We took our kids to see The Lion King this weekend. It was never one of my personal favorites, but you know. Everyone was bored and antsy and after a summer of mostly-successful family movie outings, we’re up for anything with a G rating.
It was a disaster. We couldn’t find a conveniently-timed 2D showing, so decided to take the plunge and try for the 3D version. (Which we’ve studiously avoided ever since my son opted to watch the entirety of Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs blurry and migraine-inducing rather than wear the stupid glasses.) Mistake #1. Nobody wanted to keep their glasses on; nobody seemed at all impressed with the 3D effects — if anything I think they found them unnerving and distracting.
Mistake #2 was forgetting the basic plot of The Lion King, so my almost-three-year-old freaked out over the stampede death of Mufasa, like “you GUYS, this is AWFUL, why am I HERE?”, and then my almost-six-year-old lost HIS shit when Simba suddenly grew into an adult lion during the final 10 seconds of Hakuna Matata. (He’s having some “I don’t wanna grow up” issues right now, I think, and was creeped out by the idea that OMG, you can just GROW ALL THE WAY UP in montage form, JUST LIKE THAT.)
“I HATE THIS MOVIE!” he howled. “LET’S GET OUT OF HERE.”
So we did. Finally joining the ranks of parents who simultaneously feel terrible about inflicting cinematic upset on their children, and also REALLY GODDAMN ANNOYED over shelling out that much money on fucking 3D movie tickets and really? REALLY? Simba grew up, is all! You guys like freaking Star Wars and Harry Potter! Chill out, children.
That said, I think we’re doing pretty well, movie-wise, because I remember making my parents bail on plenty of movies:
1) The Sword in the Stone. My dad took me to this one, but I quickly deduced that it was a Boy Movie With No Princesses and found it boring. Then…something scared me. I don’t even remember what, exactly. But I clung to my dad and buried my face in his side and he asked if I wanted to leave. I did. I always felt kind of bad for ruining our father-daughter day, though when I brought it up later, he admitted that until I grabbed onto his arm in terror, he’d actually been sound asleep.
2) Superman III. I was five when this movie came out, and apparently the only reason I was in attendance was because my parents had promised my older siblings that they would take them and figured I wouldn’t pay much attention to it. I made it all the way to the part where the woman gets sucked into the supercomputer and turned into a cyborg before screaming NO THANK YOU and running out of the theater as fast as I could. My mom and I spent the rest of the movie out on a bench in the lobby. I cried for awhile. She bought me M&Ms. Still haven’t rewatched this shit since.
3) The Neverending Story. I almost didn’t include this one because I didn’t walk out on it in the theater…but I did bail on it during a special VHS showing in my fourth-grade classroom to go cry out in the hallway until my teacher came out and basically shamed me back to my seat. I’ll…let you guess which scene did it.
4) Pinocchio. Goddamn you, Disney! I have no idea how old I was (probably too old), but I guess there was a cinematic re-release one Christmas, so for my birthday I went to see this with a bunch of my friends. I completely lost my shit—in an embarrassing, over-the-top manner—during the scene where the naughty little boys get turned into donkeys and sold into slavery to the salt mines, all while crying and begging for their mommies. And holy shit, I just typed that sentence about a DISNEY CARTOON. Jesus Christ, I need a drink.
(Again, may I remind you: I ran sobbing out of this one during my BIRTHDAY PARTY. I was super cool after that.)
Any other cinematic chickens out there? Did you ever make your parents leave in the middle of a movie? If so, which one(s)? Or were you the type to just suffer in silence while Disney brutally taught you that everything is life is terrible?