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Production companies have made millions giving children exactly what they want: whether it's to be an adult, get rich, or meet David Bowie, indulging childhood fantasies is a hallmark of family films.

Imagine the trauma those same children undergo when they're forced to realize that being an adult sucks, getting rich entails smuggling drugs in your ass, and meeting David Bowie entails smuggling drugs in your ass. Well, as children scarred by the false expectations set up in films, we say no more! Below, eight movies that are begging to be unmasked for the dangerously optimistic propaganda they really are.

The Parent Trap

What it Led Us to Believe:

1) Our parents divorce was all the result of a silly quibble that they've long since forgotten about, and all it'll take to get them back together are a few songs, a camping trip, and some shoddy split-screen effects.

2) If your parents have split up, don't bother learning to cope with it in any healthy or meaningful way. Instead, just desperately cling to the dream of a reunited family and use any form of deceit necessary to manipulate them back into a (presumably) loveless hell of a marriage.

The Cold, Hard Truth:

In the original version of the film, Hayley Mills plays a set of reunited twins who get their parents back together by switching places and forcing them into a meeting, simultaneously foiling the designs of the father's current girlfriend (who, it conveniently turns out, is a straight-up gold digger). Not only is this plan of Rube Goldberg-caliber complexity, it also assumes that your parents are still in love and that dad's girlfriend is a bitch he's just dying to unload. In reality, if your rich dad left his wife for a younger girlfriend, odds are she's got particular ASSets that he's not going to want to just leave BEHIND. Okay, puns over.

In the remake of the film, the story remains basically the same, but Hayley Mills is Lindsay Lohan, the dad is Dennis Quaid, and the parents literally state that they don't remember why they ever got divorced. That's all well and good for Dennis Quaid, but our parents sure as hell remember why they got divorced, and in most cases it involved restraining orders, late nights at the office and four-hour shouting matches about undersalted meat loaf.

Damaging False Beliefs Traceable to Film:

Bursting into song is an acceptable way to express deep emotional wounds.

Our estranged Dad is in all likelihood a rugged, handsome vintner.

Somewhere out there is our long-lost identical twin, and she's an attractive preteen girl.


What it Led Us to Believe:

1) Adults spend most of their time dancing on giant pianos, getting paid to test toys, and winning beautiful women away from their boyfriends, and all we have to do to become one is locate a magic robot gypsy.

2) A good place to start? Our local carnival. Because there's nothing that will end your childhood faster than sneaking around the darkened tents of a carnival backlot and asking whoever you run into if there's anything they'd care to show a little boy. (Actually, this turned out to be a pretty effective way of ending our childhood, though no magic robot gypsy was involved.)

The Cold, Hard Truth:

In the movie Big, Tom Hanks gets paid to tell a toy manufacturer which toys kids will like. You know what that's called? Market research. You know how much you get paid to do that in real life? A handful of Cheetohs and a Styrofoam cup of Sierra Mist.

In reality, most adults make a living by selling off little pieces of their dignity to an asshole in a tie until they finally go home one night and "forget" to turn the car exhaust off in the garage. Also, gypsies aren't magic (unless looking crippled when you're not is magic) and playing the piano with your feet is a good way to get kicked out of most establishments. You really want to give up the next twelve years of your life in exchange for turning into Tom Hanks? Sure, it sounds okay, until you stop to consider that it means in a little under twenty years you'll look like this:

Damaging False Beliefs Traceable to Film:

Trampolines make good floors.

Our nagging suspicion that all the pricks we meet are just kids trapped in adult bodies, and while we slowly suffocate in our own awkward neuroses, they are marveling at the wonder of the adult world.

Elizabeth Perkins is a pedophile.

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Blank Check

What it Led Us to Believe:

1) If we ever get our hands on a signed blank check, we can proceed to the nearest bank and withdraw as much money as we want, then stuff it into every pocket of our Jansport backpack and walk out with no questions asked.

2) Money really will bring you total happiness, and if you happen to steal that money from a dangerous criminal, no sweat! He'll just be captured through a series of highly unlikely events, because there's no way God would let him come to your castle and murder you with a claw hammer for daring to cross him.

The Cold, Hard Truth:

The archetypal 90s scamp in this movie has got such a huge set of balls it's a wonder he's able to move, let alone defraud a bank. First he steals a million dollars, then he uses a "hacked" Macintosh Performa 600 to perfectly mimic a human voice and buy a castle complete with go-kart track and water slide, making him the single greatest computer engineer of his era. In real life, he would have been promptly pulled aside while waiting in line at the bank and stood whimpering while his (probably drunk) father was called to come pick him up/beat him for wasting the nice peoples' time.

Damaging False Beliefs Traceable to Film:

Money is the only relevant index of human success.

All dangerous criminals are really just incompetent Home Alone-style comic relief.

Somehow, somewhere, there is a luxurious, well-maintained castle that can be purchased for under a million dollars.


What it Led Us to Believe:

1) That if we ever get stuck babysitting our bratty younger sibling, a simple evocation of the goblin horde will not only rid us of her, but introduce us to a number of amusing muppet friends.

2) The kidnappers we've been constantly warned about by our parents aren't really a threat, as they are easily identified by their sequin-covered cravats and habit of singing about Dance Magic.

3) Babies are an easily-avoided burden.

4) Life's challenges are rarely more frightening than a maze filled with felt, and when you get to the end you get the chance to bone the guy that wrote "Major Tom."

The Cold, Hard Truth:

Kids that try and evoke the Goblin Horde don't get valuable lessons in responsibility; they get put under professional supervision by child psychologists. Labyrinth's female protagonist would have been charged with child endangerment, criminal negligence, and putting a rift in the fabric of reality. Worse, all the muppet friends she (and by proxy, we) fell in love with are nothing more than inanimate heaps of laundry being wiggled around by a middle-aged guy who makes a living putting his hands up fake asses.

Damaging False Beliefs Traceable to Film:

Learning to contact juggle crystal spheres will make your the coolest kid in school.

There is a secret world of magic and wonder, and if we're good enough, we'll get to see it.

The Dark Crystal was awesome.

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Don't Tell Mom The Babysitter's Dead

What it Led Us to Believe:

1) If the babysitter died while watching us, it meant a summer full of fun, cash, important lessons in maturity, and budding teen romance with the cute guy who works at the corndog place.

2) There's no better way to introduce your younger siblings to the subject of their own mortality than by having them stuff the corpse of an elderly woman into a box and ditch it outside a mortuary. With no mother there to answer all the pounding questions they'll have about their own inevitable deaths, you're free to tell them whatever you want!

3) Having your parents out of town and old people dead and out of the way presents the perfect opportunity to bond the family and land a high-paying job at a fashion design firm, pioneering your own line of 80's clothing and embezzling funds all without any lasting consequences.

(Yes, that all happens in the movie.)

The Cold, Hard Truth:

The kids in this movie are legitimately pleased that their babysitter keels over while their negligent mother is away on an extended vacation. They do everything short of popping champagne and pissing on the body, all because the woman happened to be a little strict.

In reality, there are only two ways your babysitter can die while watching you. One involves listening to her garbled screams as a masked intruder drowned her in the bath she was drawing for you and your siblings. The other involves a stench like someone lit a thousand farts. Either way, the only important lesson in maturity you're likely to get is when you have to tell your younger sister that Mrs. Calloway is "just sleeping" and drag her body to the garage to wait for your Mom to come home.

Damaging False Beliefs Traceable to Film:

One day, we too could look as cool as David Duchovny looks in this movie:

Mom will always forgive us, as long as no one was hurt. After all, what's the important thing: Embezzlement and massive fraud, or that we all had good intentions?

Christina Applegate would make a good mother.

The Neverending Story

What it Led Us to Believe:

1) Reading books is your ticket to a magical world of adventure, heroism, and condoned truancy. So what if kids beat you up every day before school? You get to skip class to read in an attic and mutter to yourself!

2) Go ahead and tell your teacher all about your adventures in Fantasia when she catches you ducking out the fire escape; at least you'll get to go to a Counselor that way instead of detention.

The Cold, Hard Truth:

News Flash: The only version of The Neverending Story you know anything about is the movie. Why? Because most books are not only terrible, but can take several days to finish. The kid you identified with in The Neverending Story is the same kid who will go on to become founder and only member of your High School's Juggling Club. And if you think just because you read a book a Luck Dragon is going to appear and help you scare away bullies, you're about to get the shit beaten out of you.

But perhaps the worst expectation this movie sets up in kids is the idea that if you believe in something with enough fervor, fantasy can become reality. If only you dream hard enough, magic can happen, stories can come alive, and you too can be a hero. Not hearing any voices from beyond? Still stuck working at Taco Bell to pay off credit card debt? Books continuing to spiral into disuse? Well, that's on you, you unimaginative little shits. Guess you just didn't want it bad enough, did you? We'll be sure to tell the Childlike Empress that as she slowly and painfully dies from your lack of imagination.

Damaging False Beliefs Traceable to Film:

Atreyu is an excellent band.

A recurring nightmare about our horses drowning in a bog.

A deep-seated fear that once begun, all stories will continue indefinitely until our deaths.

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What it Led Us to Believe:

1) Being afflicted with a degenerative aging disease from birth entails buying pornography and booze at age ten, becoming the universally beloved Valedictorian of your High School, and then leaping into a car and driving off to a graduation party at which your eighty-year-old penis will presumably be repeatedly sucked.

2) The Valedictorian of your High School will get invited to graduation parties.

The Cold, Hard Truth:

Jack features Robin Williams as a kid suffering from Werner's syndrome, with some Progeria mixed in for good measure. One big problem there: Werner's disease and Progeria don't make you steadily age at an accelerated rate as shown in the film. Rather, they make you age rapidly at the onset of puberty, develop spindly arms and legs, a "bird-like" face, and any of a wide range of age-related diseases including (but not limited to) cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and cataracts.

Pretty much the only age-related thing you don't get from it is senility, leaving your unequipped teenage mind to grapple with the moral quandary of why God would punch you in the soul so very hard for no apparent reason. Our guess? In your past life, you greenlit the movie Jack.

Damaging False Beliefs Traceable to Film:

Our son's lazy eye isn't a birth defect, but a boon that will win him the admiration of his peers in school.

Young kids are completely open to people with special needs, and treat them with dignity and tolerance.

Robin Williams has the mental capacity of a ten-year-old child.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

What it Led Us to Believe:

1) That if we ate enough chocolate, we'd not only get to see how chocolate is made (by happy singing slaves in a wonderland of make-believe), but we'd become KING OF CHOCOLATE.

2) Only dumb slobs and spoiled brats have to work regular jobs; if you're really a good kid, you'll end up with the job of your dreams. If you don't...well, apparently you're just not a very good kid.

3) But the most important message? Take candy from strange men.

The Cold, Hard Truth:

Willy Wonka would have long ago been run out of business and imprisoned, if not for sweat shop practices or scaring the shit out of a boat full of kids with footage of a dead chicken, then at the very least for the hygienic complications of letting a fat kid wallow around in the chocolate reservoir.

Another Cold, Hard Truth? There is no such thing as a chocolate reservoir. The candy you eat is made of chemicals with names like Maltodextrin and Calcium Stearate that ooze out of gray plastic tubes and get handled by listless workers who despise you for being middle class. Eat enough of it and all you get is fat. "Fun Size" indeed. Even the real-world attempt at producing Willy Wonka-brand candy has resulted in nothing more promising than Nerds, Spree, and an "Everlasting Gobstopper" that lasts about eight minutes.

Damaging False Beliefs Traceable to Film:

Little people enjoy working long hours for no pay, and most of them have candy on their person.

An unnatural aversion to film of chickens being decapitated.

Lick enough wallpaper and you'll eventually find the Snozzberry.

Michael is a CRACKED Blogger and co-founder of the constantly improving sketch troupe Those Aren't Muskets!

If you liked this article, check out The Next 9 Children's Characters That Should Come Out of the Closet .

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