Thursday, June 20, 2013

Family Movie Night and Mutually Assured Destruction

Some classics just don't resonate with the next generation. We watched War Games with the kids last weekend, and I think my husband spent as much time pausing the film to answer questions as he did watching it.

In case you are of a different generation than I, War Games is a 1983 film starring Matthew Broderick as a teenage hacker who finds a back door into a military computer. He plays a computer game called Global Thermonuclear War and accidentally sets off a series of events that may result in World War III--the launching of nuclear weapons by both the US and Soviets.

Most of our kids' question were of the "what's that?" variety. Answers included: a rotary phone, a dot matrix printer, a modem, a non-windows-based computer, a phone booth (yes, it cost money!), the Soviet Union, and mutually assured destruction. Maybe we didn't quite get to the last, but that is the point of the film:  "The only winning move is not to play."

Thirty years later (!), we parents still thought it was a great film with a suspenseful and exciting conclusion--will 70 million people be annihilated or not? I think the whole thing was lost on the kids.

I'm used to explaining old technology, but the movie caused me to think about how much else has changed since the end of the Cold War. Our greatest fear is not another superpower, and we no longer can rely on the theory of mutually assured destruction to prevent the launching of nuclear weapons.

It was a lot to think about on family movie night. The Karate Kid, Back to the Future, and Ghostbusters were a lot easier for everyone, including me.

Have any of you shared childhood favorite films with your kids? Have they held up? Any suggestions for our next movie night?








8 comments:

  1. Have you thought about ET or Jurassic Park?

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    1. ET was our Thanksgiving Day movie last year. My husband recently took our nine-year-old son (a former dinosaur aficionado) to Jurassic Park 3-D at the IMAX. The kid was suitably impressed. Wisely, his six-year-old sister decided it would be too scary for her.

      You're on the right track! Let me know if any others come to mind.

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  2. My favorite 80's movie wouldn't be kid friendly :) I was a huge christian slater fan and Heathers is one of my all time favorite movies. Obviously not kid friendly though! I do love Goonies though and my kid have seen it almost as many times as I have :)

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    1. I'll have to look into Goonies. I only remember it vaguely but, from what I remember, that might be a great match for us. Thanks! (Heathers will have to wait.)

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  3. The Sound of Music? Even my 12 year old son recently said "We haven't watched that in a long time!" and realized it is possible he never made it to the end of it in the first place (let's face it, it is LONG...the only movie with a screen that says "Intermission"). I want to show them Black Beauty soon. Loved that movie as a kid. And Pollyanna, but they think it is too cheesy. I also suggested the original Superman to my son. Maybe Benji or Escape to Witch Mountain? I can remember going to the movie theater to see those in the 70s (yes, I am dating myself)!

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    1. These are some great suggestions. My daughter loves The Sound of Music, but I doubt my son would sit through it. I was just thinking about it today, when my daughter used her DJ turn in the car to pick Do-Re-Mi.

      If my husband is watching with the kids, he prefers movies not "made for kids," so some of your suggestions might not meet his criteria. Superman, however, might be the perfect next choice.

      Thanks for the ideas!

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    2. Do you use www.commonsensemedia.org? It allows you to look up something and determine which parts are inappropriate (based on parent comments especially). That way you can screen any "not made for kids" movie suggestions! And what about Home Alone? Or Honey I Shrunk the Kids? Or Beethoven?Not TOO kiddie. Just silly fun. And how about Free Willy? I really love Fly Away Home, too. They aren't quite as "vintage" but sort of classics anyway.

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    3. I did not know that website, but I've been looking for something just like that. The fact that there was no PG-13 when I was a kid means that many PG movies from then are still a bit much for my six- and nine-year-old. Thank you!

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