Revisiting my Favorite Childhood Movies.

Wednesday, 7 October 2020

 My love of movies has been a constant my whole life. My top movies, however, are always in flux. Some movies have been on my list for a while but others are new. Since I’m looking for blog ideas for blogtober, I decided to discuss some of my favorite childhood movies. Some of them are still on my favorites list while others have fallen from my good graces for one reason or another. Here’s a look back at some of my old favorite movies.


Ghostbusters


This one, I’m happy to say, is still on my list of favorite films. I watch it (and the sequel) at least once a year. Ghostbusters isn’t perfect, but there’s no big reason to “cancel” it or to be hesitant to claim to still love it in our modern and more "woke" world. The biggest problem is the lack of representation for Black people. True, Ernie Hudson’s Winston Zedmore is in it, but he has since said that he wished there was more to his character than just someone wanting a paycheck. Also, there are a few times, especially in Ghostbusters 2 where he’s mysteriously missing for no good reason. He was at the trial but didn't help fight the ghost. Second, Dana Barrett only really seems to be there to give the Ghostbusters a job and be the damsel in distress. It does help that she has a personality and doesn't take crap from Peter. Also Winston and Dana aren't on the poster!

Those two issues can be written off as a sign of the times and do little to hamper my enjoyment of the film. It could really be worse, as the next movie on the list will show you.

Ghostbusters is a fun 80’s film that captures the imagination and gives us a likable group of heroes who want to save us from any specter problems we may have.


Revenge of the Nerds



I loved this film. It can even be looked at as one of the earlier examples of nerds being cool. But unfortunately there’s some issues in the movie that are hard to overlook. We have a film about a group of nerds who are allowed to join a Black fraternity because the members of Lamda Lamda Lamda see the nerds getting harassed and see them as kindred spirits. Can assume that this film is comparing the Black and nerd experiences and somehow saying they’re equal? So right off the bat, we have a potential issue. And to be perfectly honest I didn’t even realize this could be an issue until I started writing this blog. You can’t compare jocks being aholes to nerds to the centuries of oppression the African American community has experienced.

So we’re not off to a good start. But could we look at it a different way to excuse it? Maybe we can say that the films isn’t trying to compare anything and that the Tri-Lambs just took pity on the nerds and that it has nothing to do with comparing the plight of the two groups. Sure. We can look at it that way.

But we have another issue. What we can’t overlook is the treatment of the women in Pi Delta Pi. Sure, they were part of the problem as they helped the Alpha Betas (the mean jocks) make fun of the nerds, but what the nerds did back was out of line. They put up spy cameras in the sorority and spied on the women naked, they made copies of and distributed naked pictures of the women, and then there was the thing with Betty. Lewis dressed up the same Halloween costumed used by her boyfriend and had sex with her all the while she thought it was her boyfriend until he took the mask off. So Lewis raped Betty. It's a horrible thing to do and the fact that Betty was okay with it just sends a dangerous message. 

With that many problems I can’t still love this film like I did when I was a kid. Things like that make me sad. Just like no longer being able to support or publicly love Harry Potter. Thanks Rowling!


The Goonies



The Goonies is about a group of kids who find an ancient map and set out on a quest to find the treasure of the legendary pirate One-Eyed Willy.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to ruin Goonies like I did Revenge of the Nerds. As far as I can remember, there’s nothing horribly problematic with the film.  None the less, this movie isn’t on my favorites list anymore. Why? The easy answer is that as my movie horizons have expanded, I found more and more movies that I loved and this one was bumped off the list. Do I go back and watch it every once in a while? Of course. Do I want to buy every special edition that comes out? Yes. But whenever I think about my top 5 or 10 films of all time, this no longer makes the cut. 

The only issues the film had were stereotype characters that may be far from good representation, but aren’t awful. Rosalita and Data are stereotypes typical of the time, but not outright offensive. Are there a few jokes about Data’s broken English? Sure. But at least he wasn’t played by a white person with their eyes taped back like Mickey Rooney in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Some people have issue with the character of Sloth who some think was born with deformities, but Sloth's problems were due to being dropped on his head as a kid and that's the official explanation from the film.  

The Goonies is still a fun film that I wouldn’t hesitate to show my own children one day but as for it’s place on my list, it just couldn’t stand the test of time.


The Police Academy Series



I used to love these films. I taped them when they came on HBO or, in the cast of Police Academy 5, I bought it on VHS. But this is another case of my tastes changing. I used to watch these films so much that the tapes broke. Remember when that would happen? That's why I like DVDs and Blu-rays.

But I'm going to be honest here. I don't remember the films enough to remember any potentially cringey elements. The only think I can think of off the top of my head is that cops don't hold the same place they used to in popular culture and that the butt of quite a few jokes was sending the straight cops to a gay bar called the Blue Oyster. 

Though the point of this blog isn't only to point out the "non-wokeness" of old movies. It's to talk about films I used to love as a kid and if they're still favorites or not. The fact is, I just don't have interest in rewatching these films.


Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey



This is a movie from 1993 that was a remake of a flick from 1963 simply called The Incredible Journey. This is about a family that moves to a big city and can't take their pets with them. So the dogs Shadow and Chance along with the cat Sassy are left with a family relative who owns a ranch with plenty of room for the dogs to run around and a big house for the cat. But they're not happy, so the three embark on an quest to reunite with their owners and must survive in the wilderness. 

This is another film that I just stopped watching. There's nothing wrong with it as far as I can remember. It's a wholesome Disney film free from anything that wouldn't fly by today's standards. It's cute and funny. It features the voices of Michael J. Fox and Sally Field, what's not to love? It has dogs AND a cat so both sides can watch the film.

In fact this is still a much loved film, but due to time and the broadening of my horizons, it simply fell off my top ten. I still remember watching this with my parents for the first time and how much we laughed. My dad especially loved the scene where Chance has his head out the window, his ears flapping in the wind, and he says "Batdog!" Wow, that joke did not translate well to the written word, but trust me, it was funny. 

If you've never watched this film, do so. It's available on Disney + right now.


So that's it, those are 5 of my favorite films from childhood.  What are some of your favorite movies from when you were young? Have you lost anything due to problematic elements? Or are you like me and most of the films just fell off your list because you've just watched a lot more movies?

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