Zalaznick: Beware of dead-mom movies, Vail Valley | VailDaily.com
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Zalaznick: Beware of dead-mom movies, Vail Valley

Matt Zalaznick
Vail, CO Colorado

I’ve got the ” Dora the Explorer” theme song stuck in my head – and no amount of Led Zeppelin played at deafening levels will make it go away.

OK, I’m trying to edit stories about bark beetles and conservation ease-ments, and all I got is ” Dora Dora Dora exploradora.” I’m juggling weighty issues of rising bus fares and classical-music festivals, and blaring in my head is “Swiper no swiping! Swiper no swiping!”

Oh man.

Of course, you’re not supposed to let your kids watch TV.

Ever. It’s something I struggle with.

Because I like to watch TV. But studies show that for every second of TV a child watches, their chances of becoming carnies or the governor of Alaska increase 5 percent. If you insist on destroying your kids with television, and most of us do, Dora’s relatively harmless and not even that annoying compared with, say, Barney, who makes reasonable adults plan suicide bombings at whatever godforsaken studio “Bar-ney” is filmed in.

There’s also a very bizarre show called ” Yo Gabba Gabba!” that was created by the same people who brought you Pink Floyd.

If you’re looking to make one of those long, cold, snowy Vail Valley afternoons go by quickly, movies are great. But watch out for what I call the “dead-mommy-and-daddy” animat-ed movies. I’m talking about you “Bambi,” ” The Lion King” and “Find-ing Nemo.”

When you do commit the form of child abuse that is turning on the TV, it’s supposed to be relaxing, right? It’s supposed to be quiet time with a snack. I mean, you’re not going to turn on ” The Godfather.” Well, there’s nothing soothing about daddy lion being thrown off a cliff in the middle of the movie or mommy fish being devoured by a barracuda right off the bat.

The makers of ” The Lion King” could at least have put the daddy lion’s horrible demise at the very beginning so that we parents could start the DVD on the next scene. “Finding Nemo” at least allows you to skip over the part where the grieving daddy fish is left all alone to raise the son who never gets to know his mother.

Such family fun, right?

And there’s also the “abduction” subgenre – you know, the movies where parent and child are torn apart horribly and the child, an adorable, weepy- eyed fish or elephant, is left totally alone and homeless.

So soothing.

Movies in this category include “Dumbo” and “Madagascar 2.” “Find-ing Nemo” manages to be in both nightmare-inspiring genres. Shortly after the mommy fish is gobbled up, the baby fish is kidnapped by a deranged Australian dentist and imprisoned to await certain death at the hands of a – you guessed it! – toddler.

Makers of classics such as “Cinderel-la” at least had the decency to kill her father off before the events in the movie take place. That means we’re just left with the heartwarming story of a dysfunctional family in which the stepmother emotionally abuses and locks the heroine away in a tower.

If that happened today, Cinderella’s evil stepmother would be facing more than just chagrin – she’d be facing 40 years to life.

What family fun!

So you’ve got to find movies without parental trauma, such as the first “Madagascar,” or “Cars” or “Rata-touille.” No mommies or daddies die, no toddlers are abandoned or abduct-ed, and the music is pretty bland – so you won’t have some inane jingle blar-ing in your head for the rest of the week.

Managing Editor Matt Zalaznick can be reached at mzalaznick@vaildaily.com or 970-748-2926.


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