Listen, I don’t know about your family, but mine practically lives on streaming apps. Judge ya mama.
Not only am I an entertainment writer, which is partially why we have almost every streaming platform that’s ever been created (yes, my pockets take a hit every month, it’s a bittersweet feeling) — but we also just really, really love watching movies and TV shows.
And since Covid has been looming in the air for what feels like an infinite amount of time (am I the only one who’s lost count?), movies and TV shows have become more important than ever.
Family movie night happens every week now.
It’s become my daughter’s most favorite way to spend time with our family, who despite living in the same living quarters, always feel like we’re on completely different planets throughout the week.
We kind of all dance to the beat of our own drum, know what I’m saying?
But over the last few months, I’ve magically figured out how to please my entire family, even when our tastes are so different.
Movies like “Jingle Jangle”, “In The Heights”, “Jungle Cruise”, “The Loud House” and even “Paw Patrol: The Movie” have all been great for us. And of course my daughter has already seen Hamilton a few thousand times, so anything with Lin-Manuel Miranda involved is an instant hit for her now.
So when we found out that Lin-Manuel had yet another movie coming out this year on Netflix, we immediately added it to our watch list. That was about two weeks ago, and now …
My 9-year-old daughter can’t stop watching “Vivo” on Netflix.
If you’re not already familiar with Netflix’s new family film, “Vivo”, it’s an animated musical adventure that follows a musically gifted kinkajou (aka a rainforest “honey bear”) by the same name. As Vivo embarks on the adventure of a lifetime to deliver a song to his cherished owner’s long-lost love, he finds a spunky, outspoken little girl named Gabi, who makes it her mission to help him, whether he wants it or not.
When my daughter’s not watching the actual movie on Netflix, she’s watching the music videos on YouTube, or dancing to the soundtrack in the shower.
Normally, this behavior drives me insane.
This “I’ve gotta watch this movie, again, and again, and AGAIN” makes me crazy!
We have almost every streaming app, and you’re telling me you’re gonna watch that thing we just watched, again? Are you tryna waste my money, sis? Can you please watch something else? I don’t pay for all these goddamn streaming apps JUST for yo’ ass to sit here and watch the same god damn movie every goddamn day damn it.
Of course, I can never actually say that out loud, so I tend to just cringe through it, with my headphones on full blast so I don’t have to hear her laugh over and over at the same jokes, or hear her insanely loud screeching as she hits rewind again and again and again — and, you guessed it, again — to learn the words of her favorite songs.
Listen, I’m sorry (not really) but no one wants to hear that shit!
She does not have the gift of voice. And you can say “she gets it from her mama” … that’s alright with me. We both love music, but we can’t sing. These are the dusty cards we’ve been dealt, from God, or The Universe, whichever one you believe in, and that’s just the way it is.
I don’t feel that same dying pain inside when she watches “Vivo”!
And it’s a breath of fresh air to finally be able to dance and enjoy a movie the way my daughter does.
Honestly I’m the “one and done” type when it comes to watching things. I soak up as much as I can the first time around, and then I find something new. So this “rewatching” thing is new to me.
But it feels so good!
Not only because “Vivo” is an amazing movie, and Ynairaly Simo, who plays Gabi, is truly incredible. Like absolutely, positively the best animated character there ever was, incredible! Nor is it the fact that one of my absolute fave actors, Brian Tyree Henry, is also in “Vivo”.
It also has nothing to do with Missy Elliot penning my favorite song, “My Own Drum”, which is of course performed wonderfully by Ynairaly.
Okay, so maybe it has a little to do with Missy Elliot. Everything she does is dope!
But it’s also because, as a single mom who is currently trying to build her own business at home from scratch so I can stay at home with my daughter, things have been hard over the last two years.
There’s not a week that goes by where I don’t stress over having enough money to cover bills. Or think about how we really need to move out, because having three strong, independent Black women under one roof just isn’t as fun as it sounds. Or how I wish my daughter had her own room, so we can argue weekly about her not keeping it clean or whatever.
Then there’s the anxiety of sending her back to school, with Covid still knocking on doors, looking for a new home to slither into.
So I’m constantly working and worrying, day and night, hoping things will get better. And being able to pause work for even a few seconds, just to dance with my daughter or sing the songs in “Vivo”, means the absolute world to me.
Because for those few seconds, the world and its troubles melt away, and it’s just us. Happy. Smiling. Laughing. Living.
And sometimes that’s enough.