“Waaaiiiittt! You can’t leave until you’ve witnessed three decades of phenomenal movies!”
Hubby and I are movie watchers, goers, (I’m a born-again screenwriter) and overall fanatics of movies. We’re the type to purchase a great movie because we will watch it over and over. We taught our kids to do the same.
One might think I plotted my pregnancy to the future filming of all the greatest little-kid movies that Hollywood released during our twins early years: “Toy Story,” “Mulan,” “Prince of Egypt,” “The Incredibles,” etc. (As teens, they STILL watch these movies and, of course, we own the DVDs.)
By middle school they loved the “Harry Potters,” any young girl and horse fable, and, coming of age boy stories. They watched many of our recommendations from the ‘80s such as, “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” “Back to the Future” and “My Favorite Year.”
By high school, they were still watching/going to movies, but they no longer wanted to know our opinion on a movie. The conversation would go like this:
Me: It’s really good.
Kids: What’s it about?
Me: It’s based on the real life story of William Randolph Hearst…
Me: Orson Wells directed and stars in it and he was the first director to show a ceiling in a scene.
Me: Nobody ever filmed a ceiling. It was voted Best Movie ever made in 1961.
Kids: Yeah, that was like fifty years ago.
Me: Exactly! And it was filmed during the Golden Age of Hollywood. Why do you think they call it Golden?
Me: Just trust me. When have I ever steered you wrong—with movies?
Kids: Is it in black and white?
Me: Yeah… (I should have lied.)
Kids: Not interested.
Black and white—that was the clincher, the death of my testimonial.
When Shirley Temple died, I remembered that as a little girl I adored her movies. Then I thought about the oodles of amazing movies from the thirties, forties and fifties that my kids have never seen!
“The Little Colonel,” “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” “It Happened One Night,” any Bogie and Bacall movie, “My Man Godfry,” “The Front Page,” any Katherine Hepburn movie, “All About Eve,” “Lawrence of Arabia,” and what girl can go through her teen years without having a crush on James Dean, and for that matter, a boy without a crush on Marilyn Monroe? Even though Dean and Monroe are—well, just images.
Fortunately, when they were elementary school age, there were plenty of classic movies we forced on them. “Wizard of Oz,” “National Velvet,” “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “Miracle on 34th St.,” and at eight years of age they loved, “Casablanca.” I know. The latter might not have been age appropriate but at least the fake gun violence and gambling went over their heads.
I have a plan. One weekend soon, I will lock all the doors, make a vat of popcorn, sit them down, and bribe them to watch a marathon of movies from the Golden Age of Hollywood, or else, college can wait.
Do have a similar parenting faux pas?