Letter to Hollywood Producers

Dear People Who Make Movies for Kids, I just want to thank you for your recent movie "Curious George". I recently saw it again with my 4 year old son at a special "Summer Movie" screening in my town. It is possibly one of the silliest movies ever made, and I mean that in the best sense of the word. When you have an entire theater of 4 year olds laughing because George puts a sandwich on his head instead of the yellow hat, well, you know you've hit gold. Please make more movies like this. And stop making movies like Chicken Little. Chicken Little is, in a word, lame. And I don't mean that in the best sense of the word. I mean it's lame in the sense of "Who on earth thought that kids under the age of 6 would find a movie about scary aliens really fun?" And you know it's the kids under the age of 6 who are watching it, because the older kids have already figured out that it's lame. And what's with the whole complex family relationships you've got going in that show, huh? Like 4 year olds care about "closure" with their fathers, or can identify with deep seeded needs to prove themselves to fathers who just don't 'get' them. Again, those are issues that older kids are dealing with, and again, older kids ain't watchin' 'cause they're hip to your lameness. Please stop making movies like "Robots". It's a seriously creepy world with adult innuendos and constant jokes about a woman's robot butt. And the message of "You can shine whatever you're made of" just doesn't translate very well to a kid under 8. Refer to the above discussion about lameness regarding why kids over 8 aren't watching. And seriously, there ARE other actresses besides Joan Cusack who can be a character's voice. Besides, every time you use her, it confuses the kids because they keep saying stuff like, "Hey, it's Jessi! Is Bullseye in this movie, too? I want Woody!" And since there is nobody even half as cool as Buzz Lightyear in "Robots", you can see the mother's dilemma. Please note. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO ENTERTAIN ADULTS WHEN YOU MAKE A MOVIE FOR KIDS! I am not offended when my kid is laughing at something I recognize as inane humor. I do not attend animated shows because I personally find them inspiring and uplifting and I'm intrigued by the computer graphics. I buy animated shows to keep my son from driving me up the wall. I go to theaters because it's too friggin' hot to take my kid anywhere else and the neighbors are tired of him knocking on their doors demanding to know when their kids will be home. I park him in front of the TV so I don't have to play lightsabers with him for the billionth time that day. These are my goals. Notice that "entertain myself" is not among them. And please don't make another movie where I have to explain why the Cat in the Hat says "Awkward!" when the boy tells him that the woman that made the kitty go "schwing" is his mother. And that was just from a preview. Sincerely yours, Curious George Fan


Blogger Eric Russell said...

I’m sorry, Heather, but movie studies DO have to entertain adults when making movies for children. Adults much prefer taking their kids to see the likes of Shrek when they know there will be content that will interest them as well. Movies that entertain adults as well as children make many times more money than those that don’t.

Dreamworks is the primary offender when it comes to including adult humor in their children’s films, but Blue Sky (Robots) has seemed to jump on board too. I agree that it’s unfortunate when they try to achieve adult interest through subtly lewd humor, as opposed to developing stories that will genuinely engage adults as well as children – as Pixar has. But again, it’s all about the money. Dreamworks’ quick and cheap style of sitcom-like humor allows them to significantly up their profit margin despite their weaker product.

7/28/2006 01:45:00 AM  
Blogger Alison said...

I agree whole-heartedly with you. My kids have no clue what the whole "closure" thing is about in Chicken Little, nor is there a need for them to understand it.

Why can't studios just market those movies to adults if they're for adults. And its not just movies, there isn't much for kids past the age of 5 to watch on TV either. i admit, my kids mostly watch movies. i feel with such limited choices out there it takes a lot of the "parent" in us to help guide our kids away from mature content.

7/28/2006 09:29:00 AM  
Blogger nestle said...

Just to rock the boat. I LOVE CHICKEN LITTLE. "So I'll tell you what I want what I really really want." As for the little kids getting it. Well my 2 and my 3 year old LOVE this movie. They always go "poor chicken little, he's sad". and "Mommy, they're happy". Ane they LOVE it when Chicken Little is in his "panties". My daughter wanted to experiment with the whole clapping game Chicken Little and Kirby do. Did I mention I LOVE this show? It was totally made for the parents who were growing up in the 90s. It's hystarical. Sorry Heather LOOOOVE IT! Also unless I'm entertained by it you can forget my kids watching it.

My kids are also the ones going "no no no no no no no no" and "woo hoo" to the KT Tunstall's Black Horse and the Cherry Tree song.

7/28/2006 12:27:00 PM  
Blogger The Wiz said...

I agree that there has to be "some" adult-ish content, but it doesn't have to be sexual in any way. Merely naming your lamb character "Meryl Sheep" (a la Sesame Street) is enough. Enough to keep the adults watching for little references while the kids laugh at sandwiches on heads.

Pixar is the best at his, IMO. Incredibles is great for all ages and both Toy Stories are brilliant beyond brilliant.

My kids were scared at Chicken Little, I have yet to see Curious George.

Also, all my neighborhood kids loved "Garfiled" while all their parents were like "NEVER AGAIN". I myself have not sen that movie, but it seems to appeal to children, at least the ones I know.

7/28/2006 01:20:00 PM  
Blogger The Wiz said...

Um, I mean pixar is best at THIS, and all the kids love GARFIELD. i don't know what Garfiled is.

7/28/2006 01:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you haven't seen Cars yet, it was actually, my favorite Pixar movie to date....absolutly adorable, strong friendship themes like their past movies, and fabulous voice acting. I loved it! I have been absolutly DYING to see curious george (I don't even have kids...) as he was MY favorite when I was a little girl. I mean i was obsessed. I already have the soundtrack :)

7/28/2006 01:39:00 PM  
Blogger ubercyl said...

We have the Chicken Little love here, too--all of us, ages 32, 28, 6, 3, and the baby. We bought "One Little Slip" on ITunes and the kids love to dance around to it. Neither of them noticed that "Jessie" was the voice of Abby Duckling, and TS2 is one of their favorite movies. Keep the sex out of the movies (and keep Shrek and Shark Tale out of my home) but bring the rest on.

Six-year-old and I are off to see Monster House today.

7/28/2006 03:09:00 PM  
Blogger Tracy M said...

I heard "Monster House" was super scary, and the clip they showed before "Cars" makes me inclined to wait on that one.

Haven't seen "Curious George" yet, but it's the free movie at our googaplex soon, so we'll be taking that one in.

I'm with you on leaving adult content out of kids movies. I don't need the double ententdre, and my kids certainly don't get it or need it. Pixar has repeatedly hit the ball out of the park- both Toy Story's, Nemo, Monster's Inc, and now "Cars"- all stellar, and the Toys Story movies are easily two of the best children's movies ever made.

It is because the weave a story, they tell a tale, and this is where most of the others fall flat.

7/28/2006 04:06:00 PM  
Blogger Mo Mommy said...

Pixar tends to have a lot of pop culture references thrown in. I love that. You sit there trying to find something in the background because you just KNOW it's there. And kids love the bright colors and movement. It's win-win.
CG was the same to me, because it takes all the different stories you read as a kid and sneaks them into the movie. My boys have been ga-ga over george for years and now we can finally find more toys and clothes with his little mug on them. Added bonus to the movie.
Chicken Little scared my son. He's 4. And I think I'm the only one of my friends who didn't take my kid to see Pirates of the Carribean. You may say I'm sheltering him, but I just don't see the value in taking my preschooler to see an adult movie. Surprise and suspense are great, but unidentifiable scary things aren't really right for little kids.

7/29/2006 11:47:00 AM  
Anonymous dangermom said...

I LOVE "Curious George." Finally, a movie for small children that is actually for small children! Also I found it pretty entertaining myself; George is pretty adorable most of the time. I'm going to buy it.

We haven't seen "Chicken Little" so I can't comment, but I really disliked "Shrek." All the lame donkey/ass jokes and pop-culture references (in a few years that will be so dated), not to mention the innuendo. And my husband and I went to see "Monster House" and it is indeed pretty scary; I wouldn't take younger children to it.

I don't take my kids to movies that are aimed more at adults than at small children. I don't take my kids to the movies very often.

7/29/2006 11:48:00 PM  
Anonymous Marlowe said...

I must see this Curious George movie. I long for the movie that I can be comfortable watching with my 3 1/2 year old daughter. I don't mind the silliness - hey it might make her more tolerant of my own silly attempts at humor.

I brought the video of Chicken Little home to my daughter after much pleading and begging. We turned it off in the middle (when the aliens were chasing them in the field.) She was a bit traumatized and said that she really didn't like Chicken Little anytime we saw the poster around.

We had another incident today, in fact, with a Hello Kitty! movie. It was advertised as cute and turned out to be a bit dark and scary.

Please bring more non-adult friendly silly dribble to Hollywood. (as long as it is not Barney)

7/30/2006 03:17:00 AM  
Blogger Melinda said...

I refuse to see "Monster House" because of a scene in the preview. The three kids are in the house, and the girl is pointing out the house's tongue, and throat, and then she identifies the house's uvula. The boy nods, "oh, so it's a girl house." There is nothing funny about a 9-yo boy getting "uvula" mixed up with "vulva." Double entendres in animated shows are lame, lame, lame.

And I cheer for those of you who do not take your kids to movies that might scare them. I was in a movie once where the children behind me (looked like about ages 6 and 8) were begging their mother to take them home because they were scared and mom wouldn't do it because she wanted to see the movie. She kept shushing them.

Kids don't need to be scared. Does no one pay attention to the PG-13 rating? Pirates of the Caribbean and Spiderman and so forth are waaaaay too freaky for little kids, yet the theater will be packed with first-graders for those shows.

8/02/2006 07:08:00 PM  

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