Tag Archive: scouting


Review by C.J. Bunce

One of the failings of many creators for kids is talking down to them.  If you treat children from the very beginning like adults, they will step up to the task and embrace acting like adults.  Kids know when adults are speaking down to them.  They also will be excited when you give them the straight dope.  So if you’re creating anything for an audience that includes kids, whether they are seven to seventeen, don’t hold too much back.  And that applies double for relationships–kids are smarter than you think and they listen to everything and absorb everything.  One of the best parts of Troop Zero is that you can’t tell if its a coming of age movie for adults or kids.  And that’s a great thing.

Troop Zero is a new Amazon Studios direct-to-streaming release, and a great movie to watch while sitting at home with your family this weekend.  We love coming of age movies (scroll through several we’ve discussed over the decade here at borg), and Troop Zero easily makes our top 20.  This is the more nostalgic, sweet, genuine brand of coming of age film (the best kind), part The Bad News Bears, part Paper Moon, and it’s obviously a little bit Moonrise Kingdom and maybe even enters Shirley Temple territory like in The Little Princess.  It also ties into one of our favorite NASA accomplishments, the Voyager space probes and golden records prepared by Carl Sagan with voices and music from Earth (also add the PBS documentary The Farthest–Voyager in Space to your must-watch list, reviewed here).

The movie stars the then-12-year-old actress McKenna Grace, who performs like someone with 20 years of experience.  This girl has done everything, from playing young Sabrina in Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, to young Captain Marvel in last year’s hit film, young Tonya Harding in I, Tonya, and she’s the star of the coming summer release (we hope), Ghostbusters: Afterlife.  Plus Independence Day: Resurgence, Ready Player One, and a regular on The Haunting of Hill House (the list goes on!).  In Troop Zero she plays Christmas Flint, a girl with that same awkward but adorable appeal as Tatum O’Neal in her Oscar-winning performance in Paper Moon.  Christmas has the reputation at school for still wetting the bed, she wears red galoshes so no one notices one leg is longer than the other, and no matter how much bad is thrown at her she responds with this incredible positivity.  She also loves space, and thinks her dead mother is looking back at her from the stars.  When she learns a member of NASA is in town to select a girl to voice the greeting on the Voyager space record, she assembles a ragtag team of girls (and one boy) to join the local scouts, and earn the minimum merit badge each to qualify to go to Jamboree where the troop with the best performance routine will have their voices recorded.

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Creek Stewart balances the appeal, insight, intelligence, and demonstration skills of outdoorsmen like Steve Irwin and Jeff Corwin in his Weather Channel series, SOS: How to Survive.  Much more than the typical reality show, Stewart takes viewers on a real outdoor how-to adventure in each hour of the series.  It’s like scouting for adults (and kids, too).  Eagle Scout, survival instructor, and author of more than six non-fiction survival guides, Stewart brings science into the survival discussion, often demonstrating in the simplest terms how anyone can get out of tough trials.  SOS: How to Survive is now in its second season on the Weather Channel with new episodes airing Sundays at 7 p.m. Central.

And it’s not just about life-saving measures.  Some of what you learn on the show may just help you get your car out of the mud in town, or get the fire going at your vacation spot when someone forgot to bring the matches.  For those fans of post-apocalypse science fiction, you’ll have more knowledge after watching a few episodes of the series to challenge the next plot of your favorite TV show.  Focusing on a real-life, true story tragedy including interviews with the survivors, Stewart demonstrates what was a success about the survival and what the victims could have done along the way that they didn’t think of to improve their circumstances.

Stewart has published more than a few survival guides, including pocket field guides to Survival Trees, Survival Knots, Survival Tarp Shelters, Mastering the Bow Drill, Wilderness Survival Drinks, Survival Food, and How to Survive Being Stranded in Your Vehicle Plus he’s created a book on Survival Hacks, 365 Essential Survival Skills, a how-to Survival Kit, and he even wrote The Unofficial Hunger Games Wilderness Survival Guide.

Here is a preview of his series:

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