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If you're anything like us, you've got a whole collection of movies you remember watching and loving as a kid - either on actual DVDs, in your Netflix queue, or simply stashed away in your brain somewhere. If your parents and/or caretakers were terrible, this list could include horror flicks and independent films, but more likely they're the standard kid's fare that we all know and love.
But have you ever stopped to really think about what went on in those movies? If you did, you might find out that most of the ones that you thought were light and entertaining are actually pretty messed up. Consider these examples...
Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead
The Gist: A mom goes on vacation for three months, leaving her children in charge of an elderly babysitter who soon kicks the bucket. The kids enjoy the lack of supervision before learning valuable lessons.
The Problem: Where do we even start? First of all, if the eldest daughter is old enough to pose as an adult and get a job, why is the mom hiring a babysitter in the first place? The average babysitter starts around the age of 11 or 12; surely the daughter can look after her younger siblings, and if she's really that irresponsible, maybe the mom has problems that won't be solved by a long vacation. For that matter, most of these kids should be able to look after themselves. Besides which, what about other members of the community? Why is this family holed up in a house with absolutely no other adult contact? Someone call child services!
And really, the whole point of becoming a parent should be, you know, being with your kids. If you need to get away for three freaking months, maybe you should reconsider the whole parenting thing.
The Gist: Kids don't want their parents to get divorced, so they decide to lock them in the basement. Their friends get in on the action, and soon there's a battle of wits between the adults and their children.
The Problem: Again, do these people really not have anyone at all who will go looking for them if they don't show up at their homes for a few days? What is society coming to when you can disappear and no one will care? Again, it's cute and all that these kids are trying to force other people's wills to comply with their own, but in the real world this isn't heart-warming: it's psychotic. And in the end, the kids get their way. What kind of lesson does that teach? If you use force on people to get what you want, you'll succeed in life? That is probably the worst thing you could ever, ever teach your children.
The Gist: Parents leave on vacation, forget kid. House is targeted for burglary. Kid uses funny hijinks to stop burglars. Happy ending for everyone (except, of course, the bad guys).
The Problem: First of all, imagine actually being left behind by your parents while they fly to Europe. Most kids are traumatized enough by the idea of being left alone in the mall for a few minutes; days of this would be enough to break the strongest of spirits, and leave the child a whimpering mess for life. Second, after being left behind, the child decides that when in danger, instead of approaching the authorities he will use a series of dangerous and potentially deadly attacks on fellow human beings. Again, if this were happening in real life, you'd be watching a psychological intervention at the end or a pint sized funeral, not a group hug.
The Gist: A timid boy hits his head and is transported by magic and/or a concussion into a fantastic world in which books come to life. Adventure and personal growth ensue.
The Problem: You'd have to hit your head pretty hard to hallucinate everything that Richard Tyler does when he's under. Does no one care about his potentially fatal brain damage? The owner of the library certainly doesn't; instead of, you know, calling an ambulance, he challenges the mentally scrambled kid to "find the exit." And if this were any other old man besides the awesome Christopher Lloyd, we'd have to question his motivation at trapping the boy alone in his library...
The Gist: Children love toys, and they tend to create little make-believe worlds for them to live in. Sometimes these stories seem so real that it's as if the toys are actually alive... and in this movie, you can see what that would be like!
The Problem: Why not make a movie about living toys? Perhaps because... it's a movie about YOUR TOYS BEING ALIVE! They're watching as you at all times! They're hovering just out of your line of sight, so expert at their ninja-like ability to appear not alive that they've never been caught in the act. And some of them are EVIL!
The Gist: Like Toy Story, this is a movie about how you are always being watched by creatures that excel at hiding so well, you'll never know they're there unless they choose to reveal themselves to you. The Borrowers fight to save their home and their lives from an evil man bent on their destruction.
The Problem: How can this not be terrifying? Okay, so the one person who they attack does try to kill a whole bunch of them, but he never actually succeeds. It seems that basically their strategy is eye-for-an-eye; if you make us suffer, we'll make you suffer. Who knows if they'll be as magnanimous the next time around? Also, bonus points for getting sent to the insane asylum if you tell anyone you see tiny people. And double bonus points for Dr. House pretending to be British and friendly.
James and the Giant Peach
The Gist: Boy is trapped by cruel relatives. A giant magical peach and a bunch of insects save him. Everyone lives happily ever after.
The Problem: If you're seeing a giant peach and a bunch of stop-motion animated insects that are as big as you are, you need to lay off of some pretty heavy drugs. Also, if you're relying on magic and imagination to get ahead in life, you're going to be trapped in the attic for a long, long time.
The Neverending Story
The Gist: Here's a movie that centers around a 'hero' who plays hooky to hide in the school's attic and read all day. With the superpower of 'reading a big-ass book,' you can tell he's already off to a rough start. The only thing he has to do during the whole movie is stand up and yell, and then he gets someone else to take care of his problems for him.
The Problem: This movie tells kids that it's okay to be antisocial and scared of everything. Your imagination will fix it all! Is this the poster movie for kids of this generation, or what? Next thing you know, they'll be making a new version where the kid gets sucked into a video game.
Every Disney Princess movie ever
The Gist: Princesses. So many princesses! And falling in love and living happily ever after. That's pretty much all you need to know.
The Problem: Women have been struggling to gain equality for at least the past one hundred years. Disney is only behind by about a century. Here's a newsflash for you: equality doesn't mean an equally pretty dress, snazzy hairdo, or tiny waist. Equality means, hey, how about women have something more to do in their lives than sit around waiting for their prince charming? And sure, they've been trying hard lately to make it look like they're trying hard. The princess gets to rollerblade or fight dragons or whatever. But still, her independent thinking life pretty much ends at 'happily ever after.' Not that we wouldn't mind living in that world, but for heaven's sake, don't pretend that it's real when it isn't!
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