Seven quick takes: Movies We’re Almost Ready To Watch

In our recent discussion about the dubious heroism of Columbus, Lincoln, and Joel Hodgson (well, somebody should have said Joel), The Jerk did his job as peacemaker, and poured soothing oils on the stormy waters of our dialogue by bringing up the subject of fluoridation.

For readers who are not familiar with The Jerk, he is this guy who writes for my blog, and he is a jerk.  What’s the matter, The Jerk — sick and tired of having a friendly chat with strangers online about vaccines, maybe, or circumcision?

I had actually completely forgotten that people get upset about fluoride.  But now that I remember, I can’t stop thinking about Dr. Strangelove, and how I wish my kids were old enough to watch it.

It got me to thinking about other movies that I’d like to show my kids, and which I think they would mostly enjoy — but there’s just a few scenes in there (or maybe more than a few) that make these movies out of the question for another couple of years.  Here’s the rest of the list:



I’m halfway afraid that they won’t be terrified by this movie.  And that they won’t recognize the perfect story arc.  And that they won’t get the big deal about this scene:


Blazing Saddles

I campaign for this one regularly, and my husband always nixes it with this simple argument:  “Simmy, it’s one long d**k joke!”  Humph.  If I had known he was such a prude, I never would have — oh, never mind.

Well, it turns out he actually said that about


Young Frankenstein, another of my favorites.

Super dooper!  I don’t mean to lean too heavily on Mel Brooks, but I do feel that my children are only living partial lives until they understand what we mean by “Nice hopping.”


For a change of pace, how about Unbreakable?

This is one of my favorite movies of the decade — it’s so much more than a comic book movie.   Where Watchmen seethes with ludicrous self-importance, Unbreakable tells a plain and strange story of good and evil.  I wish people would give this movie a second look–it’s so delicately, movingly, and thrillingly done, and is full of hidden symbols.


Oh, wait, here we go: The Mummy

Here is the movie for which the word “awesome” was invented.  I can’t quite get myself to use this word in public yet, but I have to admit, this movie is indisputably awesome.

Besides being terrifying and genuinely funny, this is one of the very few action movies with an appealing heroine (and impeccable casting in general).  I didn’t realize how good Rachel Weisz is as Evy until we saw part 3 (The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor), which, among its many grave problems, had a different actress in the role – and it really wasn’t worth watching.


And of course my children’s cultural education won’t be complete until they see Army of Darkness

Everything’s cool!  I said the words.  I did!

Well, what’s on your list of cinematic genius that you’re dying to bequeath to the next generation?  Leave your list in the comment box, or do your own Seven Quick Takes (doesn’t have to be movies — most people just list seven random tidbits, which I find much harder than making a list), and leave a link to yours at Conversion Diary, where Jen hosts lists of links every Friday.  Don’t forget to link back to Jen if you do your own Seven Quick Takes.

Happy Friday!

(Cross-posted at the poor The Anchoress, who probably hoped for more than, “Ha ha, here’s my favorite fart scene!”)


  1. Yes, I’m with Abby in being excited to see someone give Unbreakable some respect! I agree, really good movie and I don’t understand why more people didn’t like it. It’s the movie that makes me sad to know M. Night Shyamalan didn’t live up to his enormous early talent.

  2. Yes! There are others who like Unbreakable! We must be a fractured fandom. I come across more people who loathe it than not.

  3. I don’t want to let my kids watch Jaws mostly because we live in an awesome beach town and very close to the area of the shark attacks on which the story was based. Some would never go in the water again.

    But I’m so excited to see your list. There’s a few that I haven’t seen.

  4. We’ve been working our way through “1980s Fantasy” with the kids:

    1. Labyrinth (All Kinds of AWESOME! Holds up well, too! And the kids love it because “Risking life and limb to rescue an adorable sibling who sometimes irritates you but who you really and truly love” is something that resonates…)

    2. Dark Crystal (Also awesome, but too scary for the 4 year old because the ending is…complicated. And Cecilia doesn’t DO complicated right now….)

    3. Willow (Was suprisingly good! And as a kid, I never realized that Mad Martigen was supposed to be FUNNY)

    4. Baron von Muchausen -A little too odd for the kids, but we enjoyed watching it again

    5. Princess Bride- The only problem is they tend to start swordfighting after we let them see it. And that leads to lots of broken things….

    6. They’re not old enough for this one, but when they are: Ladyhawk!!!!!

    7. Dragonslayer – we haven’t seen it again yet, because I remember it being really really scary when I saw it as a small kid. So I can’t say if it holds up, but it looms large in our memories…..

  5. Yes to Army of Darkness, Labyrinth, The Dark Crystal, The Princess Bride. I’m also waiting for another opportunity to watch Pan’s Labyrinth, which I LOVED, but I don’t think will be suitable for another sixteen years, since the Pale Man scared the pants off me.

    Oh, and Galaxy Quest.

    And Sense and Sensibility, but I have boys, and the day may never come when they’d like it.

  6. When the girls are a little (or a lot) older:

    1) Bella
    2) O Brother, Where Art Thou?
    3) Kick-Ass
    4) Raising Arizona
    5) The Godfather (I)
    6) The Godfather (II)
    7) Office Space

  7. When they’re older, I definitely agree with The Mummy and Blazing Saddles. Also,

    Lone Star

    I’m sure my husband would add Swingers to that list. But I wouldn’t. I’ll take the soundtrack, though.

  8. Another ‘Unbreakable’ fan here. I found it mesmerizing. I also thought ‘Willow’ was quite good when I saw it in the theater.

    Otherwise, all I can think to add is ‘The Big Lebowski’.

    But then my kids are 17 and 14, so most of the stuff I would not want them to watch, I don’t want myself to watch either.

  9. Hey, _I_ watched Blazing Saddles all through my childhood, and it didn’t hurt me! Unless you count the time when I recommended it to the very traditional Catholic family I boarded with in high school. “Hey, this is a great movie! I don’t remember what it was like at all, but you should see it!”

  10. Oooh! The Librarian is FUN! My kids have seen bits, but it didn’t make my list because it’s too recent…

    Actually, a Scifi film I love, but that really requires older kids, is Gattaca….. great way to start a conversation on the morality of genetic screening and lab-run conception…..

  11. We just family-watched Labryrinth, and though we liked it and are all going about singing the “Dance Magic Dance” song my soul still really hurts from seeing David Bowie in those pants, and I regret embedding that, however deep, into my children’s tender psyches.

    And I just don’t get “The Big Lebowski.” I did a falling-asleep nine month pregnant lady watch of that one and all I remember is a weird scene with naked people jumping. Is there anything redemable in that one? Really?

    My only contribution:
    Raising Arizona. I want them to quote with me, on a daily basis.

  12. My favorite part of Lebowski was when The Dude was abducted and hustled into a limo while holding a White Russian cocktail. He’s all outraged: “Hey!! I’ve got a beverage here, man!!” Gets tossed into the back of the limo but keeps the glass upright and doesn’t spill a drop.

    I don’t know if that redeems it but I thought it was pretty funny.

  13. Don’t know how old they have to get for it, but I can’t wait to share Monty Python and the Holy Grail with my kids!

    Could it count as middle ages history in our homeschool, do you think?

  14. Unbreakable is awesome.

    Strangelove – recently a 20-something told me “you really have to have studied the cold war to get it”…

    yeah… or have lived through it.

  15. Oh, Raising Arizona is one of my faves. I also can’t wait until they’re completely grown up so I can show them Spinal Tap, but of course they might not get the humor by then…

    Also, The Producers (when Mel Brooks was funny, he was SO funny)

    Return to Me — I’m a sucker for David Duchovny before he got gross, and Bonnie Hunt’s direction made this such a great movie.

    Is there anyone else out there who really has a thing for Whit Stillman? He made three movies and then quit, as far as I know, and all are worth seeing but the first is definitely the best: Metropolitan, Barcelona, and The Last Days of Disco. The second and third are truly adult themes, but interesting, quirky, and moral, I think.

  16. laura:
    “my soul still really hurts from seeing David Bowie in those pants, and I regret embedding that, however deep, into my children’s tender psyches.”

    Hey, *I* thought David Bowie in those skintight pants was one of the best things about Labyrinth! Then again, I’m not sure I’m the sort of woman you’d like your girls to become. I think I turned out OK, though… hmm.

    “The Dark Crystal” scared the heck out of me when I saw it back in elementary school, and it still gives me the creeps, some 20 years afterwards. I doubt I’ll ever see it again (at least not voluntarily). Creepy, creepy, creepy… *shudders*

  17. This movie list is WIN, especially Jaws and Army of Darkness. I used to make a terrible bore of myself at parties going on and on about the Jaws Indianapolis speech. I still get chills watching that sequence . . .masterfully executed. Glad to know that someone else does!

  18. Wow…a whole lotta movies here I haven’t seen! Must make a list.

    LOVED the Producers. We are also Monty Python fans. My kids cajoled me years ago into watching Princess Bride and it IS really good. Even my teen-aged son admitted to watching it with his buds at a sleep-over.

    The Big Lebowski is a fave of my dh, but I’ve never seen it. Dd#2 bought it for him for his birthday though, so I now have no excuse.

    My girls are really into amateur theatre, so we are often bombarded with “you HAVE to watch this” when something comes out as a movie, or someone films a play. They have learned well how to critique casting, costuming and staging. It gets rather interesting at times.

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