A Remake Chronicles Extra by Adam-Troy Castro
When I was a kid, my Dad took me to an awful lot of movies.
And he was adamant about not wanting to go to anything he considered stupid.
Sometimes I resented this.
“Dad, I wanna go see the one about the big fat silly man who keeps falling into poo!”
“Dad, I wanna go see the one about the giant booger who eats Detroit!”
He would shake his head and say, uh-uh; I’m not going to see that; but I *will* pay for you to see this cop film or WWII adventure film that interests ME; and if you have any trouble understanding what’s going on, I’ll help you out.
Same thing with old movies on television. He wouldn’t put on the seven-thousandth Godzilla movie I wanted to watch, but would put on, for instance, THE GUNS OF NAVARONE, or NORTH BY NORTHWEST or some old John Wayne thing. I could join him and he would help me understand them, until I developed the skills to follow along.
He never catered to my tastes. I was always forced to stretch myself to accommodate his.
As a kid, I thought this was terribly unfair.
But, you know, today I see grownups my age, not kids but grownups my age, who cannot fathom a movie written at a greater than eight-year-old level, who think that dialogue is just the shit you have to sit through before something blows up, who cannot sit through characterization scenes, who shudder at the very thought of seeing movies that are, you know, about something, and cannot wait to see PAUL BLART: MALL COP, because the fat man falling down is just about all they can sit through.
And I understand.
I don’t know whether he did this deliberately, or was just unwilling to cater to the kid — but I understand.
It is similar to the case I see of the kids now up to ten or twelve years old who cannot be taken to restaurants because “there’s nothing they’ll eat” and who must always be provided some version of chicken nuggets or grilled cheese, whatever the surrounding cuisine.
Nobody ever told them, “No, you’ll try something else on the menu…or go hungry.”
Kids are inherently conservative. They never want to try anything that might test them. They will always have times when the parent isn’t around, when they can indulge in the stuff tthat indulges brain-rot. You have to MAKE them try new stuff. If they’re EVER to develop the skill to like new stuff.
So in refusing to take me to kiddie stuff — except for the rare children’s film he was willing to concede of high quality — he was actually doing me a huge favor.
I did not grow up to be a forty-year-old (among the many I met) whose one movie they could not wait to see was…SCOOBY-DOO or THE FLINTSTONES. I grew up to know what a story was.
So, people — when you take the kids to the movies — unless they’re very small kids, to whom even a Pixar film would be too scary — take them to something you, the adult, can appreciate. Give them something to challenge them. Make their brains work.