Parents and Movies: Hopelessly Forgetful

The re-release of the movie, “Grease” in “Sing-A-Long” version this month has reminded me of something a parent recounted to me not long ago: She’d been all excited about showing her kids the original “Grease” but when she watched it with them, she was embarrassed that she’d forgotten about all the sexual references.  Oops. You can bet with the song lyrics now plastered onto it, it’s going to be even more embarrassing for forgetful parents! J  I’m tellin’ ya, even old movies need to be Googled or looked up on rating sites like for a quick refresher if you’re planning to enjoy them with kids.  Most adults I know have such bad “movie amnesia”, myself included, that it’s ridiculous when we think we “know it all”.  We have good feelings about a movie we think we saw as kids so we’re all excited about sharing it with our own children—only to be caught off guard.

I won’t forget how, in the summer of 2006, I rented “The Goonies”, sight unseen, to watch with my daughters, then aged 7 and 11.  I’d never rented it or seen it at the theatres, but so many people had told me it was their favorite movie of all time from childhood so I thought it couldn’t be that bad.  It turned out to be a definitely uncomfortable watch for me. Way too much bad language, in my opinion, and a reference to sexual torture devices (by the infamous Corey Feldman) within the first 15 minutes, as well as penis jokes.  At least I used the movie as an opportunity to talk to them about unnecessary language in movies.  Then I looked at the release date: 1985.  I was 24 years old and one year out of college when that movie came out, as were many of those people who told me they’d loved it in their childhood. Yeah, right.


Uh well-a, well-a, well-a, huh!
Tell me more, tell me more, did you squirm in your seat?

Tell me more, tell me more, was your face like a beet?

Uh huh, uh huh, uh huh, uh huh…


Amnesia happened again when I wanted to rent the original movie version of “Fame” to watch with Allison, my older daughter.  She has always loved music, acting, singing and dancing, and this was about a performing arts high school, full of performing teens– and “High School Musical” hadn’t yet hit the small or big screen (and neither had the 2009 Fame remake).  So I thought it would be a perfect choice.  Luckily the rating stopped me—an R? Oh, yeah, I forgot about the “casting couch” nudity.  And the drugs.  And the abortion. And the frequent use of the “f” word.  And so I checked the release date once again: I was 19 when I saw that one.

Tell me more, tell me more, who’d of thought it was “R”?

Tell me more, tell me more, not when kids are the star!?

Uh huh, uh huh, uh huh, uh huh…

Sometimes the movie doesn’t have to be that old for us to forget stuff.  Last year, one of Emmie’s teachers (a great parent to three kids of her own, now grown) announced to the class (and their parents) that she was showing “Supersize Me” as a last-week-of-school treat after they’d finished a nutrition project.  She said it was rated PG for talk about obese people.  While my memory of the documentary wasn’t real clear, bells were going off in my head.  Allison’s 9th grade Biology class had just seen it…and this was 5th grade.  I looked it up on the Internet, and my hunch was right. It was rated PG-13, not PG, due to “graphic scenes of a stomach stapling”, offensive language and the fact that the main subject and his girlfriend discuss how his diet is affecting their sex life.  Yes, most of the 5th grade class could probably handle all that, my own child included, but…I didn’t want the teacher to end up squirming, not to mention she might get in trouble with the principal, so I gave her the information I’d found (after all, kids get disciplined at school, at least at our school, if they say the word “fart”, so I had a feeling this film went well beyond those standards!). She was grateful for the heads-up and yes, had fallen victim to movie amnesia, and ordered a “cleaned up” version of the movie to show instead.

Whoa, whoa, whoa,

Tell me me more, tell me more, did the kids like the flick?

Tell me more, tell me more, did it make them get sick?

Shoo-bop bop, shoo-bop bop, shoo-bop bop, shoo-bop bop, shoo-bop bop, shoo-bop bop, shoo-bop bop- YEH!

Movie amnesia goes on and on.  A big controversy once brewed at our elementary school several years ago when some moms of 6th graders wanted to have a quote from “The Breakfast Club” featured on the kids’ class T-shirt. They thought it would be cute.  Evidently they’d forgotten that F-bombs and pot smoking are staples of that famous film, not exactly something a school would want to promote.  (And why would “millenial” 11 and 12-year-olds even care about that movie or find it relevant?) Anyway, I’m pretty sure those moms were older than 24 when The Breakfast Club was released—the same year as The Goonies.  Which, by the way, my oldest says is one of her favorite movies of all time.

Tell me more… tell me mo, ore, ooore!

3 thoughts on “Parents and Movies: Hopelessly Forgetful”

  1. Movie amnesia is definitely a parenting conundrum.I remember seeing Grease when it was originally released (my mom was not pleased at all) & not catching any of the sexual references. I was 8. The new sing a long version has been scrubbed clean of any sexual lyrics & the cigarettes have been digitally removed — perhaps shielding a little too much…when perhaps it should open up age appropriate conversations ie: look this fictional story took place in the 1950’s before we knew that smoking = death.
    I don’t know — I think this heat wave has taken away my ability to make a concise point.
    I enjoy your blog, thanks for sharing.
    Another good movie/rating site is

  2. Thanks for the comment, Jen. I’ve gone to in the past and I do like it, too.  Always good to check more than one source before making a decision.  And some of them are more detailed than others– I like that!

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