Monday, August 17, 2015

"Feel Good" Movies: An Animated Debate

I saw this meme the other day and thought, "Wow, I totally understand the person who came up with that". Because once upon a time I watched this horrible, terrible, depression-inducing film and sustained long-lasting trauma still prevalent today. I can't imagine who could ever watch this movie and actually classify it as "feel good".

The same could be said for a number of other "children's" movies. Bambi. Old Yeller. And don't think for one second I've ever got over the Baby Mine scene from Dumbo. Seriously, who comes up with this stuff? After Disney burned me in 1988 with the delightfully depressing Oliver and Company and then moved on to the killing shot -- otherwise known as that horrific Land Before Time scene where Littlefoot sees his shadow and thinks he's found his dead mother -- my parents wisely decided to stop taking me to kids' movies featuring animals.

Now, with impending motherhood barrelling toward me, I have my own decision to make. Every parent is faced with this same dilemma. Will they let their children start watching PG-13 movies before the age of thirteen? Rated R movies . . . when is too soon? How much do we shield our beloved offspring from film and TV horrors?

My parents have often been teased or criticized for allowing me to watch The Terminator when I was seven years old. And okay, I may have gotten a few nightmares from that one. And sure, Aliens is perhaps not the most appropriate film for a nine-year-old (I think their regretted that decision in retrospect).

But the truth is when I look back at my childhood cinematic education, I've come to terms with my fear of robot uprisings and alien invasions, but the first strains of Baby Mine can reduce me to tears faster than the time it takes for Walt "Trauma Inducing" Disney to kill off an animated mother. So I ask you -- what can we really consider a "feel good", kid-friendly movie? 


  1. My parent's took me to see 'Pinocchio' when I was young. It scared the dickens out of me. And who sings their child to sleep saying 'when the bough breaks the cradle will fall'? Or how about praying 'if I should die before I wake'? None of that makes me 'feel good.' Thanks to you I am reading all of Grimm's Fairy Tales and they are pretty grim.

  2. I'm with you on this. Most Disney films involving animals are heartbreaking! I saw the end of the Land Before Time on TV the other week and it brought back so many memories-I abruptly burst into tears when Littlefoot was reunited with his grandparents, and I'm 25. I've been mentally scarred by so many of these 'feel good' movies.

  3. What kid didn't cry when Old Yeller died? Heck, I was a teen when I saw ET and I admit I got misty eyed.
    I think it depends on the maturity of the kid whether they can handle it or not.

  4. We talk about this all the time at our house. My son wasn't frightened when we took him to see the original Jurassic Park but Beauty and the Beast terrified him when the wolves attacked Belle.

    Susan Says

  5. It has been FOREVER since I've seen The Fox and The Hound. Terminator 2 gave me nightmares when I was little. I still can't wait the scene where the bombs go off when Sarah's at the playground. NOPE!

  6. I have never seen The Fox and the Hound and I had to read about it-Yikes! It's the old style thinking and to toughen the youngin's up kind of story. We all had friends that we have not seen for decades because we just grow apart but when they are animals and deal with death-hell no! I would say "Fantasia" is great for kids and adults. The "Shrek" films are great and "That Darn Cat"-not animated but good.