Lighthearted Family Ducks Nature

3 Shows To Make You Smile

Every month, my family and I plan a fun activity that we can all experience together. Sometimes it’s small, like playing mini-golf or going to the movies. Sometimes it’s big, like embarking on a road trip! Everything else is a surprise where one of us buys tickets somewhere and takes the whole family out.

I’m sharing three lighthearted family shows that I saw with my family this year. I think you’ll really enjoy these with your own family – or even by yourself! – as you plan out your year.

1) Wonder

Wonder Movie Poster

Based on R. J. Palacio’s novel, “Wonder” tells the story of Auggie Pullman, a boy born with Treacher Collins syndrome, a genetic disorder managed with facial reconstructive surgery.

His face looks different than the other kids at his school – and this is his first time stepping out of the world of homeschooling and into the mainstream world of public schools.

Auggie’s sister, Via, whispers in his ear before he steps into the public school world. “If they stare let them stare. You can’t blend in when you were born to stand out.”

The main theme of the movie is to “choose kind.” Julia Roberts, who plays Auggie’s mom, mentions a really simple yet beautiful lesson in the movie. When other people act small, you have to be the bigger person. Auggie does just that with his big heart, his extensive knowledge, and his clever comebacks.

If you haven’t already seen “Wonder,” then bring a box of tissues to this one! That’s right, a BOX of tissues. Not those little travel-sized packages for the car.


Wonder Movie Auggie Pullman School
From L to R: Jacob Tremblay as “Auggie,” Elle McKinnon as “Charlotte” and Noah Jupe as “Jack Will” in WONDER. | Lionsgate

Auggie proves to be not only kinder than most kids, but also much smarter than most (contrary to their assumptions).

One of the school kids tries to alienate Auggie during a school tour, speaking loudly and talking down on him. Auggie gives him a grammar lesson in return.

“The word’s ‘supposedly,” by the way.” “What are you talking about?” “You said ‘supposably’ before.”

Auggie befriends another kid, Jack Will, and a few other characters along the way. The waterworks were in full swing in almost every scene. It was a little ridiculous, but totally worth it!

The “Wonder” family stars Jacob Tremblay (from “Room”), Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson, and Izabela Vidovic (from “Homefront”).


Wonder Movie Jacob Tremblay Julia Roberts
Jacob Tremblay as “Auggie” and Julia Roberts as “Isabel” in WONDER. Photo by Dale Robinette. | Lionsgate

2) The Greatest Showman

The Greatest Showman PT Barnum Hugh Jackman


What a feel-good musical! Let me start off by saying you must go into this with an OPEN MIND! I read reviews when I came home from the movie, elated to affirm all the joy this movie brought me.

So many critics disliked the movie because it is factually incorrect. Well, this movie does not mention in any context, “Based on a true story.”

This is not a documentary! It’s simply a fun-filled movie with a fictional take on a real person, P.T. Barnum.


The Greatest Showman Movie
DF-07720 – P.T. Barnum (Hugh Jackman) comes alive with the oddities in Twentieth Century Fox’s THE GREATEST SHOWMAN.


Now that we’ve gotten past that…Hugh Jackman shines as P.T. Barnum in The Greatest Showman. His singing voice is alright – it could use a little more volume! But he delivered so much warmth and charm that it’s tough not to cheer for him.

The movie twirls and swirls through different periods of Barnum’s life. From finding his creativity in his childhood, to marrying his childhood sweetheart, to singing with his daughters, and making every moment magical.

This movie brings to life all the circus outcasts we’ve seen in posters, museums, and other movies. The Bearded Lady will even have you stomping on your feet from the infectious songs!

It was nice to see Zac Efron return to the musical scene playing alongside another Disney favorite, Zendaya.


The Greatest Showman Zac Efron Zendaya
DF-11638_R – Philip (Zac Efron) is entranced by Anne’s (Zendaya) trapeze artistry in Twentieth Century Fox’s THE GREATEST SHOWMAN.


Everyone has a purpose in this movie. Every song is well-written and well-timed. I’ve even been listening to the album on Spotify for a few weeks now!

Definitely check out this movie when it comes out at Redbox, on TV, or wherever else you might find a movie these days.

3) Michael Carbonaro Live

It’s the jaw-dropping, show-stopping, toe-tapping, hand-clapping magic comedy show from Michael Carbonaro! You may know him from the truTV hidden-camera series, The Carbonaro Effect.

The ‘rents LOVE his TV show. We went to see the live – SOLD OUT – show at the Hard Rock Live, and we weren’t quite sure what to expect.


The Carbonaro Effect
The Carbonaro Effect | Turner Broadcasting System


We were laughing so hard, we kept tapping each other on the shoulders, asking, “Did you hear that?” “Did you see that?!” “That was hilarious!”

Dressed in a nice suit and tie with slicked back hair, he brought audience members on stage. Men, women, kids, he found something relatable (or humorous) about each audience member and ran with it.

He mocked the nay-sayers, speaking what was on their minds, “I know what you’re thinking. You cut away with the hidden cameras, and then you do your magic!” or “I know, you think this audience member was planted here. You think I know this person. – turns to guest – Have we ever met before? No? Good, just making sure.”

After targeting the non-believers, Michael let us know, “Believers, close your eyes!”


Michael Carbonaro Live Hard Rock Live Orlando, FL | Family Show


He played a few clips from his TV show (this one was HILARIOUS), introducing the segment as an opportunity to watch the show as one big family (the audience). His TV show is a family show, and it allows people take a break from their busy lives to sit down and laugh together.


Michael Carbonaro Live Magic-Comedy Hard Rock Live Orlando, FL


Michael also showed us some childhood photographs when he practiced making masks and acting as a makeup artist. The live visuals and the video clips combined to make a really great show.

He closed the show with a very strange (his words) yet creative act. It was a trick he practiced when his father was away at work. Michael walked out with a bath towel wrapped around his waste, sprayed shaving cream on his hands, and then started sculpting different monster masks from the cream! He closes the show with this seven-minute act.

We laughed all night, smiled when Michael “got us” with his magic tricks, and we had a great time watching some behind-the-scenes clips!

Plan your own family fun!

I’ve laid out the top three shows I saw this year. Now it’s your turn! Plan your own family fun, and by family, that can be your relatives, your significant other, or even your friends! Just plan something and have a great time.

Let me know if you have any suggestions for a fun show to experience!

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