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Movies I Saw as a Kid (That I Shouldn't Have)

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C'mon, tell the truth ... have you ever taken your kids to an inappropriate movie?

scared looking girl watching tv

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.

3. "The Towering Inferno" -- My parents didn't TAKE me to this, but they didn't object as I watched a star-studded cast (Fred Astaire! O.J. Simpson!) burn to death when it aired on TV.

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.

10. "Sudden Impact" -- This was the Dirty Harry movie where Clint Eastwood says the famous line "Go ahead, make my day" before shooting several people in the face. Saw it with my dad when I was 9.

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?




next: The 'Twilight' Dream Decoded
15 comments so far | Post a comment now
PlumbLucky November 17, 2009, 4:45 AM

The Towering Inferno, but Dad, ever the engineer, couched it into a lesson about doing careful and credible work. And the sheer stupidity of building a building that was “fireproof” because there was no such thing. Really, I remember far more about Dad’s “lesson” than I do about the movie (watched on TV).

SAHMINWA November 17, 2009, 7:35 AM

For me, as a 34 year old now, when i was younger it was the horror movies that STILL get to me to this day. Some include the Freddy Kreuger and Jason movies, then there was that “Sleep Away Camp”, that scared the cr@p out of me! Even as young as 6-7 or so when I saw most of the John Hughes movies, such as 16 candles, there were some sexually suggestive scenes that made me feel as if I was being naughty by watching them. My child brain just couldn’t comprhend what was really (or lack of) going on and made me curious. As a parent now, I do not let my children watch anything that is not age appropriate for them. If my 13 year old want’s to see a rated “R” movie, I go and read the revies at some site that will say exactly what scences made it rated so, and if I can I watch it ahead of time so I can approve it. Kids and even tweens have no business watching something that wasn’t made with them in mind. They grow up so fast as it is and with the technology that we have today, I am sure they will still have access to see those movies when they are at least in High school.

Robert November 17, 2009, 8:19 AM

Can’t recall any specific film my parents took me to that they shouldn’t have (though they were pretty liberal about exposing me to life’s vagaries). But I *do* recall in 9th grade, when VCRs were first getting popular, going to the video store, and renting a VCR (they were expensive at that time), with my 9th and 7th grade friends, and being able to rent a Playboy Video and Clockwork Orange.
Mind you, we were young teens, no credit card, and no parental permission. The store had no problem renting us this stuff. Now you can’t rent a Disney movie without an extensive background check and eight forms of credit!

Liann November 17, 2009, 10:51 AM

Uh, what about seeing The Exorcist at age 11? I have literally never gotten over my fear of Ouija boards. Had to sleep in my parents room for a week after seeing it.

Tamara November 18, 2009, 2:53 PM

Age 7: The *original* Nightmare on Elm Street
Oooh, age 9: Silence of the Lambs
Age 10: Seven…yes, Seven. And I still cringe when Pitt’s character asks, “What’s in the box?” I’m cringing right now actually. And right around the same time was Scream. Of course since I still had Seven in my head it was…less than scary.
An last but not least — Misery. Still scares the crap out of me.

Good post, brings the nostalgia up. Thanks.

ashley November 19, 2009, 5:18 AM

Child’s Play (Chuckie) 2 and 3 and Dollie Dearest. I was 9 when we first was Chuckies and my brother was 7 and let me tell you, my brother had nightmares and was afraid of dolls until he was 20. I also used to babysit and baby from the time I was 10 (he was 3 months old, another thing that wouldn’t happen nowadays) until I was 13 and they would stay out late. One night I watched the first 3 Nightmare on Elm Street movies. The parents came home and I was huddled up under all of the couch cushions scared to death, but still watching of course!!

CMJ November 20, 2009, 1:19 AM

My parents didn`t take me to any movies other than Star Wars as far as I recall (I`m also 34), but but this does remind me of something hilarious. A few years ago when There`s Something About Mary was in theatres, my grandparents invited me to go see it at a matinee. My grandpa fell asleep, which is probably a good thing because I`m sure he`d have found it to be too raunchy, but my grandma enjoyed it. But I love that THEY invited ME!

On another note, there are two things I do recall in movies on TV from sneaking a peek around the living room corner after I was supposed to be in bed when I was very young. One, is the scene in For Your Eyes Only when Bond dumps Blofeld down the big smokestack. I loved that. The other is something from Poltergeist where they keep putting tennis balls in a closet only to find they come out in the closet downstairs. I`ve never actually scene Poltergeist, but that scene has stuck with me.

Gina December 5, 2009, 2:17 PM

Was gonna save this list for the book I’m writing but what the hell.

Age 7: Don’t Go in the Basement (Plotline pretty much what you think it is. Everyone dead and bloody at the end)

Age 9: Jaws. And we lived in a Florida beach town.

Age 11: Saturday Night Fever (to her credit she covered my eyes during the sex scene)

Age 11-13: A friend of hers we lived with insisted that we all gather together and watch “Stranger in the House” (abt a serial killer in a sorority house) every time it came on HBO. This woman also coerced me into watching “Carrie” with her. (Though I had read the book)

Probably no less shocking or irresponsible than the movies we’ve watched at home with the kids hanging about.

nicole December 5, 2009, 2:53 PM

I do remember seeing Sudden Impact with my Dad when I was around 7. And I also remember that seeing any R rated movies was never an issue. We were just expected to cover our eyes during the nude scenes.

I have to admit that I made the poor decision of taking my 6 year old to see Borat. The movie we were trying to see was sold out, and she DID NOT want to turn back and go home. So I picked what seemed to be the least violent movie that was playing. Had NO idea about the full frontal nudity… Needless to say I had to run out of the theatre with her over my shoulder covering her eyes. Worst. Mistake. Ever.

Mark December 5, 2009, 5:48 PM

My aunt and uncle in took a few friends of mine and I when were Little League age or so to a drive-in movie. It was a double feature. The movies… Fast Times at Ridgmont High and Animal House.

My mom and step-father took me to The Elephant Man. Bad idea. Better idea… Let’s walk out of this movie and sit down for Stir Crazy.

It shouldn’t be any wonder I am who I am.

rugbymom January 8, 2010, 5:06 PM

Awesome subject/post! I saw many movies I shouldn’t have and I think that is why I cannot watch horror or porn now! LOL

Eric January 14, 2010, 3:32 AM

“Outland” with Sean Connery. The first movie I ever saw in an Indoor movie theater instead of a Drive in. I was 5 with my Dad. Exploding people? AWESOME!

serebellasmom February 5, 2010, 1:29 PM

i saw the exorcist when i was 8. i had nightmares for a week and couldnt walk into my spare room for months after without thinking i was going to see linda blair with her head spinning and objects flying!

Kert May 21, 2011, 7:20 AM

I’m impressed! You’ve maanged the almost impossible.

Lele May 22, 2011, 8:51 AM

AFAIC that’s the best anwser so far!


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