When it comes to kids movies, I'm never too concerned with the rating as much what they're going to rephrase. You never know what is going to stick into a kid's brain. Usually, it's not the taboo phrases or George Carlin's "Seven Dirty Words" you can't say on TV. What sticks is the deviant line that makes us stop and ask, "Where did you hear that?"
The other day during dinner, the four-year old interrupted our meal by saying, "Hey, I'm WALKING here!"
My husband and I exchanged looks. I knew there was no way my son managed an accidental showing of "Midnight Cowboy" and since I don't normally do movies with the kids, my husband knew it wasn't me.
Just to make sure, we asked our four-year old to repeat the line.
For emphasis, Samu stood up on his chair and in the thickest New York accent he could muster, he said, "Hey! I'm waulkin' heeeyah."
We agreed, that's Dustin Hoffman alright, but where in the world did he pick it up?
Turns out, it's in the new Smurfs movie. My mother, for lack of better things to do, took the boys to see it - twice. I guess if the line is good enough for Ratso, it's good enough for a blue whatever-the-heck-a-Smurf-is and yeah, it molds easily into a pre-schooler's mind.
Thank goodness they had the right mind not to use any memorable lines from "Taxi Driver." I mean, if they're going to confront somebody with a "you talkin' ta me," I'd rather they learn from the master De Niro himself rather than some Disney CG fairy character. But whatever.
Like "Baby Einstein," sometimes I don't know whether to thank them for introducing them to creations I'd never expose them to or write a letter to say...Tipper Gore asking if she's going to do something about the girl chipmunks singing "if you liked it then ya shoulda put a ring on it."
And speaking of "Alvin and the Chipmunks," in it's questionable soundtrack, our four-year old found a new loop to sing. It went something like, "Maw-maw-baby, maw-maw like a maw-maw baby, maw-maw."
I recognized the melody as "You Spin Me Round," by Dead Or Alive. Well, as songs that stick-in-your-head will have it, inevitably I started singing the song and kindled a new found fascination with that 80's tune by showing them the video (love YouTube). Soon, Samu replaced his "maw-maw" for the actual words, "you spin me right round baby right round, like a record baby, right round".
First of all, I was grateful it didn't occur to him to ask me what a record was. It saved me a lot of unused brain cells. There's a lot of transcendent ancient equipment that require explanation: telex machines, tape recorders...pen and paper. I'm still recovering from "baby brain," why lose what little brain cells I have left explaining vinyl?
But it wasn't innocent ignorance that caused him to overlook the lyrics. It was Pete Burns - the singer of the band "Dead or Alive." Perhaps if we lived in San Francisco, he wouldn't have been so mesmerized by a man dressing up like a woman. Of course my husband was no help. All he kept repeating was that Pete Burns, had a sex change operation.
Thanks, Daddy. Regardless of whether that's true, I need to explain that, too. At least they haven't remade "Doogie Howser, MD"...yet.