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9to5to9: The real thrill of parenting: You get to watch their movies

Submitted by on Saturday, 13 September 2008 No Comment

I’ll admit it: The only reason I had kids was because I ran out of people to share movies with.

It was easy when my older nieces and nephews were young. Spend the weekend with Aunt Deb and we’ll rent animation up to Blockbuster’s limit. Forget the popcorn: All I care is that we snagged “”Cinderella,”" “”Lady and the Tramp”" and “”The Aristocats.”" At Christmas, I always bought two copies of the latest release. One for them, and one for my personal “”someday when I have kids”" vault.

Later, a boyfriend took over the duties. One of our early dates was to see “”Beauty and the Beast,”" and he introduced me to “”Fantasia.”" He also was headed for grad school for a master’s in puppetry, which explains why kiddy animation didn’t bother him.

Next, co-workers were on call, watching “”Toy Story”" with me on a snowy night as an elderly couple in the theater repeatedly shushed us for laughing too much. Then I moved to California and co-opted a friend’s kids.

All of this to overcompensate for a deprived childhood. The tiny town near where I grew up had one theater with one screen. It was a classic beauty complete with a balcony, if you could overlook the mold in the ceiling and in the movie release dates. “”ET”" debuted in June 1982. When I left for college three months later, it still hadn’t made it to my hometown.

So I’ve probably overdone it with the guys in an effort to make sure they don’t suffer similar cinematic deprivation.

Or so I thought until I checked out the KIDS FIRST! Top 100 movie picks today at parenting.com. I found out there that I’m still getting a failing grade. Out of the 20 films on the preschool list, the guys have seen only 11. That’s a 55 percent rate for those keeping score.

I have to quibble with their list, though.

“”Ratatouille”" made the cut? I’ve talked with several parents who said they loved that movie and their kids were bored out of their skulls.

“”Cars”"? This is a fave of the guys, but I cringe every time I hear Lightning utter a four-letter word. And since “”hillbilly”" immediately precedes “”hell,”" I tend to take it a bit personally, too. Folks, I’ve seen hillbilly hell, and Radiator Springs is no hillbilly hell.

“”Madagascar”"? The guys get nothing from it. They enjoy the music and the funny animals, but there are no life lessons other than “”run like heck before your friends try to eat you.”"

Where’s “”Dumbo”"? Where’s “”Fantasia”"? “”Lion King”" and “”Peter Pan”" don’t even show up until the ages 5 to 12 list. “”Lion King”" I can understand — I sat with the guys the first million times they watched it to make sure Mufasa’s death didn’t freak them out. But “”Peter Pan”"? Is it the smoking?

I suppose I should rejoice at my miserable score, because it means I’ll have to max out Blockbuster this weekend. Guys, we have some movies to watch! We’re going to rent “”Curious George”" and “”Monsters Inc.”" It’s time to meet “”Mary Poppins”" and “”Snow White.”"

It’s all, of course, in the interests of making sure their theatrical education is complete. I’m sure I won’t enjoy those movies in the least.

Copyright 2008 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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