Some of my fondest childhood memories are of going to the movies. I love movies. Just love ‘em. I love sitting in the darkened theater. I love the previews, the artery-clogging popcorn with the fake butter (for the record, I do love good popcorn with real butter even more). I love losing myself so completely in a movie. Good or mediocre and sometimes even bad, I love ‘em. I even the bumpy seats and the sugar/fat smell imbedded in the floor and a fabric. That’s how much I love movies. Enough that I – the most no-nonsense writer you’ll ever read — waxes poetic about movies and movie theaters.
I love the movies of my youth. E.T. Raiders. Superman. Empire. You know, the greats. The masterpieces of silver screen.
Before I had kids, we saw, like … every movie that came out. Every weekend, sometimes twice a weekend, we were at the movie theater. We had parties to celebrate the Oscars. We just loved movies that much.
I know there are a lot of moms with lofty goals about raising their kids. They want their kids to excel at sports and play like concert musicians. They teach their kids to play chess and to get into Harvard. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Great goals. Me? I just want to share great movies with my kids. I want to sit in darkened movie theaters and eat bad popcorn with them. I want to eat jujubes with them.
I want these great childhood memories with them, because they are the great memories of my childhood. Maybe that’s natural. To want to share the things we love and the things we loved as children. It’s why the first chapter book I read to my daughter was Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH. It’s why I like to play board games with my kids. It’s why my husband loves it when I make the pasta dish just like his mother used to and why he sat up with us at bedtime for every pages of Little House on the Prairie.
We want our kids to love the things we love.
And, okay, I admit it, sometimes this means we watch things that aren’t wholly age appropriate. Yes, I know, there are plenty of movies we could watch together. But, frankly, so much of that ‘kid-friendly’ programing is just … well, total crap from a storytelling point of view. Some of it’s good, but a lot is just crap. It’s bad writing and bad storytelling. It’s like Goldfish for the brain. There’s no nutritional value to it and it’s killing our kids palates. (Yes, Barbie movies, I’m talking to you.) So when it comes to watching movies with my kids, I’d rather watch stuff that’s good even if it’s a little intense.
Sometimes, you just have to ignore MPAA warnings and call it for your kids. With my kids, the rule is, we pause the movie if they want to talk about it and I’ll take anyone into the other room who wants to go. (Well, except my husband.) Of course, it’s not like we’re watching Chinatown or anything. Nothing that’s going to destroy their faith in humanity. Just the good stuff, even with the occasional explosion.
So what’s your family policy on movies? What are your family favorites?