If you ask my older son what his favorite movies are, he'll reply (in no particular order): Star Wars (all 22 reincarnations), Pirates of the Caribbean, Avatar, Ironman, Spiderman, and Batman.
He has seen none of these movies. (And yet he is somehow familiar with all the action figures and related tie-in merchandise.)
Hollywood and its pretty girlfriend, Media, have brainwashed my seven-year-old child into wanting to see (and possibly believing that he has already seen) all these movies. He watches a commercial on TV for the latest installment of Pirates, and the futile begging begins.
“Please can I go see Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Mommy, please-please-please-please-please?”
“Why?” (why is drawn out to its natural eight whiny syllables, with emphasis on all of them: “Why-iii-iiiiii-iiiiii-iiiii-iiiii-iiiii-iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii?”)
“Because it’s not a kid movie. Sorry.” I shrug. I am praying that we can change the subject.
“Well, if it’s not a kid movie, then why are the commercials on the channels that show cartoons?”
He has a point.
“Tall, come on. Let’s go to the computer and look at the rating for the movie.”
Thank God some intelligent parent before me fought for ratings on all the movies. I show him where it says “Rated R” and what the “R” means: must be 17. He reads the fine print and starts jumping up and down like he’s won the lottery.
“Mom! Mom! Mom! It says, ‘unless accompanied by a parent’! See?? You or Pop can go with me! I AM allowed to see it! Yay! Thank you so much!”
Wait—what just happened here?
“No, Tall; we are NOT seeing it. End of discussion.”
Then the pouting begins, followed by name-calling. A few doors are slammed. I am witnessing the precise type of aggressive behavior found in the R movies that I refuse to take my children to.
Why can’t we go see a sweet little Winnie the Poo movie? How about some dancing animated chickens? Since when do we have to watch guns and loud explosions to be entertained?
“When I was your age,” I say, channeling a Wise Old Parent like Carol Brady or Bill Cosby, “we liked to watch Cinderella.”
“That explains a lot,” says Tall under his breath.
Yes, I guess it does.