Borden’s rule.

No 125-pound pumpkin today. I didn’t get out to take its picture until the light had faded, something it’s been doing alarmingly early these days. Instead, another entry in Nance’s Annals of Parenting Angst.

Although this is a subject that interests me and me alone, I do spend a certain amount of time wondering just how to guide my child’s developing taste in, er, the arts. Last week, for instance, I proposed a Family Movie Night at home, with the idea of renting one kid movie and one grown-up movie, the first for the three of us and the second for after bedtime. (Don’t get any filthy ideas; I’m talking something rated PG-13 or above, and it turned out to be “Mean Girls.”) I asked Kate to choose something for the first, and she came up with “Bratz — Starrin’ and Stylin’,” a 61-minute cartoon about her favorite dolls (which I privately refer to as the Skankz).

I vetoed the Bratz. Chose “Holes” instead. Alan and I loved it; Kate said it was “good.” And that’s all she said.

This week, I offered her the same option, only this time I swore I’d let her pick anything at all. Again, she chose the Skankz. Oh my God.

Crappy animation? Check. Strange, adult-free universe? Check (although there was one teacher, whose purpose in life was to ruin the Skankz’ day by making them do schoolwork with the prom right around the corner). Nearly non-existent story line? Check. Offensive values conveyed? Oh, check check check check check. The Skankz’ existential dilemma seems to be whether one of them has “lost her fashion sense.” It ends when they decide they can all be friends and put on a super prom, and that Jade still has her fashion sense.

I asked Kate what she thought. “Good,” she replied, swiftly adding, “I really, really liked it.”

Someday we’ll watch “The Godfather” together. I just don’t know when.

I can’t say the 61 minutes was a total waste, as it seems she has picked up a valuable tool of plot discernment: She already recognizes Borden’s Rule.

Borden’s Rule, named for my old friend and neighbor Jeff Borden, was first discerned when he — Borden — worked as our newspaper’s TV critic. It is: Any car in a movie five years old or older, especially if it’s a four-door American sedan, is toast. So when the Bratz pull up in a crummy car, and later drive it into a tree, Kate said, “I knew that would happen, because the car was all beat up.”

Anyway, here’s a review of “Bratz — Starrin’ and Stylin'” from Amazon:

It all starts of when there at school,until the teacher says they have to do an assigemt,on self expresion,the bratz do a video on it,until somebody write secrets that are really secrets(secrets that are abou the bratz)each doll gets her secrets told,her deep secrets,jade’s secret is that she’s losing her fashion sense,then they see it in the daily doings section!Who could of done it,it has to be one of the dolls,YASMIN!Yasmin was writting down there secrets,the bratz get mad with her!Will they ever be friends again???Buy the movie to find out!

Sigh. Think I’ll buy the “GoodFellas” DVD and put it away for a later date.

Posted at 8:38 pm in Uncategorized |

6 responses to “Borden’s rule.”

  1. deb said on October 4, 2004 at 10:56 pm

    there is hope, dear. in my household, the same child who once wanted every sonic the hedgehog video in existence is now pestering me to rent all the monty python movies. (he almost wet his pants while watching “holy grail.” tip: get the collector’s edition; lots of fun extras, including the script.)

    his latest requests: “a shot in the dark” and — cue the music, please — “the godfather.”

    so, chin up. this, too, shall pass, and the payoff a few years down the road will make all your suffering worthwhile.

    515 chars

  2. Lance Mannion said on October 5, 2004 at 8:55 am

    Hey Deb,

    A Shot in the Dark is on our list of coming attractions! We’ve already screened The Return of the Pink Panther and The Pink Panther Strikes Again.


    I think we may have it a bit easier when we have to choose for family movie night. Having boys eliminates Bratz and opens things up to The Three Musketeers. This week’s feature: The Alamo. Sadly, though, not the John Wayne version.

    Our rule has been that there are kids movies and grown up movies and family movie nights can’t feature either. The movie has to appeal to everyone. Adrianne and I have to be more catholic in our tastes, of course, or Haunted Mansion never would have made the cut. If the guys see a movie they want that’s just a kids movie, they can rent it to watch by themselves.

    Last week’s feature was Home On The Range. Which was fun for all. More Looney Toonish than Disney.

    Recently we’ve seen Young Frankenstein (hoping that some of the jokes went right over the guys’ heads), Ella Enchanted, Hidalgo, James and the Giant Peach, and the Mask of Zorro.

    And once upon a time all movies were family movies, so the classics are good choices.

    Jason and the Argonauts, Scaramouche, King Solomon’s Mines, and, believe it or not, Laurence Olivier’s Richard III were as popular with this audience as Scooby Doo 2.

    Maybe it easier with boys. But then, I don’t think we’re going to get to see The Secret Garden, Little Women, or the Little Princess.

    Although, parents have final say, so we’ll see.

    1513 chars

  3. Ric said on October 5, 2004 at 10:44 am

    My girls *love* Holes. I think it’s a pretty good film, too.

    Also, “A Goofy Movie” has some remarkable musical numbers in it and it’s a good story.

    150 chars

  4. Mary said on October 5, 2004 at 11:32 am

    You might try Spirited Away. It’s a little scary, but it was a huge hit here with kids and adults. The Triplets of Belleville worked for all of us, too.

    154 chars

  5. ashley said on October 5, 2004 at 12:49 pm

    My two year old with the Czech name, Katerina, begs us daily for my bootleg DVD of “Song of the South”. She also wants Russian cartoons (Na Pagodi) dubbed in Czech, Czech cartoons (Krtek the mole), and in a nod to the evil that Disney has become, Winnie the Pooh.

    The 3 month old with the Southern (perhaps Baltimorean) name, Annabel Lee, prefers NASCAR.

    Boy, are they gonna hate me around puberty.

    We try to minimize the amount of TV time per day, but with 2 kids, the tube does make a good sitter for the bigger one.

    528 chars

  6. Peophi said on November 15, 2004 at 2:50 pm

    I never cared for the Bratz dolls – never paid a lot of attention for them except calling them “street walker Barbie”. Yesterday I changed opinion of them.

    I saw a commercial for them yesterday that had a girl who looked to be 10-12 years old. She was wearing a miniskirt, mid riff, high heeled boots and enough make-up to make Avon Fortune 500. This little girl was getting ready for her big date with….a mystery guy. We promoting our daughters to start their own escort service?

    Pedophiles all over the world should be happy though, why bother downloading child porn, just record TV comercials.

    613 chars