Watching E.T. With My Seven Year Old

Watching a movie that I loved almost thirty years ago (!) with my son was quite an experience.  Interesting enough for me to want to talk about my observations in some detail...

For reference, my E.T. doll looked like this one:

this is going back in time as well...

Not this one:

I was not as smart/cool as Dawson to have more than one, let alone hold on to them for posterity, dammit.

First off, it's highly annoying that Spielberg and Lucas have gone and mucked up their classic films.  I thought I was getting the E.T. I saw for the first time.  Alas, they updated the special effects and the adorable creature I knew and loved has a CG face in most scenes.  GAH!  There's also an added bit where he and Elliot spend some time in the bathroom and E.T. falls in the tub.  It was a weird scene and I could see why it wasn't used in the first place.  Of course, I came to realize after the fact that the second disc had the original theatrical release and not just bonus material.  

If you have this version, don't just put in the first disc, like I did.
I think you can finally get DVDs of the original Star Wars releases, too, so I suppose I'll let these transgressions slide.

One observation from my point of view thirty years later, and as a mother: I'm thinking it's highly unlikely that I'd leave my own young child home sick, even once he's ten.  But, I get that she's on her own and has to work.  It just was one of those things that I bet my mom was thinking while watching the film and was completely a moot point to me when I was little.  Although, after the drunken frog breakout scene, when she has to go get Elliot from school - she just leaves Gertie at home! WHAT?  I've been on the receiving end of a call from school to come and get my boy (not drunk, he had a fever), and I can't even think of a reason why I wouldn't put my daughter in the car.  Hmph.  Also, the presence of Gertie was a fun way for my son to relate to Elliot, having a nagging little sister.

Another observation on age appropriateness: since when do third or fourth graders, at most, dissect frogs??  "What are they feeding the frogs mom?" my son inquired.  Well, that's not food...  I gave him the straight scoop and said that first off, I'm not sure if kids do that in school at all anymore.  Second, it's not until high school until you might be faced with that task.  And third, I'm preeeeetty sure you do not actually execute the frog - it comes to you already dead.  Thankfully he just thought it was gross and we glossed over this pretty quickly.

Last question: what the hell was going on in early 80s California on Halloween night?  Based on the film, one would think it was the apocalypse with jack-o-lanterns ablaze, kids openly hitting and egging cars, and fiery garbage cans rolling down the street.  What the what?  My son was rather concerned about the garbage that caught on fire.  "Oh, that's not good! Looks like that can caught on fire.  They'd better call the fire department."  

Here I was, fretting about how he would handle E.T's deterioration and possible death.  I guess that we've talked a lot about death lately, and that he doesn't have as many questions as he once did.  There was definite anxiety and sadness once E.T. and Elliot start to get sick.  But, even before you could see the glow coming from the white container that supposedly sealed his fate, my kid turned to me and said, "Mom, I have a strong feeling that E.T. is going to be OK."  A STRONG FEELING.  I just about died.  "Yeah, hon, I think you might be right."  And whenever the heartlight glowed, he was concerned that there was a hole in E.T's chest.  "No, no, it just glows so bright you can see it through his skin - there's no hole."  

One of the other funny reactions from my son came at the beginning of the movie as the kids are sitting around the kitchen playing cards: mom, where are they?  Are they at a restaurant?  He almost didn't believe me when I said they were at home.  Ah, 80s decor!  The faux Tiffany lamp hanging over the banquette table in the kitchen.  Also funny from that scene is how the kid on the phone is calling a radio station to request a song - who remembers doing that?!  Well, me, for one...

Overall, it was fun for both of us.  I love movies and they mean a lot to me.  So I'm glad we had this little experience together, where I let him stay up late after his sister went to bed (woot!) and he enjoyed my reminiscing about my own childhood.  And, lo, I didn't get around to watching Xanadu.  Womp, womp.  I thought it was streaming on Netflix.  I thought wrong.  But, never fear, I obtained it from the library this week!

Seeing this cover is making me speechless.  I CAN'T WAIT to watch this again!  Maybe I'll have some fun observations to share...


  1. Fun! The frogs definitely come already dead and I think I dissected them in Middle school. Not sure if they do it anymore either;) We made our kids watch Footloose last night and My husband and I tried to make them dance with us during the final "Footloose" dance scene. They were not impressed;)

    1. Hahaha! Oh how I remember going to the movies with my friends and swooning over that movie...

  2. Watching E.T. with your 7-yr, old kid? That’s what I call real bonding. Did something like this with my 2 boys. The movie? It’s a mad, mad, mad world. What a riot! And we all had fun!

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.