Team Marco parents guide

Team Marco Parent Guide

This is ninety minutes of mean-spirited, pointless gibberish.

Overall D-

Digital on Demand: Twelve-year-old Marco is glued to his tablet, playing games and doing research. But when his grandfather moves in and insists that Marco spend some time outdoors, Marco finds himself outside playing bocce ball, and learning more about his grandfather along the way.

Release date November 20, 2020

Violence A
Sexual Content A
Profanity A-
Substance Use B

Why is Team Marco rated Not Rated? The MPAA rated Team Marco Not Rated

Run Time: 92 minutes

Parent Movie Review

Marco (Owen Vaccaro) is on a quest! He’s determined to make it to level 100 of a video game designed by his father. If he does it before the end of the summer, his dad has promised to take him to an exclusive tech convention. But life has a way of making other plans, and following an unfortunate house fire, Marco’s recently widowed grandfather, Nonno (Anthony Patellis) has moved right into Marco’s bedroom. Apart from the personal space issues which arise, Nonno has no patience for Marco’s interest in video games (and his father), or his general dislike of the outdoors. With Marco’s mom, Anna (Anastasia Ganias) at work, Nonno sees an opportunity to expose Marco to a little more of life and steals him away to play bocce ball with some old friends. But the inter-family tensions won’t stop there…

There is no shortage of problems with this movie, but my personal favorite is that Grandpa is a bully for most of the runtime. He doesn’t really seem to care much about Marco as a person, focusing instead on habits he doesn’t understand. Marco spends some time on his tablet and gaming console, which seems to infuriate his grandfather – not that it’s any of his business anyway. Were Marco devoid of parental attention, Nonno might have a point, but Anna has Marco limited to two hours a day of screen time, which looks like responsible parenting to me. What’s even less pleasant is Nonno’s constant disdain towards people with different dietary options. Whether it’s soy milk or gluten free food, there isn’t a legitimate medical dietary necessity that dear old Nonno can’t find time to mock. He’s a thoroughly unpleasant character and makes me pity Marco. Not that I’m a particular fan of Marco, but between the two, he comes out on top.

Strong as my feelings are about Nonno’s odious behaviors, none of that really matters because the writing is so poor that, with the exception of Anna, these characters don’t feel like real people. This is one of those unoriginal movies where old people don’t understand anything that’s happened since the end of World War II, and young people are hypersensitive whiners who have no legitimate problems of their own. Apart from being inaccurate, it’s excessively lazy. What’s more, it only serves to exacerbate tensions between the generations, as if social media weren’t already doing just fine at that, thanks very much. Promoting intergenerational conflict because you’re too lazy to come up with a more nuanced plot is not the mark of a good screenwriter.

There aren’t any content issues that would make Team Marco unsuitable for children, apart from the utter inanity. Nonno is occasionally seen smoking, and there are a few terms of deity, but apart from that there’s nothing happening here. At all. In any sense. Ever. This is ninety minutes of mean-spirited, pointless gibberish. I’d rather watch someone trim their toenails on the bus than watch this nonsense. At least that’s over in a few minutes and isn’t going to try to sell me on a Google home assistant.

Directed by Julio Vincent Gambuto. Starring Louis Cancelmi, Owen Vaccaro, and Thomas Kopache. Running time: 92 minutes. Theatrical release November 20, 2020. Updated

Watch the trailer for Team Marco

Team Marco
Rating & Content Info

Why is Team Marco rated Not Rated? Team Marco is rated Not Rated by the MPAA

Violence:   A character is shown being rushed to hospital.
Sexual Content: None.
Profanity:   There are occasional uses of terms of deity and mild insults. There is one mild profanity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: An adult character is shown smoking cigarettes.

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Team Marco Parents' Guide

Why does Marco spend so much time on his tablet? Do you think it is a problem? How does his mother try to influence his screen time? Why does his grandfather react to this the way he does?

What are some of the things Nonno doesn’t understand which actually make sense? Where do you think his intolerance comes from?

Compare this to a movie like The War with Grandpa. What is different about the relationships in that movie? Which movie does it better? What is the point of stories like this?

Nonno doesn’t respect any of Marco’s feelings or boundaries. This relationship is deeply toxic. Do you think it is fixable? Do you know anyone in a relationship this dysfunctional? How do you think you could help them?

Loved this movie? Try these books…

For a sweet book about the love between grandparents and grandchildren, you can read comedian Billy Crystal’s I Already Know I Love You.

A grandmother gives a girl a gift that blesses her entire life in When Grandma Gives You a Lemon Tree by Jamie L.B. Deenihan.

A grandma helps a child who’s jealous of an older sibling in Stardust by Jeanne Willis.

When a grandfather and his grandson don’t share the same language, they learn to communicate through art in Drawn Together by Minh Le.

A girl learns about her grandfather’s story of emigrating from Italy in The Matchbox Diary by Paul Fleischman. Phoebe Gilman goes back to the Old Country to tell a sweet story about a young boy who’s grandfather is a tailor. Carefully recycling scraps, the grandfather is able to make Something from Nothing.

Ilse Koehn shares her memories of her brisk, seemingly unemotional grandmother. When the Nazis put Ilse’s half-Jewish father’s life in peril, Ilse and her mother went back to live with her maternal grandparents. Their story is told in Mischling, Second Degree.

Genie and Ernie spend a month with their grandparents in rural Virginia – without WiFi – in As Brave As You by Jason Reynolds.

A young girl goes to live with her grandfather in the Alps in Heidi by Johanna Spyri.

Joey and Mary Alice are scared to death to stay with their Grandma Dowdel but they learn some remarkable (and hysterical) lessons when they stay with her. Their adventures are chronicled in A Long Way from Chicago and A Year Down Yonder by Richard Peck.

Home Video

Related home video titles:

A much better film with a similar premise, The War with Grandpa has the added bonus of Robert De Niro in the starring role.

Grandparents often play positive roles in children’s lives. In Moana, the titular character’s grandmother tells her stories of her people’s seafaring past and inspires her thirst for adventure. The Princess Diaries features a San Francisco teenager who learns that her grandmother is Queen of Genovia – and she’s her heir. It’s up to Queen Clarisse to groom her granddaughter to ascend to the throne. In Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Charlie wins the golden ticket and a chance to tour the factory with his grandfather.