Just What Are Today’s Kids Thinking, Anyway? And Should We Have Asked?

Talked to dad
He should have listened to Mom.

Two for one! Today MojoFiction meditates on the unexpected thought processes of this nation’s youth. And by youth we mean kids under the age of eight.  And by kids under eight we mean our own kid (who’s actually eight now but never mind). After eight the cuteness scale really drops off.

We also mini-review “The Croods” below.

WHAT OUR KID SAID ABOUT APOLLO 11…

So one day we’re relaxing at home, minding our own business, and reviewing our son’s weekly schoolwork that the teacher sends home every Friday in a folder. This is where trouble usually begins, with a school folder and us wondering why half the math pages have some other student’s name on them.

A quick background check: Our son is obsessed with space and science fiction and Doctor Who. He’s also obsessed with Star Wars, though that has morphed into being obsessed with Angry Birds: Star Wars and sneaking off with his dad’s cell phone to play it because his dad happens to be obsessed with Angry Birds: Star Wars and where else would you play a game anymore than on your cell phone and is that Chewbacca bird awesome or what? …Hey, we just like the game, okay? Leave us alone.

So in the school folder we find several pages of that huge-lined, grade-school newsprint writing paper with drawings all over every page and what look like stories to go with each drawing. So, of course, we start reading. Most of the stories are re-enactments of some scenes from The Clone Wars computer animated cartoon, but the last story looks like something different.

“What’s this?” we politely asked our son.

“That’s the Apollo 11 rocket blasting off to the moon.”

We may have let him watch From the Earth to the Moon and Apollo 13 a few times.

“Who are these people?” we asked, pointing to figures floating around the page.

“Those are the astronauts.”

Okay, that all makes sense. So we turn to the last page where we’re greeted by what looks like some kind of disaster movie still. Curious, we ask our son the following question:

“Who are these people over here?”

“Well,” he said, “this is Apollo 11. And these are the people who died when this stuff fell off the rocket and landed on them.”

“…Oh.”

Apollo 11
Who are we to argue with good storytelling?

We believe we’ve said enough.

ABOUT KATY PERRY…

What kind of opinions could a kid under eight possibly have about Katy Perry? We’re glad you asked. We’re going to travel back in time about three years, which isn’t much of a reference, just saying that our son was younger than he is now. He informed us, pretty much out of the blue, that he had about a dozen girlfriends and was going to marry about six of them.

Sounds like a guy already:

(“I’m dating all these girls but I really only have long-term plans with that one. …Not that any of them know that.”)

But despite his declaration of polygamy, our son had a concerned look on his face.

“What’s wrong, dude?” we asked. “If we were going to marry six girls, we wouldn’t be down about it. There would only be one reception, though. And no open bar.”

“Two of my girlfriends are adults.”

Uh-oh.

“Who are they?” we asked.

Honestly, we don’t recall the first one, but he clearly stated that the second one was Katy Perry.

“Well,” we said, “We don’t think you can marry Katy Perry.”

“Why not?”

“First of all, you can only marry one girl. You can’t be married to all of them because they might not like it if you were.”

“Well, marrying one sounds easier anyway.”

“You wish.”

We lost him for a moment with that one, but then we continued explaining:

“And you can’t get married until you’re eighteen. By then Katy Perry is going to be around forty.”

“Oh,” he said. Then he looked up at us with a thoughtful look on his face and said, “I hope she’s still pretty.”

And with that, we handed our son his first government-issued Man-Card. He earned it.

Later, he surprised us when he mentioned off-hand that Mitt Romney was a handsome man for a presidential candidate. In fact, our son said Mr. Romney was probably #2 in his top 10 list of handsome men, right after his grandpa (on his mom’s side of all things). Ignoring the fact that our young son had a list of handsome men, we asked where his dad would fit into that list. He said:

“I don’t know… Number six?”

Man-Card revoked.

THE CROODS – MINI-REVIEW

Admittedly, we here at MojoFiction were not all-in on seeing The Croods, but our son wouldn’t stop talking about it so we went for it, if only to say, “See, you should listen to your dad. He has a good sense for movies.”

The Croods is a semi-sweet story about a family of cave-persons dealing with the need to make sudden changes to their lifestyle.  When the ground starts crumbling beneath their feet, as the land of the prehistoric world is being torn apart to form new continents, the Croods ares forced to leave the protection of their cave for good. They must take a journey into the complete unknown and trust a complete stranger to lead them to safety.  Dad is having none of it.

Grug (the dad) wants only to find a new cave somewhere and keep everyone inside it where they can’t run into anything unknown and dangerous.  Unfortunately, the rest of the family (especially Grug’s daughter, Eep) is keen on following newcomer Guy, who was just happening by on his way to high ground and safety.  Adventure ensues as they cross the land and try to figure out how to come to terms with how they define not only their family, but what it means to be alive.

The animation really is spectacular (but certainly not the “next Avatar,” as one T.V. quote suggested), with a colorful and beautifully realized prehistoric world. Where The Croods doesn’t match up to a lot of Pixar features, or other heavyweights like How to Train Your Dragon or Kung Fu Panda, though, is individual characterizations.  Given that these are prehistoric people, maybe that was inevitable.  But the characters feel a thinly drawn, mostly there to ensure certain plot developments.  But where they do succeed is in presenting the whole group as a family. Anyone with at least one sibling should easily be able to relate to the family dynamic on display.  As they traipse across the wilderness, constantly bickering at each other and generally behaving like a family with teenage kids, even the wild animals have to cover their ears and hide from them.  It works very well, easily making up for the character shortcomings.

Surprisingly enough, we were glad to see there wasn’t really any potty humor.

We could easily recommend this film to anyone with kids showing interest in it.  It’s a fun time.

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