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When a man approaches 40, he starts to take stock in his life. Great wife? Check. Four fabulous kids? Check. College degrees? Check and check. I also love my job, the websites I own, and my friends. Basically, I'm a happy guy. Another thing happens to a father as he gets older. He starts to wonder about the impact he's had on his kid's lives. Especially the oldest. Allie is 15 and the older I get and the older she gets, the sappiness I feel toward the inevitable day when she leaves the house grows. I might not look like the guy to get teared up over such things, but I can assure you it happens. With growing frequency.
Then I walk into her bedroom, and I see stuff like this.
Or, I catch her watching something like this:
Okay, I get it. Most teenage girls like One Direction and movies starring bad actors. Being young isn't an excuse to like crap though. Bad taste, left alone, grows out of control until you are a college freshman thinking Twilight is well written or that you'll find true love on The Bachelor. Not on my watch!
Thankfully, Allie isn't a lost cause. She's in honors classes with a 3.9 GPA. She borrows my Beatles box set from time to time. She loves Doctor Who and Les Miserables. Yet, her movie, ahem, cinema knowledge is poor. So the other day when I was thinking about how grown up my girl was becoming, I had an idea. I sat her down and said "Kid, there are things you need to know before you leave my house." She cut me off begging me to not give her the sex talk. "That's not what, I'm talking about! I need to teach you about movies that are important. Movies that are important to me and to America dammit!" I am pretty passionate about things that most people don't get worked up over, but if my kid gets married one day and hasn't seen The Godfather or Rocky, her future husband is gonna judge me. And damn right he should.
Surprisingly, Allie was up for the idea of a cinematic awakening. She's a Daddy's girl who likes to hang out with me even with her full social life (and my lack thereof). So we will watch a movie of my choosing every week or so, and hopefully she'll learn a thing or two about good movies along the way.
When I thought up the idea for Parental Guidance, I wanted to make an impact on my daughter's life via movie choices. Specifically, good movies. I browsed through my collection and started pulling out the classics. Movies that won Best Picture such as One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Platoon, and Unforgiven. The first movie choice was very important to keep Allie invested in this. She's a teenager. Give em five seconds, and they'll be Snapchatting with some weirdo in Iowa. As I was going shelf to shelf, I started gravitating toward great movies that while might not have won best picture, they were very good movies. Just as vital, these movies were very important to understanding my tastes when I was about her age. Within a few minutes, I made my choice and I was sure she would appreciate it. I think.
Once I set my sights on Raiders of the Lost Ark, it was a no brainer. I loved it when I was a kid and I still love it as an adult. Heck, it's even on the AFI's Top 100 Movies list if you find listing your movies to be important. However, I wasn't sure if Allie had seen it yet. Part of me really hoped she had and my fathering skills would be better than I thought.
Allie, have you ever heard of Raiders of the Lost Ark?Um, not really.
Geez kid. What about Indiana Jones?Oh yeah, there's that stunt show at Disney's Hollywood Studios about Indiana Jones.
I have failed as a father.
With that depressing bit of info out of the way, we scheduled our first movie night: Raiders of the Lost Ark. As part of Parental Guidance, I will ask Allie a few standard questions to just give you her frame of mind leading into the movie. Allie's responses will be bold italics because I'm a wild man like that. Let's get this started!
What's the last movie you've watched for fun?Jeepers Creepers with my friends. It's the first horror movie I've ever watched.
Tell us three things you've heard about Raiders of the Lost Ark.1. It has Indiana Jones in it.
2. Indiana Jones is also Han Solo in Star Wars.
3. My Dad is really bothered that I haven't seen this movie. Really bothered.
On a scale of 1 to 10, how much do you think you'll like Raiders of the Lost Ark?I am guessing it's going to be okay so how about 6.
Allie's Random (and I mean Random) Thoughts on Raiders of the Lost Ark--Remember the guy whose face was melted off? His screams were pretty hilarious. A bit over the top.
--Indiana Jones is pretty hot. That's always a bonus.
--If Indiana Jones was really scared of snakes, he would have pushed Marian into the snakes so they would have something to munch on while he lies in the fetal position crying. Just like I would be doing in that scene.
--The guy in the beginning with the unibrow who died after double crossing Indy resembled the mannequin that got my outfit from. Really bad special effects!
--The absolute best part of the film was when the swordsman was showing us all his sweet moves and Indiana was like "Ain't nobody got time for that" and just shot him.
--The student in Professor Jones's class who wrote "Love You" on her eyelids has some serious skills. I can barely even draw on eyeliner much less words.
Every week we'll watch a movie and then I'll ask her these questions...
On a scale of 1 to 10, how much did you like Raiders of the Lost Ark?I really liked it. I rate it an 8 even though my Dad seemed very irritated when I told him it wasn't a 10.
How old do you think someone should be before watching that movie?Eh, 13 or so with your parent. Honestly, most kids have probably seen worse on the internet.
Would you recommend this movie to your friends?Not sure my friends are into this type of movie but yes, I will tell them to watch it!
Dad's Slightly More Focused SynopsisThe two of us sat down to watch the movie away from the distractions of the rest of the house. Which in our house, takes talent. During the movie, I tried to not only point out cool things that happened in the movie, but also directorial choices that I thought were pretty neat. For example, it took several minutes into the movie before you got a clear shot of Indiana Jones's face. I suggested to Allie that this allowed the audience to pay more attention to what Indiana Jones was doing. It also added a bit of mystery to develop about this character. Basically, not revealing Harrison Ford's face allowed you to accept the character without immediately thinking "Holy Crap, it's Han Solo" and letting that bit of knowledge distract you from focusing on the "importance" of finding the Chachapoyan Fertility Idol. Beyond that, I thought this inaugural Parental Guidance was a great experience minus the scene where Indiana Jones kept telling Marian where it didn't hurt and she would kiss him there. Even though I've seen Raiders ten times, I'd never watched it with my daughter, so my brain started freaking out about where Indy would tell Marian to kiss next. Allie's gasp of "I'm glad that scene is over" made me know that she was worried as well. Thank God Raiders of the Lost Ark wasn't directed by Kevin Smith.
As for the movie itself, she seemed to enjoy it. Raiders was a great choice for our first movie, in my eyes, because it is iconic without being difficult to grasp why it was popular. Great characters. Great score. Cool hat and whip. The basics. Allie is obviously a teenager so there was a lack of in-depth conversation about the film. Yet, she was perceptive enough to comment that Marion's accent in the bar scene was a bit stronger than later in the film. My hope is that her eyes will slowly awaken to thousands of films she wouldn't normally gravitate toward. Even if that doesn't happen, a few hours a week with my oldest daughter will be time well spent for a Dad about to hit 40. Join us for the next Parental Guidance when I ask my daughter, "who you gonna call?"Allie, please don't say your boyfriend.