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Monday, July 02, 2007  

Movie Review

Trash took M. Small to his first movie in a theater the week before last. I had two objections. The first objection was that it was on Friday, which Trash doesn't work but I do, which meant that I wasn't going to be there for M. Small's first full-fledged cinematic experience. The second objection was that the movie in question was Surf's Up, which looks like total crap.

It turned out not to be a positive experience for either of them. M. Small enjoyed it for a while, but then he kind of hit the wall. They'd gone with M. Small's best friend from day care and her mom, but the two of them went to the bathroom. M. Small wanted out shortly thereafter. Having lost all interest in the film about 45 minutes in, he started yelling, throwing popcorn at people, running around, dumping water on the floor, and generally being a little shit. Trash did her best to restrain him, but she was still under doctor's orders not to pick him up, let alone her own purse and the other mom's stuff she was responsible for in their absence. After ten minutes of this, the other kid and mom finally returned, and they all left the now-thoroughly disgruntled theater (quite an achievement for a 10:30 matinee aimed at kids) with M. Small tossing off this last unprovoked gem at top volume for their entertainment: "DON'T HIT ME, MOMMY!"

So naturally, I brought him to another movie eight days later.

I had a few things in my favor.

1) Surf's Up kind of got sprung on him, so he didn't know what to expect. I wanted to make sure he didn't have that excuse this time. We had plenty of long talks during the days beforehand about the way you behave in a movie theater: no running, no yelling, no throwing things, no cell phones. Otherwise he wasn't going back inside a movie theater again until he was three.

2) I learned from Trash's experience. This time it was just going to be the two of us, so there would be no purse-guarding; if things went pear-shaped, we could be out of there in seconds. I made sure M. Small knew this, too. Trash also packed him a backpack full of snacks, juice boxes and silent toys to keep his hands and mouth busy.

3) I was fairly confident that Ratatouille was going to be better than Surf's Up. And, in fact, so was M. Small. He heard them talking about it on the radio on Friday morning and decided he wanted in. And as much as I keep reading about what a tough sell Pixar has with this one – the foodie theme makes Happy Meals kind of a non-starter, plus it's about a rat, for Chrissakes – these analysts have failed to take into account how cute a two-year-old is when correctly pronouncing "ratatouille." Besides, it's Pixar. They could make a movie about a Nazi leper caught in a romantic triangle between a turd and a tampon and people would still see it.

So guess what? He did great.

We arrived just as the previews were starting, but we were still lucky enough to stake out about five empty seats at the bottom row of the stadium section (as per Trash's suggestion). M. Small sat on my lap at first, gazing raptly at the previews (that's my boy) and viewed with naked contempt the trailer for the Underdog movie (again, that's my boy). He had a few questions about the pre-feature short, "Lifted" (worth the ticket price alone, if you ask me), then settled down when he got a look at that bouncing desk lamp that he knows so well from the beginning of Cars. It's now a brand icon as familiar to him as the golden arches or that big red target.

He's a sensitive child, so I wasn't sure how he'd react to any scary moments, especially since I hadn't seen it yet myself and didn't know where they were. I mean, yeah, I knew Remy gets knives thrown at him and shit, but I was counting on that happening too fast for M. Small to take it in. I wonder what he made of the shooting spree at the beginning, because we've been putting off introducing the concept of firearms for as long as possible. But then the old lady's shotgun wasn't really any louder than a lot of his toys. He seemed to think Remy and his family were mice, which I didn't bother to correct him on. And then when Remy found himself stranded alone in the sewers beneath Paris, M. Small sympathetically moaned, "ohhhh, noooo….ohhhhh, noooo…ohhhhhhhh…" in a very soft voice until I assured him that Remy would find his family again later. You don't cast Brian Dennehy and then only give him five lines, after all.

And he was quite well behaved. He moved around a bit, but quietly. He wanted to sit in the seat to my right, and then in the seat to my left, and then stand on the floor behind the empty seats in front of us, and then in my lap again. I went along, and that kept him happy and quiet. Even when I gave him cookies, he thanked me very softly.

And then he was just done. I hadn't expected to make it all the way through the movie to begin with, but I wasn't expecting him to signal our departure with a quiet and polite, "I want to go home," moments after Skinner read the letter from Linguini's mother. So we went home. I'm sure I'll eventually learn Remy's and Linguini's fates when it comes out on DVD (in the meantime, don't tell me).

Or maybe I'll just take him to see the second half next week. If I can bribe a projectionist to run "Lifted" again after the credits, it's a done deal.

posted by M. Giant 3:26 PM 6 comments


The first film I ever saw in a cinema was "Follow That Bird", which means I was four. I still fidgeted and changed seats a lot, so you know...

... you're pretty much screwed, actually. I'm sure I had something encouraging to say when I started this comment.

Also, everyone dies at the end.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at July 2, 2007 at 9:42 PM  

We took the whole fam to Ratatouille last Friday. Both adults and the six-year-old loved it. Our 2 year old got antsy and, after a major tantrum in the lobby, fell asleep. Great flick though. Funny, the girl made it through Shrek the Third without a problem, but a good movie she has a fit. Guess she was just tired.

By Blogger Bunny, at July 3, 2007 at 6:34 AM  

Yes, everyone dies at the end, but Rocky wins. There's also a finger kept in a jar around the guy's neck.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at July 3, 2007 at 7:51 AM  

"Don't hit me, Mommy" - priceless!

My almost four-year-old has yet to become an avid movie-goer. His first was Cars, not bad though a little intense for him, but we really made a mistake with the second, Happy Feet, possibly the most horrible movie made for children ever. We tried Shrek 3, but he clapped his hands over his ears and begged to be released from the theater. We're going to attempt Ratatouille tomorrow - my fingers are crossed.

By Blogger Unknown, at July 3, 2007 at 6:32 PM  

Hmmm. Quick bit of wikipedia-ing here, and I can confirm that I was either a shade under or just turned 3 when I saw my first movie in the theater. That movie? Bambi.

My father still tells a hilarious story about my standing up in my seat, crying, "Run, Bambi, run! The hunters!"

Second movie? E.T.

Can't say turned into an ax murderer so far, though. So no worries, mate. Scare the crap out of 'em.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at July 3, 2007 at 10:37 PM  

Well, you've got my cube-mate beat. Her son is eight, and she won't take him to theatres because "he gets nervous."

By Anonymous Anonymous, at July 26, 2007 at 12:00 PM  

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