Family Movie Review: The Ladykillers

Sometimes it seems I have less common sense than any other person on the planet. This phenomenon is caused, in part, by the fact that I tend to believe whatever people tell me.

Case in point. I believed a total stranger (and oily teen) when he suggested that my mother-in-law and I take her 82-year-old mother and my eight-year-old son to a matinee of the Coen Brothers “The Ladykillers.” When we pressed him on the appropriateness of the film for our little group, I believe his feedback was “It shouldn’t be a problem.”

We were supposed to see something much more inter-generationally friendly and appropriately rated, but, sadly, it was sold out, or maybe we were late. Regardless, this is when said oily box office drone suggested that “The Ladykillers” might be an acceptable substitution.

Why would this boy have any reason to lie to me? To my son? To Grandma?

Should we have shied away simply because of the Coen Brothers moniker? Maybe, but really, it could go either way. “Raising Arizona?” “O Brother Where Art Thou?” Both great family films.

“The Ladykillers?” Not so much. This wasn’t one of the Coens’ more popular (or better) films, so perhaps you’re not familiar. I can sum it up pretty quickly:

1) Someone’s dick gets blown off
2) Sophisticated, subtle humor based on the trials and tribulations of Irritable Bowel Syndrome
3) The words fuck, fucker, fucking, mother-fucker or mother-fucking are used at a rate of once every 1.67 seconds
4) Lashings and lashings of the good old ultra-violence
5) Tom Hanks

That’s pretty much all I remember. I was a little distracted. I spent a lot of my time watching the exits, thinking Dane County Child Protective Services was going to bust in at any minute. I spent a lot more time imagining I could feel the eyes of our fellow movie patrons actually boring holes in the back of my skull. The remaining time was occupied by slyly monitoring grandma’s respiration and pulse, in case some sort of medical intervention was required.

Our son? Best two hours of his life. Couldn’t believe his luck. I’m sure he remembers every second.

Why didn’t we just leave? I can’t really tell you. I guess I like to give everything a fair chance. I kept thinking “The Ladykillers” would redeem itself, and that our little family outing would somehow all work out in the end. And you know what? It kinda did.

Our son was thrilled I found him mature enough to see such an adult film and that I trusted him so much I knew he wouldn’t repeat any of the language or content, say, at school (this was the line I gave him, and I still think it’s pretty good). Grandma was thrilled someone took her to see a movie not written with 11-year-old girls in mind. Besides Tom Hanks, my mother-in-law and I quickly recovered and agreed that we didn’t have to tell anyone if we didn’t feel like it.

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