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Film Mom: Are Kids Getting the “Right” Message in Message Movies?

Two new movies promoting solid ideas make me wonder if kids may take away an unintentional negative message.

Kick-Ass 2 star Jim Carrey’s concerns about the film being too violent are valid: just like the first film, the movie about real people becoming superheroes is graphically violent. Kick-Ass 2 is also responsibly violent. The point of the films is to show that superheroes are fiction and trying to be a real-life vigilante has painful, bloody and tragic consequences.

However, Kick-Ass 2 is actually fun, funny and thoroughly entertaining -- and this is the problem. The irony is that in being a hip, cool movie, Kick-Ass 2 still glamorizes the concept of the real-life vigilante and villain, thereby canceling its own message.

Then there’s Jobs, which could possibly inspire thousands of future entrepreneurs, inventors and innovators. The biopic of Apple founder Steve Jobs is particularly encouraging to youth because he created the technology this generation holds precious: iPhones, iPads, iPods and Pixar.  His genius proved that the vision of one person could revolutionize the way the world communicates, creates and entertains. Thousands of Millennials might be motivated by Jobs’ words, “The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.” On the other hand, how many teens might justify drug experimentation and dropping out of college because Steve Jobs did and it didn’t stop him?

We certainly shouldn’t stop free speech and good movies because it might “put ideas” into kids’ heads. I think as parents, though, we need to remember that not everyone takes away the same message from a movie.

 

Here are three movies to see with your family this weekend:

Lee Daniels’ The Butler. It’s the civil rights version of Forrest Gump and, better yet, loosely based on a true story of a White House butler who was born into segregation in 1919 and witnessed America’s progress on racial equality firsthand by serving the presidents who made it happen. Just keep in mind the PG-13 rating; violence wielded a strong role in civil rights.

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters. Making the leap from elementary school to junior high is one of the most challenging in childhood education. Similarly, demigod Percy Jackson finds excelling at Camp Half-Blood increasingly more difficult and wonders if his earlier success was just a fluke. Percy learns, and maybe your kid will too, that he can perform in his own right if he works with his classmates instead of competes with them.

Planes. For little kids, achieving the impossible is riding a bike or getting all the way across the monkey bars. Dusty, the little crop duster that could, shows kids that they should believe in themselves even when older siblings and playmates don’t.

To see what kids think about these movies, go to www.KidsPickFlicks.com, where all kids are movie critics.

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