New Format: Movie Reviews for My Kids. A Reliable Source for What to Watch, What to Avoid, and What to Learn from the Movies I Love.

You’ve probably noticed that I’ve been posting a movie review each day on my Facebook wall. I’m going to bare my soul a little bit today, and introduce a new format. If my brief film commentaries annoy you or make your wall feel cluttered, feel free to block me or delete me or whatever it is you do to offensive people. 

Some kids like sports, some join the band, others collect things. Me? It’s always been movies. I lucked out because I don’t think my parents understood the rating system, so they took me to see everything at a young age. Sometimes I preferred watching the latest Disney animated movie, so I’d go watch that while my parents were in a different theater (how glorious times were!). They’d instruct me to just come find them when my movie was over. Usually this was to my benefit, because I’d still get to catch the second half of Face/Off when Hercules was over. But other times, it didn’t play out as well. I still remember walking into Schindler’s List just 70 minutes into it when The Nightmare Before Christmas was over. And if you know Schindler’s List, the true horrors start about 70 minutes in. That scene with all the naked Jewish women in the shower still haunts me. 

Anyway, there were a lot of movies that I saw with my parents, and I thank them for that. At an early age I was exposed to Mel Gibson, Bruce Willis, and Kevin Bacon, to name a few. But my parents had a very specific kind of movie that they isolated themselves to: mostly crime movies. Not cult favorites such as Pulp Fiction. Movies about cops, not sci-fi like Alien. Nothing fantastical. Those, I had to discover on my own, as much as I love crime and cop movies. 

You can point at nearly any movie and I’ll tell you what theater I saw it at and who I saw it with. I can even tell you what the weather was like outside in several instances. Most of my memories revolve around movies. Nearly any real-life memory revolves around the last film I watched or what was being discussed at the time. I can recall almost every conversation with friends and family members about movies. 

Not every movie is good, but almost every memory I have about seeing them is good. Movies of almost any kind bring me peace and comfort. They transport me to different stages of my life. 

I’m not sure why I’m like this. Though I haven’t shown Fargo or Deadpool to my kids, I quote that stuff to them all the time. They know how excited I am to show them Jurassic Park and introduce them to the MCU. 

But I’m probably not going to live long enough to show them a lot of my favorites when they come of age (one just turned seven and the other is about to turn eight). I have had health problems with my heart since birth. I wasn’t supposed to live to age 37, much less, age 7. I guess I’ve been on borrowed time for 30 years. 

Sadly, I’ve wasted all those thirty years. Not with movies – I don’t regret that for a minute – but with not really believing in the Bible and in God. I was raised a Christian, so I was told I was a Christian from the start. Sure, I prayed the sinner’s prayer, but I believed I was getting into heaven on those merits alone. I think that’s a big mistake. I never actually came to a true understanding of God’s sacrifice for me until recently. In fact, for the last decade or so, I’d be in active rebellion against God, and openly hated him. It was my wife’s steadfast faith that helped influence me to surrender and admit God is bigger and smarter than me. Anc that he loves me despite my failings. 

Since reaching that conclusion, I’m not afraid of dying. I hate that I keep sinning, and can’t seem to stop, but I’m grateful for God’s forgiveness, and I hope he can help make me a little better before I stand before him. It could be soon, but it could also be in another 20-30 years. But I’m not concerned about that, because I’m confident that he knows the precise day and time. 

The new format going forward is going to be me talking about movies to my kids. Mostly movies they haven’t seen yet. I’ll tell them what to watch, what to skip, and I want to be a good dad by pointing out any connections to the Bible I may see. Movies can serve as parables sometimes. I know I’ve been moved, spiritually, by the power of movies.

So starting tomorrow I’m going to talk about films as though I’m telling my kids about them. Like Michael Keaton speaking to his camcorder to his unborn son in My Life. I’ll let them know what I think about it, and if they need to make it a priority to watch it or not, and when I think it’d be appropriate for them. Who knows? This format might not work, and I’ll change it again in a week. But we’ll see.

Why post these on Facebook? A couple of reasons: talking about movies is a good outlet for me. I love having discussions about cinema with people. I’d love to hear your thoughts about the movies I bring up. Also, whatever you put online sticks forever, right? So maybe one day long after I’m gone, my kids will find value in scrolling through my wall and learning about what their dad loved. So, be on the lookout for tomorrow’s post where I plan on telling my kids about one of my favorite crime movies of all time. 

Published by Andrew Toy

Writer when I'm not being a husband or dad. So mostly just a husband and dad.

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