Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Wonderful Wizard....

A few months ago we got a movie from Netflix, an animated one my husband picked out for the kids as a sort of treat for the weekend. I pulled out the disc and read the synopsis.

"Oh," I thought, "this will induce nightmares for at least a few years."


I popped the disc back in the sleeve and thought about how to assert my veto-power as if it were somehow not unilateral. A few minutes later I got an email from CommonSense Media.

“Watch Out!” the headline read, “Family Movies That Could Traumatize Your Kids.”

The movie my husband picked was number four on the list. I forwarded the email to him and sealed the red envelope.

But cold weather makes hypocrites of us all, and it was not long ago that I showed my kids The Wizard of Oz. It was not on the list from CommonSense Media, but would it scare them? It still scares me.

I must have been eight years old the night I hauled our black and white television into the hallway upstairs so I could watch The Wizard of Oz and be a bit closer to my parents who were listening to their new Simon and Garfunkel album (Concert in Central Park) downstairs.

“I will watch the scary parts with you,” I told my girls. “And remember, the witch is just an actor. She’s just pretending.” I had almost convinced myself, too.

I had forgotten the beginning was in “sepia black and white” and the other parts in Technicolor. Who knew? This was good stuff. On our fancy TV, Oz looked so real and so fake in a certain beautiful kind of way that I wanted to reach out and touch it.

Even before the flying monkeys, my seven–year-old announced she would not watch the rest. She’d save her scary-movie-watching for Harry Potter.

But my four year old was hooked. She was fascinated with the Wicked Witch of the West. And she now listens to the music around the house. She skips to the tune of “Ding-Dong! The Witch is Dead.” She colors to “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and she tries to remember the lyrics to the variations of “If I Only had a Brain.”

The one mistake I made was letting her watch the Veggie Tales version of The Wonderful Wizard of Ha’s before the real thing. “Where is the field of asparagus?” she still asks.

And there’s another thing that I sometimes regret. We can now stream the movie anytime. It is increasingly difficult to offer surprise, excitement and joy, when the things we love are constantly on demand. Getting to see the movie once a year, even if it was on a grainy television the size of a lunch box, was part of what made it special. And it was also one of the reasons I thought of it as special.

The New York Times recently had a story about the Netflix original series "House of Cards". Thirteen episodes have been released all at once for "binge-viewing." It's taking a lot of will power for me to watch them one night at a time.



This week at The Educated Mom, I ask a teacher, parent and clinical child psychologist to explain how the IQ Test relates to education.










5 comments:

Lunch Box Mom said...

A few months ago we got a movie from Netflix, an animated one my husband picked out for the kids as a sort of treat for the weekend. I pulled out the disc and read the synopsis.

"Oh," I thought, "this will induce nightmares for at least a few years."

Tim Morrissey said...

How interesting a coincidence that my wife and I are trying to avoid binge-viewing "House of Cards" on streaming NetFlix- and trying to parcel them out and savor the experience a bit more.

I'm not sure if DeMille's "The Ten Commandments" is on the list - didn't check - but the green gas (Passover) scene gave me nightmares as a child.

Lunch Box Mom said...

Tim that's a great coincidence! I think we're on episode four tonight. It's my husband who keeps us disciplined. I'm not as good about that...especially when there's not much else to watch!

pattyink said...

The witch scared me. The mean old lady, Miss Crump?, scared me. The flying monkeys?? Fagetaboutit. I don't watch that movie and I'm a grown up.

As for watching episodes one at a time, I think I've learned my lesson by binge-watching an Israeli tv show, Prisoners of War, with nothing to watch behind it. There was only the one season so I was stuck. And it's hard to watch, some torture and such, so I can't really go back and mark time by watching the previous episodes until the new season arrives sometime this spring. Sigh.
It's like eating that entire package of mint chocolate oreos back when I was, like 10, and then feeling so sick for days afterward to the point that I can barely stomach the smell of mint and chocolate to this day.

Lunch Box Mom said...

Ok, Now I want to watch the show you mention, but I'll have to pace myself, Patty!