Parents’ guide: October 1992
Breaking the Rules
*What It’s About: A dying man (Jason Bateman) persuades his two best friends (C. Thomas Howell and Jonathan Silverman) to drop everything and go on one last road trip. *Will Kids Want to Watch It? It’s maudlin, it’s sappy, and it’s manipula-tive as heck. But teens will love the three young stars and their irreverent disregard for convention. *MPAA: PG-13. *Sex/Nudity: One sex scene — but all we see is kissing. *Drugs/Alcohol: Beer drinking galore. *Violence/Scariness: A bear is hit by a van. *Profanity: 41 harsh words. *Mature Themes: Coping with a friend’s impending death.
*What It’s About: Martin Short and family leave it all behind — including a good script — after inheriting a boat and its wild helmsman Captain Ron (Kurt Russell), who shakes up their humdrum lives. *Will Kids Want to Watch It? Probably, since they know Short from his Ed Grimley cartoons. But they’ll soon be sorry they did. *MPAA: PG-13. *Sex/Nudity: A woman’s naked breasts and butt; the captain in his skivvies. *Drugs/Alcohol: Plenty of drinking — including one scene with a kid downing a beer. *Violence/Scariness: Someone shoots at Captain Ron; there’s a scary storm at sea; Short chokes Captain Ron; Short and company are chased and shot at by pirates. *Profanity: Nine curses. *Mature Themes: Dads aren’t always weenies.
1492: Conquest of Paradise
*What It’s About: Two and a half hours of Christopher Columbus (Gérard Depardieu) and his bold determination to sail untested waters and discover a new route to the Far East. Same stuff as in school. *Will Kids Want to Watch It? Not if they saw the other Columbus film a couple of months ago. Even though this version is better made, there’s no real action in the first two hours — and when it comes, it’s too violent for kids. *MPAA: PG-13. *Sex/Nudity: The usual native T and A. *Drugs/Alcohol: A lot of hearty wine drinking. *Violence/Scariness: A man and woman are strangled, then burned at the stake; Columbus punches some monks; skulls of massacred soldiers are found; a man’s hand is chopped off; Spaniards get cut up and skewered; dozens die in a long, bloody battle between Spaniards and natives; a man dives off a cliff to his death; mutineers cold-bloodedly kill several natives; mutineers are choked to death at the stake; hurricane kills some animals and a few settlers. *Profanity: About five harsh words discovered. *Mature Themes: The importance of dreamers with courage enough to go against the mainstream; how fear of the unknown impoverishes society.
*What It’s About: Dustin Hoffman does Ratso Rizzo doing Rain Man in this tasty but hard-to-swallow Capra-esque story about an unlikely hero and the ironic repercussions of his good deed. *Will Kids Want to Watch It? There’s not much here to attract kids: too little action and most of the humor will go over their heads. Also, parents should keep in mind that stealing and lying are played for laughs here. *MPAA: PG-13. *Sex/Nudity: None. *Drugs/Alcohol: A couple of drinking scenes in a bar. *Violence/Scariness: A plane crashes and explodes; a man jumps off a building and we hear him land. *Profanity: About 70 unheroic phrases. *Mature Themes: Heavy-duty cynicism about fame and the media; we all have potential to be heroes at any given moment.
The Mighty Ducks
*What It’s About: It’s ”The Bad News Bears on ice” — how’s that for honesty? — according to Emilio Estevez’s character, a workaholic lawyer arrested for DWI and sentenced to coach a lousy kids’ hockey team. *Will Kids Want to Watch It? Absolutely! This one’s perfect for kids. There are plenty of laughs, lots of hockey action and even a good-sportsmanship message or two. *MPAA: PG. *Sex/Nudity: None. *Drugs/Alcohol: Estevez drives drunk. *Violence/Scariness: The usual hockey rough stuff. *Profanity: Maybe one. *Mature Themes: How deeply coaches’ pressure affects kids; trying is more important than winning.
*What It’s About: Damn Yankee Tom Selleck proves to be one ugly American when he is traded to a Japanese baseball team. He is rude, lewd, and socially unacceptable until love and a batting slump inspire him to change his ways. *Will Kids Want to Watch It? Sure — it’s about baseball, and likable Selleck has kid appeal. But kids may think his Japan bashing is ac-ceptably funny, even though his character later repents. *MPAA: PG-13. *Sex/Nudity: Two scenes of a couple in bed, several shots of naked male butts in the clubhouse baths. *Drugs/Alcohol: Some beer drinking; Selleck and his coach get drunk. *Violence/Scariness: Selleck gives two people a hotfoot and receives one in return, Selleck is beaned twice, Selleck punches pal accidentally, the team brawls. *Profanity: About 35 all-American cusswords. Hey, it’s baseball. *Mature Themes: Misconceptions about other cultures; being a team player; ”It’s more important to hit the ball than trying not to miss” — whatever that means.
Of Mice and Men
*What It’s About: Beautifully realized adaptation of the Steinbeck classic about two itinerant farm workers, George (Gary Sinise) and his strong, sweet, slow-witted friend Lennie (John Malkovich), and their inevitably tragic fate. *Will Kids Want to Watch It? Teens who were forced to read the book in school might want to see how it translates to the screen. But it’s too heavy and sentimental for most kids. *MPAA: PG-13. *Sex/Nudity: None. *Drugs/Alcohol: None. *Violence/Scariness: Lennie and George are chased by angry men and dogs; an old dog belonging to Candy (Ray Walston) is shot (heard, not seen); Curley beats up on Lennie; Lennie crushes Curley’s hand; a woman’s neck is broken; a man gets shot point-blank in the head. *Profanity: About 31 harsh words. *Mature Themes: The mentally impaired need, but rarely get, compassion; the evils of racial segregation; the urgency of friendship.
*What It’s About: Encino Man‘s Brendan Fraser evolves into a fine actor as a Jewish quarterback who first hides his identity, then defends it at an elite prep school. *Will Kids Want to Watch It? Although the adult subject matter will probably turn off most teens, they should see it, since it’s a powerful but palatable treatment of bigotry. The film also has appeal thanks to some exciting football action and heartthrob Fraser. *MPAA: PG-13. *Sex/Nudity: Naked male butts in showers. *Drugs/Alcohol: One kid drinking scotch. *Violence/Scariness: Three violent fistfights. *Profanity: About 41 obscenities, plus many ethnic slurs. *Mature Themes: The small-mindedness of bigotry and the impact on its victims.
*What It’s About: Six twentysomethings pursue love and music in Seattle. *Will Kids Want to Watch It? Hot young cast (Matt Dillon, Bridget Fonda) and hot new soundtrack (Pearl Jam, Soundgarden) will appeal to older teens, but film’s gently cynical view of the battle of the sexes could put younger teens off dating for life. *MPAA: PG-13. *Sex/Nudity: A sex scene (couple keep their undies on); some sex-ed talk; discussion of breast size; some sexy phone chatter. *Drugs/Alcohol: Drinking in a rock club. *Violence/Scariness: A pregnant woman loses her baby in a car crash. *Profanity: Five, not counting the word commitment. *Mature Themes: Love always wins in the end.
*What It’s About: The Caped Crusader battles the Penguin and Catwoman to save Gotham again. *Will Kids Want to Watch It? Returns has more violence and sexuality than Batman, so it might be too much for kids under 10 or 11. *MPAA: PG-13. *Sex/Nudity: A woman in a cat outfit licks a guy in a rubber bat costume on the face. Kinky. *Drugs/Alcohol: None. *Violence/Scariness: Throughout, including: Creatures attack Gotham City, two guys catch on fire, Catwoman slashes someone’s face, Penguin bites a guy’s nose, Penguin makes a woman fall to her death, Penguin plots to kill kids in their sleep, a person gets electrocuted. *Profanity: Three harsh words, plus lewdness from Penguin. *Mature Themes: Good versus evil — in the same person.