For a pop-culture obsessive, watching the kids you love morph into mini-movie hounds is a beautiful thing. At least, until those kids seize on a movie they can’t get enough of, and insist on watching it again… and again… and again. Or they become cinematic aficionados, but only for the types of films that tend to make anyone over the age of 10 cringe. (Have you ever attempted to rewatch, say, Blank Check? That stuff does not hold up.) Thus this week’s PopWatch Confessional question: What’s the worst, most grating, or otherwise unpleasant children’s movie you’ve been forced to sit through by an actual kid, either because the movie stank to begin with or because you had to see it so many damn times?
Joshua Rivera, EW.com writer: The worst kids’ movie I’ve ever had to sit through—hell, the worst movie I’ve ever had to sit through—is Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2. It is the worst thing. The. Worst. Thing. Thanks to that movie, there’s an entire day of my life I don’t remember, because I’ve spent the years since trying to forget everything about that movie—and failing that, have forgotten everything else about that day, including the kid that made me watch it with him. This story will probably end years from now with a Twilight Zone-esque twist in which I realize that I watched it all on my own.
Jason Clark, senior reporter: Annie (2014). This is all you need to know.
Molly Simms, staff editor: I was coerced into taking the kids I was babysitting to see the 1996 debacle Kazaam, in which Shaq plays a rapping genie who helps out a kid living in the “hood.” When he’s woken from his slumber (inside a boom box), Shaq rhymes “don’t wanna do time on your wishes three” with “watch it, boy! You don’t want to dis me!” My only wish—to leave the theater immediately—was not granted.
Aeriel Brown, senior associate photo editor: Teletubbies. While I was having fever hallucinations. Thinking about the baby in the sun still send shivers up my spine to this day. Kids actually watch this stuff? It’s more terrifying than Babadook!
Michele Romero, photo editor: My dear niece Maddie, now 11, was obsessed with the film Soul Surfer, the “inspiring true story” of Bethany Hamilton (played by Anna Sophia Robb), who loses her arm to a shark bite but learns to surf again. I loved watching this film with Maddie the first time, because it made the kid so unbelievably happy. But soon it became the ONLY thing Maddie would ever watch—and she’s a sweet kid with a bite of her own, so she wins the TV a good chunk of the time. Now Jaws is my favorite shark movie (sorry, Sharknado), and I can’t wait to make the kid watch it with me. 25 times in a row.
Dalton Ross, editor-at-large: Anything with the word “Chipmunks” in the title.
Isabella Biedenharn, editorial assistant: Not only did the 4-year-old twins I babysit make me watch Frozen more than a few times, but we also had to act out the movie from start to finish every afternoon. I was always Anna, and I always got sharply chastised for not knowing my lines.
Lisa Berman, photography director: Son of the Mask. “Good poop, Clancy!” (I think that was the line…)
Jeff Labrecque, senior writer: I would rather spend a day at the DMV then watch Chitty-Chitty Bang Bang again. An unavoidable family followup to Mary Poppins after the kiddies first met Dick Van Dyke, CCBB requires several pints of grandpa’s cough medicine to make the super-sweet sugar go down. To be fair, Poppins can get on your nerves too after the 127th viewing—but CCBB doesn’t even wait that long. It’s a pandering musical with uninspired, downright annoying songs. Seeing Truly Scrumptious sing “Lovely Lonely Man” will literally make you root for Vulgaria, the evil kingdom where children are banished, simply because at least people there don’t have to watch this dreck. The only positive thing about the movie is Van Dyke abandons his mangled British accent from Poppins—even though the story is set in England. According to Wikipedia, the film is a lengthy 144 minutes. But my recollection places the running time at about 14 hours, give or take.