Thalia now rolls her eyes at the start of most every Disney style movie saying, “oh great…another movie where the mom is dead.” Which is when I knew it was time to move on from the likes of Belle and Ariel and Dora Saves the Princess.
I admit wholeheartedly that I’m really enjoying this stage where we can scan the ALL MOVIES category on the DVR, and not limit ourselves to JUST FOR KIDS which is mostly crap.
(Sorry, the Three Stooges remake is not JUST FOR KIDS. It’s FOR NO ONE. But they don’t have a category for that on Video On Demand, do they.)
We’re a movie family. We love writing, we love entertainment. And it’s been such a joy cuddling up on the couch together and introducing my kids to everything from Mizayaki films to that Kit Kittredge one; from Labryinth, to Star Wars to Miracle on 34th Street which they could finally make it through this Christmas. The original from 1947, by the way. In black and white, the way God intended it.
This weekend, we ventured into the world of School of Rock.
Who would thunk a Friday night alone with my kids, ordering in take-out and watching Jack Black rip his shirt off and stage dive to the floor would one day be my idea of a perfect night.
Ten years after I first saw the movie as a single young thang, turns out it’s an outstanding movie for teaching life lessons–and screenwriting technique. Sage wasn’t quite getting the premise of “character arc” (proof the educational system is in trouble; I mean, she is five already) so we talked about how each person started one way, and then grew and changed over the course of the movie.
That kid used to be afraid to speak up and now he doesn’t.
That girl thought no one liked her and then she found confidence.
That dad wouldn’t let his son play the instrument he wanted, then he realized it made his son really happy.
Summer did everything for grades and then at the end she just did the right thing for no grades.
The principal was really boring and then at the end she was fun.
Plus, I got a chance to introduce them to Stevie Nicks, and at the end we all got up and danced silly dances to the Donnas’ cover of Kids in America while Sage sang most of the lyrics as the word “fart.”
Like I said, the perfect night.
I adore that they love fantasy films–something that seems more often reserved for boys for some reason. In fact, they’ve bonded with so many of the boys in their classes over Star Wars and especially Lord of the Rings, while virtually none of the girls have seen either, save for those with older brothers. Nate even made it through the entire Avatar animated series with them over the course of the year, which they adored beyond all measure, and now they make fun of me because I can’t bend earth and they can.
Thalia bending the LOTR Shelob Attacks LEGO set to her will.
The one fantasy series parents universally think to show their daughters is Harry Potter. And ironically, that’s one we haven’t seen yet. I am saving it because I really want them to read the books first.
So on the weekends lately, we scan the choices on Netflix or Amazon, I cross-check with Common Sense Media–helpful for reminding you that the kids curse a few times in Goonies–and we find something fun.
Speaking of Goonies, Thalia has also pointed out that every live action kids’ ensemble movie seems to have a fat boy in it, so that people can make jokes about him. She’s smart.
Just as I’m thinking about all this, I find a thread on Facebook from Catherine Connors, asking about taking 7 year-olds to see the Lord of the Ring movies (which my kids love watching with us at home) and other alternatives. A good, mostly non-judgy discussion ensued about what movies parents watch together with their kids as they hit grade school.
I was really taken with Jo Anna Guerra‘s point that if you skip PG-13 movies with younger kids, sometimes you lose some good teachable moments and life lessons that don’t appear in little kid movies. (Like why it’s not okay to make fun of someone’s weight?) I’ve found that to be true, though I hadn’t really articulated it that way until now.
In fact, School of Rock gave me the opportunity to teach my daughters the most important life lesson of all: Never date a rock star.
“Ew, mom…that’s so gross,” Thalia said. “I would never do that anyway.”
I told her I’d have a contract drawn up in the morning for her to sign.
I’ll ask the same question here: which non-kiddie movies do you enjoy watching with your kids? Where do you set the limits?