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Friday, August 10, 2012

Five Best Plus: Movies I Shouldn't Have Watched with My Son

"Peppa Pig" courtesy of
Before I begin this post, I maintain that I am a GOOD father. My children are both under two years old and don't really pay attention to what's happening on TV yet unless it involves "Dino Dan," "Peppa Pig," or a "Baby Einstein" video. All I'm saying is that I watched these movies when my oldest son was very little and sleeping for most of the film or just playing in the room for a while. He wasn't watching TV with me, exactly, but he was there when things were happening on screen. If something really bad came on screen, I stopped it or covered his eyes, I swear.

courtesy of

The Seventh Continent (1989)

One of the "happiest" films I can remember, Michael Haneke's feature film debut is a dark, depressing look at a family who has had enough with their mundane and repetitive lives, so they make the decision to destroy everything they own and kill themselves. The fact that the couple has a daughter certainly makes it a little more sensitive, given my son was less than a year old when I first watched the film. Imagine being told by your parents that you - as a unit - are going to destroy all you own and end your lives. And you don't really have a choice. My son didn't seem too broken up about the film - he's got pretty thick skin.

courtesy of

Dancer in the Dark (2000)

Bjork's music "acquired" taste...but her performance in Lars Von Trier's Dancer in the Dark is both meek and surreal. Unfortunately, it's still a Von Trier film (though it is a musical), which means it is unbelievably uncomfortable to sit through. As she dreams of a happier world filled with music, she toils away at a factory, as a terrible performer in a local theater, and as sole caretaker for her son, whom she fears will lose his sight as she has. So, she saves money to pay for an operation she prays will help him. Then there's the murder, the attempted rape, and a hanging, so it's the perfect kids movie. Regardless, my son was in his jumper for most of the film. I'm not sure he loved it...told me there were some pacing problems.

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Dogtooth (2009)

This one probably takes the cake for this list - a borderline exploitative look at reality in the sheltered eyes of the beholders. The Greek film centers around a family who lives in a gated off area, including a father that leaves for work every day, a wife, two daughters and a son who have never been outside of the walls of the property. As dad makes up stuff as he goes along, he does all he can to prevent his family from experiencing the world around them, except in the context he provides. But, as his son grows older and begins to mature, he unwillingly allows another into their lives to fill his physical needs, only to see her influence go beyond her purpose. Some incest, nudity, and the graphic death of a cat all led me to believe it was G rated, but my son slept through the whole thing. He doesn't like subtitles.

courtesy of

Rabbit Hole (2010)

Certainly nowhere near as visually offensive as the first three on the list, John Cameron Mitchell's adaption of  David Lindsay-Abaire's play was a bad idea in topic alone to watch with my son. The story of a young couple dealing with the death of their infant son (yes - I decided mine should be in the room with me) is an emotional drain on anyone who has ever had children;  my only child (at the time) was in his jumper, exercising and minding his own business. Needless to say, this brilliant drama was made even more affecting by his presence, ending with me holding him and crying like a baby. I'd still suggest anyone watch the film, but put the kids to bed first. It's brutal.

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The Kids Are Alright  (2010)

This really has nothing to do with the topic, as it does with the one scene in the middle between Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffalo that gets really graphic really quickly. Thankfully, I was quick to shield his eyes. Regardless, this Oscar nominee was a terribly overrated film - slow, plodding, and boring, brought down by terrible performances from the two children (Josh Hutcherson and Mia Wasikowska).  Moore, Ruffalo, and Annette Bening do a great job, but even they can't pull up what is really an underdeveloped story that doesn't really go anywhere. I'm more upset that my son had to sit through that than almost seeing simulated sex on screen.

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Drive (2011)

I saw this one in the theater first, but loved it so much that I wanted to re-watch it when it came to Netflix streaming. Unfortunately, I had forgotten how graphic some of the moments were and the graphic nudity in the middle of the film. Thankfully, I was quick on the trigger to skip ahead or turn it off. Nicolas Winding Refn's stylish noir has Ryan Gosling at his quietest, along with a laundry list of great performances. Take out the fork scene, the hammer scene, the elevator scene, the robbery segment, the nudity, and the profanity and it's a pretty clean film, right? It's about driving cars! Or, as my son would say, "Cahh-AH! Voom!"

So, there you go. Don't judge me - I would rather my sons be exposed to these films before I'd ever let them watch anything on MTV or "Toddlers & Tiaras."


  1. I've seen The Kids Are All Right and Drive, but I haven't seen the others. They all sound miserably disturbing, though my daughter says Dancer in the Dark is quite good.

  2. What a great idea for a list! I don't have kids so I can't relate just yet but I definitely see why watching some of these with little ones would get awkward fast even if they're toddlers. I can only imagine a child reacting to what's going on in Dogtooth! Also, I just rewatched Drive myself and I completely forgot how graphic that film is even though I love it.

  3. Well, outside of The Kids Are All Right, I liked all of the films above...Well, "liked" is a strong word..."appreciated their intelligence and quality" is more like it for Dogtooth, Dancer in the Dark, and The Seventh Continent - thank God he wasn't downstairs for Irreversible