12.14.2011

Children's Movies Are Way Different Now That My Brain Is Fully Formed


So you're a bit melancholy and one of your favorite childhood movies is on TV. SCORE. There is nothing more comforting than watching something that was last seen through eyes that lacked responsibility, reason, and bladder control. You snuggle up with a stuffed animal and other cozy things like tea and fire and get ready to tingle from head to toe with nostalgia. But wait...what's this? Your favorite childhood movie is about...no it can't be...NAZIS? RIDICULOUSLY SEXY MEN? CAPITALISM? THE SUFFRAGETTES?

I'm talking about The Sound of Music and Mary Poppins. If you haven't taken a history class yet, please turn back now and enjoy your ignorant youth while you can. Now that the disclaimer is out of the way, let's move on. If children were rats (I've heard a lot of good points supporting this theory), Julie Andrews would be the pied piper. I was drawn to her voice like a moth to the flame (or a rat to the pipe, I guess?). Either way, I could not get enough of Maria or Mary, the creative singing babysitters. It's truly a shame that Julie Andrews blew up her voice with it's own awesomeness and can no longer serenade the world like old times. Her failed vocal surgery and subsequent limited-octave range undoubtedly caused most, if not all, of the natural disasters since 1997, but I digress (What else is new?).

Let's start with the Sound of Music, shall we? News flash: it wasn't just about children and singing and hills being filled with things. This movie revolved around the motherfucking Nazi invasion of Austria. Rolfe, Mr. "Sixteen Going on Seventeen" (Mr. Seventeen, for short), was a fucking Nazi tattletale douchebag. The wonderful concert held at the end? Do yourself a favor and rewatch that scene (I tried to find it on YouTube
I'm too sexy for World War 2.
for you but Julie Andrews hates sharing). Every member of the Von Trapp family is singing with sheer terror in their hearts to an audience of F├╝hrer-lovers. This is because they are all being held against their will and are desperately seeking a way out that ends in Captain Von Trapp maybe not becoming Captain Von Naziface. I guess he was so awesome in other wars as a captain that the the Nazi's wanted to recruit him? I don't know. It's not really clear. However, what is clear is how fucking FINE Captain Von Trapp is. My young mind never grasped this and thought he was just super mean and treated his children like dogs (which he does, but perhaps that can all be chalked up to PTSD and crippling loneliness). Also, raising six rats kids on your own has got to be a Goosebumps book or something. I would probably start using whistles and scare tactics to keep them in line too. Either way, I'd hit it like the fist of God.

Moving on, there's quite a lot of drama surrounding tuppence in Mary Poppins. Should it feed the birds? Should it be invested in a bank run by Dick Van Dyke in bad makeup? Obviously not the latter because the bank is a terrifying place filled with old, grouchy men and misery. These aforementioned grouchballs try to physically pry the tuppence out of young Michael's hand. I repeat: the bankers physically assault a child in order to make a profit. I translate: the bankers care only about financial gain and very little about the welfare of human beings. Sound familiar? I bet it does.

Not only that, the movie starts off with a wonderful song about the womens' rights movement. Have a listen:


I'm a soldier in a petticoat too, Mrs. Banks. But seriously, how fucking fierce is this bitch? I had no idea what this was even about when I was younger, let alone that there was a point in history where women weren't allowed to vote. Kudos, Mary Poppins, for being relevant to my interests regardless of what they are (dancing with exceedingly floppy cartoon penguins, disproportionate greed in the higher economic brackets, etc.) and no matter how old I am (I'm still interested in those penguins...).

This brings me to my final point, explain to your kids what is going on in these movies. Maybe times have changed and now that all children's movies are about riding adorable dragons and goofy talking Owen Wilsons cars, there really isn't any historical and political context for kids today to learn something from. HOWEVER, if you're plopping them down in front of a Julie Andrews' movie circa the mid-60s (and plenty other movies/time periods, I'm sure), then you owe it to them to be honest and upfront. If you leave it for them to discover on their own, you run the risk of raising a socially-unaware child who is furious with you in twenty years when they figure everything out themselves. I just wish I had someone to tell me how hot Captain Von Trapp was when I was seven.