Like many of you, I couldn’t wait to take my kids to see the movie “Up” last weekend. We rarely go to the movies as a family. Eli, my 5 year old, has sort of a movie phobia. (I think it’s the noise and darkness that freaks him out), and Levi, my 8 year old, couldn’t possibly be less interested in sitting in one place for 120 minutes watching a stagnant video screen. But, is as usually the case, I forget who we are and imagine that we’re an ordinary American family who loves the cinema and I cart us all out on opening day of a hot new movie only to be reminded that this is a totally futile exercise.
It started out kind of weird. This large short man in a too-tight jacket that wouldn’t quite button, got up on the stage at Cine Capri and welcomed us to the theatre. He made it a point to introduce the film and let us know that he was there for us should we have any issues or grievances during our time in the theatre. Then the half hour of previews began. The sound was so out of control loud that my kids started to freak out and rock catatonically as they covered their ears and screamed. Yikes. I immediately approached the large short man and insisted they lower the volume, which they did which kind of surprised me and shocked my friend completely. “Are you ever embarrassed to say anything?” she asked me. “No.” I casually replied. “And anyway, he invited me to share my opinion.”
The movie finally started at a decreased decibel level and within the first three minutes I started to sob uncontrollably. This was a sad film. Never mind the fact that it was animated, Pixar and supposedly for children, it was downright depressing. And since I’m obsessed with aging, grief and loss, it hit way too close to home for me. I pretty much proceeded to weep throughout the film.
By the time the terrifying Doberman appeared, I was starting to think that maybe this excellently crafted piece of cinema was not a kid’s flick. My little guy shrieked at the sight of the menacing dogs and it all went downhill from there. Through my tears I could see my older son fidgeting and my youngest was clinging to me as Carl struggled to save the bird and avoid canine catastrophe. Finally my boys couldn’t take it any longer. The fighting was too much, too scary, too realistic? Who knows what it was that set them over the edge. But whatever it was, they wanted out. My husband was really enjoying the film. So I happily volunteered to remove myself and the boys from the theatre.
We waited outside for the last 20 minutes, them shaken and terrified, me exhausted with tear-swollen eyes and a runny nose. Finally the rest of our party emerged from the show.
“So, how’d you like it?” I asked. “It was great,” they replied. “Not much of a kid’s movie,” I added. “No. I had heard it really wasn’t.” my husband responded. “Um…why didn’t you tell me that?” I inquired peevishly. “Well,” he continued, “you really wanted to see it and I wasn’t really sure…so I figured we’d give it a shot.”
“OK, here’s the rule for next time,” I chirped with a saccharine lilt, “Anyone who knows we’re about to embark on a potentially disastrous mission with our children is hereby obligated to say something BEFORE we actually do it. Agreed?”
“Agreed,” he sheepishly smiled. “Oh, and by the way, I got tickets for all of us to go see ‘Monsters Vs. Aliens’ at the IMAX this weekend, how does that sound?”
I looked at him dubiously. “You’ve got to be kidding, right?”
He just smiled and waltzed away.