Sunday, 24 July 2016

Gidget (1959): A Movie Review

It can sometimes be challenging finding a movie that's both appropriate for children and enjoyable by adults. So, when I saw The Complete Gidget Collection at my local library, and noticed that two out of the three movies were rated G, and the third PG, I decided to borrow it. I remembered Gidget as being silly and funny and thought it would make for some light-hearted entertainment, though I was puzzled by the PG rating on one of the movies. I was also puzzled by it being called "complete collection" as I knew there were more movies than these three.
A 'G' rating, in my books means it's appropriate for my Grandson to watch. He's not yet 4-years-old. Gidget was definitely not appropriate for a child of that age. Later, when I looked carefully at the back, I noticed that 'G' is the Canadian rating. The US rating is PG. My daughter has pointed out to me before that the US ratings tend to be stricter than the Canadian ones. Good point to remember for next time. However, neither my daughter nor I found it appropriate for us, either. It was very sexist, protraying the teenage girls, with the exception of Gidget, as boy crazy, that having a boyfriend is the be-all and end-all of a girl's existence, and the sole purpose of summer vacation is to chase boys. Okay, maybe that's a slight exaggeration, but it wasn't long into the movie before the girls were sashaying down the beach in their bathing suits, directly in front of the surfer boys' shack, just to attract their attention (with the exception of Gidget, who at first appears to be the only level-headed one).  I actually remember having fun at the beach, even as a teenager, without feeling the need to attract a male's attention. And I resent it when women, even teenage ones, are portrayed as mindless ninnies.
Another concern was the witless parents. Sure, I'd be happy to have my teenage daughter spend her summer vacation hanging out with a bunch of older, male surfer bums that I don't even know, without any other females present. NOT!!! And when Gidget comes home from the luau, whining that she's still "pure as the driven snow" to her MOTHER, no less, her mother fails to pounce on that and give the requisite talk about saving yourself, if not for marriage, at least for a committed relationship. Seriously, maybe I'm old-fashioned (yes, I am old-fashioned), but what kind of parent wants their daughter to engage in casual sex? And even if the parents did not believe in "saving yourself for marriage," how about the talk about birth control and safe sex? Yes, we might not have been using the term "safe sex" back then, but STDs did exist in 1959. And so did unplanned pregnancies. Neither of which is a joking matter.
And then there was the luau itself, which portrayed multiple couples lying on the beach "making out" in the middle of the party. "Get a room," as my daughter would say. Definitely not what I want my grandson seeing and nothing my daughter or I wanted to see either.
The scene where Moon-Doggie pushes Gidget under the water, while all the other guys are laughing, until Gidget doesn't come back up again, is infuriating. This is abuse, and there's nothing laughable about it. The idea that manhandling a woman is humourous is a frightening concept that has evolved into the rape culture prevalent today. That scene was especially offensive. The fact that Gidget went on to "fall in love" with the perpetrator of this abuse is very troublesome. There are too many women involved in dysfunctional relationships with abusive partners. We should never be portraying this situation as amusing entertainment, nor that the perpetrator turns out to be a "nice guy" after all. They never do and we should not be encouraging young women in the delusion that "he will change."
Four thumbs down for this movie, mine and Sophia's, and we definitely did not watch the other two movies in the set.