Hoot Parent Guide
Parent Movie Review
This is a tale of burrowing owls, bulldozers, and bullies—all of which will come together in Florida when Corporate America goes head-to-head with Natural America. It’s a film aimed at the ‘tween crowed, so there’s a good chance you already know who’s going to coming out on top—even though in this case, the winner may be the one on the bottom.
The story’s protagonist is Roy (Logan Lerman), a “fish out of water” who’s been forced to move from Montana to Florida. So far life in his new home has been full of pressing issues—mainly his face against the school bus window—thanks to unwittingly becoming the target of Dana Matherson (Eric Phillips). It seems the huge tormentor finds his own self-confidence through regularly intimidating others. (Nor do relations improve when Roy swings in self-defense and accidentally breaks the brute’s nose.)
The only distraction from this daily discomfort is the sight of a strange, shoeless boy (Cody Linley) running along side the bus, at what appears to be the same speed. Curious, Roy decides to find out all he can about the lanky lad. But the budding detective’s quest is soon getting him just as badly beat up when he chases the mysterious sprinter across a golf course and gets a birdie (the kind that goes “tweet, tweet” around in one’s head) after he is squarely hit with a golf ball.
Undaunted, Roy continues to follow any available clues, which eventually lead him to a reluctant source named Beatrice (Brie Larson) and the future site of a pancake house. There he not only finds The Barefoot Kid (who’s real nickname turns out to be Mullet Fingers), he also learns the construction zone has become the subject of much local attention. Both the contractor and the police have their eyes glued due to a rash of episodes of mild vandalism—things like pulled out survey stakes, deflated tires, and gators in toilets. It doesn’t take much more digging to unearth the Mullet’s interest in the soon-to-be-developed lot. The plot of dirt is home to a small group of burrowing owls.
And you won’t need to be Sherlock Holms to figure out where the script goes from there. Like many movies involving young people wanting to change the world, Hoot walks a fine line between justified protest and illegal activities. Roy’s new friends are convinced no flapjack franchise is worth destroying the habitat of an endangered species. Yet their methods of blocking the building process are at the very least questionable, and downright prosecutable after they decide to tie-up the contractor. While the Montana native uses a cooler head to work the problem through civic bureaucracy, his efforts eventually lead to an extended scene in which he is guilty of resisting arrest.
Fortunately, there is some balance to the film’s portrayals. The jobs created by the new business are considered. The kids even recognize there is nothing wrong with the corporate enterprise—they just want head office to pick a better location (why they chose such an isolated spot in the first place is never addressed).
Content issues prove to be as lighthearted as the production too. Sexual content is limited to a low cut dress and a young girl who sleeps overnight in a boy’s bedroom (separately from the young man), and the inclusion of a couple of mildly questionable words.
Besides the familiar story, you might also recognize the science teacher. Played by Jimmy Buffett (perhaps best known for Margaretaville), the singer/song-writer created the music for the film. An active environmentalist, it’s little surprise the entertainer was willing to lend his talent to this message movie intent on motivating viewers to give a Hoot about the plight of burrowing owls.Starring Luke Wilson, Logan Lerman, Brie Larson, TIm Blake Nelson. Running time: 91 minutes. Theatrical release May 4, 2006. Updated May 1, 2009
Rating & Content Info
Why is Hoot rated PG? Hoot is rated PG by the MPAA for mild bullying and brief language.
This film is designed for young audiences, and has low levels of sexual and language content (a low cut dress, a girl who sleeps in a boy’s bedroom—separately from the boy, as well as a mild expletive and one term of deity). Violence includes situations of vandalism such as letting the air out of vehicle tires, pulling up survey stakes, and defacing a police car. There are also a couple portrayals of bullying antics, the depiction of a dog bite wound, and two occasions when a boy is accidentally hit in the head with a golf ball. As part of the young characters’ efforts to have a guilty man arrested, they tie him up in his office.
Page last updated May 1, 2009
More parents' guide for Hoot after the break...
Hoot Parents' Guide
What was the difference between Mullet Finger’s and Roy’s methods of making things change? Which one do you think was on the right track? Considering the mere act of trespassing is breaking the law, do you think their activities were a good idea?
Big corporations are a frequent “target” in movies. Why do you think this is such a popular theme? What are some of the things they are criticized for? What are some good things large companies contribute to society?
The bully, Dana Matherson, is falsely accused of a crime. How do our actions and choices allow us to either be trusted or mistrusted by others?
The most recent home video release of Hoot movie is August 15, 2006. Here are some details…
This DVD release provides pleanty of extra material to Hoot about, such as an audio commentary by director Wil Shriner and author Carl Hiaasen, a blooper reel and animal games. Go behind the scenes with the following featurettes: Director on the Set, Meet the Kids in the Cast, Animals in Action, Meet the Creator of Hoot, and Jimmy Buffett: Filmmaker in Paradise. As well, background information is provided on the National Wildlife Federation. The film is presented in Widescreen 16x9 (1.85:1), with audio tracks available in English (Dolby Digital 5.1 and Surround Sound 2.0), and subtitles in English and Spanish.
Related home video titles:
Birds, bulldozers, and bullies are also parts of the script in the film Fly Away Home, where a young girl tries to teach a flock of orphaned Canadian Geese how to migrate. A young boy becomes actively involved in trying to free a killer whale that is living his life in captivity in the Free Willy movie series.