I think there is a tendency to look back on the past with rose coloured glasses – they everything back then was wholesome and better than the toxic society we find ourselves in…
Society loves to look at today’s entertainment and label it “trash”, “commercialized”, “not like the good old days” –
Well, I took a chance on the “good old days” last night. Building on the great momentum of “Air Bud” and every other family dog and cat movie at the Hay House, I thought I would flip the 70s nostalgia dog movie switch. Aside from Lassie, what dog do you think of? Not Cujo, but Benji. Good old Benji… safe old huggable cute Benji. Well, let me tell you, Benji will never be seen or spoke of in our house ever again.
Benji (1973) starts off innocently enough – Benji lives in an abandoned house and has a fun daily routine – first getting his breakfast from the children of a rich family, then chasing the same cat (my children’s favourite part), then visiting with lots of kind neighbourhood characters including a police officer who is always in the park sitting on a bench). If Benji were on Facebook, he would be rocking the friends list.
Well, I’ll get to the point – here is the plot of Benji -the rich kids that feed Benji get kidnapped, BOUND and GAGGED, and held in the abandoned house where Benji lives with his girlfriend (a sassy sultry Shitzu). There is a ransom note and angry bad guys. Well, the questions started from my sensitive son –“Why are the kids tied up daddy?” “Are they crying because the angry bad man has a gun?” “Is he going to shoot them?” “Why did the bad man kick Benji’s girlfriend – is she dead?”
BaNG - Fast forward button – I’m out… The 90 minute movie became 40 minutes pretty fast. But while I’m fast forwarding, on screen there are rapid glimpses of Benji’s thoughts – from the gun brandishing bad guy, the kick of his Girlfriend to the bound and gagged children… it was awful, I don’t want my children to EVER think about being kidnapped and held at gunpoint – let alone relying on a dog to save them. I’m their hero dammit.
I toyed with the idea of just shutting it off, but I like closure and I didn’t want my son to fill in the blanks – so I had to try and spin a happy tale “Well, kids, the children are scared and lost – Benji is helping them get home to their dad. Oh, Benji’s girlfriend is just sleeping, and – well yes, I would be so scared if you were lost, etc etc.”
I guess my point is that yesterday is not always better today. An old family movie doesn’t necessarily mean SAFE. We still need to be vigilant of the message and big picture our children take away from media and be wary of “classic” family pictures – Bambi is a lovely movie with great characters, who doesn’t love THUMPER, but are you ready for the tears and to explain what happened to Bambi’s mom?
Have you come across something from the wonderful past that you needed to protect or shield your children from?
Was it a movie? Song? Toy? What was it and why?
I really want to put together a list of DANGER ITEMS from the past (I’ll work on a better title) – so I really want your input!