Thursday, March 19, 2015

Top 10 R-Rated Films Every Kid Should See

Two things to make very clear about this post: I don’t have children and I have a very liberal attitude about kids watching mature movies. My parents let me watch whatever I wanted by the time I was 10 years old, but I was different. When other kids were talking about how big that actresses boobs were or how awesome it was to watch that guy’s head explode, I was trying to figure out why the director chose to move the camera that specific way, or why they held that shot for that long. Movies were my education in so many ways, and I’m glad I was exposed to them at such an early age.

And while all kids are different, with different standards and sensitivities, I truly believe most children would benefit from watching the movies below. All these films have something profound to offer, including potentially poignant conversations with parents. I hope you appreciate my picks, many of which inspired great conversations with my own parents when I was young. And do feel free to share your choices as well.

Hearts and Minds (1974)/The Deer Hunter (1978)/Platoon (1986)
Because kids need to see what war does to people, from “their” perspective (Hearts and Minds) and from “our” perspective (Platoon). Equally important is showing how war stays with you, long after you leave the battle (The Deer Hunter).

Stand By Me (1986)
Because it’s the best coming of age film ever made. This is THE R-rated movie for kids.

Do the Right Thing (1989)
Because to avoid racism, we have to attempt to understand it, and the horrible, senseless things it motivates people to do.

Boyz n the Hood (1991)
Because if your child is a white American kid enjoying a middle-to-upper class lifestyle (like I was), they need to know that many other people have nothing, because they started with nothing. And when you have nothing, there are very few routes you can take.

Schindler’s List (1993)/The Pianist (2002)
Because both of these films do a great job of explaining something that makes no sense.

Good Will Hunting (1997)
Because it so poignantly captures the lifelong effects of violence. To break the cycle, you have to seek change.

Almost Famous (2000)
“Note: Why did they give an R rating to a movie perfect for teenagers?” – Roger Ebert. Enough said.

Thirteen (2003)
Because if angst and rebellion is getting the best of them, they need to know that their parents are there to help. You are there to help, right?

The Squid and the Whale (2005)
Because if mom and dad are getting a divorce, kids need to know that things will (hopefully) be okay, but there will probably be a little pain to live through first.

Precious (2009)
Because, again, it’s important to remember and respect the fact that so many people have it a lot worse than you do.

Unrated Honorable Mentions
Capturing the Friedmans (2003)/Deliver Us From Evil (2006)
(Both of these films are technically unrated, but if the MPAA got ahold of them, they would’ve easily earned R ratings.) The reason these two superb documentaries are listed here is because every kid needs to understand that it is never okay to be touched. And if they have been, then they need to know that talking about it may be terrifying, but it’s absolutely necessary.

Bonus
Die Hard (1988)
Because why the hell not? It’s so awesome.

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78 comments:

  1. With the exception of Schindler's List, Hearts & Minds, Capturing the Friedmans, and Deliver Us from Evil (only because I've never seen them), I definitely recommend this list. I saw some R-rated films when I was a kid (only because my parents were watching these films and let me watch them in the room with them) as I would add Moscow on the Hudson as it relate to the experience of being an immigrant which is why my parents loved the film not only because of Robin Williams but for the fact that they're immigrants as well.

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    1. Moscow on the Hudson is such a spirited choice, and I love the reason you listed it. When you can make such a personal connection to a film, who cares what it's rated, you know?

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  2. Well, I think I saw my first R-rated movie (not edited for television) when I was 11...somewhere around there. It was not my parents doing at all. In fact, if it were up to my father I still wouldn't watch them. He doesn't. It was a very slippery slope after that, as I watched as many as I could as long as I could hide it.

    As a parent of small children, I guess the only amendment I would add to your list is the word children. I think most of what you chose is suitable for young teens, like 14+, but I would never allow my 7 year old to see any of these movies (possibly The Pianist). I try to use a lot of classic cinema to show her certain things (like the effects of war or the sting of racism) because they make an impact without relentless F-words.

    Every kid is different, but I think as a parent we mostly want to contain their innocence for as long as possible. You know that I'm a lover of cinema, and that I watch any and everything, but there are things I just don't want my kids to see yet, not until their emotionally ready for it. Brutal depictions of death and violence can be scaring. I mean, my daughter is HUGELY emotional for a 7 year old. She bawls uncontrollably when she watches a cartoon and the children lose their parents. If she were to see Jews executed in a line with such nasty brutality, it would DEVASTATE her.

    Kids also repeat everything they hear, and I don't want to have the "no sweetheart, we don't say FUCK" conversation with her right now.

    LOL, it was funny that you chose Platoon, because a couple years ago, when my youngest daughter was 2, Platoon came on Cable and I flipped it on for a second right as Berenger said "motherfucker" and my daughter actually said "fuck" and she wasn't saying more than a few words at that point.

    EEK.

    Anyways, I totally understand where this post is coming from, but I'm just adding my two cents as a parent.

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    1. Love this comment, love this perspective.

      "I think as a parent we mostly want to contain their innocence for as long as possible." That is totally and completely fair. I fully understand where you're coming from there. Your 7 year old sounds like my step brother when he was younger. Even when I babysat him (from ages 10-15), I wouldn't let him watch any of the movies I listed above, because I knew he couldn't emotionally handle it. Like I said, showing kids R-rated movies depends on the kid. We're not all wired the same, you know?

      And also, I can fully attest to the fact that kids repeat everything they hear. I got in trouble in elementary school (like... a lot) for repeating things I heard in movies. A minor drawback of being able to watch whatever I wanted haha

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    2. I think it's worth noting that when you (Alex) said "movies kids should watch." You didn't specify an age. :-) My 16 y/o has adult-like sensibilities, in many ways, but he is still technically too young to watch an R-rated movie in a theater without a parent. I would never let my 11-year-old watch the movies on this list (except Stand By Me, which she's already seen.)

      When you (Andrew) told the story about your 7 y/o daughter, it reminded me of a colorful moment when my older daughter was 6. We were in her grandmother's condo -- my father-in-law had just passed away. Virtually everyone in the extended family was in the room, and my mother-in-law said something about someone "using the F-word." Sweet, innocent little Sarah ran up to her, full of exuberant pride, her voice at top volume. "I know! I know what the F word is!! It's FUCK!" I think she half expected someone to give her a gold star for answering the "question" correctly.

      My kids are amazing. I couldn't make this stuff up. :-P

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    3. Yeah, it didn't really seem fair for me (a dude without kids) to list a specific age here, you know? But I LOVE that story about Sarah. That is just priceless. How did everyone in the room react? To me, that's one of those things that you just can't help but laugh at.

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    4. Everybody in the room seemed O.K. with it -- I think they were all family anyway. Her aunts thought it was priceless, and it seemed to elevate her in their opinion. :-P

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  3. This post is a great idea! And, just for your peace of mind, my future children will be watching Stand By Me and The Pianist before they are 17... for sure.

    Oddly enough, I don't really remember my first R-rated movie or the exact time period of when my parents stopped blocking me from films. My parents never really cared what a film was rated, as much as they cared about the content. So, sometimes I would get to watch R-rated films and not be able to watch PG13 films, and I never really cared that much, because I was naïve and really only wanted to watch Pirates, X-Men, Twister, Remember the Titans, anything with Will Smith, and That 70's Show... over and over and over.

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    1. Thanks Tanner! The ONLY thing my mother was concerned with was overt sexuality. So it's probably no coincidence that none of the movies listed here have graphic sex scenes. But my point is, there are some PG-13 movies that can get pretty racy, so my mom was occasionally in the same PG-13/R camp as your parents.

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  4. This is a great list. My parents were pretty lenient with me watching R rated movies as a teen. I think it's because my sister is 10 years older than me and I ended up watching a bunch of horror movies with her all the time when I was too young for them. My son is only 3, so I have no idea how he'll be in 10 years or so with R rated movies, but hopefully he's mature enough because there are some great ones here.

    Another I would add is 'Kids' I think that should be shown in every sex ed class as what not to do.

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    1. OMG! Kids...is brutal! That whole final scene made me nearly vomit, I was so upset...

      Yeah...I'm just buying chastity belts and melting the keys.

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    2. I'm just going to show my kid that movie and be like "don't have sex, you'll die." lol

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    3. I was tempted to add Kids and Requiem for a Dream as a single entry, because they both act as shocking and brutal and effective scare tactics for children. Buuuut I ultimately felt they were a tad too intense haha.

      Brittani, it's so exciting that he's 3 years old - he has a lifetime of movies ahead of him :)

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  5. Die hard was daily viewing for me as a child along with other action movies by Schwarzenegger, Stallone, Seagal and especially Van Damme. He was my childhood hero. My parents usually didn't mind me watching R-rated movies and i have yet to end up in prison or an insane asylum. I watched most of the other movies you listed here as well when i was young (of the ones that came out when i was young of course) and you are right, kids would definitely benefit from watching them.

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    1. Van Damme!!! Loved the guy, Bloodsport was on repeat in my house growing up. Movie is insane. Really glad you like the list and "got" what I was going for here!

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    2. You can never go wrong with Sly, Arnold, and Van Damme. Those guys were awesome. Seagal though is a fucking pussy and runs like a bitch.

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    3. Oh yeah, Bloodsport is definitely my favorite Van Damme movie as well. I still watch that one at least once a year. It's just so fun, cheesy and endlessly quotable. "OK USA!"

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  6. I totally forgot that Almost Famous was R. That's ridiculous! I also didn't realize that Stand By Me was R, especially since it came out during a time when there was no PG-13. It's hard for me to argue with this list. I think including the war movies is really important. Platoon played a huge role in how I think about war. I was maybe 16 when I saw it.

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    1. It is so silly that Almost Famous and Stand By Me are R. I mean, I really can't think of any reason kids shouldn't see them. Such worthy coming of age films!

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  7. Many of these movies scarred me (in the best possible way). Great list, just seeing the pictures brings back the great memories of seeing these movies for the first time.

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    1. Exactly! They have a way of injecting fear that makes them necessary to watch. So happy you liked the list.

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  8. Ooo interesting list. I don't think I had watched any R-rated movies as a kid (what was Titanic's rating again?). I don't know about what I will show my children if I were to have any but I do have quite an input into what my younger brother sees. My only thing with more "adult" movies is that I want the person watching to be able to understand them. I myself hated American Beauty at 14 because the character of Lester grossed me out but then I loved it at 17 when I was able to look past that and appreciate the movie for what it is. And I feel like my brother is even more childish than I was. Still, I am sharing more and more recommendations with him. Like he still prefers action-y movies but he also LOVES Fight Club and Drive and stuff like that.

    Nevertheless, this list has reminded me that I have to make him watch Stand By Me and Almost Famous :)

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    1. It is funny how movies change as we get older. I'm still discovering that movies I didn't like a few (or several) years ago are so much better now. Love when that happens.

      Also love that you get to curate your brother's movie watching. Hope he digs Stand By Me and Almost Famous! (PS, Titanic was PG-13, even with the boobs.)

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  9. Great list! Most of the early ones you listed through Good Will Hunting, I actually did see as a kid. Schindler's List should be required viewing simply as a history lesson for kids starting around age 12 or so. I remember being so scared when they showed the dead body at the end of Stand By Me. When I went back as an adult, I realize how actually tame that movie is. It's so great! I was in high school by the time Almost Famous came out, but I would totally recommend that movie to anyone at least 14 years old. Platoon was a biggie for me. I saw it at a very young age. Probably too young. Do the Right Thing I didn't see until I was older. I so wish I'd gotten to it in high school. Thirteen is brutal, but I think it would be valuable for any middle school girl to see as long as there was an adult who could lead a heathy conversation afterwards.

    For me, some of the biggies that were forbidden to me but important when I was growing up are Pulp Fiction, Natural Born Killers, and Boogie Nights. Those three stand out for me as movies I had to sneak to see, simply due to the fact that my Mom didn't understand that I, like you, was more interested in the craft than the boobs and the violence and the cussing.

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    1. Love this comment. So cool that you understood what I was going for with this list. Platoon was equally as big for me too. I had a very long and very important conversation with my dad after that one. I'll never forget it. Pulp, NBK, Boogie, Taxi Driver, Usual Suspects... all huge for me as a kid too, but not exactly necessary for every kid to see, you know? I too agree that Schindler's List should be required viewing for kids of that age.

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  10. Great, great list! It's pretty weird that Almost Famous and Stand by Me are rated R. I'm pretty sure that the other commenters here are adults, so speaking as a 15 year old, I'll be saying what I think.

    My parents are very strict when it comes to films. They very rarely allow me to watch anything that is rated above PG-13, maybe because they think that I'm too young to understand what these films try to say or simply because of the violence, language and nudity involved in many of them. I think, personally, that while I can see their concern, I have learned so much through films. I learned about the Holocaust in school, but only on a technical level (death count, causes etc.). Schindler's List and The Pianist taught me more emotionally than my history classes did. Same with Do the Right Thing about the still looming presence of racism in our society, 12 Years a Slave on slavery, your Vietnam trifecta being a perfect example of the nature of war (I'd add Apocalypse Now).

    Using your list again, I watched Thirteen, The Squid and the Whale and Precious in quick succession at a point in my life when I was severely depressed, and they sort of helped bring me back into the real world, if that makes sense. I think I would be a less emotionally mature person if it weren't for films like these. And while I haven't had the opportunity to talk to my parents in detail about the ideas many beautiful R rated films bring up, I'm looking forward to a time when I can. I hope I haven't rambled, since this didn't really have much to say unlike other comments, just my personal experience.

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    1. To clarify this a bit, my parents are unaware that I watch lots of R rated films.

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    2. I feel like I exaggerated the severe depression part. I didn't take any medication or anything. It was just as if I had nothing and no one to live for.

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    3. There's so much here. First of, Aditya, this is not a ramble, this is a very insightful, truthful and beautiful comment, and I thank you for leaving it. I've learned so much through movies as well. So, so, so much. Schools give a surface lesson on so many vital events in history. They just gloss over them and tell us the basics, which is a shame. So many of the movies here opened my eyes to new areas of the world. I saw them pre-internet I would spend countless hours reading follow-up material on them.

      I also love that films are able to get us through hard times. I've relied on them a lot for that in my life. Like... a lot. Depression is a motherfucker. Being down and right for reasons you recognize (or, worse, for reasons you cannot determine), is utterly horrifying. I've known and loved people who suffer from chronic depression, and sure, I've had my brushes with it as well. That's why I made Earrings, to try and understand that disease a little better. So thanks for sharing your story here, your bravery is really commendable.

      And lastly, I cannot fucking BELIEVE that you're only 15. You have such a strong voice in your writing, and you are so kind and humble, which can be pretty rare for someone your age. You come off as a person of great humanity, and that is such a good thing. You have a very good life ahead of you.

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    4. I managed to convince my teacher to let us watch Schindler's List when we were learning about the Holocaust. I think I was probably the only one who had any interest in the film at all, which is a shame.

      The worst part about depression for me is that it's not like it goes away just like that. I'm still suffering, and it might not be as bad as it once was, but it still fucking hurts. It's not like major depression though. I haven't reached a point where I have had to take medication, and as for therapy, I think that films, reading and music have helped me more than any therapist could.

      Wow, I really appreciate you saying that. I don't think I've told you this, but Earrings was actually a very big part of me trying to help myself. I can't count the number of times I watched that and Melancholia at my lowest. Thank you for that, truly.

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    5. This comment makes it worth it. All the problems I had making Earrings - getting the money together, exhausting myself to the point of delusion in editing - were diminished the moment I read this comment. Who knows, maybe I made the film for you. And that's more than enough. So, no, thank you, my friend.

      (PS, I shared this comment with Catherine yesterday and we had a good cry over it. Well, okay, I did most of the crying haha)

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    6. Ok I just saw your comment. That's very kind of you to say :) Haha I feel bad for making you cry though. But still, it's very nice of you to say that.

      Convey my thanks to Catherine for her wonderful work in Earrings as well, she is also in Wait right?

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    7. A good cry is nice from time to time. Yep, Catherine is one of the main leads in Wait. In fact, the whole movie is really about her character. I'm excited for people to see her in it. My two main inspirations for her character were Marion Cotillard in Rust and Bone, and Stephen Dorff in Somewhere.

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    8. Ok I have to rewatch Somewhere and Rust and Bone now! By the way, love the new banner, especially those stills from Wait on the corners!! :)

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  11. Great idea for a list! My own mom was extremely lenient with what I was allowed to watch as there were basically no limits from a very young age. I'm not quite as liberal as she was, but I don't shelter my kids, either. As a parent, I agree with these if we're talking teenagers. I'm fairly lenient in what I let my kids watch, a little more strict on my youngest who is 12, but only a little. She, like all three of my kids have watched Stand by Me several times. I agree with you that it is the best coming of age movie. Some of the others might still a bit too harsh, or memorable for the wrong reasons.

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    1. Some of these are definitely harsh, no question. For me, it's all about the conversation parents have after their kids watch these movies, you know? At least that's the way my parents did it. There was only one rule in letting me watch whatever I wanted: If I had a question after, I had to ask. So glad you like the list!

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  12. This is an interesting idea. While there may be good reasons for children to see these films, I feel that a lot of them will likely bore them out of their minds and therefore the messages they need to get from them will be lost as their attention wanders.

    While you illustrated how you would have been the kind of kid to like these films at 11, other than Stand By Me and Thirteen (and Die Hard) I don't see children relating to many of the other movies. Teens might be able to, if they've reached the point where they can sit through what would be for them a slow movie.

    What would I suggest? Ones that they came to me and asked to see because I knew they would be going into them at least paying attention, rather than ones I was making them watch. Of course, the ones they want to see may not be the ones with good messages to communicate.

    Running Scared (2006) might be one with enough going on to keep their attention, while at the same time showing the danger to children of strange adults that might seem to be nice at first. The Hunt (2012) might be a little slow for them, but it would show the other side of Running Scared where it demonstrates how hurtful making up certain kinds of stories can be, and how you sometimes can't just take it back when you're sorry. Both of these movies have a child as a major character which would help them more strongly identify with the events in the films.

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    1. I just remembered that The Hunt was a foreign language film, which means reading subtitles and children might not be able to keep up with them if their reading skills are substandard. And they might just get frustrated like some adults do - "I don't watch a movie to *read*". (Actual quote from an adult I recommended a foreign film to).

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    2. This is an interesting perspective. I agree, for kids to "get" anything from most of these movies, they have to at least appreciate cinema on some level. They have to be able to sit there and take in a slow art film. Which many kids cannot. I've been a movie nerd since as long as I can remember, so that was never a problem for me. But I can see how it'd be an issue for other kids.

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  13. This is a wonderful list. I immediately thought Hoop Dreams but remembered it was PG-13.

    I would add Pariah to the list. Because your sexual orientation should be something your parents support no matter what.

    I watched my fair share of R rated movies when I was a kid. Most memorable was Taxi Driver, Terminator 2 and Silence of the Lambs. I still remember that the VHS for that movie had a red top. Making it seem like forbidden fruit.

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    1. Thanks Luke! The Silence of the Lambs red top! Shit man, I forgot about that. Hoop Dreams, no matter its rating, should be required viewing for all kids.

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    2. I was thinking about Pariah too. I actually showed that to a group of teenagers recently.

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    3. Oh for sure. Sorry I didn't touch on Pariah in my first reply, Luke. I got too caught up with Hoop Dreams! But Pariah is a great, great choice.

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  14. Just found your site via Dell. Great, great post man. I completely agree with your opening sentiments as I had a similar upbringing, and was thinking somewhat like you were when watching movies like 187, where I'd just think 'how did they think of that idea. That is insane!'. And those thoughts lead to me wanting to write.

    So yeah sorry for essay but totally agree with ya. Good list, it relates to what your opening statement was. I'm not sure 187 is the best movie for kids, but who knows, I haven't cut any fingers off yet! ;)

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    1. Hey Jordan, thanks so much for the comment! And hey, don't ever apologize for leaving a comment here, I'm so appreciative that you took the time to read the post at all!

      187, man, I haven't thought about that movie in a while. Love that The Deer Hunter inspires that crazy little fucker in the end. That movie is nuts.

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  15. So I guess first off (before I comment on the list), What ages do you define as kids? Is it through 18? Or a little younger? I guess I can assume after 10 you think people should watch these?

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    1. Well, I hope it's clear that I'm using the word "should" liberally. I think these movies could greatly service most any teenager. But some kids (like my step brother before he was... 16ish) have no business watching these because they aren't emotionally ready for them. He was a very mature kid, but he was very impressionable, so even when I babysat him, I never considered showing him any of the movies above (minus Stand By Me, of course).

      So, to answer your question, "should" is not meant to define a universal age. But, yes, in general, I think kids 12-17 could stand to learn something valuable from these films.

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    2. Alright, so you are speaking to my age group. I am currently 17, and have a couple of months till 18. And what I can say is I think you are right about how most of these movies can benefit a teenager watching them. I certainly have gotten a lot out of the films I have seen on the list.

      Concerning your war films entry, Deer Hunter has probably influenced me the most out of any other film on the list. I'm very glad I watched that when I was 16 for before that I don't believe I would have been able to appreciate it, I still appreciate even more every time I watch it (while talking about Deer Hunter, let me say thank you for introducing me to one of the most horrific and moving films I have ever watched and I utterly adore the movie now and it is thanks to your top 10 list of all time) . Platoon though I watched when I was too young for it (maybe 13) at a friends house. At the time it just freaked the shit out of me. Now, I can appreciate it a lot, but then not so much. I will have to get my hands on a copy of Hearts and Minds ASAP now.

      Stand By Me you are absolutely right about, it is THE R-rated film for kids.

      Do the Right Thing I haven't watched yet so I will soon (I tried to rent a copy from the local video store but it was scratched to all hell).

      Boyz n the Hood was a pretty big experience when I watched it for the first time, not due to my economic status, but some of the kids I went to school with at the time did live in awful conditions. I have since moved to a nicer, more (dare I use the word?) elite school which I will be graduating from in a matter of weeks. At my current school there is a lot more wealth going around, but at the old school it helped me understand some of the behaviors people committed at it. And in that way you are absolutely right, this film taught me that and helped me to better understand me situation as a 7th grader at the time.

      The Holocaust films on the list, where important, I am very glad I waited till slightly older to watch them, they are both just too disturbing and intense for what would have been 12 year old me. I would have had so much trouble with life if I had watched these too early. And it's not as if it wouldn't make sense, for the holocaust still doesn't make any goddamn sense. What affected me maybe even more than either of these films did concerning the holocaust, was the Best Picture acceptance speech for Schindler's List by the survivor (I can't remember his name, I hope that doesn't make me an awful person). That is moving.

      Good Will Hunting is one that I love, but didn't necessarily change my life, I first watched it about 2 years ago and knew it was good, and I really liked it, but it didn't deeply affect me in the sense something like Deer Hunter did. Am I more affected by it now though being a little older? Yes, yes it does. But I just don't know how much it taught me.

      "Almost famous is rated R?" (Me reading this post)

      Thirteen, The Squid and the Whale, and Precious I haven't seen but will be checking out soon though.

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    3. Where I can see why you would think both Capturing the Friedmans and Deliver Us from Evil would be helpful, I just haven't had the courage (or stomach) to bring myself to watch them. Where, I haven't seen them, the stories are disturbing enough that I cannot watch them. No matter how much you praise them I have yet to sit down and actually watch either of them. I sat down about 6 months ago to watch Deliver Us from Evil because of how good you said it was, but I wasn't able to start it. If/when I watch either of them, this will be the first place I go.

      When I saw Die Hard on this list I said (I was also at school): "Fuck yea." (honestly I read your blog all the time at school instead of doing whatever I am supposed to be doing)

      If I was to add a movie to the Bonus category, it would be Terminator 2 or Aliens. Two films that I can never get enough of.

      Once again great list (I don't think you've ever made a bad one), great picks, love that I've seen most of them, will be getting to the others as soon as I can. I'm actually finishing my senior project right now which deals with mobsters in film, why are they letting me talk about mobsters in school? I dunno, but it's awesome. So after I finish my project I will try to get to a couple of them.

      P.S. Sorry for writing you a paper.

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    4. So happy I helped motivate you to watch The Deer Hunter. That one still hits me as hard as the first time I saw it. An inarguable masterpiece. Hearts and Minds is a brutal documentary, but a necessary one.

      The fact that Boyz n the Hood, on some level, helps you understand all that stuff about your situation (and the harsher situations of some kids you know) is a GOOD thing.

      Capturing the Friedmans isn’t as rough as Deliver Us from Evil, because it also plays as a sort of mystery thriller. A “did they or didn’t they” type of thing. There’s no doubt in Deliver Us from Evil, though. That is a very difficult movie to stomach, but a very, very important film.

      That’s so cool that you read my blog at school, I love that! And congrats on graduating soon. I loathed high school and became a much better and happier person when I walked out of that place for the final time. And don’t ever apologize for leaving long comments here! I’m honored that you put so much time into your comments.

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  16. I have to say, after having just seen it for the first time, and it may be somewhat controversial, if I was going to show films like Platoon or The Deer Hunter or movies like that, I would probably just go all-out and crush my child's soul with Come and See as well lol. I don't mean that in a bad way, but I think that if I'm going to show a child what war is about, I want them to know just how horrible it "really" is - even if it's in another language.
    I've found that Gilliam films go down pretty well with kids (around the 10-ish age) as well. I showed a cousin of mine Baron Munchausen and he just loved it. Same with Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli films also go down well. Those are arguably nowhere near as intense as most of the films you have on your list but weirdness works well with kids imo (or at least the kids I know and am related to).
    I really don't have any qualms with the rest of your choices. Love your comment about including Die Hard (show it to them just because!) - awesome.

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    1. I get what you mean about throwing them Come and See after The Deer Hunter and Platoon. Might as well get 'em all out of the way haha. The fantastical elements of Gilliam's work could be interesting for kids, but I'm not sure they would have much to learn from them, if that makes sense. The Fisher King is a good lesson in what tragedy does to people, but I can think of better movies that tackle that subject, you know? But you did remind me that I need to give Baron Munchausen another go.

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  17. One of the best topics for a post ever! And it reminds me of why I couldn't love your blog any more. Gratuitously long comment warning ...

    After the story you told me soon after I met you online, I was afraid you were going to put Pulp Fiction on the list. Ha ha! I'll never forget your mom's courage in letting you watch this as a kid and the awkward conversation she needed to have with you afterwards. And by the way, I practically insisted my 16-year-old watch Pulp Fiction. Because he needed to understand all the gratuitous Pulp Fiction references that fly around this house. Including the Bad Motherfucker wallet I bought my husband for father's day. Nobody is going to mistake us for the Cleavers.

    Every kid and family is different, but you make so many solid points here. I know we already had this conversation (sort of) when you encouraged me to take my son to see American Sniper, but I feel very strongly about teens understanding the effects of war on individuals (and on every other level). Especially since James and many of his friends play first-person shooters for fun (a tough issue for me, but I've made my peace with it). I believe this for so many reasons. Including the fact that my generation, apparently, hasn't learned a damn thing from previous debacles in invading other countries -- maybe my kids' generation will do better. :-( Of course I feel just as strongly about racism and other issues you mentioned.

    I do want James to see The Deer Hunter, because it's one of the most amazing movies ever and because I have never seen anything that touches it for its devastating portrayal of PTSD. And Platoon, just because I was working in a movie theater when it was released -- just a little over a decade after the fall of Saigon -- and I remember what it meant to veterans who came to see it.

    You've gotten me thinking I might so something similar for Friday Fourteen (I can use this comment as a rough draft. *LOL*) Do you mind if I "steal" your idea?

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    1. I don't mind if you steal the idea at all! I was really hoping you'd comment on this post, and I'd LOVE to read your choices for the same list. So have at it!

      I can be a twisted dude, but I wouldn't never suggest that most every child watch Pulp! That'd be so messed up. Sixteen is definitely fair, but not age 10 like me haha.

      We can only hope that future generations learn from those mistake. That's a big, big learning curve that no one else has seemed to grasp. Such a shame. Can't wait to hear what James thinks of The Deer Hunter. I saw that at age 10 as well. Still the most disturbing film I've ever seen. Such power.

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    2. Ha ha! Yes, I was definitely joking about the Pulp Fiction thing. I had written a long comment in this space, but I decided it had gotten way too political and deleted it. :)

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    3. I don't mind political movie-related comments :)

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  18. Hey, have you ever read my blog? Duck Zero?

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  19. Bless you for Diehard. I'm surprised at the absence of Pulp Fiction. And why was Stand by Me rated R????

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    1. Well, just because YOU let me watch Pulp doesn't mean allparents should ;)

      There are a few f-bombs in Stand By Me, which every kid that age is saying anyway. Such a silly rating.

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  20. Excellent list man. Love your reasoning behind each film. And yeah: why not Die Hard?

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    1. Thanks man! Why not Die Hard, indeed!

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  21. Great list! I don't recall ever having my tv or movie viewing regulated as a kid. In fact, I was the only one who weld suit and watch horror flicks with my dad; Aliens comes to mind. Fast forward. I have a 13 year old. It's no secret that I have a potty mouth. I say sh!t as a reference for stuff. For as much as I mouth off in an unclassy way, my son repeats nothing. He's been called a square at school because he has chosen not to cuss at all. He listens to heavy metal and rock music, which is chocked full of language so out surprises his friends he doesn't repeat.

    As far as T and A? Well, I'm very free with body parts. I grew up modestly. Demeaned by my dad for my fat thighs and that I didn't like makeup or dresses. Now, I run around the house half dressed. My son doesn't even flinch if he sees me naked or naked bodies on the screen. It's just a body and is no reflection on sex or personality. That's how I hope he sees it when he becomes an adult.

    I think parents just need to be aware of how they raise their kids; hich values are most important to them; and, the maturity and comprehension level if their children. One size does not fit all.

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    1. Thanks for this comment! Love your final paragraph. That's exactly what I was getting at with this post - these movies obviously aren't intended for every kid, but my child self (and perhaps your son), are mature enough to handle them. And if kids are mature enough, I definitely think these films are worth exploring.

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  22. My kids will be watching stand by me and die hard at a very young age and the others they will watch as teens. But I don't have them watch Precious. Its a good movie but im a grown adult and had to cover my eyes at the rape scenes. As someone that was actually sexually assaulted by her own father I couldn't handle it and I don't want my children subjected to anything of that nature. My mother let me watch True Lies. I loved it and the violence was never a problem for me. Horror movies scared me until about 14 but action movies were nothing. I also watched Pretty Woman over and over and had no clue she was a Booker until about 16. Teachers flipped about me saying it was my favorite movie. There was sex in it but I just figured it was what people did when they truly loved each other. Nor was it something my mom had to worry about I still only sleep with people I'm "truly in love with" and that's only been 3 people in 28 years.

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    1. Thanks for this comment! I completely understand not wanting to show your children Precious. That is a very difficult film to stomach, and given your most unfortunate connection to that film, you wanting to shield them from that film makes total sense. My mom let me watch True Lies at a very young age as well and I've always loved it too!

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  23. My kids will be watching stand by me and die hard at a very young age and the others they will watch as teens. But I don't have them watch Precious. Its a good movie but im a grown adult and had to cover my eyes at the rape scenes. As someone that was actually sexually assaulted by her own father I couldn't handle it and I don't want my children subjected to anything of that nature. My mother let me watch True Lies. I loved it and the violence was never a problem for me. Horror movies scared me until about 14 but action movies were nothing. I also watched Pretty Woman over and over and had no clue she was a Booker until about 16. Teachers flipped about me saying it was my favorite movie. There was sex in it but I just figured it was what people did when they truly loved each other. Nor was it something my mom had to worry about I still only sleep with people I'm "truly in love with" and that's only been 3 people in 28 years.

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  24. Also upon rereading this list they'll be watching almost famous and good will hunting pretty young too. Lol.

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  25. So, I might be crazy, but among the many discussed (almost all I agree with the exception of PF, NBK, and such), I had a few others; A couple of Rocky's (most notably 6), American History X, Trainspotting, Das Boot, and Blade Runner. The movies should have meaning and impact... And, provide inspiration, restraint, or understanding of a topic (or emotion). More, it's a lesson in how humans cope, and the depths (and limits) of their emotional, moral, intellectual, and physical abilities. I can't explain the horrors of Heroin addiction in the way a baby dying from neglect can (I.e. Trainspotting).

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    1. Very, very well said. Love how you describe what these movies should mean to kids, and if you're going to show them these films, the importance of intention.

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  26. So, I might be crazy, but among the many discussed (almost all I agree with the exception of PF, NBK, and such), I had a few others; A couple of Rocky's (most notably 6), American History X, Trainspotting, Das Boot, and Blade Runner. The movies should have meaning and impact... And, provide inspiration, restraint, or understanding of a topic (or emotion). More, it's a lesson in how humans cope, and the depths (and limits) of their emotional, moral, intellectual, and physical abilities. I can't explain the horrors of Heroin addiction in the way a baby dying from neglect can (I.e. Trainspotting).

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