C'mon, tell the truth ... have you ever taken your kids to an inappropriate movie?
Paul Starke: I was flipping through the channels this weekend, pretending to listen to my wife, when I stumbled upon the movie "Kramer vs. Kramer" -- the 1979 film that chronicles the bitter custody battle between Kramer (Dustin Hoffman) and ... Kramer (Meryl Streep). I happened upon the scene in the movie where Dustin Hoffman's son falls off a jungle gym and is rushed to a hospital ... Pretty dramatic, depressing material. And then, as if suddenly recalling a repressed dream, I remembered: My parents took me to see this movie when I WAS 6 YEARS OLD!
Times were different back then -- parents would go see whatever movie they wanted, whether it would interest the kids or not. I don't think my parents thought I'd enjoy it, per se -- they probably just thought I'd get bored and fall asleep. I didn't. Anyway, it got me thinking about all the other inappropriate movies my parents brought me to when I was a kid, presumably because they couldn't get a sitter. Most of these movies came out between 1978-1982. Some are good, grown-up films -- just probably not what a kid in kindergarten wants to see.
1. "Mommie Dearest" -- Yep. When I was 7, I enjoyed three things: hockey, candy, and watching Joan Crawford abuse her daughter.
2. "The Champ" -- Spoiler alert: Jon Voight dies at the end. That was really easy to watch in 1979.
4. "Jaws" -- If you're worried your child spends too much time in the water, show them this! I only had nightmares for a few months, though.
5. "Ordinary People" -- Tragic boating accident, therapy, Judd Hirsch. That's how I spent my Christmas vacation in first grade.
6. "Reds" -- "Hey kids, who wants to see a three-hour period piece about Communist writer John Reed? Nobody? Too bad -- you're coming anyway."
7. "The Four Seasons" -- "Hey kids, who wants to see Alan Alda in his underpants? Nobody? Too bad -- you're coming anyway."
8. "Arthur" -- I actually love this movie, and it's one of my favorites. That being said, the main character is a problem drinker who routinely has sex with prostitutes. So, a lot of the jokes were probably lost on me.
9. "Porky's" -- Again, we didn't see it in a theater -- but my parents RENTED this movie for me on Betamax. I'm quite sure they'd be arrested for doing the same thing today.
11. "Hair" -- Great music, sure, but just a wee bit too much hippie pubic hair for my liking.
12. "The Deer Hunter" -- To my parents' credit, they walked out during the Russian roulette scene. To their discredit, this was after the Saigon brothel scene.
What about you? Did your parents ever take you to a movie that probably wasn't meant for children?
|Paul Starke is an Emmy-winning TV producer, and a co-writer of the #1 New York Times bestseller, "An Inconvenient Book."|