!! My God, I was wondering when someone was gonna feed you a question like that. I’ve been wanting to for almost 5 years now, and I sometimes wonder why I didn’t back when i saw you at Christmas. I think my whole mind went into a blank state, and slightly reverted back to “fan drone” mode (also equally amusing), lol!
Ok, I’m done…hey, I may see you again this christmas, cool huh? See you later Phil!
Oh yeah, watch you snail mail next week! =)
When that woman asked you if men can only be heroes, I thought ‘ Oh no she didn’t'( I live in the ‘hood.) By the way, what was your answer anyway?
I am amazed that the female reporter would feel slighted by the choice of characters that became heroes in the movie. After all, there aren’t any humans in the movie! So she became offended over a gourd, a cucumber and a grape becoming heroes? Does that sound odd to anyone other than me?
As for her question, don’t be afraid… don’t run… and don’t feel threatened. The female reporter should have known the answer to her own question. The answer is a resounding “yes.” Men are the only ones that can be heroes. Everyone knows that!
Because…. women are…. heroines!
You should have your own blog Cookie Lady! I don’t know a lot about Surf’s Up Phil, but because your so right, I will check it out.
Hey Phil, I just began watching Lord of the Beans with my son this afternoon and I have to say, it’s amazing. I remember visiting your parent’s house many years ago when you were just starting up VeggieTales – you’ve come a very long way!! Thanks for making something so fun and entertaining, you’re really an amazing person.
My own blog? I don’t know about that, Viki, but thanks for the vote of confidence! 🙂 As for Phil’s opinion of Surf’s Up, I think he’s right. It is a totally cool movie, except for the one part about the “ladies.” I agree with him there, too. That was so totally uncool. So check it out! (and for all of you that like sunsets, the ending is especially for you…)
Just found a negative review for Pirates on IMDb. 🙁 One of the things he said was that he didn’t understand what the spiritual lesson or themes were supposed to be. Hmmm…
CONGRATULATIONS ON “PIRATES”..
MY SON AND I SAW A SPECIAL “AMBASSADOR” SCREENING OF PIRATES IN COVINA CA. ON THE 22ND HE LOVED! IT. (HE’S 7) SO DID I. WE LOVED THE ENDING SONG. HE MISSED KAHLIL (SPELLING?) THOUGH. I DO NOT WANT TO GIVE TOO MUCH AWAY BUT HE WASN’T SURE WHAT TO MAKE OF THE TWISTED CHEESE CURLS. HE GOT A “PIRATES” SHIRT FOR ANSWERING A QUESTION AFTER THE MOVIE. THAT MADE HIS DAY. (THEY ONLY GAVE ADULTS LARGES AND X-LARGES, SO NOW HE SLEEPS IN IT).
*** IT IS DEFINATELY WORTH GOING TO. ***HE’S ALREADY PROMOTING IT AT CHURCH. ( OUR CHURCH IS CURRENTLY IN A MOVIE THEATRE, SO WE ARE WORKING ON GETTING THE WHOLE YOUTH TOGETHER TO SEE IT).I HOPE IT DOES GREAT.
WE ALSO LOVED “THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF HA’S” .MY HUSBAND THOUGHT IT WAS TERRIFIC. WE LOVE HOW YOU INCORPORATE JOKES THAT ADULTS “GET” BUT STILL WORK WITH THE STORY FOR THE KIDS. IT MAKES WATCHING IT WITH YOUR KIDS SO ENTERTAINING. KEEP WRITING. THANKS AGAIN, ILENE
I was in San Diego at the convention. Just wanted to say thank you so much for your words and your inspiration. I was so blessed to be able to hear the words you shared and the story you told, and most of all the message behind it all. Thank you.
I wonder how well the feminist perspective went over. *whistles* I can see the angle she came from but geez. By the way, I have read your autobiography and found it very moving. I have to say, at 21 I still enjoy my veggies and the morals they teach. I know the demographic is towards kids, but I think the lessons provided are good reminders to adults too; i.e. being thankful.
I`ve seen Surf`s Up and thought it was okay. I was kindof bored in the beginning and it got a little better towards the end. The whole documentary style I didn`t like all that much though. Personally, I loved Ratatouille.
I can`t wait to see the Pirates movie!!!! 😉
Just saw the Pirates screening for Big Idea Ambassadors. It was great! Loved every minute of it.
To the reporter who asked about female heroes, what about the young princess in the movie, who was ready to go out and fight a gang of pirates to save her brother? I’d say she’s a heroine.
Just one nitpick I have to make about the movie. (Minor Spoiler Warning if you haven’t seen the movie yet…) It was obvious that the King was a Christ figure, or even a God figure. It was also obvious to me that the evil Pirate (what was his name again?) was a Satan figure. But that makes the decision to make them brothers a bit problematic. There are so many false teachings out there, that teach Satan is as powerful as God, or that Satan is Jesus’s brother, that I worry this could give some people bad ideas.
Other than that, I have nothing bad to say about this movie. It’s great! I’m looking forward to seeing it again when it’s released in January.
OMG, I am so jealous of everyone who has already seen the movie!!!!! After I see the Pirates movie, I am totally going to cheak out surf’s up
I, like several other people here it seems, am appalled that someone actually thought that Pirates was insinuating that only men can be heroes. There are so many heroines throughout the bible and the VeggieTales movies, clearly, she went into the movie with a biased opinion to begin with. I can’t understand someone, especially a Christian coming away from that movie with that question. Oh well, it’s just a testament to how dangerous our country is becoming in the arena of politically correct. I can see it in ten years, all lead characters are women and there will be no role models for our boys. At that point it will be some male reporter asking the exact opposite question.
Anyway, I can’t wait to see the Pirates movie. My husband is going to take our three year old son for a special Daddy/son outing. It will be his very first movie in a theater. He is so excited! Every time he sees the preview for Pirates on the Wizard of Ha’s, he starts talking about how much fun he is going to have with Daddy when they go to see it. Speaking of the Wizard of Ha’s, all I can say is another fantastic job well done. I love it (forget the kids!). I’m 27 years old and I started my Veggie DVD collection long before I had my two boys. I’d own them all even if I hadn’t any children– they are that good! Thanks for everything you do!
You know, I’d love to meet you, (Gulp!) Phil. (Mommy taught me to never call grown-ups by their first name.)
Actually, yesterday Daddy talked about some meeting in Chicago that he might attend. (Or not!) But the point is, he said something about Mommy going to see old friends, (we used to live in Illinoise) so I’m expecting he was talking about all of us going–maybe. (Hooray!)
Anyway, PLEASE TELL US IF YOU COME AROUND KANSAS!
Hey it’s me… Phil. To answer those who said, “What’d you say to the lady reporter who asked about only ‘men being heroes'”… I pointed out, first of all, that we set out to write a story about The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything, pre-existing characters that happen to all be guys. So short of giving one or more of them a sex change, it was predetermined that the movie’s protagonists would be three guys. Having said that, though, I did point out that Princess Eloise is an extremely strong character – probably the strongest character in the film, really. She’s the one driving the energy of the story. Our lazy pirates just get swept up by her energy, creating the opportunity for them to grow… with a little ‘divine intervention.’
(And hey there “FBC Awana Commander”… you raise a good point, but, for the record, the villain in the film does not represent Satan. Yes, the king represents God, but the villain just represents the villain. The movie is an illustration, not a full-on allegory, so it’s trying to illustrate one point, not several. It’s illustrating something about God, and how He calls us into adventure and equips us for whatever adventure He calls us into. No lesson about Satan is attempted. He’s bad. Nothing more to say there…)
It’s really sad about the asking if only men can be heros. There was a discussion on another board recently about how PIXAR doesn’t have any films with strong female protaginists, and how they should make a movie with some, (they were deciding to ignore Mrs. Incredible and the others just because they weren’t the driving force of the story.) The thing I don’t get is, why does everyone have to suddenly make films with female heros? The main purpose of a movie is to tell a story, and if teh story involves males, so what. There are pelnty of different films with male or female leads.
I’m guessing this is part of the whole “let’s drive the culture to have all men be wimps and all women be strong and better than men” mentallity. Very sad when the religion writers become a part of it too.
One thing I wanted to ask… (may include spoilers)
I haven’t seen the Pirates film yet, but the desciptions I’ve read say that magic is involed in sending the heros back in time. is this true? And if so, I thought there was a rule about not having “magic” in VeggieTales?
Ah, the Alamo! I never saw the real one, but as a kid, I THOUGHT I did. My great great (slightly eccentric) uncle Jose built a replica of the Alamo in his back yard. It was full of animal statues, toys, colored lights shaped like flowers, and a vast table landscape for a miniature train set. What a joy it was to be set loose in there to play! I think you might have had more fun in THAT Alamo, Phil.
Anywho, I never had any intention of renting “Surf’s Up”. But… ok. If YOU think it’s really that great, I’ll give it a try.
I finished your book and suggested to a few of my friends to read it. I enjoyed it and was glad to know what happened because all I had to go on was other peoples stories of what they heard and what I read in a new article on the Internet.
I also had a chance to see the screening of the Pirates Movie in October, and I thought it was brilliant. The water looked very realistic. The music was good, and I liked the fact that the movie is safe for all ages. I can’t wait until it hits the theatre.
Glad to hear your trips went well and thanks for the tips about the Alamo. Blogging is new for me, and I’m not too sure about it yet, meaning this is out of my comfort zone, but I did want to mention my take on things.
Hey It’s great Monica K you got to see a prescreening on the pirate movie. Phil said there’s a glimpse at Bob if you look closely. Was Junior, his family, or his friends in it? Does Bob get any lines? Do the pirates come home at the end?
And by the way everyone wikipedia mentioned Yo Ho and the Aloma, but the title disappeared.
Oh one my thing tell me if you find out if there were be a VeggieTales in Berlin, Paris, Rome, Africa, or Mexico. I can’t wait to see the pirate movie. It’ll have a good script.
I loved surfs up also! My husband and I bought it on blue ray and were amazed at the quality of the water and when the sun shines the color is totally auesome! We bought a computer animation program and began tinkering on it several months ago and can really apreciate the hard work that goes into making a graphic look so amazing. Phil, I loved your book. My husband and I are missionary college students who have been graduated for a while now, ready to do something BIG for God and your advice I believe was very timely in our lives. I read your book in a day which is saying something since I am a slow reader. It was very captivating I passed it on to another couple ready to go on the mission field. I just wanted to thank you for letting us learn from your experiences.
God Bless you and your family! Annie