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Saturday, November 25, 2006  

The Wheels Come Off

M. Small's favorite movie, unsurprisingly, is Cars. Not that he's ever seen it before, because he hasn't. But he hasn't seen any other movies either, so Cars, with its association to those Happy Meal cars he's been playing with for months, has a clear edge. If we'd had the courage to take him to see a movie in a theater, it would have been that one.

So it's been kind of a long few weeks, waiting for it to come out on DVD (November 7, a date burned in my brain). Late October is when he saw his first TV commercial for the DVD release, and he nearly had a thrombo right there.

"Mommy!" he bellowed. "My race cars! And they're REAL!"

M. Small's birth parents wanted to get it for him, which was fine with us. It would have been better if we hadn't had to cancel our plans to see them the week it came out, or had been able to reschedule something before yesterday. But that just helped build the anticipation (for us, not him. He doesn't have that kind of attention span).

I did happen to bring him to Sam's Club on November 10. The first thing you see when you enter that store is the fifty or so plasma, flatscreen, hi-def, and every other variety of television currently available. And that evening, every single one of them was showing Cars.

They weren't all hooked up to the same DVD player, though, which meant that different parts of the movie were playing on different screens. So everywhere he looked he saw a familiar grille.

"My race car! My tow truck! Blue car! It's talking!"

I didn't want him to absorb too much, so we went right past. I think he was pretty bitter that he couldn't steer the shopping cart, though. "How 'bout let's go over there?" he kept saying, all the way through the checkout line.

Trash gave him the DVD case to hold on the way home from the b-rents' place last night. Once he held it in his hands, he had four things to say: "Race car! Tow truck! Open it! PLEASE!"

It was too late to watch it last night when we got home, so we held off until late morning. He snuggled up between us on the couch, knowing it was somehow a big occasion, and when that Walt Disney logo came up on the screen, even I had a reaction to it that I haven't since I was ten.

So then the movie starts, Lightning McQueen gets his hero's entrance, the race starts, there's a minute or so of exposition. "Faster! Faster!" demands M. Small, who generally has no patience for lengthy backstory. He starts describing circles in the air with one hand, like he always does when a race is on TV. Then the multicar pile-up happens, and he gets upset. "Oh, no! Race cars broken! Scary!"

We zapped that part, and went back into normal speed when the yellow flag was being lifted. "Look, all fixed," we said, pointing at the cars on the track. "They're all fixed," he agreed, but by now he was too agitated to sit still. He got off the couch and started throwing stuff, and somehow when I went to calm him down he ended up with the DVD remote, and he stopped the movie, either inadvertently or not. Settling him down seemed to be kind of a lost cause after that. I think he really loved the first two minutes of the film, though.

But between that and the Curious George movie last week (by the way, thanks to those who pointed out that was actually the plot of the first book -- yikes!) we've learned our lesson: screen stuff, even kids' movies, before we show it to the kid. I thought we had a little longer, frankly. But at least now I have an excuse to sit on my ass and watch Sopranos DVDs. "I'm screening them for the kid," I can say. "I've got three suitable minutes from Season Two so far." A parent's work is never done.

posted by M. Giant 8:45 PM 1 comments


when I was little, we had a pretty limitd video selection. It as just the two animated movies in the house, a lot of Arsenal football videos and seasons 1-3 of Blackadder.

The two cartoon movies? Watership Down and Animal Farm. Yes, that Animal Farm, based on the George Orwell book.

I'm sure this in no way affected my personality or my view of cartoons in general. Do not be mislead that i can still picture the scene where Napoleon releases his hounds on Snowball, and when Boxer gets taken to the glue factory, or the fact that the "But some are more equal than others" still goes into my scariest movie lines/moments ever.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at November 27, 2006 at 4:48 AM  

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