Five Movies You Loved as a Kid But Probably Shouldn't Have
When it comes to movies from childhood, it's easy for nostalgia to cloud your judgment. Free yourself from those rose-colored glasses and join Roy and Adriane, also known as the Critical Couple, as they expose the schlock and the missteps that exist in popular kids' films from the '80s and '90s.
Sure, things work out briefly for Josh (Tom Hanks)—as a child magically transformed into an adult, he gets to play with toys for a living and dance across a giant keyboard with his boss. But the other characters don’t fare so well. His poor mother is left thinking that her son’s been kidnapped, and his coworker Susan (Elizabeth Perkins) gets tricked into romancing a (mentally? spiritually?) 12-year-old boy. This kid deserves the grounding of a lifetime. – Adriane Neuenschwander
Free Willy (1993)
Marine biologists clearly didn’t pen this script, which makes freeing a 4-ton killer whale look easier than helping a friend move a couch. In fact, it’s so easy that a preteen, an old man, and the waifish actress Lori Petty can do it with little more than a pulley and a flatbed truck. Though the whale’s release is absurd, so are some of the movie’s other details, including the over-the-top theme song sung by Michael Jackson and the bizarre casting of everyone’s favorite Reservoir Dogs sadist, Michael Madsen, as an understanding foster father. – AN
Strip the sentimentality from your memories of Ghostbusters, and you may come to a few painful realizations. The plot is sloppy, the jokes are thin, and the film probably harmed the planet by making a generation of kids hate the EPA. Perhaps most unsettling, though, is the creepiness of Bill Murray’s iconic Peter Venkman. Electrocuting a clairvoyant to hit on a college student? Creepy. Harassing Sigourney Weaver until she agrees to a dinner date? Creepy. Plus, those Ghostbusters sure smoke a lot. – Roy Ivy
Mac and Me (1988)
My kid brain viewed Mac and Me as another boy-meets-alien story in the vein of E.T. My kid brain was stupid. This is a 90-minute commercial for McDonald's, complete with a cameo by Ronald himself. As if a five-minute breakdancing sequence staged in a McDonald’s restaurant isn’t bad enough, the film also provides us with weird bits of product placement: the alien’s dad is nicknamed “Big Mac,” and after Mac’s family succumbs to heat exhaustion in the desert, they’re all brought back to life with refreshing sips of Coca-Cola. – AN
Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)
Suspension of disbelief is a prerequisite for a comedy like this, but come on. The family knows Robin Williams’s character is a voice actor. And any voice Williams does sounds the same, so his kids are nimrods for not immediately recognizing the true identity of the eponymous British nanny. Furthermore, the slapstick is lazy, the puns are groaners (“drive-by fruiting”), and the script contains a significant amount of transphobia. Think I’m exaggerating? Rewatch the scene where Doubtfire carelessly pees standing up and gets caught by his two oldest kids. They prepare to wail on him with a tennis racket until he outs himself, which prompts the son to throw out this corker: “You don’t really like wearin’ that stuff, do you dad?” I could go on, but I’m watching my blood pressure. – RI
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