C'mon, tell the truth ... have you ever taken your kids to an inappropriate movie?
Paul Starke: I was flipping through the channels this weekend, pretending to listen to my wife, when I stumbled upon the movie "Kramer vs. Kramer" -- the 1979 film that chronicles the bitter custody battle between Kramer (Dustin Hoffman) and ... Kramer (Meryl Streep). I happened upon the scene in the movie where Dustin Hoffman's son falls off a jungle gym and is rushed to a hospital ... Pretty dramatic, depressing material. And then, as if suddenly recalling a repressed dream, I remembered: My parents took me to see this movie when I WAS 6 YEARS OLD!
Times were different back then -- parents would go see whatever movie they wanted, whether it would interest the kids or not. I don't think my parents thought I'd enjoy it, per se -- they probably just thought I'd get bored and fall asleep. I didn't. Anyway, it got me thinking about all the other inappropriate movies my parents brought me to when I was a kid, presumably because they couldn't get a sitter. Most of these movies came out between 1978-1982. Some are good, grown-up films -- just probably not what a kid in kindergarten wants to see.
1. "Mommie Dearest" -- Yep. When I was 7, I enjoyed three things: hockey, candy, and watching Joan Crawford abuse her daughter.
2. "The Champ" -- Spoiler alert: Jon Voight dies at the end. That was really easy to watch in 1979.
3. "The Towering Inferno" -- My parents didn't TAKE me to this, but they didn't object as I watched a star-studded cast (Fred Astaire! O.J. Simpson!) burn to death when it aired on TV.
4. "Jaws" -- If you're worried your child spends too much time in the water, show them this! I only had nightmares for a few months, though.
5. "Ordinary People" -- Tragic boating accident, therapy, Judd Hirsch. That's how I spent my Christmas vacation in first grade.
6. "Reds" -- "Hey kids, who wants to see a three-hour period piece about Communist writer John Reed? Nobody? Too bad -- you're coming anyway."
7. "The Four Seasons" -- "Hey kids, who wants to see Alan Alda in his underpants? Nobody? Too bad -- you're coming anyway."
8. "Arthur" -- I actually love this movie, and it's one of my favorites. That being said, the main character is a problem drinker who routinely has sex with prostitutes. So, a lot of the jokes were probably lost on me.
9. "Porky's" -- Again, we didn't see it in a theater -- but my parents RENTED this movie for me on Betamax. I'm quite sure they'd be arrested for doing the same thing today.
10. "Sudden Impact" -- This was the Dirty Harry movie where Clint Eastwood says the famous line "Go ahead, make my day" before shooting several people in the face. Saw it with my dad when I was 9.
11. "Hair" -- Great music, sure, but just a wee bit too much hippie pubic hair for my liking.
12. "The Deer Hunter" -- To my parents' credit, they walked out during the Russian roulette scene. To their discredit, this was after the Saigon brothel scene.
What about you? Did your parents ever take you to a movie that probably wasn't meant for children?