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The Unsupervised Kids of 'Stranger Things' Would Be a Nightmare for Today's Parents - Curbed
"These days, only kids in movies are free to explore"

"If Stranger Things feels even more eerily familiar, that’s because the show’s aesthetic is meant to evoke great ‘80s thrillers like Stand by Me, The Goonies, and E.T., in some cases, providing shot-by-shot references. As in those classic films, the kids are left at home by themselves to get spooked, then make their (sometimes gruesome) discoveries deep in the nearby woods, without an adult in sight.

It’s the bike moments of Stranger Things that really resonate. The kids ride their banana-seat and BMX bikes to school, to each others houses—even at night!—and without a single helmet. Bikes also represent a type of freedom compared to car-bound adults that works to the kids’ advantage. One of the best scenes shows the kids evading the bad guys by navigating a network of cut-throughs that slice through the culs-de-sac.

Those who grew up in the suburban US probably have similar memories. But this was in fact the real-life experience for those who grew up in Hawkins, Indiana, in 1983—or rather, the Hebron Hills neighborhood of Atlanta, where the subdivision scenes in Stranger Things were filmed.

Even the cut-throughs the characters use are actually there, says Valerie Watson, an urban designer who works for LADOT’s Active Transportation Division, whose childhood home was featured in one of the chase scenes. She rode her bike everywhere, including the creepy forest nearby where old trucks and burnt-down cabins were draped in kudzu.

Watson absolutely believes that being allowed to navigate her neighborhood on her own led her to become an active adult bicyclist and also influenced her decision to choose a career in street design. But she’s worried this might not be the case for today’s kids.

"I think our generation might have been at the turning point where society shifted on this," she says. "I remember getting the talk about what to do if a stranger approached you—’don't talk to them and ride away!’— and to move over to the side when cars were coming. Parental direction was more about ‘be polite and smart’ back then instead of ‘be afraid of everything’ like today."

And yet, statistically, kids in the US have never been safer.

This is a uniquely American problem, of course. Children in other countries are still allowed to roam unsupervised, which has inspired what’s been called the "free-range kids" movement here in the US, championed by parents who believe kids should be allowed to ride transit and walk to local parks by themselves.

The free-range kids movement even believes parental-induced paranoia might be deterring kids from biking. A recent article theorized that forcing kids to wear helmets and ride on sidewalks is scaring kids away from bikes, when in fact, American kids are far more likely to suffer brain injuries in car crashes. (Interestingly, as prop manager Lynda Reiss told Wired, the ‘80s-era bikes in Stranger Things were the hardest thing to find, thanks to the idea that older bikes are unsafe—so they ended up building replicas.)

My own suburban upbringing mirrors the setting of Stranger Things almost exactly. I, too, was allowed to wander freely—hoisting flimsy rope swings high into trees, building structurally unsound bike ramps, and wading a little too deep in the pond—as long as I came home before dark. The woods that backed up to our house served as both the innocent landscape of adventure and the horror film backdrop of my nightmares. It was often dangerous and sometimes scary. But mostly, it was awesome.

Then I look at my own daughter, whose hand I grip with white knuckles as we make our way along the incredibly busy street on our corner. The speed at which cars travel through this intersection is somehow far more frightening than anything I encountered in those woods.

I wonder at what age I’ll let her cross the street alone. Or if I’ll ever let her ride her bike to a friend’s house. I worry that the idea of letting kids explore their cities on their own is something she’ll only be able to see on TV."
alissawalker  parenting  strangerthings  2016  supervision  freedom  children  exploration  film  fear  movies  bikes  biking  goonies  et  standbyme  autonomy  mobility  helmets 
august 2016 by robertogreco
Yes, Stranger Things is nostalgic. But it's also just a really good show.
"Maybe Stranger Things could be named for its crazy DNA. A mix of ET and The X Files, of Stand by Me and Under the Skin, and The Twilight Zone and Twin Peaks, the show isn't exactly hard to describe; the trouble is that the descriptions sound insane. Imagine The Thing as written by John Hughes, or The Goonies directed by Ridley Scott with a strong assist from Reality Bites.

Stranger Things is weird, it's hyper-referential, and — for a touching coming-of-age story that's also a conspiracy thriller, a paranormal horror movie, and a nostalgic love letter to '80s cinema — it's really, really good.



The point is that Stranger Things is at least as good at the small-stakes stuff as it is at the grand gestures. Better, maybe: It's impossible not to be moved by the kids' conflicts and reconciliations, and these proceed according to a logic that the supernatural stuff, for all its drippy sickly snowy weight, just doesn't have. That these great young actors are entrusted with the burden of carrying something this serious is itself a nod to '80s nostalgia — a time when kids' movies were darker, scarier, and more adventurous.

It's worth saying, too — without going into specifics for fear of spoiling — that even though this is the kind of nostalgic ensemble show that lovingly reproduces the expectations of the genres it deploys, it isn't exactly subservient to them. "The sun rises in the east, and it sets in the west, right?" Dustin says, wearing the silliest tie in the world. And it does, but that doesn't mean the compass that points you there is always right."
lililoofbourow  millicentsomer  2016  strangerthings  1980s  1990s  nostalgia  tv  television  film  johnhughes  goonies 
july 2016 by robertogreco
Into the Woods | Trent Walton
"We were all afraid of pressing on, and everyone had his own excuse for why we shouldn’t go, but the fear of being grounded or getting lost in the dark woods overnight couldn’t compete with the weight of a double-dare. So we set out."

"We were Goonies, conquistadors, astronauts; we had forever changed our world."

"So many great childhood memories are the result of our decision to follow that one trail. It redefined everything for us and expanded our territory exponentially. These days, I’m happiest when I feel part of a team with the same adventurous spirit as that kid gang. The web is, after all, as limited as my old neighborhood with boundaries set by our current tools and technologies, as well as our understanding of each. I believe my work counts most when I’m looking for new trails and feel brave enough to blaze them. I know that the minute I dismiss new discoveries or ideas because the way forward isn’t clear is when I’ve lost my sense of wonder for web design…"
risktaking  gamechanging  astronauts  fear  memories  adventure  mystery  exploration  typography  css3  html5  webdev  trentwalton  2012  woods  goonies  childhood  webdesign 
january 2013 by robertogreco
Cartera de Chester Copperpot | Espacio de José Luky
"Réplica 100% exacta de la cartera que los Goonies encuentran junto al cadáver de Chester Copperpot, y que afirma ser él. La cartera alberga su licencia de operador, la tarjeta de acceso a la librería de Astoria, un cromo del jugador de baseball ’Lou Gehrig’ y dinero de la época."

[via: https://twitter.com/screwydecimal/status/255693103418208256 The things you can learn from the Internet: Chester Copperpot (from "The Goonies") had a library card!]
film  librarycards  joséluky  chestercopperpot  library  libraries  replicas  2007  goonies 
october 2012 by robertogreco

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