Making a movie that appeals to both children and adults is a tricky business. Looking at them with adult hindsight, it’s unfortunate how many of the movies we loved as kids turn out to be, frankly, not very good. What favorite movie from your childhood do you have to admit doesn’t hold up to adult scrutiny?
Even if you enjoy rewatching it for nostalgia, I’m sure there’s some movie you just can’t deny has a dumb plot, poorly written characters or lousy production values. Maybe you love it anyway, but, objectively, it has a lot of serious flaws. Animated or live-action are both fair game, but we’re looking for movies that were actually intended for kids, not some adult-oriented movie you happened to watch when you were a kid.
As a kid, my brothers and I frequently watched ‘Adventures in Babysitting‘. At that time, what kid didn’t want a babysitter as attractive as Elisabeth Shue? Not only was she a highlight, but the title adventure the characters went on was filled with danger and excitement. Since repeat viewings as a kid, I’ve thought back on the movie as a pure piece of nostalgia – that is, until a couple years ago. When I learned that Mrs. Hickman hasn’t seen it, the movie jumped to the top of my Must Watch with the Wife list, but that ended up being a big mistake. Everything that was once great was now old, cheesy and not at all as cool as I remember. The story is bad. The dialogue is atrocious. And what the hell is up with Thor? A piece of my childhood was tarnished. Since then, I’ve done my very best to think of it not the way it is, but the way it was. If you loved ‘Adventures in Babysitting’ too and haven’t watched it in decades, then follow Chris Parker’s advice and “Don’t f–k with the babysitter.” Leave it in the past.
M. Enois Duarte
With so many bad movies to choose from a decade littered with them, this week’s topic is a bit of a challenge. I think I’ll go with ‘The Last Starfighter‘ since I absolutely loved that cheesetacular sci-fi favorite when I was much too young to know any better. From an adult point of view, the movie is hilariously corny with incredibly cartoonish computer-generated effects. Of course, at the time, they were state-of-the-art and impressive for a geeky sci-fi kid like myself. It’s also pretty clear the production was some kind of toy marketing ploy, though I’m not sure what toy line it was actually promoting, other than an arcade game version of the movie, which could be the studio simply capitalizing on a pop-culture trend. Still, I fell in love with the idea that videogames were a testing/recruitment platform for joining an intergalactic alliance. Today, I enjoy watching it for nostalgia’s sake, but sadly, the film just doesn’t hold up very well.
Some 15 years ago, after rediscovering ‘Transformers: The Movie’, my friends and I thought for sure it would be great to revisit ‘G.I. Joe: The Movie‘ as well. As it turns out, the tactical importance of the B.E.T. and the threat of Cobra-La just doesn’t resonate on any cool or serious level. There were lots of laughs, but otherwise, I think the movie fails on just about every level.
Adam Tyner (DVDTalk)
As much as I appreciate the artistry and imagination behind ‘The Dark Crystal‘, I haven’t been able to watch it from start to finish since I was a kid. The Chamberlain’s endless “MmmmMMMMMmmMMMMM!”s are just nails on chalkboard to me. I know it sounds ridiculous, but that’s genuinely a dealbreaker for me.
“I hate your whimpering!” indeed.
If Brian hadn’t already mentioned ‘G.I. Joe: The Movie’, I would have. I’ll also add that, love it though I still do, 1986’s ‘Transformers: The Movie‘ isn’t a whole lot better. The feature-length toy commercial is goofy as heck and sidelines most of the core characters that kids loved from the TV cartoon to focus on some really annoying new ones such as Daniel and (shudder) Wheelie.
I’m sure I’ll catch some flak for this one from some of our readers, but from an adult perspective, ‘The Goonies‘ is one shrill, obnoxious movie populated by a bunch of annoying brats who spend the entire two hours screaming at each other. An argument can be made that it’s a pretty accurate reflection of how young boys behave, which is probably why those who first saw it at the same age responded so strongly to it, and why the nostalgia for it is powerful enough to cloud better judgment. (I’m a little guilty of that myself.) However, I find it difficult to sit all the way through anymore.
Be honest now. The taste in movies you had as a kid was a bit questionable, wasn’t it? What movie from your youth do you have a hard time justifying as an adult?