A parent’s guide to entertainment
COOL AS ICE
What It’s About: Vanilla Ice, a motorbike, and a girl. Will Kids Want to Watch It? Last year they might have, but this tepid vehicle melts the Iceman’s cool. The music’s good, Ice isn’t all bad, but even kids have standards when it comes to story lines. MPAA: PG. Sex/Nudity: Girl in sexy nightshirt (tame), possibly making love in field (nothing shown). Drugs: None. Violence/Scariness: Girl punches Ice, Ice fights bat-wielding punks, bad guys chase kid and kidnap him, big fight with bad guys. Profanity: Four barely offensive words. Mature Themes: Are you kidding?
What It’s About: Homeless Alone. Predictable John Hughes fare about penniless Jim Belushi raising too-cute Alisan Porter, and how their con-artist ways are changed when they meet rich lawyer Kelly Lynch. Will Kids Want to Watch It? Sure. Young kids (girls especially) may identify with appealing Alisan. She’s no Macaulay Cul-kin, though. MPAA: PG. Sex/Nudity: None. Drugs: None. Violence/ Scariness: Belushi gets punched, thrown against a van, hit by a car twice, and smashed with a closet door. Profanity: Four offensive phrases. Mature Themes: Homelessness, surviving any way necessary, doing the right thing.
What It’s About: Paul McCartney on a fairly magical but not so mysterious tour down memory lane. Great concert footage of Paulie and his latest band laced with images from 1960s through the present. Will Kids Want to Watch It? Doubtful, unless they’re older and want to ”get what the ’60s were about.” Still, even little ones may know more of these songs than you think. MPAA: PG. Sex/Nudity: Brief ’60s clip of seminude hippie girl. Drugs: None. Violence/Scariness: Shots of Vietnam atrocities and footage of other wars. Profanity: None. Mature Themes: Almost subliminal peace message.
What It’s About: Ten-year-old boy spends summer in country with married couple (Don Johnson, Melanie Griffith) who’ve drifted apart since their young son’s death. The boy’s presence gives them a chance to heal. Will Kids Want to Watch It? It’s a little heavy for kids, though they’ll relate to the sweet, realistic friendship between the boy and a 9-year-old girl. MPAA: PG-13. Sex/Nudity: Teen girl’s naked breasts, same girl making it with boyfriend (nothing shown). Drugs: None. Violence/Scariness: Johnson loses temper, destroys dead baby’s crib with bat. Profanity: Just one marginally offensive word. Mature Themes: Poignancy and sensitive dealing with death make this good for family viewing.
What It’s About: This time it’s Store Alone. John Hughes’ script has blue-collar teen boy and rich, gorgeous teen girl ”trapped” in a closed department store. They tell each other their woes and try to outwit two dumb robbers. Will Kids Want to Watch It? Young kids won’t key , into patented Hughes teen angst, but older boys will lust after Jennifer Connelly. MPAA: PG-13. Sex/Nudity: No, darn it. Drugs: None. Violence/ Scariness: Dead body shown, bad guys beat up man and steal his car, robbers threaten to kill the two teens with guns. Profanity: About a dozen expletives. Mature Themes: Ref-erence to being beaten by father.
LAUREL & HARDY AT WORK
What It’s About: Two of the funniest men in history star in three shorts newly released on video, including the Academy Award- winning classic The Music Box. Will Kids Want to Watch It? Wouldn’t it be nice if kids appreciated the comic geniuses of yesteryear? Keep dreaming, pal: five minutes of B&W slapstick and they’ll probably scream for Ernest Goes to Jail. MPAA: None. Sex/Nudity: None. Drugs: Never. Violence/Scariness: A lot of cartoonish knockabout: pratfalls, eye pokes, tie cutting, face gluing, head slamming-all done in fun. Profanity: Maybe ”gosh.” Mature Themes: None. That’s the point.
What It’s About: Fond but thorough send-up in which Steve Martin looks for love in the City of Angels. Will Kids Want to Watch It? Some of Martin’s antics are childishly fun, but lifestyle satire will go over the heads of all but the most ardent Beverly Hills, 90210 fan. MPAA: PG-13. Sex/Nudity: Quick glimpse of naked breasts, woman in bra and panties, Martin touches young woman’s clothed breast, loud sex scene in which nothing is shown. Drugs: None. Violence/Scariness: Comic shoot-out on freeway, Steve smashes guy’s head against wall. Profanity: Six bad words. Mature Themes: Following your heart.
TRUTH OR DARE
What It’s About: Atmospheric documentary of Madonna on tour. Fascinating to watch the wild one in action, but what a mouth on this girl! (the body’s pretty outrageous too). Will Kids Want to Watch It? Young girls love Madonna; they all seem to want to be her. But the real Madonna, the one here, is too lewd, crude, and socially unacceptable for little kids. In other words, they’ll want to watch, but strong guidance is suggested. MPAA: R. Sex/Nudity: Sexual references pretty much constant throughout. Four shots of Madonna’s breasts, simulated masturbation on stage, faux fellatio with a bottle, dan-cers in bed with star, one of them naked (rear shot). Drugs: None. Violence/Scariness: None. Profanity: Almost 60 obscene words and gestures. Mature Themes: Homosexuality, artistic freedom, relationships with friends and family.
NOTHING BUT TROUBLE
What It’s About: Ninety minutes too long. Chevy Chase and Demi Moore are stranded in strange town of Valkenvania when ancient nut Dan Aykroyd imprisons them in booby-trapped house. Will Kids Want to Watch It? That cast is catnip, but the movie smells more like a catbox. Still, it’s dumb and gross, two things lots of kids like. MPAA: PG-13. Sex/Nudity: Sexy, chesty girl (no nudity). Aykroyd’s nose made up to look like penis. Drugs: Snorting cocaine in a car. Violence/Scariness: Falling through a trap door, Demi punches Chevy (for sending her this script?), drunken drivers get shredded to bits, John Candy in drag. Profanity: About 15 offensive words. Mature Themes: Movie avoids maturity at all costs.
What It’s About: Sleazy womanizer is killed by ex-girlfriends, sent back to earth as Ellen Barkin, must find one woman who truly likes ”him” in order to get into heaven. Will Kids Want to Watch It? Fun premise, but the execution is awfully smutty for kids. Young teen boys may be smitten with Barkin, though, while teen girls will be barking over Jimmy Smits. MPAA: R. Sex/Nudity: Man with women in hot tub (naked breasts), Barkin feels herself up, Barkin in panties, Barkin squeezes salesgirl’s boobs, Smits grabs Barkin’s rear twice, Smits’ naked butt. Subplot involving lesbian executive. Drugs: Pot-smoking in two scenes. Violence/Scariness: Women drowning and shooting man, barroom brawl, Barkin punches Smits twice, Barkin painfully grabs Smits’ cojones. Profanity: About 48 obscenities uttered. Mature Themes: Lesbianism, learning respect for the opposite sex.
TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES II: THE SECRET OF THE OOZE
What It’s About: Michaelangelo, Raphael, Donatello, and Leonardo come out of their shells once again to take on evil Shredder and protect the ooze from whence they came. Will Kids Want to Watch It? Try to stop them. MPAA: PG. Sex/Nudity: None human. Drugs: None. Violence/Scariness: Great opening kung-fu fight followed by five more, turtles almost skewered, two comically frightening monsters. Shred-der’s a bit scary but kids already know him. Profanity: Cowabunga? Mature Themes: Just the old fashioned good versus evil.
Additional writing by Ty Burr