I've never been a good judge when it comes to appropriate movies for my kids. Sure, I took them to all the animated Disney flicks when they were young, but there is only so much animation one can handle. My first "no no" was when, in 2001 I took my kids (then aged 6 and 4) to see "Joe Dirt". David Spade as a redneck orphan with a mullet? Sounds kid friendly enough. Not quite: I was totally mortified when Joe Dirt had a one-nighter with a slutty girl (played perfectly by Jamie Pressly) who he later thought might be his sister. Yikers.
Last year we took the kids to see Cloverfield. When I told Parker about out movie adventure, she said, "Sheesh why don't you just take them to see Saw IV?" Cloverfield actually wasn't that bad except for when one of the main characters exploded behind a sheet leaving a ginormous bloody clump. Daniel was fine, Ellie began chanting "I wanna go home, I wanna go home". Damn. I'd definitely scarred my kid for life.
You'd think I'd have learned my lesson. And I did, for a while. In all fairness, I consider my kids to have a very mature sense of humor and I'm a pretty laid back mom (sometimes too laid back). Naturally we love Will Ferrell and after seeing the trailer for Step Brothers, there was no stopping us (not even the "R" rating). When I bought the tickets "One adult and two children for Step Brothers please", the teen behind the ticket counter looked at me like I was insane. "You know there are about 300 F-bombs in the movie?" He asked. I took heed of his warning and proceeded with caution. I warned Ellie (who is 10) that there would be some bad language (nothing she hasn't heard me mutter once or twice over the years). I was completely unprepared for the scene when Will Ferrell pulls out his testicles and proceeds to rub them all over his step-brother's drum set. Daniel was in hysterics, while I had to cover Ellie's 10-year old eyes. I may be laid back, but I think 10 might be too young to see her first pair of testes.
Of course you can't always protect your kids from unsuitable content. It never fails that my son or daughter always shuffled downstairs during the Sopranos right as Tony was about to blow somebody's brains out or have sweaty grotesque sex from behind with Carmella. And the other night my son and his best friend were watching "The Shining" (a movie, incidentally that my mom took me to see when I was in 4th grade). I had forgotten about the full frontal nudity during the scene when Jack Nicholson makes out with the dead lady in the tub. In a panic, I immediately did the "remote control shuffle" (where you grab the remote control and try to change it within the span of half a second).
Finally, this weekend I rented a documentary "Surfwise," about a family of surfers (11 in all) who traveled throughout the 70's in a ratty old camper, surfing every day. Since we live near the beach, I thought it would be interesting. And it was until the 84 year old patriarch started doing lunges in the nude (his daily morning exercise) and discussing in depth his sex life throughout the years. Mind you, there's nothing wrong with sex, but it's never fun to watch it discussed in detail by a liver-spotted aging hippie in front of your kids.