I did it. I signed up for the free trial of Disney Plus.
Life looks a lot different for my family today than it did a month ago. Schools are closed for the season. Going to work became working from home. Working from home became collecting unemployment. Still, I am grateful for the opportunity to spend time together as a family and to pursue some of the writing tasks I was putting off until I had some time.
So why did I sign up for Disney Plus? Well, this is supposed to be Spring Break week for my kids, so we’re being a bit looser with the schedule than we might otherwise be. Since we can’t go anywhere (aside from bike rides and walks, which we are doing almost daily), we can tour other worlds through movies.
The catalog of movies and shows available through Disney Plus is impressive. Not only does it have brand new films that should otherwise be in theaters like Onward, but it has movies that were part of my childhood: Flight of the Navigator, The Rocketeer, and others.
Wanting to share a piece of my childhood with my children, I suggested that we watched The Rocketeer. It was rated PG, and I remembered fondly an adventurous tale of man with a rocket strapped to his back.
I didn’t remember the foul language.
Less than ten minutes in—and after exchanging some meaningful looks with my wife—we paused the movie to address the language being used in the film. We told our kids how we will often hear words in the real world we choose not to use ourselves, and that even though other people use them, that doesn’t make it okay.
I didn’t remember the inappropriate sexual scenes.
After an hour into the movie, there’s a scene where the buxom female love interest is at dinner with the bad guy and a joke is made where her breasts are the punchline. Shortly after that, she is drugged and wakes up in a locked room where her captor suggests she change into a see-through outfit.
We stopped the movie and had a family discussion about the fact that no one is allowed to do the things the bad guy was doing. Our bodies are our own and it is not okay for anyone to take advantage of us, threaten us, or use us for their own pleasure.
My kids are both under ten years old. I sincerely regret watching the movie with them. I’m glad we had a chance to address some topics that we need to address as parents, but I didn’t mean to blindside them with things they may not have been ready to see or hear.
Parents, use my mistake as a cautionary tale. Before you try to share a movie with your kids from your own childhood, preview it yourself. It doesn’t matter if it is rated PG or G or whatever. Times have changed since you were a kid. Stuff that was okay then isn’t okay now. Then if you decide to watch it anyway, be willing to stop the movie and talk through the things that aren’t okay with your kids.
On the bright side, my kids didn’t seem to be overly bothered by the things we talked about. The thing they were bothered by was the giant man with the wax-like face who killed people with his bare hands and with guns. That guy eclipsed all the other scary bits and inappropriate bits in the film for them.
Yeah, I forgot about that guy too.
Have there been movies from your childhood that you won’t show your kids? What are they and why won’t you show them?