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Letting them watch things I never thought I would

Submitted by on Friday, 28 January 2011 One Comment

“Too violent for kids, too childish for grownups,” is how Common Sense Media describes “GI Joe: Rise of the Cobra.”

“There are probably no more than 20 minutes when there is not violence,” reviewers at IMDb warn.

Yikes. That means that either we’re tasteless freaks or we’re  desensitized to violence because all three of us enjoyed the movie. Big Guy loved it, as he will inevitably love any movie that even whispers the word “Army.” Boots liked it, though he didn’t want to watch it repeatedly. I had no expectations going in, so I was pleased that I didn’t hate it. “It’s not as bad as I thought it would be,” I told Big Guy. I’m sure part of my reaction was due to the pure joy of  watching something not set on the Island of Sodor.

Oh how that’s changed from the pre-Mommy me. I remember sharing, when Big Guy was  a toddler, a co-worker’s outrage that the last Star Wars installment was being rated PG-13. It broke his 7-year-old’s heart because Mean Mom and Dad wouldn’t let him see it in the theater. I agreed wholeheartedly with him.

These days I’m not so sure I would have made the decision he did. The guys see plenty of PG-13 movies, though none so far in a theater. Big screen is a whole different and potentially scarier ballgame.

Granted, Big Guy did squirm during the various nefarious facial “surgeries” in “GI Joe,” and Boots didn’t like the scene where a man sticks his arm in a cage with a King Cobra and the predictable happens. Still, neither covered his eyes and waited for me to tell them “it’s over.” They saved that for truly frightening things, such as kissing scenes in “Iron Man.”

But there were no long-lasting effects. I think that’s because the guys know the violence isn’t real. I mean, come on, we live on an Army post. If GI Joe-type gear really existed they would have heard of it by now. I think.

The other thing we had going for us was that I was watching with them and answering questions in real time.

That’s a real downside to young children watching movies rated above G. They often have trouble following the plot. The first two Harry Potters, the guys made it through with no problem. During “The Prisoner from Azkaban,” though, they kept asking questions, which meant they missed the next part while I was explaining, triggering even more questions. I’m betting they’ll be lost in the first half hour of “The Goblet of Fire.”

Admittedly, I never would have branched out into PG13 movies at as young an age as I did – the guys were 4 1/2 and 6 1/2 when we watched “Pirates of the Caribbean” – were it not for the fact that more mature content is marketed relentlessly to children theoretically too young to see the movies. There are books and toys and games. Even if you don’t buy them, they see them on shelves. That’s what happened to us with both “Iron Man” and “GI Joe.”

And the guys have never seen a PG13 movie in the theaters, though I’m sure they’ll be begging when “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” comes out this summer. I’m sure I’ll let them, and I’m also pretty sure that Boots will fall asleep. He’s yet to stay awake for even a PG movie in the theaters. “Too much talking,” he says.

I guess talking, and movies beyond G, are fine for him as long as it’s in the comforts of his home.

Copyright 2011 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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  • Bloody Mary? Oh, the horrors! | 9to5to9 (author) said:

    [...] the horrors! Submitted by Debra Legg on Wednesday, 2 February 2011 No Comment Big Guy will watch "GI Joe: Rise of the Cobra" repeatedly and not be bothered a bit. He didn't flinch during any "Harry Potter" one through four, [...]