It’s not easy watching movies with one’s children. “Depiction does not equal endorsement” is a salient point in critical discourse, a hard one to discuss with a four-year-old decimating your living room with his broom handle lightsaber. Monitoring the watch habits of your kids means being a moral arbiter and, like many parenting tasks, the stakes are nothing short of the eternal well-being of your most beloved.
Fortunately, there are armies of prudes who brave the movies and report back on their suitability for youngsters. The details of the reports vary from general guidelines influenced by studio money to meticulous tallies of the number of f-bombs in Casino.
Somewhere in the middle of these extremes is Common Sense Media, a site that stands apart because 1) it reads like the authors actually watched the concerning content in context and not a supercut of gore and humping and 2) it reports on the quality of the movie overall. Common Sense writes up a parent’s guide separately from a review of the movie so that it can acknowledge that, sure, there’s no “Sexy Stuff” or “Consumerism” in Zoo Wars but it also sucks so you should probably spare your kids and yourself the time.
In addition to a synopsis and critique, Common Sense Media offers a section on discussion topics for you and your kids. Best of all, they don’t judge you for your film selection. If you’re looking for something to talk about after a family showing of Pulp Fiction, Common Sense has your back.
The overlap between parents who watch Sausage Party with their kids and those who consult Common Sense Media for conversation starters is probably thin. So in honor of the thankless work of generating discussion topics for some of the less family-friendly movies, I’m unearthing some likely rare “Talk To Your Kids About” topics for our Taco Breaking purposes. Feel free to weigh in, and make sure you take your popcorn bowls back to the kitchen when you’re done.
Families can talk about the random violence wreaked by an implacable, inexplicably cruel killer.
What alternatives are there to the “booze and booty”-filled spring break scene?
The movie seems to encourage different cultures to work together, yet it also ridicules and stereotypes every culture under the sun. Is that hypocritical?
Families can talk about whether it is ethical for OCP to turn Murphy into a cyborg when he never volunteered for the experiment.
Themes of backstabbing women in the same profession are handled much better in the classic All About Eve. Which movie seems more realistic?
Does the film make younger viewers feel any differently about the armed forces?
In the final sequence, an animated cat is involved in some of the movie’s most depraved humor. Does the fact that the cat isn’t real affect the impact of those scenes?
Families can talk about why John Wick gets back in the “business.” Are his reasons, in this messed-up world, at all reasonable?
John Wick Chapter 2
Is John Wick a hero or a villain? How can you tell?
John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum
How does this sequel compare with the first two entries?
Families can talk about whether this movie has a serious message about food companies and branding.
Fifty Shades of Grey
Why do you think this book and movie are so popular?
Do movies have to be believable or relatable to be entertaining?