All in the family


"New York Post" columnist Andrea Peyser has written an op-ed about "The Kids Are All Right" (cleverly titled "The Kids are NOT All Right") being yet another covert Hollywood attack against the traditional American family.

She might have a point. As she puts it: "this film is set to go down in history as the first major motion picture to make a family led by gay women -- A-lister Annette Bening, as the control-freak doctor Nic, ‘wed' to A-lister Julianne Moore, as the weepy, infantilized Jules -- seem not just normal, but close to godly."

But wait a minute. This isn't the only recent movie that's challenged the standard married father/mother family model.

Take, for example, "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse." The families in this film aren't exactly models of normality. First, you have Bella Swan, whose parents are divorced and who lives with her dumb sheriff dad in the sticks in a relationship that can only be described as typical of a long suffering husband and wife (they bicker; she cleans and cooks; they don't have sex). That's bad enough, but then there's also the Cullen clan:


a "family" of non-related, century-plus-old, undead vampires who enjoy superhuman powers and eternal life.

Mark my words. This film is set to go down in history as the first major motion picture to make a family led by vampires seem not just normal, but godly. Okay, the third, if you include the two other "The Twilight Saga" episodes.

And then there's the G-rated "Despicable Me," in which the pater familias is a creepy Uncle Fester lookalike whose aspiration is to become the world's greatest villain and whose method of doing so is to adopt three girls from an orphanage.


No mother involved, just a small army of strange, phallic looking little men.

 And a creepy mad scientist guy on a scooter.

This is not normal, either. I think I can say with some confidence that this will go down in history as the first major  motion picture to make a family led by an animated (and, who knows, with all those yellow phallic shaped "minions" and the guy on the scooter he's probably gay too) super villain seem not just normal, but godly.

On the other hand, maybe we're missing something. Instead of condemning the normal, traditional family, aren't these films in fact advocating them? Isn't the message they convey, like just about every Hollywood movie with mind-numbing repetition, that no matter how out of the mainstream you appear to be, or how marginalized, what you really want is to fit into the mold of the average middle class family?

Peyser in her column says that in "The Kids Are All Right" the sperm donor father played by Mark Ruffalo is demonized as a loser for being heterosexual and male. I got the impression that he was depicted as a loser because he chose not to have a family but rather live the hedonistic, selfish lifestyle of a skirt chasing bachelor. And now when he sees what a family is like and how much he missed out on he realizes that he is excluded from what should be every American's dream.

"The Kids Are All Right" couldn't be more square if it were a Disney movie.

All of which, meanwhile, is an elaborate ploy to promote my appearance on The Jeff Santos show on AM 1510 Revolution Boston at 9:35 a.m. tomorrow (Thursday) where this is one of the topics we might be talking about.


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