Friday, January 1, 2010

The Best Old Movies for Families by Ty Burr - Part One

I was raised on old movies. Well, almost. We didn’t watch much TV until I was fifteen. Then we moved to Louisville where the local station showed an old movie every day after school. It didn’t take me long to get hooked.

When I had kids of my own I wanted to introduce them to the classics, not necessarily for their artistic value, but because most were less offensive than modern-day films. Not all old movies are created equal, though, and I sifted through many less savory stories to find the ones that our whole family could enjoy. I discovered that my former favorite actresses, Bette Davis, no longer had any appeal for me. Her generally mean-spirited persona was not something I wanted my kids watching.

I was happy to find a copy of The Best Old Movies for Families in my local library. As a Christian and a mother I disagree, however, with many of Burr’s “family” movie choices. He writes that “Some Like It Hot” is one of the funniest movies ever made (and it may be), but I found the effeminate, lustful males and sensuous, brainless females to be highly inappropriate entertainment in a household where we are trying to train our boys to be honorable men. The Thin Man movies (another recommendation) were hilarious to me until I grew up. Now the endless drinking really bothers me.

If I needed any proof that Burr and I are not on the same page I had only to read page 351 where he states that Billy Wilder’s 1963 film, Kiss Me Stupid, us “amazingly lewd and, as such, highly recommended to thirteen year old boys.” Really?

By all means, get this book if you want to catch up on the classics you may have missed. (He has a great list in the back of the book.) But don’t accept all of his suggestions for family viewing without doing your homework.

(Stay posted for next week's entry when I do an about face and tell you what I loved about the book.)

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