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“The Incredibles,” the wonderful new computer animated film from Pixar (the folks who gave us the “Toy Story” movies and “Finding Nemo”) is an unusual approach to such a story. While it is about superheroes and has more than enough action to satisfy the kiddies, it also is about the yearnings of middle age, about that particular stage in all our lives when we wonder about where we’ve ended up and why we haven’t lived up to the potential of youth.

The story concerns a family of superheroes that has gone into a kind of witness relocation program because of a plethora of lawsuits filed by people who didn’t really want to be saved. And while this family attempts to blend in with “normal” people, they are frustrated because they are unable to use the various abilities that make them special. "They keep finding new ways,” Mr. Incredible says at one point, "to celebrate mediocrity." But, of course, you can’t keep a good superhero down…and the story takes twists and turns and becomes not just about personal responsibility and potential, but also about the importance of family. There is a great moment when Mr. Incredible realizes what he’s been missing while he’s been preoccupied with middle age and powers unused, and he looks at his family and says, “You are my greatest adventure.” Touching stuff, without being cloying or overly sentimental.

“The Incredibles” was written and directed by Brad Bird, who made “The Iron Giant,” one of the best (and least seen) animated films of the past decade. Take the kids, but don’t just drop them off at the theatre. “The Incredibles” is entertainment for folks of all ages. (And then go rent “The Iron Giant” on DVD. You won’t be sorry.)

As for beverages not for folks of all ages, we have to admit that this past week we returned to two old favorites when searching for a wine to serve at a dinner party – a Pedroncelli 2001 Dry Creek Valley Pinot Noir from Sonoma, and a Solaris 2003 Pinot Noir from the Carneros vineyards south of Napa. These are both wonderful wines, and essentially have become house favorites here at home.

Try them. You’ll like ‘em.

By the way, we should apologize for the fact that MNB has been coming out a little late this week. We’ve been struggling with a bad cold and/or light flu, and we’ve been sort of drugged up to the edge of coherence. (Those of you who disagree with us on issues will think that we went over the edge, but that’s another story.) Hopefully by next week we’ll be feeling better and be back on a more regular schedule.

Have a good weekend. Sláinte!!
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