January 26th, 2010 15:28 EST
Kids ruin a lot of things, mostly pedophile property value and toy store excursions, but they do the most damage in movies. Some of Hollywood`s greatest ideas were thwarted by innocence and ignorant smiles. Just look at some of the disasters: Star Wars Episode I, Willow, Rookie of the Year, Big, Sleepers. Need I say more? I didn`t see My Sister`s Keeper but I`m sure it sucked - some sort of modern day Goonies I presume (which is one of the very few exceptions that will be discussed later). I hate remakes that haven`t had at least forty years to ferment.
Most movie going experiences have also been ruined off screen for me too. The first time that I had a whole movie ruined for me was when I was 13 and I went to the theater to see Flubber. There were so many kids there that just would not stop laughing and reacting and engaging emotionally with the film that I could not enjoy a single moment of that movie. Even three years down the road was so perturbed by my original experience that I still could not enjoy a single moment of that movie. They cheer at the most predictable parts. The scenes aren`t predictable, the kids are the predictable ones; I just want that to be clear. I don`t want to discredit movies like A Very Goofy Sequel or The Santa Claus 1, 2, and 4.
Children and cinema just do not mix like sex and drugs; they mix like sex and arid climates. Yet parents insist that they bring their offspring to the theater to not only see the movie but affect the whole movie-movie goer experience. I wasn`t the one to get lazy and selfish and not pull out so don`t ruin my chance to hear Eddie Murphy`s witty banter dubbed over his cries for help. Their sticky little hands may flail and land in my gobstoppers or cherry ice drink. Then what? THEN WHAT?! THEIR HANDS ONLY GET STICKIER!
If it weren`t for the fact that Edward Furlong was probably doing blow at the time, Terminator 2 would have sucked due to his whining. What of the Home Alone franchise? A potential dramatic black comedy regarding family tragedy and overcoming it soon became a vehicle to establish Macaulay Culkin before his awkward teen years. What else do kids do? They go to school; movies regarding kids in school down play the importance of education while not highlighting the impact of early failure. Movies like Kindergarten Cop, Cop and A Half, Snow Day, The Mighty Ducks. Why are so many kids getting involved with police work at such young ages? I still don`t have a job with benefits!
And the acting. God, the acting! I don`t get it, it`s like they don`t even care. They affect the whole scene and degrade the other actors, making them seem just as talent-less. There is absolutely no reason why Ryan Phillippe should ever be on screen at the same time as a child actor who sucks the talent right out of it. Unlike cheese, child actors are never good and continually stay bad; due to their underdeveloped acting skills they never grow into any role and perpetually ruin movies throughout their lifetimes.
How much more believable and thus better do you think A Man Without A Face have been had the kid who is for some reason in his underwear been a few years older and pubescent? Not only for the sake of taking more acting classes but also for a more believable story line. I don`t care how much scar tissue he has on his face, mid 90`s Mel Gibson can get any boy he desires. That may have been a loaded claim. Still, child acting is serious as molestation, both requiring immediate attention. Rarely are these pre-adolescent prima donnas saved by veteran co-stars; some examples being Look Who`s Talking and that`s it.
Of course there are a few notable exceptions to the rule, those being Goonies, Radio Flyer, and The Sandlot - mostly for obvious reasons. If the Goonies had not been casted by child actors (all of which would go on to lead very talented and problem-free lives) where would the imagination of a child in 1985 have found its home? It was not only a good movie, but also a very necessary movie for children during the Cold War; it gave us all a common enemy - Robert Davi and pirate booby traps. Had The Sandlot not been about kids and what they did to pass the time, it would have just been a movie about Denis Leary doing his taxes and filing paper work for an hour and 45 minutes. Radio Flyer, although having an obvious reason for being an exception, taught me a significant lesson - before turning on the stove always check because some kid may have deemed an oven as an acceptable place to store an extension cord.
I know there have been child actors who have been regarded as Oscar worthy and show stealers like Drew Barrymore in E.T. and Jonathan Taylor Thomas in something, and the other kid from E.T., what with all he`s done with his career. However it`s rare to see an actor of little formal training overcompensated with cuteness to pick up the slack in Hollywood; those roles are meant for the adults who deserve them. If you don`t let Freddie Prinze Jr. act, what else will he do? These acting jobs are being outsourced to child actors because production companies think they`ll find new break out actors. If I had a time machine, I would send Julia Stiles back in time to redo E.T. as both Gertie and Elliot.
The power of movies is as stake! So many have already been lost, why risk anymore? To emphasize my point think how much more relatable Patch Adams would have been had the sick children he visited in the beginning actually been a room full of dying successful investment bankers? Or had we seen 3 Ninjas from the perspective of the real ninjas as they had slain three annoying sophomoric kids? Kids have youth and plenty of time to get their lives in order, they don`t need these hard working, believable actors` jobs - there is literally no role that Dakota Fanning had that Tom Jane could not improve on.
In conclusion, children ruin movies from all angles; they can`t deliver lines, play believable super heroes (lava boy and shark girl would work on so many other levels and reached a broader audience had it been a college sex dramedy and the difficulty of balancing over active hormones with moral obligation to defend the people from evil - Jason Biggs could be sprinkled in there for the comic relief), act accordingly in a movie theater, or make value judgments at a critical cognitive level, so why do we place such a great weight of a film`s potential in their high fructose corn syrupy hands?