Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Sundance Kid

Like many families, we are happy to stick our kids in front of a movie from time to time, in order to enjoy roughly 90 minutes without any whining. Unfortunately, this plan never really works out for us. There are two reasons for this.

1. Connor is scared of everything that happens in every movie.
2. Connor has never followed a plot or understood a theme in five years of watching movies.

When Connor was two, his daycare teacher told us we might want to expand what we watch with Connor, because he got so scared whenever they watched anything in class. (Apparently she needed a break in the whining too.) Three years, later, he is just as unhappy with pretty much everything we watch. For example, last night we watched "Finding Lemo" (TM Chloe). Learning a lesson from our last viewing (roughly two years ago), we skipping the opening scene where the mom dies. Despite that, Connor still sat in my lap complaining about how he found the puff fish/friendly sharks/fast-moving current terrifying. When it was over, he made me swear to never show it again.

"But Connor, don't you see that the dad learned that you don't have to be scared of everything all the time?" I pointed out. "You really don't have to be scared when you know things will turn out okay. I mean, he doesn't get hurt, and he finds Nemo!"

He gave his standard reply to any plot synopsis. "Huh?"

This leads me to our other movie-watching problem. Connor watches a movie, acts interested in it, yet does not comprehend anything that has happened. Take the movie Cars. It is no exaggeration to say Connor has seen this movie close to 50 times. However, I'm quite sure Connor does not realize that Lightning MacQueen doesn't actually win a race at any point during the movie. Also lost on Connor is the fact that Lightning is kind of an ass at the beginning of the movie, then learns how to be a good guy during his time in Radiator Springs. In fact, if I try to discuss it with him after a viewing, he will vehemently deny that Lightning was ever anything but awesome. I've tried pointing out examples while the movie was on, but he still doesn't get it.

Someday he'll grow up and he won't be scared of movies anymore. He might even understand what's going on in them. For now, I'm content to get some house cleaning done while he sits in front of a movie- even if I don't quite understand what, exactly, is holding his interest.


Phillip said...

I love the fact that the opening scene in Nemo is universally skipped by all parents with children under 7. The same can be said for Monsters, Inc, Bambi, etc. It's like Disney somehow realized, "hey, every good movie requires a scene like this, but lets at least put it at a point where parents can fast-forward through it and then go have a glass of wine in peace." One more reason to love Walt, I guess.

Ginger said...

Well, we went ahead and watched it after you left on Saturday, and Walt loved it. And was totally unaffected by the mom dying, which I didn't fast forward through. I'm not sure how I feel about that.

Anonymous said...

We decided pretty early on not to censor our children's television viewing.

My youngest (Trey) was watching Ghostbusters and pretty much anything by Robert Altman before he could even ride his bike. (Of course the downside to all this was that he didn't learn to ride his bike until he was 11).

With the exception of a few swear words at awkward times (dinner table, Sunday school, recess), I think it actually served him well.

He can quote every line from The Fast and Furious, and Pearl Harbor (his two favorite movies), and learned how to fight from Jet Li.