The Most Disturbing Kids Movie Ever

January 19, 2012 — 2 Comments

I hope you get the idea from reading this blog that I love movies.  I am developing multiple lists of movies to share with my children someday.  When I was a kid I remember being exposed to several powerful movies for the first time.  I was inspired by some of them and some of them haunt me until this day.  My mother and I joke now but when I was eight years old I first watched Platoon (1986).  Although a fantastic Oscar worthy film, most would agree it’s hardly one to introduce to an eight year old.  To this day mom keeps apologizing about that, which makes me laugh and I then remind her that I turned out just fine.  As that semi-innocent eight year old, I dreamed of being a soldier. I think she felt that me watching Platoon would provide some perspective about what the military could look like. Yep, after a couple of hours of Oliver Stone’s Vietnam, that was enough for me to abandon that ambition. (Thanks mom?)

Like anything in culture, each person has their own filter in what they are able to absorb.  We can be molded by the world so I have become quite self-conscious on how my worldview is formed.  It is a reminder that the world can be scary. I’m a parent now and my wife and I are trying to figure out what our kids should absorb when it comes to education and entertainment.  Recently my kids (2 and 3) and I were watching Aladdin and it is one of the darkest kids movies I’ve seen. In fact, most Disney movies are like that I’ve noticed. I recently read about The Top 26 Most Disturbing Kids Movies by Babble.com.  Is your young child watching one of these?  My wife has usually been the wise one to ask the question,

“Should the kids be watching this?”

In your mind you think that it is a great movie about heroes, villains, and a family uniting to save the world.  What is wrong with that? Wait…but they hit and the even (gulp), kill the villain.

The tension is strong because we don’t just want to expose our kids to just fairy tales.  We want them to be inspired but also see what real life looks like.  One of my favorite Christian thinkers and commentators of culture is Phil Cooke.  In his recent blog, The Change Revolution he noted,

After all, if we filmed the Bible, much of it would be R-rated, and occasionally worse. The Bible doesn’t gloss over real life and God apparently wasn’t afraid to tell real, authentic stories. I think the culture would respect our message much more if we stopped producing just cheesy, G-rated films and started telling gritty stories about real life.

Should we sugar coat life?

My check as a parent now is questioning “what, when, and why” I should introduce when it comes to entertainment, learning, etc.  Most parents would agree that the book To Kill a Mockingbird has a life-changing message that every child should read.  But I’m challenged to rethink when the girls are ready for such an important message.  Most importantly, I am are challenged to pray for the wisdom to figure this out on a daily basis. Romans 12:2 cautions us to never forget that we must go ultimately to God for this discernment.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

What was the most disturbing movie you first watched as a kid? 

If you are a parent, how do you filter what you share with your kids? 

2 responses to The Most Disturbing Kids Movie Ever

  1. 

    Good reminder Dave. I’m less worried about “dark” films that dispatch evil villains (“Little Mermaid”, “Snow White”) than I am “uplifting” films that undermine Christianity. Our most recent bad experience in this vein was Disney’s “Brother Bear”, which we got sucked into because the famed Hoser Brothers from SCTV had supporting roles. Ugh. It turned out to be a religious film endorsing, alternately, new-age mush and pagan animism.

    Honestly, with all the Christian-based DVDs and even online choices available today, the supporting materials available to Christian parents have never been better. And when in doubt, there are dozens of good movie/TV review services like Focus on the Family’s PluggedIn.com, or KidsInMind.com or MovieGuide.org or CommonSenseMedia.org. Raising kids in a culture that is often hostile to Christian values requires constant vigilance.

    Last Sunday in our church parking lot I overheard a 5 year-old girl telling her mother why “that song” (evidently from the radio or CD in the minivan) is bad. The youngster quoted some lyrics about “you’re so sexy” and reminded her mom: “And I told daddy it was bad too.” How many years will that child be able to hold onto her Sunday School lessons if her parents aren’t willing to protect her from cultural assaults?

    • 

      Wayne you bring up some excellent points. The fact is I think I need to be more aware and prayerful of these things. I don’t want my daughters to disengage from the world but to approach it with a strong Christian perspective. Phil’s post was spot on, the fact is, Christians in large part still go see the same movies out there as non-Christians with some exceptions that are written just for them (Sherwood Baptist Films, Veggietales, Hermie, etc.). I am a huge fan film and to be honest I get more about the artistic value of. I usually can see the deeper themes in movies that I’m not even sure if the screenwriter saw. My prayer is also for Christians to write and develop material that challenges the status quo of Hollywood. It doesn’t have to be Christian fluff but real engaging material that is about real life. I can be inspired by that and develop as a Christian liven in this world.

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