Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Why I can't pick movies any more

A few nights ago, we were having Family Movie Night (pretty much a weekly Sunday occurrence once it's too dark for after-dinner walks). A few weeks ago we watched "Mirror, Mirror" and I was delighted with how APPROPRIATE it was. So I decided to look for more non-animated movies. And now this is where it gets fuzzy. Somewhere along the line I thought I read that "We Bought a Zoo" was very family-friendly. I remember thinking that this was surprising because it also has Scarlett Johanssen, who is usually not so family-friendly.

So we started the movie. First of all - it's a lot sadder than I anticipated. I don't know how I didn't foresee that, seeing as how the whole premise is based on moving because the mom had died and they needed a fresh start. Dying is just never a happy topic. With my natural tendency to blow things way out of proportion (let's shorten that to imagination), combined with this weird bump that showed up on Joel's head a while ago (which he had biopsied today "just to be safe," according to the doctor), watching a spouse grieve another spouse was not a good idea. Strike one.

The little girl was adorable. And she had red hair, so we liked her immediately. Then, the first swear word was uttered. It was like watching a movie with my grandma - I instantly got all hot and tense. Ainsleigh kind of gasped, Donovan's eyes got big as he turned to look at me. I said, "Just ignore it, guys." After an hour later and few more swear words, Joel looked at me and muttered, "You don't get to pick movies any more." Strike two.

Right at the end, the little girl greets the zoo inspector and says that she heard some adults calling him a (insert d-word)(or, rather, don't insert it, just know it was said) but that she thought he'd be ok. This was the first time the little girl said a bad word. Ainsleigh immediately said, "That's not ok," while Donovan conversationally asked, "What's a d-?" This is where I hung my head and Joel took over. "It's not a good word, guys, just ignore it."

The upside is that after the movie, we had a little talk about how there are bad words and people will sometimes use them. The English language, however, is full of marvelous words and if you opt to use those small crude words, it shows that you don't have a good imagination or vocabulary. But we also stressed that just because people use bad words doesn't mean they are bad people, and they will hear bad words and school and while skiing and blah blah blah. I thought we had a nice discussion, though I still felt kind of awful.

A while later, while Joel was tucking Gemma in, she said, "Dad, that girl called that man a d-." STRIKE THREE.

Horror flooded me. I had visions of her going to preschool the next day and calling some kid a bad name and the preschool teacher would wonder where she had heard it since she knows she wouldn't have heard it in our home but she would be wrong because she DID HEAR IT IN OUR HOME. I wanted to crawl into bed and never emerge. 

Joel reassured me later that she wouldn't remember the word, and, luckily, he was right. But still, I just felt like it was one of those low points in parenting. Back to fully animated movies from now on.


Sarah Burgoyne said...

So funny, we just watched Mirror Mirror as a family last week and loved it. It was so nice to watch a non animated movie for once. We also like Enchanted. I really like using the website:

Breaks everything down, including swear words :)

laura said...

Dude, IMDB parental advisories. Even *I* check those sometimes. For this movie:

"3 uses of s***, 4 uses of d***, 4 uses of hell. 1 use of d**k. 1 use of a**h***. There is quite a lot of language for a PG-rated film."

PaloAltoCougar said...

I'm sure it's helpful, but I'm amused by the thought of some guy with a clipboard watching each movie, waiting for an obscenity, and then putting a big checkmark on his scoresheet with a satisfied, "Uh HUH!"

Sarah said...

I am well aware of imdb and commonsensemedia and a bunch of others. The problem is with me thinking I had already approved it through such avenues. I am not to be trusted.

Alice said...

Gives a violence, sex and language rating and tells you EVERYTHING that will be in it, even counts the bad words. Refer to it next time.