Posted in movie review, theology

Movie Review: Troop Zero

By Elizabeth Prata

I like movies about kids, kids who are marginalized or are underdogs and persevere with grace and charitableness. This is one of those movies.

The blurb goes: “In rural Georgia in 1977, a group of elementary-school misfits led by spunky outcast Christmas Flint join forces to infiltrate the high-and-mighty Birdie Scouts youth group in order to win a talent show. The winning Birdies will earn the right to have their voices included on the Voyager Golden Record, which Christmas believes will be heard by her deceased mother – if they can just win the show.”

Starring in this 2019 film are Viola Davis, Jim Gaffigan, Mike Epps, Charlie Shotwell, and Allison Janney, and as the main character Christmas Flint, McKenna Grace. You might remember McKenna as Paige from Young Sheldon. It’s the second collaboration between Davis and Janney since The Help in 2011. The foil is on Amazon Prime.

It seems that of late I’ve gravitated to several movies set in the south, this one in the back woods of Georgia in the fictional town of Wiggly. Christmas’ father is a lawyer on the edge of bankruptcy but a hail fellow well met, if a bit scruffy. Viola Davis is his world-weary aide/secretary.

Christmas is fascinated with the stars, one link she had with her mom who’d passed away the previous year. When Christmas hears of an opportunity to be a voice on the recording of The Golden Record to be placed on Voyager and launched into space, Christmas grabs the opportunity with all the spunk she’s got and all the determination she can muster. The chance involves having to become a Birdie, like a Brownie in the Girl Scouts.

Southern demographics are subtly but plainly demonstrated here, if sometimes a bit brutally. The misfit Birdie troop Christmas manages to gather are the town’s marginalized and disliked, aka rednecks and trailer trash. The town’s upper class girl clique definitely does not approve of a rival, especially one called Troop Zero. The troop must earn badges in order to compete in the Jamobree, where the winner will be the troop allowed to speak onto the Golden Record, Christmas’ ultimate goal. As the misfit girls work together to earn their badges, they learn to like each other and begin to see a way of life that isn’t fueled by anger or bitterness (as some of the other Troop Zero girls are). They learn they have skills they didn’t know they possessed, and see a possible way of life they hadn’t seen before.

Some of the school bullying from the town’s princesses is hard to watch (not because it’s especially violent, just hard to take). The biting, “bless your heart, I’m jes playin” bullying from the rival Troop Mother (Janney) is also cruel. But I believe it to be real, if slightly exaggerated, as a line between a small town’s haves and have nots.

It’s a movie that seems simple but grows emotionally complex as it goes on. It is a pretty movie, too, the cinematography is good and the scenes of the stars and pastures are beautiful to watch. The pacing is good, nothing lags. There are lessons here, for many different ages.

Lots of swearing with the word ‘hell’, one “shit.” Some adult beer drinking, and adult smoking. No other issues.

I have also watched Alabama Moon recently (Amazon Prime). I also enjoyed Wish Man, the story of Make-A-Wish founder Frank Shankwitz. (Amazon Prime).

Did you know that InstantWatcher is a website that makes finding the kind of movies you want to see on Amazon Prime or Netflix easy? And you can search by RATING! (G, PG, Pg-13, etc). If you find a movie you like you can also launch Prime or Netflix right from Instantwatcher. Her are some reviews of the Instantwatcher:

InstantWatcher is a Faster Interface to Netflix Streaming

Instantwatcher is a better search option for Netflix database

I hope you enjoy it! If you don’t, it’s OK your mileage may vary, but please don’t @me! 🙂