Parenting

I raised my kids on Pixar – and it has ruined classic cinema for them | Zoe Williams


I was recently scrolling through Christmas films at the cinema opposite the kids’ school, picturing the happy scene where I arrive unexpectedly outside the gates, on 17 December or thereabouts, wearing flashing reindeer horns, and bear them off to see It’s a Wonderful Life, which they will then remember for the rest of their lives. Naturally, I am imagining a different family, as I am not allowed near the school because even the way I hold my phone is appalling. Also, they won’t watch any film made before 2005.

This is not only a source of genuine sorrow, but it was also arrived at painfully – years of bribing and guilt-tripping them into watching Heathers and Beavis and Butt-Head and There’s Something About Mary, going: “Wait, wait, the next bit’s really funny,” only to find that I have misremembered and there is one joke, 40 minutes in, and the rest, while quite explicit, might be funny to me, but isn’t humorous in the modern sense.

I raised them wrong. I should have been showing them The Wizard of Oz (here, kids, try 102 minutes of people looking for something that they don’t find till minute 99) and The Sound of Music (the Nazis turn nasty partway through hour four; this film has less pace than the actual war). Instead, I showed them Toy Story, which has more jokes than my entire childhood, and Up, which gets to grips with all the wonder and minutiae of the human condition in the 40 seconds before the opening credits. Pixar has ruined this generation: they have no attention span and zero tolerance for mild amusement; if you have some crap CGI you think you can get past them, don’t even start.

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The 13-year-old’s counterpoint, incidentally, is that the kids are OK and it is adults who have been ruined by Game of Thrones. Now we can’t concentrate on anything unless there is a dragon in it and half the cast is naked half the time. It is too late for me to prevail. But if you have children at a malleable age – which is to say, who can’t speak – it is not too late to save yourselves.



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