DVD/Blu-ray review: “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

We’ve all had bad days, but most of us have not had ones as bad as portrayed in “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.” This movie is a great thing to have to prepare your kids to survive their own very bad days while providing them with interesting background details and potential inspiration for filmmaking.

The movie itself is fun and does have a happy ending. Fans of Jennifer Garner and Steve Carell will also enjoy this relatively lightweight though good-natured family-friendly comedy.

People who live in or have lived in Pasadena will recognize some of the sights and might get a giggle out of that.

The story is about how on one magical day, his birthday, Alexander (Ed Oxenbould) does get his wish–that everyone in his family for once to have a really bad day. On his birthday, his parents, Kelly and Ben (Garner and Carell) wake up late. His sister Emily (Kerris Dorsey) wakes up with a cold on the day she makes her debut as the star of a play. The battery of Kelly’s car is dead. Kelly bicycles to manage a celebrity book reading and is unable to stop before the celeb, Dick Van Dyke (as himself) reads the typo. His older brother Anthony (Dylan Minnette) has a misunderstanding with his snooty girlfriend and botches his driving test. Ben has problems in his interview for a new job. Alexander’s birthday party which seemed heading for disaster does, in the end, come off well enough that Alexander does have a happy birthday and his family all have a happy ending.

The book was originally published in 1972, written by Judith Viorst and illustrated by Ray Crus.

The DVD/Blu-ray bonus content includes:

  1. Alexander…In Real Life
  2. Snappy Crocs and Punchy Roos: The Australian Outback Yard Party
  3. Walkabout: A Video Diary
  4. And The Delightful, Magnificent, Very Good Bloopers
  5. “Hurricane” by the Vamps–Music video

Kids and adults will appreciate learning about how this story came about from the real Alexander, now a grown-up, and his mother Judith Viorst. As an adult, you can see how Viorst took something negative and made it a positive although at times Alexander had mixed feelings about it. Alexander is the youngest of Viorst’s three sons. In the Alexander book series, he has two brothers, Anthony and Nick, also named for his real brothers. In the book, Alexander is 5-years-old.

The Walkabout video diary might be tiresome for adults, but might serve as inspiration for budding filmmakers.  The bloopers are also a nice addition.


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