With that in mind, I've decided to summarize three of my favorite childhood movies without using the Internet to research them beforehand. This is straight from my childhood brain bits. I pushed aside the lyrics to every song in Annie and Gilda Radner's Right to Extreme Stupidity in order to get to this. So if you're in the mood to hear your favorite childhood movies boiled down to the most basic plot lines that an 8-year-old can understand, LOOK NO FURTHER.
#1 The Indian in the Cupboard
-A young boy is an outcast, probably. Then he finds his grandmother's key in a drawer. And his brother gave him a cupboard that no one can open. As brothers do. And the younger brother (Maybe it's a friend?) puts a plastic Native American doll into the cupboard and it becomes real. Then they try to make him a wife. But they can't. Or she dies, possibly. Somehow a cowboy gets involved and I believe someone gets shot. There is also a rat.
-The magical key had a red ribbon tied to it and I think it could open many things. Like... you could use it to open up a diary and it would suddenly become a magical diary. But this kid was a dummy and only used it on a cupboard. Or were there sequels where they used the key on other things? If not, then this is a wasted opportunity.
- The rat in a ball gets more involved somehow. Like, the boy steals the rat in a ball. Or rolls the rat down the hall in a ball. NO! It gets stuck in the floorboards. No. I don't remember.
Side note, one time my brother let his 4 lizards escape from their cage and then five years later we found a mummified lizard corpse in his closet. True story.
-It's directed by Frank Oz?! That I didn't remember. I just went back and looked it up but OF COURSE IT WAS. Everything he touches turns to gold:
#2 James and the Giant Peach
-James had terrifying, TERRIFYING Aunts. Evil old female villains are kind of a recurring theme in Roald Dahl books. By the way, if you ever want to hear a dead-on impression of the aunts from "James and the Giant Peach" or the wife from "Twits" or the witches from "Witches" then ask my dad. He also does a mean Cindy Lou Who.
-James's parents were killed by a giant rhino in the sky. Or something. Right? It was something super bizarre that worked in the book and not in the movie. Also, can I just say that when I was a kid I was pretty sure I was going to end up an orphan since half the books I read and movies I watched had orphans as the protagonist.
-James picks up garbage with some sort of ingenious garbage contraption that I wanted when I was a kid. But I wanted it so that I could use it to pick up the sticks in our backyard that fell from a cottonwood tree all year round.
TANGENT. Everyone. Before you buy your house this is the first question you should ask:
Is there a cottonwood tree on the property or within a 5 mile radius?
If so, run don't walk to the next property. Cottonwood trees are just the worst. When Memorial Day rolls around you better hold on to your butts because those trees are going to just dump some cotton-type substance all over your lawn and the lawns of every neighbor and any poor soul who drives past.
Then the neighbors will walk by with their Poodles and their Chow-chows and their Bichon Frises and they'll stare at you with a look that says, "you might as well kill yourself rather than allow a cottonwood tree in your backyard."
Anyway. Back to childhood movies.
-One of the bugs has the voice of Richard Dreyfuss. If you think that I'm cheating and I didn't know who Richard Dreyfuss was at the age of 10 or that I was not able to distinguish celebrity voices from a young age then YOU DON'T KNOW ME BUT AT ALL.
-Those terrifying little green worms scared me to the brink of death and into the realm of despair.
Looking back, this is so obviously a Tim Burton film.
#3 Angels is the Outfield
I couldn't think of Joseph Gordon Levitt's name, and I didn't want to cheat and use the Internet. So instead I wrote down every name that came to me before I settled on him (I knew it was a three-word name):
Jonathan Taylor Thomas
Chad Michael Murray
Evan Rachel Wood
Joe Something Something
JosephJOSEPH GORDON LEVITT
- So Joseph Gordon-Levitt's character (another orphan, what do ya know?) gets it into his head that if the Angels win the tournament, he will be adopted. I am assuming here that in real life, there is no such team as the California Angels. But would I bet money on it? No I would not.
-At some point this guy sits in some nachos and it was the funniest thing I'd ever seen in my life to that point. Because he had cheese all over his butt. Do you get it? You probably don't get it. It's really high-brow.
- Brenda Fricker (aka the Irish mother in every movie you've ever seen) plays the loving foster mother.
Sadly, she has the worst imdb page I have ever encountered. The first sentence starts with the words: "This frumpy, maternal, Irish character actress..."
OKAY imdb. Calm down. It's not even like they said "she often plays a character who is frumpy and maternal." No, no. They directly say that the woman herself is frumpy and maternal. She is an Academy Award-winning actress who deserves more than the word "frumpy" to be her main descriptor.
You want to know who is becoming frumpy in their old age?
Jack Nicholson, ladies and gentlemen. Yes, I know he's also an Academy Award-winning actor who doesn't deserve to go on blast. I am, of course, joking. I love you, Jacky Nick. Never change. The day you wear Crocs to the Oscars is the day I can die a happy woman.
-And lest we forget
Nothing cuter than crying while you imitate an angel.
And that's it. That's all I can remember about these movies that I used to watch on loop. No wonder my mom let me watch Grease when I was 7 years old. Clearly it had no lasting effect.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have a sock hop to attend.