Edgy Mama: My Shuler-inspired favorite kid movie choices

On my recent flight between Atlanta and Stockholm, the only movie choices were kid movies (Hotel for Dogs, Powerball Revolution). On my return trip, the offerings were adult films, albeit with an “adult content” warning preceding them (Duplicity, He’s Just Not That Into You). This experience made me think about U.S. Rep. Heath Shuler.

Almost two years ago, Rep. Shuler sponsored the Family Friendly Flights Act, which would require planes displaying violent in-flight entertainment to provide a child-safe viewing area for passengers under the age of 13. The act has yet to pass and only has a couple of months longer in play before it’s wiped off the books, which I reckon will happen given the other stuff Congress is hashing through at the moment.

Even so, I started wondering which kid movies I wouldn’t mind watching if I were stuck on a long flight in Shuler futurama.

Here’s a list of some of my favorite kid movies — ones I’d put down a book to watch on a flight. Some of these I saw first as a kid myself; some as an adult. But I’d watch any one of them again now — with or without my kids.

Monsters, Inc.: Clever as hell. Who would’ve guessed the monster under the bed’s only doing his job and is as terrified of kids as they are of him? Plus, my son called me “Kitty” for a couple of years when he was little (possibly because I weaned him by bringing home two kittens to serve as distractions from my “nursies”). So I indentify with big blue monster Sulley, who fails in his work when a little girl refuses to be frightened by him and follows him around calling him “Kitty” for the rest of the movie. Kind of feels like my life on the big screen.

The Incredibles: Kids and comic book geeks everywhere adore this movie. Plus, Elastigirl, as voiced by Holly Hunter, is the coolest mom ever. Even though it’s animated, there’s some violence, although no death, and some pretty scary scenes (plane with kids and mom on it gets blown up and they get dumped into the ocean in the middle of nowhere). Which of course brings us to the biggest problem with Shuler’s act — who decides which movies are appropriate and why? Are we willing to spend taxpayer dollars on a congressional family friendly flights committee? I’m not.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: OK, this is a television special, not a movie, but my kids have only seen it on video. This one falls into the category of nightmare-inducing kid movie. The roar of the Adominable Snowman still makes me shiver.  Also, there is no more lachrymose scene in television history than the one where the Misfit Toys lament the fact that Santa’s once again bypassed delivering them to loving kids. And Rudolph teaches us that essential lesson that even misfits and outcasts can succeed with perseverance, a little luck, and some Christmas magic.

The Bad News Bears: I spent every summer of my childhood at a Little League field up the road from my house. I lived The Bad News Bears — with less profanity, but still in the days when the coaches wouldn’t think twice about swilling a beer between innings. In fact, given the fisticuffs, cursing and alcoholism, I’m not sure this movie would make the Shuler cut. But it’s a hilarious movie, and another one about misfits succeeding against all odds.

Elf: The funniest Christmas movie ever made. Only Will Farrell could play a human who thinks he’s an elf. The ending’s cheesy as havarti, but it still makes me tear up. Warning: my son refuses to watch this film because the beginning’s so sad and scary. What’s sad and scary? Santa accidentally kidnaps a baby from the orphanage. Because, as my boy says, the nuns will be really worried about the baby. They may not be his real parents, but they love him, he says. He’s right, you know, though that never occurred to me the first five times I saw this movie.

Ultimately, while I would prefer for my kids not to see, say, Terminator Salvation, on an airplane, I think there are just too many variables to control for a kid-friendly area to work. Although as long as I’m not traveling with kids, I like the idea of everyone else’s kids being cordoned off in the back of the plane, preferably with their own bathroom as well.

So, any kid movies you’d be willing to put up with on a long flight?

Anne Fitten “Edgy Mama” Glenn writes about a number of subjects, including parenting, at www.edgymama.com.

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18 thoughts on “Edgy Mama: My Shuler-inspired favorite kid movie choices

  1. Ken Hanke

    Spy Kids
    Peter Pan (the recent one by P.J. Hogan)
    Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives

  2. Ken,
    I’m not sure Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives counts as kid-friendly viewing. Or maybe I need to rent it and see whether or not my 7-year-old ends up in my bed all night after watching it?

  3. Ken Hanke

    I’m not sure Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives counts as kid-friendly viewing.

    Depends on the kid perhaps (which, of course, is the flaw inherent in this kind of thing).

  4. Captain Spiffo

    So apparently someone stole all the chickens from Issac Dickson Elementary? I know you wrote an article about that a while ago.

    I am curious as to whether if it would have been any of the people who voiced their “outrage” that children would be raising them for educational purposes.

  5. “Depends on the kid perhaps (which, of course, is the flaw inherent in this kind of thing).”

    My point, exactly. Clearly, neither of us should be on the committee for family friendly flights!

  6. Yes, Captain. I’m very upset about the disappearred chickens. My son watched hatch and helped raise several of the chicks in Ms. Evans’ class. I haven’t told him yet about the probable theft, because he’s going to extremely upset. As Kate Fisher said, those chickens are pets to 380 kids.

    I sincerely hope that none of the folks who disagree with chickens being used for educational purposes would cross the line into criminal activity. If they don’t like chickens in pens, I wonder how they’ll feel about being penned up themselves.

  7. Ken Hanke

    My point, exactly. Clearly, neither of us should be on the committee for family friendly flights!

    It’s a lose-lose proposition any way you look at it. I was given a sound talking-to by someone whose child or grandchild or niece (I forget) was traumatized by The Waterhorse because I had failed to warn the reader that the movie contained a scene in which the main character has a near-drowning experience. Seems the child in question has a fear of water and was terrified by this and that I should have factored that in.

  8. Dread P. Roberts

    The Goonies! Yeah, I know it’s a pretty silly and cheesy affair, for which I should probably be ashamed to love, but it’s a big part of my childhood movie viewing experience. Besides, what eight year old boy isn’t spellbound at the thought of an adventurous escapade in search of pirate treasure?

    It’s a lose-lose proposition any way you look at it.

    The air plane powers that be could always reach a decent middle ground by simply playing old Looney Tunes cartoons. Like everything in life, it may not be to everyones liking, but this probably has a much larger general audience appeal then other alternatives. And, as far as I’m concerned, if something like this ever did go into effect, Looney Tunes would certainly be better than random Disney movies.

  9. Ken Hanke

    The air plane powers that be could always reach a decent middle ground by simply playing old Looney Tunes cartoons. Like everything in life, it may not be to everyones liking, but this probably has a much larger general audience appeal then other alternatives.

    I like the idea personally, but I’m willing to bet you’d get complaints that the cartoons are too violent.

  10. Robin

    Your list rocks!

    I would add “Enchanted” to the list. The Disney spoofing had me spitting out my cereal.

  11. T100C-1970

    At the risk of being recognized as the old f@art that I am. I would recommend the near lost art of reading (plus ear plugs or other devices for suppressing engine and screaming child noises). Its easy for me to “bury” myself in a good book for 6+ hours at a time.

    However, I might even be able to give up my book in favor of old Looney Tunes cartoons. This is a seriously good idea. The operatic “Shoot the wabbit” pops into my head. Today’s cartoons are sooooo pathetically brain dead in comparison to the old ones that were beautifully crafted to be understood at different levels!

    T100C

  12. Of course, now that I’ve written this, I’m remembering a bunch of other kid movies I’d rewatch: The Princess Bride, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (the original with Gene Wilder), and Ratatouille.

  13. Dread P. Roberts

    At the risk of being recognized as the old f@art that I am. I would recommend the near lost art of reading (plus ear plugs or other devices for suppressing engine and screaming child noises)

    I certainly hope that our society has not devolved to such a point that reading is considered an act that is only performed under recreational circumstances by the old. I love to read, and an airplane is the perfect opportunity! But I saw this discussion thread as being more geared towards a means of keeping children equally as entertained, without corrupting them with adult content, and consequently upsetting the parents. Younger children that are not yet of reading age especially need something to occupy their attention.

  14. tatuaje

    to add to Dread Roberts’s suggestion of the beloved ‘Goonies’….

    Ghostbusters
    Back to the Future
    Beetlejuice
    Superman
    The Iron Giant
    E.T.
    Big

  15. Dread P. Roberts

    I can definitely relate to Ghostbusters, Back to the Future, Beetlejuice, and Big. Around the age of 9 or 10 I sort of went through a little bit of a Back to the Future ‘phase’. I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with the other’s, it’s just that they didn’t really have any sort of impact on me. Although, I will admit that for me, personally, one of the biggest highlights of E.T. was the fact that it gave my younger brother nightmares. He would wake up crying, telling my mom that ET was chasing him with his glowing finger. That was (and still is) pretty darn amusing to me. But to be fair, the flying monkeys in Wizard of Oz scarred the crap out of me when I was a wee little lad (but the wicked witch didn’t bother me at all…hmm).

    If anyone cares to read a funny article about Back to the Future, then check out this link:

    http://www.cracked.com/funny-454-back-to-future/

  16. Canny Nanny

    AF, your column reminds me of the time years ago when there was no choice of movie on the flight, just the announcement that, “The movie we will be showing today is A Fish Called Wanda.”

    An Arab woman across the aisle and up, in full mufti, sat and watched, as though paralyzed, through all the nudity, love-making and naughtyness.

    She had come from a country where a Heath-guy had told her what she could watch and what she couldn’t.

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