Friday, August 12, 2011
Some great advice for parents with young children....
Posted by Adam_Holz Aug 12, 2011
I see a lot of movies for my job, and at almost every R-rated offering, I see someone trot in holding the hand of a toddler, or I hear that child's telltale wail after the violence begins. Sometimes I can't hear the child once the film starts to roll, but yes, my judgey mom side is still worrying about them, wondering what they're thinking when that guy gets brutally stabbed in The Expendables or almost every single character gets violently torn apart in Predators.
Those words come from today.com contributor Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, as she confessed one area in which she's not shy about being judgmental as a mom. At the end of the article she added, "Yes, I can only control what my child sees, not the decisions other parents make. But that doesn't mean I'm not sitting there in the dark, getting my Sanctimommy on."
And I have to confess that I sometimes get my, um, Sanctidaddy on for the exact same reason.
One of the foulest films I've reviewed in the last year was Your Highness. And I watched it while sitting next to a man who saw fit to bring his barely adolescent son with him. Before the movie rolled, he asked me what publication I wrote for (our press seats are reserved, so he knew I was a movie reviewer), and I told him a bit about Plugged In. I said that one of our goals is to give parents the information they need to help make good decisions regarding their families' media choices.
After the film—which included a litany of content so foul I struggled even to know how to describe it in my review with words my editor would allow on our site—he joked something to the effect of, "Well, I guess that's not a good one for families." Never mind that his 10- or 11-year-old son was right next to him. I wasn't sure whether this was some kind of nervous admission that he'd made a mistake or whether he really didn't see the connection between his statement and his own family. Either way, his son had been exposed to some pretty awful imagery.
At the risk of sounding … old, let me say that when I was growing up, there were bad movies too. Plenty of 'em. And my buddies and I managed, clandestinely, to get our hands on a few of them. But here's the difference: Everyone knew they were bad movies, the kind of stuff you weren't supposed to see. And if our parents had been wise to some of the sly ways we procured those R-rated flicks, they would not have been happy. There would have been consequences. R-rated movies were simply out of bounds. And that was the attitude among all my friends' parents—without exception.
What's changed today, it seems, is that much of the social stigma regarding adult-oriented, age-restricted entertainment has, in large measure, simply evaporated. At virtually every R-rated film I screen, there are families with young children plunking down in seats all over the theater. None of those families, it seems, have too much concern about the graphic violence, explicit sexual contact or exceedingly harsh profanity that fill many of those films.
And every time, I find myself looking at those little eyes and ears, hoping and praying that what they've been exposed to doesn't warp their sense of reality as much as I fear it might.