Not too long ago, I decided it would be a good night to watch ‘The Beastmaster’, the 1982 fantasy film starring Marc Singer and Rip Torn. I was in the mood for action, adventure, spray painted tigers, and a healthy dose of Tanya Roberts. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen Beastmaster but it has been more than I could possibly attach an over exaggerated analogy to. I first saw Beastmaster as a kid. Wide eyed, amazed, and totally enthralled by the campiness, humor, and attempts to be serious, so-so sword fights and how an eagle was able to carry a child through the air.
As I made my intentions to watch Beastmaster known to the world of social media, one of my friends, @AlanKercinik, came up with an excellent idea. Why not write about the movies from our childhood that we want to share with our kids? Every day we are subjected to the droll of movies and television impacting our kids’ lives. It’s time we make our kids aware of the movies from our childhood that made lasting impressions on our lives (it might also help them understand why I constantly say ‘we’re gonna need a bigger boat’ every time we pack the car for vacation).
I have already introduced my kids to some of the movies I loved as a kid. My kids have seen Gremlins, Ghostbusters, Goonies, Rocky, and Raiders of the Lost Ark just to name a few. Some of the things I have tried to show my kids have been met with vigorous resistance while some of it has been greeted with open arms.
Since birth, I have meticulously planted seeds of Star Wars all around them (and for a second thought I was going to be able to sneak ‘Organa’ on my daughter’s birth certificate…damn my meddling wife). I have gone off on long rants about ‘Empire’ being the best of the original three and been sure to deny the existence of the other movies I shall not name. I have ‘shushed’ them during key sequences during the movies and have spent far too much money on Star Wars merchandise for each of them. But Star Wars was as much a part of my life as anything else I had growing up (and full disclosure: still is). Not only did the movie leave a lasting impression on my life but it did the same for our society and culture.
When I was a kid my parents shared similar things with me (probably because history may never have produced a more brutal remote control dictator than my father). But I also know that my parents thought it was important I know of something else outside of my small parameter of influence. So I listened to their music; I watched their television shows and the movies they liked so much.
I’m thankful for it. Because of it, I have a sense of history, an appreciation for what came before, and consider myself better-rounded because of it (like why my high school Calculus teacher told me it was important I learn what a ‘cosine’ was). I may not know every lyric to songs or every director, actor, or artist, but I know an awful lot of them and I can recognize and appreciate the people, places, and things that came before me and their effect on our culture.
I want the same for my kids. I share so many important lessons and “things” with my kids, why not share with them something as simple as a movie? Why not let them in on the films I loved so much when I was their ages? They should know, if only briefly, who and what came before Nickelodeon and the Disney Channel and Pixar. Not that there is anything wrong with what they are being influenced by now but because I want them to be well-rounded too and one day I hope they’ll be doing the same thing with their kids. So, like my parents shared with me, I am sharing with my kids. I want them to know who Peter Venkman is, what is meant when someone says ‘By Crom!’, first you wax on then you wax off left circle then right circle, you could start Thermo-Nuclear war without having the Internet, that there was a time when it wasn’t safe to go in to the water, 88 mph was a key to time travel, being an archaeologist was the coolest job ever, Johnny 5 was definitely alive, you never feed a Magwai after midnight, sometimes an arcade game can be your initiation to becoming the last inter-galactic fighter pilot, and a long time ago, there was a galaxy far far away.
Have you thought about a movie you would share with your kids? Have you already shared one? We would love to know which one and why? How did it impact you and how do you hope it impacts your kids?