My Letter to Disney

Dear Disney,

I would like a moment or two of your time, please.

Yesterday in the gomobile, my little guy Cooter announced out of the blue how much he liked the “Thor” ride at Epcot.  He’s referring to “Maelstrom” located in Norway.  His nine-year old sister, our Princess, turned to him and said, “Well you know they’re going to turn it into a ‘Frozen’ ride, right?”

The sound from the back was deafening.  “NOOOOOO.”  He stopped for a second.  “I’ve had enough of that.”

That moment right there.

It got me to thinking, you know?

Sure “Frozen” had the guy with the moose.  And Olaf.  He was cute.  But really it was a movie about sisters.  And it is plastered all over any and every store we go in–including the grocery store.  It’s everywhere.  I was at a birthday party for an eight-year old girl today, and they sang some karaoke.  Guess what the first song sung was?  Yep.  “Let It Go.”  Guess what the second girl wanted to sing?  Yep.  You got it.  Again.

So congratulations.  You made a movie and saturated the market.  Your stuff is everywhere.  Except for Elsa’s dress.  And that’s a serious problem around here, but we can discuss that another time.

Your channel is one that my children are allowed to watch certain shows on.  I really like some of your programming, and your shows are the ones my college daughter remembers and loves the most from her elementary and middle school years.  I especially love that my children aren’t bombarded with commercials or ads for shows not appropriate for them to see.  (Yeah, I’m talking about you, football game broadcasts.)

Or that was the case.

Oh Disney, you have done me wrong.  For weeks and weeks you advertised “Guardians of the Galaxy.”  It looked great.  My little guy was thrilled and actually laughed out loud and said “cool” numerous times each and every time the trailer was shown.  You played interviews with cast and staff from the movie.  Can you say saturated?  Yes, we were all primed for that movie.

And then–

the rating was released.

PG-13.

Are you kidding me?  Do you even know the average age of your viewers?

I am disappointed in your discernment on this.  My little guy was beside himself, and since a Mama can only be as happy as her least happy child AND since, if Mama ain’t happy, nobody’s happy–I think you can see where I’m going with this.

What the heck, Disney?

After my son’s comments yesterday made me realize he hasn’t been over the moon about a movie like our Princess has “Frozen” (Star Wars doesn’t count–they were made in 1977 on and you had nothing to do with THOSE), I took a survey on Facebook today.  I asked my friends to name movies with strong male characters made by you in the past 10-15 years.

I also did some research on the internet.

In case you didn’t already know this, there are none.  Not made by you.  Not any one that has been invested in the way that “Frozen” or “Tangled” have.  The ones my friends listed were either NOT yours or pre-2007 when my little guy entered this world.  (There’s Percy Jackson and Harry Potter, but they both are a little intense for a seven-year old–and Harry gets into that PG13 range. Sigh.) And I’m sorry, I figure you are trying to aim the Cars series and the Planes movies at ones such as he, but honestly he can’t identify with being a car or a plane or a rat or monsters.  I’m just looking for a movie about a real boy (or a prince–that could be okay, I guess, I mean our Princess isn’t really one and she identifies with these young women so…..okay).

Is that so hard?

At the very least please stop promoting your movies on your very PG/G channel that aren’t appropriate for the younger set.  I have had it, and I won’t be seeing “Guardians of the Galaxy.”  That’s right, you won’t be getting my money for that one anytime soon.  (I can hear you crying, and I’m sorry I had to go there.) I promised Cooter we would see it together when he’s old enough.  He’s already had me pencil in a date with him to do just that in early 2020.  That’s the year he turns 13.  Sigh.

And finally, here’s the thing.  So help me, if you mess up this Star Wars thing, I will come after you with every bit of Mama madness and all my posse along with me. (And one of them calls herself Batgirl, because she comes out with her bat swinging, wanting to know who’s messed with me–you’ve been warned, Disney.)  This is my boy’s THING.  He loves all things Star Wars.  He knows the history inside and out even though he’s only been allowed to watch the first three that were made (again due to ratings and age appropriateness)–Episodes IV, V, and VI.  Yours will follow right behind these in the storyline.  I repeat, do NOT mess this up.  Do whatever you have to do, but you can tell a story without all that blood and gore and suggestiveness and the like.  TELL THE STORY.  And make it a good one.  This is your best shot to make it up to my little guy and all those like him who are looking for someone to identify with, to recognize, and get excited about seeing.  Someone maybe even to emulate as they realize so much of life is about making wise choices and choosing good over evil.  You can do this, I know you can.  I’ve seen it.  “Brave” and “Frozen” are really great because you changed it up on us–the focus moved from being rescued by the Prince to other relationships also being important and females being strong and I LOVE IT.  Thank you.  (Although you have yet to really reach the stars again like “Mary Poppins” did–great story, Julie Andrews, and Dick Vandyke–win.win.WIN.  Yeah, I’m seriously “old school.”)

If you don’t get it right, I’m forever moving my fanship over to that other film company–and theme park, and I promise to make you cry again.

Really and truly, all I’m asking you is to please remember our sons.  We have become so focused in raising strong girls that I really am starting to feel like our boys are getting pushed to the side.  And that is not okay.  Seriously, the highlight of our day at Epcot in my little guy’s mind was the “Thor” ride.  I’m not saying don’t have a Frozen ride, I’m just saying, please remember that not all of our boys love the Moose and Olaf THAT much.  They need songs to sing and people to dress up like and aspire to be like too.

Best wishes to you all.  I’ve read that the upcoming movie “Big Hero 6” has a fourteen year old boy as the main character.  I am hopeful that you might redeem yourself, but the really true test will be Star Wars VII set to be released (at this time) in December of 2015.  My son will be 8.  I mean it, make it awesome and make it appropriate. We’re talking keep it PG.  Or else.

Sincerely,

Mama Who Wants Good Movies for Her Son Too

And she ain’t playing

 

 

 

 

 

 

Letting It Go

My Fella and I took the crew along with Mess Cat and her little guy Shaker to see the new Disney movie “Frozen.”  I had no idea what to expect.  The only previews I’d seen featured Olaf the snowman, so I had no clue about the depth and meaning behind the storyline.  I do love me some Olaf though.

It was a really good movie.  Aub says it is by far the best Disney princess movie ever made. Even better than “Tangled” and that’s saying something.  There is a twist that makes it very different from all of the others that I can recall, and I am thankful for it.  I don’t want to spoil the movie for those who plan to see it and haven’t, but if this is the new trend for Disney heroines, I’m all for it.  And they get it.  Sisters and sisterfriends.  There’s nothing better.

The movie began in song.  It was a musical, and some of the music was not so traditional, which intrigued me.  As the first song was beginning I heard Cooter, who was sitting next to me, sigh.

“What’s wrong, Buddy?” I whispered.

“It’s just that this is what is depressing about Disney movies.  They always sing these songs.”  He sighed again.  Poor put upon child.  Suffice to say I am thankful for Olaf the snowman and Sven the moose who saved the movie for Cooter and Shaker.  They were delightfully funny.

Our own Princess has read the novelization of the movie.  This is the first time she’s read a story before going to see the movie.  A big moment for her.  (I had to have her reassure me a time or two that it was all going to turn out okay–so glad she had already read the story.)  I asked her how she liked it, and she just beamed.  Then she asked how soon we could buy the movie on DVD.  (I know it seems like there’s a quick turnaround these days, but the movie did just come out two days ago.)

As the movie progressed during a climactic moment for Elsa, she sang a song that has been recorded by Demi Lovato–“Let It Go,” written by Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez.  The lyrics in the movie grabbed my heart and swirled around making me feel and think about things I have put aside for a long time.  I came home and listened to Demi Lovato’s version and had the same reaction.

Don’t let them in, don’t let them see
Be the good girl you always had to be
Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know
Well, now they know

There was a time in my life when I tried to hide what was going on, how things really were.   I guess I believed that if I could hide it, it wasn’t really real.  But when things blew up and everyone knew, I had to deal with letting it go and not caring what folks said or thought.  I walked away and tried ignored the coldness of others judging and changing hearts.  And eventually that cold didn’t bother me anymore.  Most of the time.

Let it go, let it go
Can’t hold it back anymore
Let it go, let it go
Turn my back and slam the door
And here I stand, and here I’ll stay
Let it go, let it go
The cold never bothered me anyway

These last lines below are truth.  The distance from all of this so many years ago makes it seem small most of the time.  Except for when it doesn’t.  When I left that life behind, I remember laying on the floor next to a vent, hoping the cool air would calm my heart and soothe my soul.  There in my only safe place on this earth, I lay there and could not find the strength to grieve all that I had lost.  All I could feel was relief.  I closed my eyes and rested.  For the first time in a long time.  It was quite a while before I could let my heart grieve.

It’s funny how some distance makes everything seem small
And the fears that once controlled me can’t get to me at all
Up here in the cold thin air I finally can breathe
I know I left a life behind, but I’m too relieved to grieve

The thing that this song and the movie reminded me of is something that I learned many years ago.  If you have something you are dealing with and you keep it a secret, one day, as Shakespeare wrote, the truth will out.  When it does, things will only be harder and hurt more than it would have if you had been able to garner the courage and share with someone you trusted to begin with.  In my experience and in Frozen too, the longer the secret is kept, the number of folks who will get hurt only increases.

I know there are hard situations in this life.  Things that don’t get awful right away.  They get hard one harsh word or rough touch or untruth at a time.  I know it’s easy to think you have it under control.  That things will get better–there is no reason to share it with others.  No need to bother or worry anyone because this darkness is only temporary.

My friend, that is rarely true.  The actions of others are not your fault nor are they under your control.  The truth is that unkind and mean words and hurting ways tend to spiral into worse and worse situations.  Don’t hold it in, don’t worry about being the “good girl” and not letting it show.  Find someone you trust, and keep looking for someone who will listen and believe until you find them.  Then share it all.

And let it go.  Turn your back and slam that door.

Save yourself.  And others.

From more pain.

Over time the relief you feel may morph into grief, but over time and distance, it will begin to feel small.

And one day you will fly.  And find yourself surrounded by the ones you love who truly love you.  The very ones you tried to protect with your secret will lift you up and make you stronger.

Tonight I’m thankful for a movie and a song that reminded me of my journey and how important it is to let it go.  How healing that has been for me and those around me.  And when those memories come back, they seem a little smaller each and every time.  Except for when they don’t.

And in those moments, I am thankful for the ones I love who know me and love me in spite of it. And who stand beside me and help me let it go.  All over again.

In the previews they show a moment when Olaf the snowman tells his new friend, “Some people are worth melting for.”

Just that.  Surround yourself with ones you would “melt” for, and who would melt for you.  Those are the relationships that will light the darkness and heal the brokenness in this world.  Those are the friendships that will save lives.

I think Torey Hayden put it best in her book, “One Child.” She writes:

“She looked up. “What I can’t figure out is why the good things always end.”
“Everything ends.”
“Not some things. Not the bad things. They never go away.”
“Yes, they do. If you let them, they go away. Not as fast as we’d like sometimes, but they end too. What doesn’t end is the way we feel about each other. Even when you’re all grown up and somewhere else, you can remember what a good time we had together. Even when you’re in the middle of bad things and they never seem to be changing, you can remember me. And I’ll remember you.”  
―  Torey Hayden, “One Child”