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Parental Guidance Suggests You Earn This

If you are new to our Parental Guidance column, stop what you're doing and go read the first two columns HERE and HERE. You can't just jump in with column 3 and know what's going on. Don't be lazy, people.

OK, fine. I will give you a quick synopsis to help you understand why I'm writing this column with my daughter. I concocted a plan to make my 15 year old daughter, Allie, watch movies of my choice. While she is wise beyond her years, her cinematic expertise was severely lacking. More importantly, I wanted to spend some more quality time with my daughter. She only has three more years before she heads to college, and my oldest girl leaving the house is gonna be traumatic. Most important, it's going to be seriously embarrassing for me if she doesn't know who Clint Eastwood or Robert DeNiro is. I have a reputation to uphold.

Thankfully, Allie was all for my idea. Okay that's enough of the Parental Guidance Cliff Notes version. Go read what she thought about Raiders of the Lost Ark and Ghostbusters before proceeding.

The Inspiration

My 40th birthday was this week. Talk about a downer. I was talking to my mom about feeling older and not having enough energy. At some point my mom moved the conversation over to discussing my grandfather. My granddad is almost 88 years old and has biceps bigger than Hulk Hogan. He still runs a mile each day and just recently had to cut back on his daily push-ups. He's only doing 90 a day now. Did you see what my mom did there? She subtly changed the subject of me thinking I am old and pointed out that I'm just lazy. Well played, mom.

Another interesting fact about my grandfather was that he was the youngest of five sons, and all five sons fought in WWII. Thankfully, they all came back home. That's when I knew which movie we were going to watch this week. We would take a detour from comedy, and delve into a more serious topic.

Saving Private Ryan movie poster

Saving Private Ryan

Every week, I ask Allie a few questions about her knowledge of the movie we are about to see. Each movie we watch will be the first time she's seen the movie.

Allie, have you ever heard of Saving Private Ryan?

I do not believe so.

It's a movie about WWII starring Tom Hanks, Matt Damon and more. What do you think about that?

Oooh, I love history. I am excited about this. Tom Hanks is one of my favorites. I haven't seen many movies with Matt Damon. Didn't you meet him once and have a beer with him?.

Yeah, yeah he bought me a beer but it was a ROOT beer. Drinking is bad. Uh, remember that. Anyways, will violence bother you? This movie is pretty realistic in that regards.

Well, I'm not a huge fan of violence but we'll find out when we watch it!

Watching Saving Private Ryan was a no brainer when my grandfather's story sparked my idea. However, the closer we get to viewing the movie, the more I wondered if I made the right choice. I personally feel that gratuitous violence is something you shouldn't promote. You shouldn't also paint all violence as unnecessary, though. The graphic nature of Saving Private Ryan is important. War is glamorized far too much. I feel it's important that Allie understands that. I really hope I made the right choice.


What's the last movie you've watched for fun?

I watched Frozen last night. I love that movie!

This isn't exactly a Disney movie. Tell us three things you've heard about Saving Private Ryan.

1. It's a movie about World War II.

2. Tom Hanks stars in it.

3. It also stars Matt Damon who bought my dad a "root beer". Aww a date!

It was not a date, kid. On a scale of 1 to 10, how much do you think you'll like Saving Private Ryan?

Since I love history so much, I'm hoping it's a 10! Did you guys go see a movie afterwards?

I'm being bullied by a 15-year-old girl.

After the Film

Allie's Thoughts on Saving Private Ryan

When the movie first began with the old man and then it faded into his eye, I was very confused. I had thought at first the old man was Tom Hank’s character but as we know, it's not.

The violence actually didn't bother me that much. It was graphic, yes. But, it showed how the war was like.

The story itself was very nice. I liked how the officers felt that it was their duty to at least send that mother one of her sons back alive. It was also good though that we saw the feelings of Tom Hanks and his men because they knew that saving Private Ryan was going to cost somebody his life.

I have always been in love with history, so this was a great movie to me. I got to learn even more about World War II.

When I realized that the Nazi who they released was the one who shot Tom Hanks, I was angry. I am not sure I've ever been that angry in a movie before. I really wish they had shot that Nazi.

Every week I'll ask her a few questions after the movie to get her thoughts.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how much did you like Saving Private Ryan?

I'm not a "crier." I don't cry at movies. This is probably the closest I've ever gotten to crying at a movie. It was sad to see all of the different soldiers die trying to save Ryan.

How old do you think someone should be before watching that movie?

We might have to start skipping this question. I'm apparently more mature than most kids. I think parents know their kids better than a stupid rating. It depends on your kid.

Would you recommend this movie to your friends?

Nope. They would not appreciate it yet.

SPR Page 3

Dad's Synopsis

I am pretty relieved that the violence didn't bother Allie. I know my kid but started to have doubts before we watched it. I'm sure the comments on Facebook will be full of people saying, "You shouldn't let your kid see that." Let me go ahead and retort. Oh shut up. You don't know my child. My opinion is that hiding the truth from Allie doesn't protect her. It makes her naive. Yet, when you decide to share these truths with your children is your decision.

As for the movie itself, it holds up pretty well. I agree with Allie about the opening though. Zooming into the old man's eye and zooming out on to Tom Hanks's face before the invasion of Normandy makes it seem that Tom Hanks was the old man. I get why they used the technique but it sorta removes you from the movie when you see Tom Hanks die. "He can't die. He's the old man! Oh wait... no it's Matt Damon. WTH?" This isn't a problem after you have viewed it once. Maybe I'm the only one who has been bothered by this for 20 years.

I also pointed out to Allie that two the first three movies we reviewed were directed by Steven Spielberg. I could probably show 10 Spielberg movies in a row and just show his talent and growth as a director over the years. She immediately jumped on the internet and starting searching for all the movies he had made and made a list of over 10 Spielberg movies she wanted to watch. This kid has promise.

Parental Guidance will be back in two weeks when Allie and I will watch one of the most important movies in my life. I am certain she will hate it.