My Childhood

My Childhood: Introduction

Posted by on Jan 2, 2012 in My Childhood | 0 comments

My Childhood: Introduction

“Go play outside.” – My parents … always Everyone has a special list of films that, for some reason or another, made a distinct impression on them as a child. For instance, I vividly remember my siblings and I crying because our tape of Drop Dead Fred had worn through (luckily the next generations won’t have to worry about that). I remember feeling cheated because, had I known this could happen, I would have carefully reserved screenings of the instant classic for when we really needed it...

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Ghostbusters I & II (1984 & 1989)

Posted by on Jan 2, 2012 in My Childhood | 0 comments

Ghostbusters I & II (1984 & 1989)

Disclaimer: Violence against specters, sexual innuendo, some foul language, and glorification of unhealthy eating habits. If you were a boy born in the 80s, like my brother and I, you lived and breathed either Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or Ghostbusters. We tried to impersonate both but when it came down to it, Ghostbusters far exceeded those fighting reptiles. We had every toy and piece of merchandising, right down to our own personalized jump suits, and when Saturday rolled around, we’d be...

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The Neverending Story (1984)

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The Neverending Story (1984)

Disclaimer: My brother would literally cover his eyes and look away in the presence of the wolf in the film, so younger audiences may want to beware. After the critical success of Das Boot, German director Wolfgang Petersen moved to this cult classic fantasy film, his first in English, which led to two putrid sequels and an animated series. Despite its complicated and multi-layered plot, the movie is incredibly engaging as kids experience the adventure from two (not one) young protagonists,...

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Pee Wee’s Big Adventure (1985)

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Pee Wee’s Big Adventure (1985)

Disclaimer: There are a few sequences (dinosaurs, scary clowns, and Large Marge) that may scare the young ones, but otherwise it’s surprisingly wholesome. If you wanted to find my dad, brother, or myself on a Saturday morning during my childhood, you weren’t going to find us doing chores or playing outside. We’d be glued to the tube for Pee Wee’s Playhouse. It was the rare find that joined children and adults alike in a celebration of sheer nonsense and hilarity – he had a dog chair, a robot,...

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Labyrinth (1986)

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Labyrinth (1986)

Disclaimer: The monsters in puppet suits may scare young ones. The monster in spandex pants may confuse little girls and make boys jealous. As I was putting this book together, I forced myself to revisit all of these films. For those I hadn’t seen in years, it’d be a flashback to childhood nostalgia. For those I’d seen several times, at least it would mean a fresh perspective and memory refresher. In the case of Labyrinth, I knew that wouldn’t be necessary. Since its release (after a lengthy...

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The Goonies (1985)

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The Goonies (1985)

Disclaimer: Some violence, a little mention of sex, and lots of swearing. This is one of the most beloved of all children’s films, which held true in my own household when I was growing up, and for good reason. Its unique story and screenplay (by Steven Spielberg and Chris Columbus) speaks to children instead of at them, and includes loads of swearing, sexual curiosity, and immaturity – of course, that’s not the only way to reach kids. The Goonies boldly goes where few have before (Stand By Me...

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Big Trouble in Little China (1986)

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Big Trouble in Little China (1986)

Disclaimer: Strong language, violence, sexual references, and Kurt Russell (alpha male sexism). Most parents probably wouldn’t be OK with this one. “When some wild-eyed, eight-foot-tall maniac grabs your neck, taps the back of your favorite head up against the barroom wall, looks you crooked in the eye and asks you if you paid your dues, you just stare that big sucker right back in the eye and remember what ole’ Jack Burton always says at a time like that. ‘Have you paid your dues, Jack?’ ‘Yes...

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Willow (1988)

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Willow (1988)

Disclaimer: Some ripe language and scenes of extended violence. The two most exhausted formulas for children’s flicks are cutesy animal movies and fantasy/adventure. Thus, these are also the most bashed and most acclaimed genres of family films (after all, they wouldn’t keep making them if they didn’t work). Willow is one of those films that the public initially dismissed while other fantasy films (such as Star Wars, the Indiana Jones series, and Lord of the Rings) rode the waves of critical...

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Hook (1991)

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Hook (1991)

Disclaimer: Don’t grow up. Stop this very instant. I don’t care how much critics panned it. I don’t care how awful it is. Every time I see Steven Spielberg’s blockbuster flop it brings a smile to my face. Part of that smile comes from nostalgia, and part of it is a nod to Hook’s undeniable awfulness. You gotta love it. Hook will always exist in a very specific moment in time for those that see it young, and as they grow it becomes part of their cult canon. So much so that it’s not rare to hear...

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Little Monsters (1989)

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Little Monsters (1989)

Disclaimer: Sexual innuendo, toilet humor, swearing, and face melting – such filth from the likes of a germophobe. The world presented in Little Monsters is one that had to have been forged in the mind of an adolescent boy. About half takes place in a strange world located under our beds inhabited by (who else?) monsters. Before they were monsters, however, they were children who decided to transform. It’s easy to see why they would. A monster’s job amid their world of stairways, ladders,...

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Last Action Hero (1993)

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Last Action Hero (1993)

Disclaimer: Lots of harsh violence, some harsh language, and a harsh realization that the real world kind of sucks. If a crazed cineaste put a gun to my head – or more likely a camera – and forced me to name my “favorite” genre of film, it would be self-reflexive cinema. Not only are its volumes particularly clever, but movies about the movies are also blessed with a superb track record in terms of quality. I think specifically of Robert Altman’s The Player, Fellini’s 8 ½, Billy Wilder’s...

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My Childhood: Other Recommended Titles

Posted by on Jan 1, 2012 in My Childhood | 0 comments

My Childhood: Other Recommended Titles

Airplane! (1980): The Zucker Brothers’ slapstick parody of airport movies and Zero Hour quickly became a standard of my childhood (partially because my grandfather was their school principal). With its adult-oriented humor, you may say, “Surely you can’t be serious,” to which I must respond, “I am serious, and don’t call me Shirley.” Puff the Magic Dragon (1978): This animated movie is a crazy trip with catchy tunes and Burgess Meredith. I recommend it to anyone with a random imagination and...

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