Monday, June 13, 2011

At the Movies

As you may have noticed, Jennifer’s valiant effort to do a blog post 365 straight days has hit a bit of a rough spot as of late due to the chaos of our upcoming move. Although her chance at achieving her goal has now past her by, I thought I would help her come as close as possible by pinch hitting for her tonight. So, tonight the role of Jennifer Pletcher will be play by her dutiful understudy.

Yesterday was a big day for me. I got to take Arlington to the first live action movie that we could both reasonably expect to enjoy (and no the Diary of the Wimpy Kid Part Deux does not count). It was the harrowing tale of a downtrodden Norse God, who against all odds, overcame Scandinavian (by way of Britain) good looks and “naturally” muscular physique to save the not-at-all unusually gorgeous astrophysicist and defeat his bratty little brother and runt of a Frost Giant. That’s right, we took in an afternoon matinee of Thor. (Side note – We did check a parent’s review of the movie before taking her in order to make sure there was nothing truly inappropriate in it for an 8 year old although what is appropriate for an 8 year old varies widely by user)

One of the many small pleasures I take from my children is the opportunity to share my pop-culture joys with them. Ne – indoctrinate them with all the trappings of geekdom in order to rob them of their free will and ensure their likes and dislikes match my own (We have also used this practice to ensure that our kids favorite football team is the Steelers, their least favorite college is Pitt, and they think all people from West Virginia are inbred hicks). You know, what every parent wants for their kid. As such, I have always made sure to set aside time for some family bonding over the warm glow of the classics of my youth. When the three tykes were still wee ones, I entertained them with all of the episodes of the Animaniacs, ensuring they recognize the genius that is Pinky and the Brain (Narf!). As they got older we moved into the classic Batman and Superman cartoons which eventually beget the more recent animated versions of Spiderman and Batman (although we had now moved beyond my childhood memories, I didn’t care because these cartoons still made the kid/manchild in me smile). Now we are onto the 80’s X-Men cartoons. It is sometimes shocking how badly these cartoons aged. (the X-Men Christmas Special is about as low as you can go). But the great thing is the kids don’t care. They see in those cartoons what I saw as a kid. Finley keeps asking when we will get the next X-men DVD so she can see what happens next with Jean Grey and Storm.

(Another side note – what a fantastic thing the DVD culture and Netflix is. It was allowed us to share bits of ourselves with our children that our parents never could with us. Sorry, being forced to listen to my Dad’s Kansas albums every Sunday morning doesn’t quite measure up to connection that is formed when your child sincerely asks you to explain to them the complex relationship between Spiderman and the alien Venom symbiote)

And once I have enchanted them with the brightly colored images to accept superheroes as their primary entertainment source, I have successfully guaranteed myself companions to all the superfluous activities that amuse me so. And this is critical because while Jennifer has insisted on growing out of childish pursuits, I refuse to. So with Arlington, Cainan, and Finley, I have a triumvirate of souls that still see the world as I would like, as a big playground where the larger than life is still exciting. They get jazzed about going to the comic book conventions and think is amazing when cartoon characters are show up in trailers portrayed by real people. Which brings me back to Thor.

Here was a big budget, mind-less summer blockbuster that Jennifer had no interest in seeing. But I could count on my monkey princess being trilled at the chance to go see this B-list, public domain sledgehammer enthusiastic be a special effects-enhanced version of Crocodile Dundee for 2 hours. We got to sit in a dark theater, father and daughter, just enjoying ourselves. Every now and then, Arlington looking up to comment on the action or to seek a bit of clarification of character exposition. I was so thrilled that this was one more thing I could now start to share with my kids (I actually can’t wait to introduce her to Buffy the Vampire Slayer but that will have to wait as that has much more mature material than Thor). But as great as this experience was, it did end with a scary vision of the future. When the movie had concluded with good triumphing over evil, Arlington turns to me and says she wishes that the villainous Loki would have won….because he was cute.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You go Mat- a very cool post!!!!

love Mother-in-law