Welcome to the inaugural post of my “10 Things” feature. I’ve been searching for something that will bring a different perspective to the blog. While Friday Fuzz focuses on transgender and gender issue related topics, our family is more than just the family with the transgender kid. My goal is for people to get to know us better since I’ve been told I’m very guarded. We will see!
10 Movies I Forced My Kids to Watch
Yes, as my children were growing up until as recent as last month, I have forced them to watch movies they otherwise wouldn’t have seen. I wasn’t trying to punish them or anything. I really thought they would enjoy the movies, for one reason or the other. The hidden bonus in making them watch these movies is that they sparked on so many conversations, not just the day of the movie, but for years to come. We talked about pop culture, the way society has changed since their dad and I were growing up, family stories from way back in the 70’s and 80’s, and how things related to their lives now.
1. The Breakfast Club (1985)- I cannot remember the first time we watched this together. I do remember telling them that we did not condone getting high in the school library and destroying school property…..or getting Saturday detentions. This movie is a classic and it truly stands the test of time. My kids immediately embraced it and it has become one of their favorites. Andrew shared it recently with his girlfriend, who to his horror, had never seen it.
2. The Bad News Bears (1976) – Both my husband and I had fond memories of this movie. Apparently our memories were from the point of view of a child and not as a parent because when we sat down to watch it with the kids (the 1976 Walter Matthau/Tatum O’Neal version in all its glory) we had to quickly pause the video to make disclaimers and explain why we thought this was suitable viewing matter for children. They were approximately 12, 9, and 6 around this time. To this day, I’m not sure we adequately explained the suitability factor.
This was when we came up with our own mantra that carries on until today- A-C-T, which stands for Approve, Condone, Tolerate. My kids quickly learned that the minute we began, “We do not approve, condone or tolerate any behavior….”
It was one of their first looks into how different the world was now compared to the 70’s. Kids swear, adults drink and smoke. Yes. But in movies, kids do not swear like that and the responsible baseball coach does not bring his beer to practices. He also does not pile kids into his convertible with no seat belts while drinking his beer as he drives. Do I even have to say it? My kids LOVED it.
3. Mr.Mom (1983)- Michael Keaton and Teri Garr. Taking it for the silliness that it was, it went over really well with the kids. The only touchy part was when the dad had to take away Kenny’s woobie (his blanket). I was afraid my blankie boy, Andrew, would fear that we were going to take his blanket away. We didn’t but that’s a post for another day.
4. The Unsinkable Molly Brown (1964)- Molly Brown and the Titanic have always interested me for as long as I can remember. The year we were heading to Denver on vacation, we watched this movie because I really wanted to visit the Molly Brown house and I figured if the kids were familiar with her story they would get on board with the idea. Since Michael was obsessed with the Titanic when he was younger, I hoped his enthusiasm would grab Kris and Andrew. No go. They don’t remember watching the movie. They don’t remember going to the house in Denver. Nothing. Oh well, you win some. You lose some.
5. The Music Man (1962)- While I introduced my kids to some movies because they were favorites of mine, others had a specific reason in mind, such as #4 and this one. Kris and Andrew would attend a musical summer day camp and after the first year when the play was Fiddler on the Roof, I realized that they enjoyed it much more if they were familiar with the story and music. Kris was about 10 and Andrew was 7 or almost 8. Having watched a very young little Ron Howard playing the part of Winthrop, Marian the librarian’s little brother, Andy went into auditions mimicking Winthrop’s lisp instantly earning him the part. He made his performing debut on a stage in front of a packed auditorium and blew us away. That sparked off a string of classical musical watching that continues. The results have been mixed- Oklahoma is a winner where as Carousel got mixed reviews.
6. The Sound of Music (1965)- I had such hopes for this movie and all were unrealistic. I had memories of huddling around the tv set with my sisters and brother and watching this movie. We had to take advantage of the once a year opportunity since this was before the days of VCRS, DVDS and DVRS. I remember the treats we would have and laying on the floor together after fighting over who was laying in the middle and who got stuck on the outside ends. What I didn’t remember was how incredibly long this movie is or if I might be honest here, how slow the 2nd half is. In fact, we had to watch this movie in 2 sittings because the kids were antsy when we hit the halfway mark. As we watched the 2nd half, I didn’t even remember most of it, leaving me to wonder if, as kids, we always fell asleep before the end.
7. The Blue Lagoon (1980)- Have you seen this one? Brooke Shields. Christopher Atkins. Nudity. I’m not sure what I was thinking when I sat down to watch this one with my then 17ish year old daughter (who was actually Kris). Michael and Andrew were not included in this viewing. If you’re not familiar, you need to find some clips on YouTube. I definitely do not remember the underwater scenes where you see the startlingly clear outline of Christopher Atkin’s quite male physic with nothing left to the imagination. Awkward!! The punchline of this one- to this day Kris maintains that it is one of his all time favorite movies!! Go figure. (I still blush at the thought of Christopher Atkins naked.)
8. Beaches (1988)- I don’t know what I was thinking with this one. It was another Mom and Kerri viewing. I honestly thought Kerri would love Bette Midler’s character- CC Bloom. I really do love this movie. What I didn’t count on was how much Barbara Hershey’s character, Hillary, dying would upset Kerri. To this day, Kris is so mad at me for this movie. I learned my lesson about the importance of spoilers with this one.
9. The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)- This would be the time I forced my entire family to watch a movie that I myself had not seen in 20+ years and I probably should have reacquainted myself with it before doing so. I did not realize that my husband had not seen the movie. What was he doing while all the rest of us were going to those midnight shows in the early 80’s? Kris and Andrew were teenagers when I decided we should watch it. Michael was not around for this. As I stated in an earlier post, this is highlighted as one of the two most traumatizing times in Andy’s life. I think it still ranks pretty high in my husband’s list too! Kris, in contrast, loved it. And I did too. Live and learn, right?
10. Last but not least, When Harry Met Sally (1989)- I know it probably wasn’t completely appropriate for them but compared to some of the other movies they were subjected to, this one did no harm and they genuinely enjoyed it. They had been seeing bits and pieces for years because like Pride and Prejudice (which I have not forced on them) I insist on watching it when I see it’s on. I had shared the Sharper Image scene with them years ago because they were doing Oklahoma at summer camp and I thought they would get a kick out of it. They did. And they really did like this movie too. What’s not to love? Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan are the best together! This is one of my all time favorite movies.
There are so many others- Moonstruck, Dirty Dancing, Pretty in Pink, Sleepless in Seattle….. I would like to think I did more good than harm in making my kids watch these movies. I know I exposed them to bits of the past that they otherwise wouldn’t have encountered. And I see the tradition continuing as Michael recently shared The Brave Little Toaster with CJ for the first time!
Have you “forced” your kids to watch any movies? And if so, what kind of response did you get?