Tip # 10 Review Before You Go to the Movies

Jun 24

Gone are the days when you settle comfortably into a seat in the movie theatre, toss handfuls of butter-laden popcorn into your mouth, and sadly realize fifteen minutes into the movie that it is not what you expected.  Thanks to the internet, parents now have at their fingertips abundant reviews for every movie ever made.

The obvious perk to doing one’s homework before purchasing the ticket is that it considerably reduces one’s risk of sitting through a horrible movie.  (It certainly would have saved me from seeing Problem Child 2 back in 1991.)

There are, however, other benefits to reviewing the silver screen offerings before venturing out, especially if the kids are coming along.  While the ratings are helpful, they aren’t always the most useful for parents seeking a movie that is suitable to kids ranging in age from say, six to eleven (like mine).

Although from the outset, the only difference between PG and PG-13 seems to be two rather insignificant numbers, the amount of violence, sexual innuendo, and fowl language can be huge.  For example: Kung Fu Panda 2 is PG and Green Lantern is PG-13.  A quick review of the former tells me that this  is a perfect family flick.  I considered taking the kids to Green Lantern.  I have three boys, after all, who love super heroes, action, guns (yes, it is true – but the ones they play with are fake and usually filled with water).  Yet, when I read that one character has a syringe plunged into his eye, I decided to take a pass on it.

I would probably let my eleven-year-old son see the movie, but I’m not even sure he’d appreciate that kind of imagery.  In fact, one of his friends who’d recently gone to see it claimed that the movie was good but a couple of scenes were disturbing.  Not surprisingly, he wasn’t too thrilled about that aspect.  I don’t blame him.  I still have the images of Freddie Kruger scraping the flesh off of a teenage girl as she crawls across her ceiling, thanks to my teen exposure to horror movies – it took me decades to get over that nasty one.  I’d prefer my kids’ minds remain clear of such morbid visuals for as long as possible.

The point is, parents need not wait until they’re seated before an Olympic-sized screen with blaring speakers to learn that a movie is too violent, too mature, too sexual, or just too bad for their kids’ eyes and ears.  Spending five to ten minutes surfing the internet for reviews to make an educated decision may very well save them from two hours of torturous viewing or worse, years of disturbing visuals branded on a child’s mind.

Best sites  for quick movie reviews:

CommonSenseMedia.org (also has a great app)

Rottentomatoes (Flixster)

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