At the Movies With Jason
Long-time readers (and, most likely, if you're reading this, you're a long-time reader) will know that I'm a big fan of the movies. Going to the movies used to be my and Juliette's main weekend activity. In 2004, for example, we saw 56 movies in theater--a bit of quick math will tell you that that's more than one per week. Indeed, it wasn't unusual for us to pack in three in a single weekend, not even including the times we spent an entire day at the Newport Beach Film Festival.
But then we had Jason and we had to change our habits, temporarily, at least. We still go, of course, usually when a parent is visiting and wants to provide free babysitting--it works out to about one movie every other month or so.
Now, don't get me wrong, I love my son and not only do I not regret our decision to have him, but I have found the experience rewarding and enriching (and sometimes challenging and aggravating) and I wouldn't trade it for anything. Still, I do miss being wrapped up in film culture the way I used to be. I used to know the release schedule weeks or even months in advance--these days I not only don't know what's playing, but even when I bother to check I still don't recognize most of the titles.
This past Saturday found me with a mixture of excitement and apprehension as we decided to take Jason to his first movie: Tangled. Excited because of the prospect of finding a new way to connect with my son, to introduce him to something that had been such an important part of my life. Apprehensive because, well, he can be kind of a handful.
Some people don't seem to care if their kids make a scene in public, but that's not me. I remember once sitting through a movie--I think it might have been Batman Begins--during which an infant in the audience screamed the entire time, and the father's only response was to get up from his seat and stand in the aisle. That guy? Not me.
Nor would it have been me this time, if Jason had decided to throw a fit. No, Juliette and I agreed that if he didn't behave we would just take him out.
Now, Jason does have some experience watching movies and TV at home, so we were hoping that he would be ready. On the other hand, he also has a tendency of getting up to do something else thirty minutes into a movie, so it was hard to say how this was going to go. We did our best to prepare him, telling him that once the lights went down we all had to be quiet. We picked a relatively short movie and didn't get there too early and give him extra time to get bored. And we made sure we got enough snacks to last him through the film. Even with all that, when the first preview started, I held my breath.
Turns out I needn't have worried. The previews rolled and he didn't make a peep. He didn't get scared by the monsters in the trailer for Voyage of the Dawn Treader. He didn't even get vocally excited during the preview of Cars 2, despite the fact the Lightning McQueen may just be his favorite person. (Or, as Jason calls him, "Mata Teen.") The movie started and not a sound. Five minutes passed, then ten, then fifteen. I looked over and there he was, eating his popcorn and paying rapt attention to the screen. I was so overcome by pride and happiness at being able to share this with him, I actually got a little misty.
The movie was good, too, and I'll have a review up this week. But for now I'm still basking in the glow of a successful family movie outing. Hopefully, the first of many.