Movies: Choosing Wisely and Raising Kids Who Will Too
- Thursday, October 01, 2009
And another angle you may not have considered: you are building future parents who need to be equipped to raise their own children. They need to see the behind-the-scenes of your parenting.
When Maddy wanted to see The Proposal, I pointed her to the review at PluggedInOnline - a source I respect - which mentioned the director wanting to channel the charm from classic black and white comedies. But though there are some Cary Grant/Katherine Hepburn moments, the reviewer warns:
In this misguided attempt to update the time-tested screwball comedy formula, Fletcher and her team have taken their contrived but potentially charming premise and tarted it up with layers of "contemporary" comedy rouge. That means bare bodies. A bizarre Mother Earth ritual. A wince-inducing bachelorette party striptease.
The latter scene was so embarrassingly repugnant that it was one of the few times in my PG-13 movie-going experience I've found myself hoping someone would leap up and yell, "Fire!" or maybe, "I've gone blind!" just for an excuse to clear the theater. I feared my retinas might be permanently scarred.
Since Maddy adores old movies, I'm sure the comparison to Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn movies resonated with her. She might have thought, why see the cheap (and corrupt) imitation, when you can rummage through our old VHS collection or turn on TCM (her favorite channel) and see the real thing?
Or it may have been the thought of being subjected to watching a male stripper do his thing. All I can say is, I thank God for the Internet - and thank God for Unplugged for being so hip and relevant and real. Because Maddy decided this wasn't something she needed to see.
One way to prepare your child for this kind of decision-making is to fill them with good entertainment. If you have a TV, use it very wisely - watching it with them when you can.
If you are not that familiar with old black and white movies, I promise you will enjoy exploring them with your children. You can find them for free at the TCM channel or your local library. Many are available for little more than a rental fee. And you can join Netflix - which seems to have every movie ever made - for as little as $8. a month.
The thing is that Hollywood keeps grinding out this stuff which is often entertaining, but usually embedded with insulting or obnoxious material. When we let some things go, we become like the fish in the proverbial pot: as the temperature increases gradually, he allows himself to be boiled to death. Likewise, as parents as we let "small" innuendoes go, we become desensitized and soon our kids are being exposed to stuff we might never have dreamed of when we began raising them.
On the other hand, if we fill our children up with the good stuff - timeless movie classics and those which do not challenge our family values - they will grow into teens who will be able to discern for themselves what's worth seeing and what isn't.
Sometimes it's hard to be different than the crowd. But that's probably when it's most important.
Some movie review sites:
Crosswalk.com's Movie Reviews
Common Sense Media
Barbara Curtis is author of 9 books, including Mommy, Teach Me! and Mommy, Teach Me to Read! She is also mother of 12, including several pursuing careers in music and theater.
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