I love the catch all movie ratings we have. You’re warned that it may not be appropriate for someone under 13 or 18 but you’re never sure if that’s for some fart jokes and a random boob, or if it’s something that you’re going to need to bleach your brain afterward because it will haunt your soul until the day you die.
So I propose there should be another rating to help us differentiate:
Some movies are pretty obvious that they are going to upset me – I don’t think many people went in thinking Schindler’s List was a comedy – but it’s the ones that blindside you that really piss me off. Here I’m thinking I’m going to see a cool flick and a baby ends up drowning in a bathtub. Why the hell is that even necessary?!
Until the day comes when my rating system is in place (call me Tipper), here are some movies that I would stay away from if you’re pregnant or have children:
Rosemary’s Baby (1968): I’m going to start with an obvious one here. Poor Mia Farrow ends up pregnant with Satan’s baby and spends the entire film feeling sick and paranoid, which I’m sure we can all relate to, but the whole premise may be a little hard to take when you’re walking around pregnant. Feel free to watch this if you have a toddler though. You’ll probably sit there and think, “Yep, that’s about right.”
The Twilight Saga Breaking Dawn: Part 1 (2011): Let’s forget that the whole storyline behind these books is a 107 year-old vampire macking on, and impregnating a 19 year-old girl, but let’s focus on the fact that there is talk of baby killing. Even if hot wolves end up “imprinting” on the baby (cue more creepy) instead of killing it, the whole thing is just ick. She does have a miserable pregnancy so some may find comradery in that, but I’d still skip it.
The Fourth Kind (2009): This one looks innocent enough. Aliens. Cool! Mystery. Yes! Sounds great except there is family-killing, a woman losing custody of her children, and a kid abduction. Oh, and they never find the abducted child. Not cool, movie maker people. Not cool.
Sarah’s Key (2010): This one has some clues that it should be PT rated: sad woman on the poster, faded child in a field, it’s set in France in 1942, hmmm, could this have something to do with Nazis? Yes. Yes, it does and don’t watch it. It includes such horrors as the Vel’ d’Hiv Roundup and a dead little boy in a closet. I’m sorry, did I ruin the end for you? Good.
Kids (1995): I bet this is about sassy teenagers that hang out at the mall and skateboard! Nope, it’s about an HIV-positive teenager that is having sex with as many virgins as possible including a drugged 13-year old. Although, Chloë Sevigny should have been my first clue that this would not be a good film for me – she tends to steer clear of lighthearted, whimsical, feel-good films.
The Omen (1976 and 2006): Here’s another obvious one, but I think it’s worth mentioning anyway. Let’s see, we have a baby dying, a substitute baby brought in (the mother died), a nanny that hangs herself at a birthday party, a little kid causing his mother’s miscarriage from a balcony pushing, and a father attempting to murder his devil child. Bad. Old Italian Lady. Spit. Spit.
Angela’s Ashes (1999): There’s poverty, there’s starving children, there’s dying babies, there’s mean teachers, AND it’s all based on the author’s childhood so you can’t even chalk this up to “it’s just a story”.
We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011): This looks like some touching story about a sweet little boy. Maybe he has a developmental delay yet he can speak to dolphins, perhaps he has an imaginary friend that will show us that acceptance is the true meaning of life, or perhaps, just maybe he’s a fucking sociopath that may, or may not, have blinded his sister with drain cleaner that then goes on to carry out a school massacre and murder his parents with a bow and arrow. Guess which one it is. Grab the popcorn, gather round, and watch something else.
Seven (1995): You’re probably aware of what happens to pregnant Gwyneth Paltrow in this movie, but if you’re not, maybe don’t check this flick out. Head. Box. Bad.
The Lovely Bones (2009): Yeah, no. This is about a 14-year old murder victim that watches over her family as they try to figure out what happened to her. I would have thought this movie was cool when I was a teenager and that’s about it.
The Human Centipede (2009): Why this film? I don’t know. There aren’t even any kids in it, but I saw the trailer for it and found the whole idea of stitching someone’s mouth to another person’s anus to make a human centipede, offputting to say the least. So when I asked some of my friends for PT film suggestions and my buddy Lawrence suggested this one, I knew I wasn’t alone. It’s official. I’m old and easily disturbed.
Markey & Me (2008): This movie is trickery at it’s worst. It’s disguised as a comedy where beautiful people get a loveable puppy that gets into all kinds of shenanigans. Oh, Marley, you nut! Then Jennifer Aniston has a miscarriage, goes on to have two kids, has postpartum depression, then the dog dies. Yep, the dog you now love dies. Thanks, assbadgers.
Bambi (1942): Once you have children, you quickly realize that there seems to be a theme that runs through many movies targeted at them – no mom. Disney in particular is prone to this (I’m sure there are theories why). Finding Nemo, Tangled, The Rescuers, and Dumbo all have some messed up mother issues in there, so brace yourself if you have to watch them. On the upside, children are rarely disturbed by mother deers being killed by hunters. I guess they haven’t wondered who will clean the toilet or who will find Bambi’s Spiderman hoodie when it’s cold out. We’re an invisible army, dammit.
Crime Shows: Shows like CSI, Criminal Minds, Law and Order SUV, Dexter *shudder* all love to do stories on baby murder and child abduction. They also have a knack for pinpointing the exact age and sex of your child that is abducted and found in a basement 30 years later. I’m sorry, is this entertainment, because my damn mind should win an Emmy with the scenarios it can dream up (don’t get me started on where to put your baby when you have to put the shopping cart back) so I really don’t need fuel thrown on that campfire thankyouverymuch.
Medical Shows: Not unlike crime shows, writers of shows like Grey’s Anatomy like to feature a little kid or a baby once in awhile. I’m honestly not sure who this is supposed to target because it freaks parents out so they won’t want to watch and leave people that don’t really care for kids saying, “Who gives a crap if the baby has a brain tumor?” I wish they’d stick with interns making out and oxycontin addictions. Now that’s good t.v.!
M*A*S*H – Goodbye, Farewell and Amen episode (the last one): M*A*S*H is usually a safe pick, but the last episode is about the final days of the Korean War and how it affected all the characters. Turns out that Hawkeye uncovers a repressed memory of when a bus he was on had to pull off the road to hide from the enemy but a woman was holding a live chicken wouldn’t stop making noise. He yelled at her to shut it up but it turns out it wasn’t a chicken, but a baby and she ‘stopped it’. I saw this episode when I was 12, and even *I* thought it was a little heavy (I was probably wearing an A-Team tshirt with crimped hair thinking I looked totally badass too.)
Trainspotting (1996): This is about herion addicts so that shouldn’t be bad because babies aren’t heroin addicts, right? True, but their mothers can be and they can go on crazy drug binges and forget that they have a baby. Way to go, Ewan McGregor, for both undoing your hotness established in Shallow Grave for me, and for leaving me with a constant fear that I’m going to forget I have a baby and it will perish in a crib then crawl on the ceiling to haunt me. Thanks a lot.
P.S. I’d still make out with you.
Sophie’s Choice (1982): Honestly, if one memory could be wiped from my mind, I think I would “unwatch” this movie. The cover doesn’t give you much of a clue of how heartbreaking it is, but it’s about a Holocost survivor that had to choose between her two children in a concentration camp. She does it. Oh, and it’s Meryl Streep too so it’s acted WELL. I saw this movie in my 20s when I held children and house cats in the same regard (fair to say, I do like cats) and even then I wanted to vomit after I saw that scene. It has haunted me ever since. Don’t watch this movie. Fucking ever.
Knocked Up and Alien were both suggested as movies parents should, and shouldn’t watch so I’m simply throwing that out as a footnote. Some people found the alien exploding out of the guys stomach in Alien more of an “eh” and others found it creepy. Some found the birth scene in Knocked Up a little too graphic and others found the bumping ride toward parenthood relatable. I’ll leave it up to your judgement.
So you’re thinking, “Great. The news always has some toddler walking the streets alone at 3am in a diaper, or an infant forgotten in the car, t.v. shows turn those tragedys into episodes, movies take some of the most tragic moments in history then dial them up so it resonates with my deepest darkest fears. I can’t watch anything now.”
Yes, yes, exactly! Now you’re getting it! You’re a parent and you will be able to come up with the most unspeakable scenarios on your own so these will only fuel your imagination fires. You will be hypersensitive to everything that includes a child or baby.
This is why my t.v. viewing now consists of Storage Wars, True Blood and So You Think You Can Dance. Sure it’s shallow and fluffy, but that’s how I like it now, safe, shallow and fluffy.
So enjoy the reality t.v. of fat men with neck tattoos, and movies that have Sandra Bullock holding a guy’s tie over her shoulder, because that’s all that there is for us anymore until my PT safety rating is instated. The logo can be Lafayette from True Blood doing a finger snap saying, “Oh, hell no. Bitch please.”
You can download a PDF version because it’s a little wee to read on screen.
Got any more to add?
Related: The Reasons Pregnant Women Cry
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