Ryan Thomason

Geek Dad Report: An American Tail – Revisited

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I can’t tell you how long it’s been since I’ve watched this movie that was unarguably one of our household favorites growing up. So, when I saw it was on the movie channels I set it to record and waited for the right time to have my son sit in my lap and watch it with me. That happened this weekend.

When my son got sick over the weekend we had lots of time to kill as all he wanted to do was not move at all and throw up into a bowl. Mixed into all of that we got to finally watch it together, from the start I was trying to fight back that choking feeling in your throat where you’re trying to not let your emotions out. Just the beautiful hand drawn snow drifting about as the credits scrolled across the screen had me fighting back emotions. This was MY favorite movie as a kid, and sharing it with him apparently was more of a moment for me than I realized.

Surprisingly, I still retained most of the film in my head, including the songs, I hummed “There are no cats in America” and again found myself fighting back that choking throat feeling during “Somewhere Out there.” We laughed and smiled to Tiger and Fievel singing “Duo”, I almost want to just get the soundtrack.

Am I just a big sappy wuss now or have any other dad’s experienced this kind of thing? I’m not asking Moms because well, all moms are emotional. We’re Dads, we’re supposed to be the hard asses that set kids in line, and tell them to suck it up when they fall and scrape their knees. Not sit there fighting back tears because a little boy mouse is singing a song with his sister mouse and they aren’t anywhere near each other but looking at the moon that night.

I love watching these old movies with hand drawn animation, honestly, why can’t movies get made like this anymore? It has that certain beauty that just can’t be captured in CG. The colors are so wonderfully done, and I think the film is more appreciated because of the hard work and care that goes into hand drawn animation. For having a three year old that is growing on up CG, it’s these hand drawn movies that seem to really capture his attention and keep him sitting still throughout.

All in all, I’m glad we sat down and watched the movie together, he loved “the mouse movie” and I think watched it two more times over the weekend, which made me proud. I know he’ll never have as much appreciation for it as we did growing up. There are too many Cars and How to Train Your Dragon toys in my house to give An American Tale a chance. I’m glad we watched it though, and I can move onto the next movie that I want him to watch from my childhood.

It sure as hell isn’t Fievel Goes West.


Points of the story I’ll admit I nearly cried:

  • When Fievel gets separated from Papa, and his dad is trying to save him
  • Somewhere Out There song
  • When Fievels dad is running to the sound of his voice and they are reunited

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