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3 Classic Movies Your Kids Shouldn't See

Photograph by Photofest

Over the winter break, I spent a lot of time with my husband and kids relaxing and enjoying time off from work and school. A favorite activity for us is movie time, and, this year, I wanted to introduce some of my old childhood favorites to my kids. After all, today's movies can be so violent and inappropriate, you know?. I really wanted to show them what movies used to be all about.

So I fired up "Annie."

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My son asked to watch the original. (He had seen part of it in school before break. Why? I'll never really know ...). I have such fond memories of that movie. I watched it on auto-repeat when I was little and even saw it performed on stage about a million times. I was even in it for my camp play.

So, imagine my surprise when we started watching the original, and I realized how horribly racist and awful it is, depicting child abuse in various forms. The kicker? The movie's worst character—Mrs. Hannigan, she's more awful than you even remember—never gets her comeuppance in the end.



Modern mom question: could I let my kid watch this movie? Was I up for all the discussion we'd have to have afterwards?

Not exactly what I want to teach my kid.

The answer was yes. Like me, you could let your kid watch the movie, but then, yeah, you will totally have a lot to discuss afterwards. Things like, "What's an orphan? Can anyone just take an orphan out of an orphanage? Why is Mrs. Hannigan so mean? Why doesn't Mrs. Hannigan get in trouble? Why is her brother so evil? Is your brother that evil? What's up with Punjab? What's up with Asp?" The list goes on. Consider this your warning.

Another movie I watched on auto-repeat so much as a kid (and that I'm pretty sure could recite in it's entirety—but I won't— is "Grease." I read about plans for a live action re-make of it on Fox, and I was excited to stay up late with my kids to watch.

But then my husband reminded me that the entire movie is about sex. Like, the entire thing. It's all the characters think about, it's all the characters talk about, and it's all the characters sing about.

Rizzo thinks she's pregnant, Danny's pressuring Sandy to sleep with him. Don't even get me started to the lyrics to "Greased Lightning."

What's more, the end message seems to be one that we modern parents universally reject: Change yourself completely for the person you love.

Not exactly what I want to teach my kid.

Sure, "Grease" isn't technically a kid movie, but it's one that I watched as a kid and that I know a lot of kids watch now and, basically, I'm like "What could we be thinking?!"

Of all the things I want to teach my kids about love and relationships, the most important one is that if you fall in love with someone, it should be precisely because they can speak ...

That's your second heads up. You're welcome.

And speaking of changing yourself for someone you love, I was pretty horrified on the re-watch of "The Little Mermaid."

Let me get this straight: Ariel can become human and try to win the man of her dreams, but the deal is that she must sacrifice her voice. Um, her voice? As in: she can't speak?

How is she supposed to make Prince Eric fall in love with her if she can't talk to him? Why are we telling this to children? Acting it out. Selling toys so we never forget? Of all the things I want to teach my kids about love and relationships, the most important one is that if you fall in love with someone, it should be precisely because they can speak, because of what they think and how they express themselves.

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Luckily, my kids got so scared by Ursella that they were distracted by the central message of this movie.

Me, though? I'm pretty much scarred for life.

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