Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Death of Movie Theaters?

Contrary to popular belief, it won't be the Blockbusters, Netflix & movies-on-demand that kill the American movie theater.  It will be the ever increasing prices.  It was 11:30 am on Veteran's Day.  In an unusual confluence of events, we were all three home and wanting to go see a movie.  Disney's Christmas Carol @ 12:30?  Well, I thought it was still a bit early in the season, but there wasn't exactly a glut of family-friendly films out at the moment, so I was in.  Taking my customary trip through the MovieWatcher's site, I dialed us in for three tickets - two adults and one child.  $45?  Really?  $45 just to get in the door, to watch a 90 minute film?  And that's not even with snacks!

I love movies.  LOVE them, just like my Dad does.  I love the insane, all-consuming volume.  I love the comfy seats, and the fact that I can put the chair arms up and sit cross-legged or with my knees pulled up.  I love the popcorn - even the faux butter that tops it.  I love everything about the experience.  When I was a kid, my parents used to take us to movies with great frequency.  In fact, there was a period when we would see how many nights in a row we could manage.  It does seem like there must have been a lot of great films back then, given that we managed an 8-night streak at one point in the early 70's.  Then again, I was a kid.  What the hell did I know?  I grew up watching movies like Kelly's Heroes, Tora Tora Tora, Gone With the Wind, The Magnificent Seven, Sometimes a Great Notion, every Disney live action film made, and all the Clint Eastwood westerns.

So when I decide NOT to take my family to a film on a lazy Monday afternoon, it's significant. Because I also love sitting at home with my family, with a lovely dinner or bowl of homemade popcorn slathered in butter, and watching movies-on-demand on the 61 inch TV.  And if I have to choose between the two, which I would dearly prefer not to, I will choose home, where a movie costs $1 to $6 for as many folks as I can cram into the living room and the food costs me nothing, where I can pause the movie to run to the restroom after my third glass of water, beer, or whatever else the film calls for, and where I can sit comfortably on my couch with the dog nearby.

Just sayin...

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Sticks and Stones

"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me." I understand why my mom taught me this when I was a child.  I understand that words are just sounds out of a person's mouth, and should not have the power to hurt me in any way.  I held tightly to this phrase while I was growing up, squeezing it like a worn out blanket.  I believed in it with all my heart, and it carried me through the moments of unkindness that occurred as I grew.  I have repeated them over and over, to hundreds of children in my life.  I have taught them to my own child, tender to the barbs of the sharp tongue.

Why, then, when someone utters two ignorant hurtful words, do I crumble? Mouthed words, directed at me, in a moment of anger. I don't know this person, have never seen her before, and will no doubt never see her again.  Yet they implode me into an endless stream of tears and pain.  I cry until I cannot cry anymore.  The image of her face will not leave me.  It is ugly with anger.  I cannot for a moment imagine that people know what they the face contorts into something fiendish.  It is the very embodiment of "monster."

There is a tiny handful of moments that I could imagine ever becoming truly hurtful, ruthless, & venomous, and they generally involve my child.  Any person who ever knowingly endangers her will know the outcome of this transformation.  Any person who ever knowingly endangers any of my loved ones in any way will experience the unturned cheek. A mother's/sister's/child's defense is as daunting a foe as you'll ever encounter.  And while I have been tempted to lash out at strangers who have irritated or inconvenienced me, or who were outright rude to me, I am without exception overcome by my parents' lessons on how to treat others. I find my safe place, far from the eyes and ears of the offending party. Quite frankly, screaming at the top of my lungs in the car has repeatedly proven a wildly cathartic experience. And I would rather the passengers in the passing cars believe me mildly crazy than to leave someone as devastated as I was left to feel.

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can eviscerate me in an instant.

I wonder what she was feeling...