My Movie Ban

Aren’t memories a lovely thing? Isn’t it amazing how we can sanitize them so that as we look back, the waves of time have washed over our lives and we recall only the good ole days? Even in the best of times, there had to be negative emotions, hurt feelings, or repressed fears. Yet through the Pollyannaish lens of the mind, most of those evaporate until we look back with dopey, satisfied grins at simpler and happier times.

Unless you have children to remind you.

In my memories, our children are all happy, well-adjusted, curly-haired imps who look at me in love and awe as I made all the right decisions and led the family on daring adventures and fantastic voyages.

In the drama of their minds, I play the part of a bumbling clown – Dick Van Dyke tripping over ottomans. While I remember sunshine and rainbows, they recall falls from horses, near drownings, and being afraid of monsters from stories I told because evidently I was a whooping maniac who hurled them into the deep end of the pool while I laughed sadistically from the shallow end where my feet always touched.

I don’t think they truly remember it that way, but they sure do seem to revel in the faults and foibles of the patriarch. They have passed through the childhood Land of Perfect Daddy and into the demilitarized zone that borders adulthood. At times, they demonstrate against the SDDS (Socialist Dumb Daddy State) where loud speakers boom amplified messages of all dad’s mistakes as propaganda to the less informed.

This Christmas, the wayward two were home from college and I was hobbled by a bum ankle which left a great deal of down time during which we watched old home videos and reminisced. And then I had the unmitigated gall to suggest a movie which brought up all the scars I had inflicted with my movie choices. In my defense, there was no PG-13 when I was young, so cursing was more readily acceptable in PG movies. Who knew the profanity that would assault their tender ears during Harry and the Hendersons? I only recalled a sweet sasquatch.

I do not qualify as guidance


I also had no idea the pain and trauma Jumanji would inflict. Nightmares of monkey boys affected sleep patterns for years. After that, their mother, who acts as the propriety police in all the lands of daddy, instituted a five-year movie ban and no longer allowed me to suggest movies from my childhood.

Just when it finally lifted, I made a new, holiday suggestion: Christmas Vacation.

Before you go saying, “I love that movie,” chances are you love the sanitized TBS version – which is all I have ever seen. Clark’s profanity-laced tirade in the theater edition might shock and surprise you. It did me… as I lay helplessly on the couch, knowing I had blown it… again.

Although I am sure my kids hear worse at their schools daily, the little covert operatives assumed the roles of prim saints in a tabernacle choir and acted shocked and morally compromised. It was quite a performance. They choked back evil grins and banded together while their mother issued a new movie ban… another long five years.

I get out in 2021.


What movies did you remember as clean and wholesome only to realize too late they were not?





24 thoughts on “My Movie Ban

  1. Spaceballs…Blazing Saddles…Bachelor Party….seeing a theme here?

    BTW: The lingerie model in Christmas Vacation is now 62-years-old. Julie Burton from Bug-Bytes reminded me of that. I made it my civil duty to remind the hubby when we watched it over Christmas break.

    I absolutely love your sense of humor. A much-needed smile today 🙂

    1. There is no way you showed your kids Bachelor Party. Even I know that is wrong. She’s 62? Wow. But hey, let him check in on Christy Brinkley. She’s that age and doing okay. 😳

  2. In our house, it is reversed. My kids shrug off all the things that offended and traumatized me.

    Me: “Son, now that you are 33 and can handle it, we can sit down and watch The Wizard of Oz together.”

    Son: “Uh Dad, I watched it with grandpa when I was 4. He said the witch scared the pants off of you. Not sure why.”

    Me: “It did and I have been waiting for 50 years to watch it again.”

    Son: “Do you want to hold my hand?”

    Me: “I’d be so grateful.”

  3. My family first saw Major League on an airplane, my brother and I were probably around middle school/late elementary school age We happened to be flipping through the channels upon returning home and found it on HBO and learned just how sanitized the airplane made the movie. (supposedly I was deeply afraid as a small child of the care bear movie, but I think that is just a story my father tells…)

  4. I use to chaperon a bus of jr. high kids to a retreat. I brought Back to The Future one year to watch on the trip. It is rated PG, so I figured I was safe. MAN what a lot of swear words there were in that movie!!!

  5. oops! my friend, who has 3 young sons, asked if ‘blades of glory’ was appropriate for them. i tried to think back, and keeping in my that when i saw it i wasn’t looking at it through the lens of young boys watching it. based upon my memories, i said, ‘oh yeah, it’s funny, ice dancing costumes, shenanigans, will ferrell silliness…. etc. ) . she watched it with them and called me horrified. said it was all swearing, sexual innuendos, drinking, vomiting, etc. – good thing we are good friends but she doesn’t ask me for movie recommendations anymore. and p.s. – i taught her sons which is how i originally got to know her. )

    1. Wow. that’s funny. But that’s always my line of thought. Anchor man, funny fight scene, silly costumes, make fun of news shows… Yeah it’s good!

      Besides Elf, I’m not sure you could give a minor any Will Ferrell movie.

  6. Mark, your blogs continue to make me smile & think!!! All your writing intrigues me but your stories about your family touch my heart! They make you so personal though I only met you once for a few minutes at CUREFEST 2015. Your honesty about the foibles, we all commit at times as parents, make me laugh out loud. I am so grateful to have found your blog!!! Hope your ankle is truly getting better

  7. Yes, my husband and I are both in our 40s and there have been a number of movies from our childhood in the 80s that we loved and remembered as wonderful! We showed 1 or 2 of them to our boys and quickly realized that PG in the 80s was a lot like PG-13 now, definitely! Now we watch the movies again, with our parent eyes, before we show the boys our favorites. 🙂 Short Circuit and Goonies were two of them. And yes – watching Grease as a grown up, I was surprised at what we used to love and the songs we would sing…not realizing what the guys were singing about with their cars!!:)

      1. I have followed your blog since learning of sweet Kylie and your family through our friends, the Gosslings, as they would post updates on precious Grant. Before learning about childhood cancer through their eyes and yours, I had no idea about the antiquated treatments and utter lack of funding that goes toward childhood cancer. That’s all different now…and I’ve been spreading the word about the need for great changes. The posts that you wrote and continue to write have often made me cry and others have made me laugh so hard, tears ran down my face, too! Thank you for sharing your loved ones with us – that we may laugh, cheer, and pray with you in the steps forward and joyful times and cry and pray with you, too, in the times of grief. Please continue sharing your wonderful gift for writing with us, Mark, shining a light in this world in Kylie’s stead! We will never forget Kylie or Grant!

      2. That’s sweet. I wore my Spider-Man t-shirt today that I bought for Grants funeral. Thanks for remembering and acting. We don’t want to lose any more.

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