There comes a point in every parent’s life when they turn to television and movies a form of babysitting. Being able to go to the bathroom by yourself or plan that week’s meal plans without a tiny bundle of joy demanding your constant attention or distracting you with endless crying can be liberating. You probably began life as a parent declaring you would never let the TV act as your child’s nanny. But in the end, you caved. In the end, your child is starting to learn a lot of life’s lessons and principles as they are reenacted onscreen. Thanks to the MPAA, we can at least know what we are letting our kids enjoy. But even movies with a ‘G’ rating can be traumatic to a child in more ways than one. They can slowly begin to chisel away at the innocent and naiveté of our precious angels until they turn to sex, drugs, and rock and roll. Disney is the largest perpetrator of such an offense.
When I was little, I used to love The Fox and The Hound, a movie about two friends rising above insurmountable differences and a rivalry of hatred bestowed unto them from their owners. They are so adorable. Just look…
This picture does not show Widow Tweed and Amos Slade and how they do not get along as neighbors. It does not show Big Mama, teaching all the animals of the forest love, patience, respect, and acceptance. You know what else is not pictured above? Me. It does not show me while I am screaming at the TV set, inconsolable and crying so hard I think I am going to throw up my heart before I stomp it to death to stop the never-ending pain. But what will stop it? My mom coming downstairs to take the movie away from me and never let me watch it again under her supervision. That’s right. I was 3 years old and I got grounded from watching The Fox and the Hound. This innocent G-rated movie was just too much for my brain to comprehend. Why was that man so mean? When they became adults, why was Copper chasing Todd and trying to hurt him? Why was Widow Tweed taking Todd into the forest and dumping him? He looked SO happy on the car ride and she looked SO heartbroken. And then she just leaves him? In the rain?!? A little kid picks up on that type of abandonment. I am literally afraid to even look up an image of this heart-wrenching, childhood-stealing, PTSD-inducing scene… but… you’re welcome…
Ugh. I can’t take it anymore. All the feels. But on a similar note, this is not the only movie to do something like this. Is this actually necessary in a children’s movie? Or is this just an aspect of the movie to make it a movie more adults will enjoy? WHAT ADULT WOULD ENJOY WATCHING THIS SCENE!? Manson? Bundy? Hitler?
Other incredible children’s movies with sob-worthy, innocence-killing scenes include:
1. The Neverending Story
So. This movie is one I almost got grounded from, too. Maybe I was just a pansy and cried a lot. OR MAYBE I’M SAD WHEN ANIMALS DIE IN MOVIES FOR KIDS. Who knows? But can anyone else remember this or was it so bad you repressed it and had to Google what happened, too? Atreyu (little boy who looks like a Sioux Indian) and Artax (his beautiful, white horse and BEST FRIEND, might I add) are just beebopping along through the Swamp of Sadness. Ok… the Swamp. Of. Sadness. What the hell is this?? Anywho, as they proceed, their journey gets a little more difficult. You see, when you get sad in the Swamp of Sadness, you start to sink. Artax totes begins sinking. He sinks faster than the Titanic. He sinks like he just watched an ASPCA commercial and saw his dying brothers and sisters. The song was not written yet,but Sarah McLachlan’s “Angel” was playing during that scene. It was playing in my heart. It was in the tears in which I began to drown. No matter what Atreyu tried, Artax just kept sinking and sinking. But Artax was lookin’ a hot mess and covered in mud. Who hasn’t been so gross looking they just wanted to die, too? So part of me identifies with Artax; the part of me that is an adult identifies but the part of me that was a child and seeing this terrible struggle still cries in the night. I began drowning in my own Swamp of Sadness watching Artax’s demise.
2. My Girl
Fewer things in life are cuter than a young, dweeby Macaulay Culkin in glasses. On the flip side, few things in life are as soulless as having that character die in a movie. Thomas J. Sennett “was going to be an acrobat!” He was always so sweet to Vada Sultfenfuss, even wanting to marry her one day. But when Vada lost her mood ring in the woods… all hell was going to break loose. Thomas J.,being the most adorable and thoughtful kid that he was, went back to the woods to find the ring. Then he gets stung to death by a million and one bees. In the coffin, his pre-pubescent face (the kind that Michael Jackson fell in love with) looks like a Proactiv before pic. What did this movie teach me as a child? Bitch loses her ring, it’s on her. Keep up with yo’ own shit. Chivalry deserves to be dead, not Thomas J. (#Feminism) To make matters worse, we have not even seen Vada’s reaction yet. You know why? She been holed up in her room for days. But if she were going to make an appearance, no better time than his funeral in the parlor beneath her bedroom. What does that symbolize? I feel like that should symbolize something. Anyway, she enters the funeral and approaches Thomas J. “Where are his glasses!? He needs his glasses! HE CAN’T SEE WITHOUT HIS GLASSES!” How do you respond to that as a parent? “Honey, he is never going to see again. He’s in a better place!” Ugh. All the feels. My Girl, I definitely “don’t got sunshine, I got the cloudy day and the thunderstorm of tears.” I have been terrified of bees my entire life.
3. The Lion King
Hold up. It must be said that it is taking me hours to write this next one. I literally can’t even get past all the pain and aching the recollection of this scene is causing me. This is the scene that no 90’s kid will ever forget. You will have nightmares about it all the way into senility. I just want to hug Simba to death but I know I can’t. The saddest part is when he keeps trying to wake Mufasa. No. The saddest part is when he starts crying for help. No. NO. The saddest part is when he curls up beside him and just starts to sleep and cry.
4. Honey, I Shrunk The Kids
I am a little embarrassed that this movie made me cry so much. Ron Thompson, one of the neighbors, is just a little punk ass biatch. He is rude to everyone around him and he is so selfish. When the group of kids come across an ant in the middle of their yard on their journey back to the house, Ron is the one to make a connection with it. They are friends. Ron names it Anti. Anti is living proof (well, before he was murdered by a scorpion in front of everyone) that we can make friends with anyone/anything if we just begin to understand them and their motives. And what did Anti like? He liked Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pies. He probably liked being alive, too.
Some honorable mentions that I am honestly just too sad to go into detail:
The Land Before Time
So the next time you pop in a movie for your child, let’s not just go by what it’s rated. Let’s make sure it’s not full of death, tears, and future psychiatrist bills. There are too many things out there to inspire happiness that do not rob your child of his/her innocence like a thief in the night. I was scarred for life at too early an age because of movies like Disney. Don’t make the same mistake. Choose happiness!
After that post, we all need a hug and some happiness… so take a look and visit The Nicest Place on the Internet. Or take a look at another one of the happiest places on the internet, Taylor Swift’s Tumblr.