A parent’s guide to entertainment
Sure, that reissued Disney cartoon is a safe bet, but otherwise, it’s a weird week for kids’ entertainment choices. A movie called Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot is a suitable babysitter, right? And Radio Flyer, with a plot about child abuse, is way too heavy, right? Not necessarily. The title and ads simply reflect who the studio thinks will like its movie. Our Parents’ Guide shows you where marketing and reality split ways.
The Adventures of the Mouse Detective
What It’s About: Basil, the Sherlock Holmes of the Rodentia order, attempts to rescue a little mouse girl’s father from evil big cheese Professor Ratigan and save the Royal Micedom in the process.
Will Kids Want to Watch It? Put it this way-Disney knows mice.
Violence/Scariness: A scary kidnapper, a mouse is fed to a giant cat, a bat kidnaps a girl, knives are thrown in a bar, there’s a barroom brawl, Ratigan knocks a crutch out from a handicapped person’s grasp, plus slapstick violence among Ratigan’s gang of rodents.
Mature Themes: Logic is a better weapon than guns — a nice counter to your standard action-movie message.
What It’s About: Bad Medicine. Ponytailed Sean Connery discovers a cure for cancer in the Amazon jungle, then loses it. Whiny Lorraine Bracco tries to help him get it back.
Will Kids Want to Watch It? Doubtful; a large machete is necessary to plod through this cinematic jungle. Forcing kids to watch it for the pro-environment message might backfire and make them litterbugs.
Sex/Nudity: Dozens of exposed female breasts and saronged butts among the natives, Bracco in bra and panties.
Drugs: A caffeine high, Connery and Bracco taking turns getting drunk.
Violence/Scariness: Lorraine gets a bloody lip falling off cliff, there’s a scary medicine man dream, Connery fights the medicine man and gets beaten up by road construction goons, there’s a major fire.
Profanity: About six words.
Mature Themes: A plea against the destruction of the rain forests; Western-style civilization shouldn’t be forced on native peoples.
What It’s About: A boy’s flying fantasy comes to life in this alternately uplifting and harrowing tale of two brothers trying to escape the anger of their abusive stepfather.
Will Kids Want to Watch It? Children will relate to the genuine ”kidness” of these two brothers and their boundless imagination, but — a major but — parents should be aware and prepared for disturbing scenes of child abuse that are a large part of this film. Handle with extreme care. .
Drugs: Several scenes of stepfather getting drunk, which always leads to him beating the younger son.
Violence/Scariness: A kid gets hurt in an attempt to fly on his bike, stepfather hits boy, several other beatings are not shown (though we do see the resulting bruises). Two scary-monster scenes are conjured up by the boys’ overactive imaginations; neighborhood kids beat up the brothers; a dog attacks the stepfather twice, followed by a badly hurt and bloodied dog; the stepfather scares kids.
Profanity: About nine obscenities.
Mature Themes: The issue of child abuse, including the complicity of a parent who turns a blind eye, is forcefully and realistically depicted.
This is My Life
What It’s About: Apprentice stand-up comic Julie Kavner hits it big, but loses fans at home as her two daughters feel neglected.
Will Kids Want to Watch It? Young teen girls should identify with the daughters, but most of the humor (on stage and off stage) is aimed at adults. Now, if ! kids knew Julie was the voice of Marge Simpson…
Sex/Nudity: A lot of talk about sex; an awkwardly real scene of first-time sex between the older daughter and a nerdy boy (no nudity) that might elicit some questions from young viewers.
Drugs: None, though Dan Aykroyd does eat a lot of paper.
Profanity: Just one.
Mature Themes: A working mother’s problems in balancing family and career; children’s pain at being abandoned by a parent.
What It’s About: Wayne and Garth — two terminal couch spuds from suburbia — take their cable show out of Wayne’s basement and into the world, where sleazoid producer Rob Lowe tries to make them go mainstream.
Will Kids Want to Watch It? Much of the humor is aimed at older teens and young adults, but kids will love these guys. They’re nice, funny, and totally uncomplicated. Lots of intentionally goofy one-liners that parents will probably remember from high-school days. .
Sex/Nudity: Wayne in underwear in bed with a bodacious babe, Wayne (still in underwear) giving himself a wedgie as he humps a statue, a sexy woman in a rock video, some heavy cleavage.
Drugs: One friend seems to be zoned out on drugs.
Violence/Scariness: All slapstick: A guy shoves Garth, Garth stun-guns him, there’s a barroom brawl, a couple fall through a roof window, a girl on a bike smashes into a parked car, Garth is flung into a pole.
Profanity: About 10 offensive words.
Mature Themes: Not!
Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot
What It’s About: Alleged comedy about tough cop Sylvester Stallone, who turns to mush when his overbearing, annoying, suicidally meddling mother, Estelle Getty, pays him an unwelcome visit.
Will Kids Want to Watch It? We hope not: This is a simp-ly awful film. Stallone may be likable, but all we feel for him here is pity at being stuck in this dud. .
Sex/Nudity: Sly in underwear, Sly’s butt in shower.
Violence/Scariness: Sly single-handedly beats up a total of seven bad guys, slams a bad guy’s hand in a car door, shoots an overhanging sign onto three bad guys, shoots a bad guy in a dream, flushes a cop’s head down toilet. Also, Sly’s partner gets a shard of glass in his butt, a gun dealer gets shot dead, there’s a car-chase shoot-out, Sly and mom get attacked by gunfire and a giant wrecking ball, a woman slugs Sly, bad guy gets shoved out of a window.
Profanity: Besides the obscene waste of film, there are about 10 harsh words.
Mature Themes: Mother shoots best.
Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey
What It’s About: Bill and Ted’s not-as-excellent sequel finds them fighting off evil Bill and Ted robots, playing Twister with Death, and wandering through Hell. It’s Wayne’s World with less brains, believe it or not.
Will Kids Want to Watch It? They most assuredly will, but even though these guys are funny (not to mention totally dumb), there’s some heavy attention to death here. Teens will get the goof, but teeny tots might wig out. .
Sex/Nudity: Evil robots gyrating on girls (fully clothed) on bed.
Drugs: These guys just say, ”No way, dude.”
Violence/ Scariness: Futuristic bad guys with guns, scary-looking robots, Bill and Ted shoved off a cliff by evil robots. There’s a scary-looking giant devil and an unsettling scene in hell, Bill and Ted get hurled against a wall, robots rip off their own heads, robots explode.
Profanity: Just two offensive words.
Mature Themes: Bill and Ted would go to hell after death.
What It’s About: Evil Tribble-like creatures from outer space once again sink their teeth into hapless earthlings. But these Gremlin wannabes just don’t cut it.
Will Kids Want to Watch It? Even children have standards. Horror-loving teens will choose Freddy or Chucky every time.
Violence/Scariness: There’s a quick flashback to violence from the two previous films, critters attack a woman and chew up her leg, critters kill a mean stepdad, five critters are killed by explosion, meat cleaver, and impaling. Pretty amazing what puppets can get away with in a PG-13 movie, huh?
Profanity: About nine obscenities, plus the threat: ”To be continued….”
Mature Themes: Nope.
Showdown in Little Tokyo
What It’s About: Cops Dolph Lundgren and Brandon Lee (Bruce’s son) take on a beer-and-drug lord and notice their life insurance has been canceled.
Will Kids Want to Watch It? Probably; fortunately for this film, kids care much more about action than acting.
Sex/Nudity: Four pairs of naked female breasts, topless female sumo wrestlers, eating sushi off naked woman, naked woman in a hot tub, a love-making scene (woman’s breasts and butt shown), Lundgren’s butt.
Drugs: Smoking a crack-like substance.
Violence/Scariness: About eight fight scenes with 26 guys getting beaten up by Lundgren and Lee; 49 deaths by gunfire, sword, crossbow, car crushing, broken neck, electrocution, and explosion; a biker’s hand chopped off; a pinkie sliced off; Lundgren cut up and shot.
Profanity: 36, not including the acting.
Mature Themes: Always read the script before taking the job.