Tag Archives: children

i have drawn a conclusion…

25 Aug

This summer I have read The Little Prince, watched countless hours of Sesame Street songs and segments, seen films like Young Adult and Moonrise Kingdom, discovered Matilda: the Musical, rewatched the film Matilda, and have just now placed a request for Matilda with my local library.

The conclusion I have drawn from this?

Being an adult fucking sucks.

An Attempt to Analyze Why Kids Movies Make People (mainly me) Cry

4 Aug

Over the years it has begun to dawn on me: kids movies are really fucking sad.

Now, not all of them, of course. I don’t think I’ve ever cried during Anastasia, Emperor’s New Groove, Little Mermaid, Cinderella, Thumbelina, and so on, all of which being movies I’ve watched since becoming technically an “adult”. Even so, you can’t deny that there is something about kid’s movies that can make a person weepy.

I watched The Iron Giant for the first time in years recently. I went in remembering very little of the film. Here’s what I knew beforehand: kid finds iron giant, kid befriends iron giant, government wants iron giant, government sets off missile, iron giant saves the day. The end. I remembered the ending, but it was a subdued version in my mind. At some point during my watching of the film I thought, “OH. SHIT. THIS MOVIE IS ACTUALLY SAD.” I mean, the whole “I am not a gun” and “you are who you choose to be” mantra throughout the film caused many tears, so by the time the movie got to its climax I was hunched over my office desk, tears streaming down my cheeks, and praying that no one would come in asking for a room.

Wow, did this image really just make me tear up a little? Yes. Yes it did.

Truthfully, this idea that movies aimed at kids being frightfully sad started occurring to me when I was only eleven. Before then I had never cried during a film (well, except during Jumanjee, but those were a six year old’s tears of horror). My family went and saw Monster’s Inc. on Christmas, and by the time the movie was over I could no longer say a film had never made me cry.

Whenever someone goes “Durrrr, why would anyone cry during Monster’s Inc.?” I want to smack them upside the head because they OBVIOUSLY were not paying attention to the whole second half of the film.

As I’ve aged, I’ve gone back and watched many a Disney film I grew up with, and it never surprises me when I end up crying. On separate babysitting occasions I watched Bambi and Dumbo¬†with the kids, and both times I had to leave the room so the kids wouldn’t see me cry. Other Disney movies that have gotten me as I’ve aged are: Princess and the Frog, Tangled, Tarzan, Lion King, Hunchback of Notre Dome, Fox and the Hound, and Lilo and Stitch.

If you didn’t shed a tear during Lilo & Stitch, then congratu-fucking-lations, you don’t have a heart.

Then of course there’s Pixar. Ah Pixar. There are two things I truly believe in life: Joss Whedon will always kill off my favorite character and Pixar films will always make me cry. (The exception here being Cars and Cars 2, of course.) You can’t really argue with this fact when Pixar has a track record of: Finding Nemo, Monsters Inc., The Incredibles, Wall-E, Up, Brave, and Toy Story 3. In fact, I personally think Toy Story 3, Wall-E, and Up are three of the saddest movies to ever exist. You can argue with me on this one all you like, but nothing pulls at my heart strings more than this:

Oof. My heart hurts.

Or this:

Ouuuuch, my heart hurts even more.

Or this:

OH GOD. MY HEART. IT IS IN SO MUCH PAIN. AND IT’S ONLY TEN MINUTES INTO THE FILM. THANKS FOR BEING SUCH A BASTARD, PIXAR.

Other kid’s films that have made me weepy as an adult are: Prince of Egypt, Pebble and the Penguin, The Never Ending Story, and Land Before Time. I feel like I’m leaving a lot of movies out, but keep in mind I’m just listing off the movies I’ve watched in the last five years or so. (Just to be clear: I realize the classic Old Yeller should be on this list somewhere, but my mother did me the great service of refusing to show it to me as a child, knowing it’d break my dog-loving heart, so I’ve never seen it.)

So why is this? Why don’t these movies quite affect us the same way as they did when we were kids? For starters, there’s a certain naivety to children. Children can see when there’s a sad moment in a film, and maybe when the film is over even remark, “It was kinda sad”, but due to their little life experience they find it difficult to connect with films. Or, at least, that’s how it was for me. I never cried over Bambi’s mom or Simba’s dad as a kid, but after I lost my own mother I was suddenly crying at pretty much every death scene that crossed my path; however, I was thirteen by this time, which is probably the appropriate age for kids to start making those deep rooted emotional connections to films that filmmakers often strive for.

And a lot of the time it doesn’t occur to kids how sad a movie is. Hunchback of Notre Dome never made me cry as a kid because, while all the people who didn’t like Quasimodo were meanies, there was always Esmerelda to come save the day and help him out. Truthfully, the character abuse that goes on in that film went completely over my head. NOWADAYS, when I watch it, I cry while bellowing “Leave him aloooooone!”

Yeah. This shit is in a kid’s movie. Crazy stuff.

And it’s not even just kid’s movies from my childhood! I didn’t grow up with Princess and the Frog, Tangled, and the newer Pixar films, but that doesn’t stop me from bawling through them.

Here’s Hank Green depicting the appropriate response when watching Tangled.

Plus, when all is said and done, I’m an overtly emotional gal. I cried at parts of Big Daddy, Clerks II, and Knocked Up. I’ve cried State Farm commercials (yeah, that’s right, PLURAL). So maybe this is all just me and I’m the only person who gets emotional during kids films. Actually, yeah, this probably is the case, but ah well. The truth of the matter is, kids films are a delicate art. They are given less lengths of time, due to kid’s lacking spans of attention, so they have less time than movies for adults to get their message across, while still managing to stay fun, entertaining, and touching. Kid’s movies are also allowed much more magic, it seems, than adult films. Maybe I would’ve liked Network more if Howard had some talking animal friends. Maybe 8 1/2 wouldn’t have bored me to tears if Guido and Luisa had a duet while surrounded by hundreds of floating lanterns. Maybe the Scorsese version of Caper Fear wouldn’t have sucked so much if – no, wait, nothing could stop that movie from sucking, never mind.

The fact of the matter is, even though I’m a twenty-two year old functioning adult, I like kid movie and watch them on a regular basis. I like when they are able to hold up emotional material for me to connect to. Chances are I’ll have a better time watching a Disney film than almost any film that the AFI movie list is telling me is far superior.

Sorry boys, but I’ll take Lion King over Gone with the Wind any day.

nineteen months in counting.

9 Jun

We were playing with rakes. It wasn’t my idea, but my job is, after all, to serve his every whim, so when he handed me that giant green rake I took hold of it from him. Both our rakes were plastic, so I figured no harm would come from letting him play with one. Besides, I had my eye trained on the little bugger. Nothing was gonna happen to him. Not on my watch.

I went about attempting to show him how to rake, which I think he began to get the hang of. We then raked a corner of the yard… and we raked… and we raked… and we raked. How long can this kid rake the fucking grass? I thought to myself, sneakily checking the facebook app on my phone for the millionth time. I took a break, leaning on my rake and watching him go at it. The shape of his rake, the same as mine, gave me an idea. The next time he lifted his big eyes up towards me I shifted the rake so that its body leaned against my abdomen. Holding it with my left hand, I began to fake-strum the plastic fingers while scatting the Sanford & Son theme song.

“Bow Bow BWA NAH! Bow Bow BWA NAH BWA NAH Bwow!”

After a good ten or twelve seconds of this, I glanced back down at him. His naive eyes held so much confusion in them. What was I doing? I heaved a sigh.

“Right. You’re a baby. You don’t know what a guitar is. Sorry.”

I do that all the time; apologize to him when I say something or do something that he doesn’t understand. The irony is that he doesn’t comprehend why I’m saying “sorry” in the first place, and yet I find I can’t stop for the life of me.

I then went back to raking, hoping that no one staying at the B&B noticed my foolish attempt to seem cool to a nineteen month old. Hoping maybe by now he had tired of this raking business, I looked back down at him to ask if he wanted to go back in the tent to drink the strawberry-blueberry-raspberry-every kind of berry smoothie has mom had made for him. And what did I see?

He was strumming his rake; a big smile stretched across his pudgy face.

I was stunned.

I wish I could remember what it’s like to be his age. The age where you think that you water the leaves of plants because you can’t comprehend the concept of roots. The age where the simple task of someone picking you up by the hands and spinning you around and around in circles solves every skinned knee and fall down. The age where bugs are mysterious and dogs are ginormous. The age where someone playing peek-a-book with you is the most enjoyable past time in your entire life.

The age where you see your twenty-one year old babysitter being goofy by using a rake as a faux guitar and, even though you have no idea what she’s doing, you mimic her every move.

Seeing that he was copying me, a similar grin to his crossed my face and I began to play along with him. “You go! You’re gonna be a rock star someday! The next Mic Jagger!” I told him as we continued playing. He continued smiling at me, never having any clue what a Mic Jagger is/was.

Oh to be a child again.