How Hollywood Ruined My Childhood

If you’re a child of the 70s then your early/teenage years (what you can remember of them you damn hippy) will mean your memories might consist of Blake’s 7 and Mork and Mindy.

But if you’re like me, then most of your quality memories will be from the 80s.

It’s not the children of the 70s who are having their precious memories constantly abused, it’s ours. OK I feel your pain over the Charlie’s Angels movie and Starsky and Hutch was just plain wrong, but if you think those movies were tough, think again.

I’m tired of our childhoods being Hollywood’s fodder and turned into trash. And it’s not just movies of our memories; our toys, our cartoons and our lives are being molested by the Hollywood machine. The abuse started in the 80s and continues up to today where nothing is sacred anymore.

GI Joe is the latest memory to be sacrificed, followed closely by Transformers 2 and I’m sick of it. So I’ve compiled a list of things from my childhood that Hollywood has abused. Things that have been sullied, things that have wiped the smile off of my inner child’s sweet, innocent face. After filmmakers have had their way, things like hugs and puppies that may as well be anthrax and razor blades.

Now show me on the doll where Hollywood touched you.

BOARD GAMES

Ever sat in a circle on the floor with your family and played a board game? We’ve all got fond memories of classic board games like Cluedo, Snakes and Ladders and Monopoly.

Even if some of us were constantly made to use the piece shaped like an iron we still look back with affection. However after Jumanji came out it all changed.

How can you appreciate the thrill of your competitor landing on the Go To Jail square when in the movie the characters were chased by monkeys and crocodiles? They don’t even compare. Suddenly, the thought of a Sunday evening playing Guess Who with the folks seemed so bloody boring that it’s at this point we started underage binge drinking in the local park. It carried on with Zathura, Jumanji’s space based twin movie, where instead of animals there were asteroids attacking the unlucky players.

Look at this! Do you really think getting a hotel on Mayfair in Monopoly looked any good after this!?

Superman Movies

They may not have had the best effects and sometimes the stories were a bit iffy, but you can’t deny that the early Superman movies were, in a word, awesome. They may have fallen by the way side as they went on but they’re still better than the more recent, Superman Returns.

After much consideration, I still can’t put my finger on what it is that makes me hate it so much, it’s more of a general loathing. Maybe it was the total misunderstanding of my favourite tight wearing superhero.

I’m not sure what happened to Bryan Singer; he directed the best of the X-Men series, X2, and then followed it with this pile of crap. He put a pretty boy in a cape and made him fly around stopping bullets with his eyeballs. Christopher Reeve is Superman and there shall be no more discussion. Reeve even saw fit to bless Smallville, having appeared in a few episodes. But Brandon Routh? Seriously?

Even this Superman is better than Singer’s.

CLOWNS AND CIRCUSES

Of course I have no proof of my theory (because I don’t know anyone over 100 years old who isn’t senile) but I’m pretty sure that before films, clowns were funny.

If you’ve seen Stephen King’s IT then you understand where I’m coming from.

Some of you might lay the blame at Stephen King’s feet for writing the book first. Well I don’t. You have to read the whole book to find it scary, but with a film, you just have to see that one still to be scarred for life.

We were hardly given a chance, were we? If there’s one movie that had me rocking myself to sleep each night, it’s IT; there’s hardly an equal to the terrifying Pennywise. Not only did he brutally murder children, his balloon animals were rubbish.

But IT isn’t the only movie out there. Killer Clowns From Outer Space. Name says it all really, doesn’t it? Not only are they clowns, they’re aliens. All I needed was them being secret mummy/werewolf hybrids and then I would have been in therapy at least 3 months earlier.

STAR WARS

Where do I begin?

I thought George Lucas loved me. I thought he respected me. I thought he’d call me back in the morning to tell me that he had a good time last night. Lucas, like most men with white beards, was a huge let down. And yes, I include Father Christmas in that remark. However I don’t include Obi Wan Kenobi; he was always there for me.

George broke my hearts when he made the prequels to Star Wars; it was like a betrayal, like everything we’d been through together just wasn’t good enough. These were the movies that inspired rational people to call themselves real life Jedi for Christ’s sake.

The Phantom Menace was God-awful for many reasons and it can’t be laid entirely Jar-Jar’s feet. As the prequels went on, I became more and more driven to drive a plush teddy or toy lightsaber down Lucas’ throat. Hayden Christensen will never be Darth Vader. Never.

And two words: CGI Yoda. I want a wise, old, green little Buddha, not an Olympic gymnast.

Robot Chicken have done some spoofs on the matter and they’re as funny as Lucas’ attempt to recreate his 70s success.

Here’s French and Saunder’s having a bash at it.

ANIMALS AND PETS

Unfortunately, animal movies tend to be the biggest tearjerkers and I can prove it with one word. Bambi.

Pets are very important to children and to have something happen to one in real life is bad enough, but to see it on the big screen is almost cruel. There have been so many times that I have cried like a 5-year-old because a film showed an animal being separated from its family or losing its parent. I mean Jesus, I was just a child.

It seemed for a while that as far as parent loss goes, Disney made it their specialty. The Lion King and Bambi are the classic examples but Dumbo’s in there as well. Watership Down meant girls hugged their pet rabbits till they suffocated after seeing that film. But I’m actually crying as I’m writing about Littlefoot’s mother’s death scene in Universal’s, The Land Before Time. And no, I don’t care that you can’t have dinosaurs for pets.

Old Yeller may be for a slightly older generation but the kid has to shoot HIS OWN DOG. What the hell people?! How much more traumatic can you get? I started watching my pets more carefully after that, constantly checking them for signs of rabies.

I hope you’ve got a Kleenex handy because here’s the scene from The Neverending Story. You know which one.

DOLLS AND PUPPETS

If you’re a girl, then chances are you had a china doll when you were young. If you were a boy, then chances are you had seen a bootleg copy of Chucky and were terrified of your sister’s china doll.

Voodoo, possession and down right spookiness; dolls aren’t as wanted by little girls as they used to be and I’m going to blame the movies. And Chucky isn’t the only one who scared the bejesus out of us. Dolly Dearest had us selling our dolls at car boot sales and Dead Silence made us take scissors to our marionettes.

Even Thunderbirds started to look creepier and creepier; Parker especially – there’s something a bit rapey about him. They did claw some respectability back with Team America but by that time the damage had been done. There was even an episode of Buffy called ‘The Puppet Show’ that featured a possessed ventriloquist’s doll.

I warn you that this clip is actually pretty scary, so watching through your fingers is advised.

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