Tuesday, January 10, 2012

It's elementary, dear Watson, you can bond at the movies.

     My sons went together recently to see the Sherlock Holmes movie.  I was working at home that day, and watched them pull out of the driveway, all the while wishing I could join them. You see, we had gone to see the first one together, but I had just too much work to do that day to join them (is anyone else hearing "Cat's in the Cradle" right now?).  They came back from the picture show, laughing and smiling and while I was still sad for myself that I had missed the experience, it was great to see them interact like that.  It also got me pondering whether it was possible to "bond" during such an activity, and I say, yes.  

     The first movie that I went to see was Walt Disney's Pinocchio.  It was in a small theater in downtown Canandaigua, that no longer exists, and I went for a friend's birthday party (shout out to Mark Vitalone). I remember we carried in a garbage bag full of popcorn and it was a wonderful experience with that group of
kids.  Mark and I weren't close, but we lived close, and back then, sometimes, that was enough.  We'd have Friday night sleepovers at Mark's and pick-up football games on Saturday mornings.  I really liked playing football, but at that time, I really loved watching Saturday morning cartoons. At home, we had to do all of our weekly housework before Mom would let us turn the TV on, so I frequently got to Scooby Doo, just in time to see the reveal and hear the "I'd have gotten away with it if it weren't for those meddling kids" line.  At Mark's I could get up first, turn on their TV and lay in front of it, and watch a couple of hours of early am cartoons.  The rest of the group would slowly get up and inevitably they'd want to head out, right in the middle of Scooby Doo.  I'd try and stall them, but it didn't endear me to the group, but back on point, we all bonded that day we went to the movies.  I suspect Mark's mom knew that already, because a lot of Saturdays would end with Mark yelling at his friends about some trivial thing, and he'd stomp off back home (he had a little bit of a temper), but not that Saturday, it was the most pleasant one I'd ever spent with that group.

     A lot of first dates are spent at the movies, and while I posit that you can bond at the movies, you don't always do.  I remember in high school going with a girl to see the premiere of Arthur.  I rode my bike to her house, survived meeting her family and over sized black lab, and we jumped in her car and went to the show.
The only Arthur.
The movie was absolutely hilarious ("Arthur, take my hand.  Why, that would leave you with one", Classic) and I see no reason to remake that movie, when they could just re-release the original, but back on point, we sat together and watched the movie.  We later had fish sandwiches at McDonald's (big spender) and then headed back to her house.  She was a nice girl, but at the end of that movie date, I wasn't feeling "it", so we said a chaste goodnight and I pedaled back home.  I really didn't feel "it" until a few years later, while working with my, now wife, and then I wanted to be with her in every way possible, and I have been doing just that for over 25 years now.  Funny thing is, it was the same girl in both instances.  Ha! You didn't see that one coming did you?  I'll chalk it up to 2 things.  The first is, I wasn't mature enough to recognize the caliber of women who accompanied me on the first date and second, Char isn't the kind of girl whose shell you're gonna crack during an 2 hour date, and in fact there are still pieces that she keeps private these many years later.  That's all right though, I've got time.

     I'm not sure I ever bonded as well with my daughter at the movies, as my wife did, but admittedly, they shared the same tasted in movies.  When she was 6 or so, we were on vacation and went to see "Harriet the Spy" together, well it was kind of together, Char and Molly actually saw "Harriet the Spy" in one theater and
I went to see Demi Moore in Striptease in another.  It was serendipity, when I went to buy my tickets, they both ended at the exact same time.  I figured if God had wanted me in theater 3 with Molly and Char, watching a coming of age story of a little girl spy,  he wouldn't have put Demi Moore with no clothes on in theater 4 playing against it.  I doubt that Molly even remembers this, but she knows now.  She repaid me years later when I tried to introduce her to Forrest Gump at home and she sat with her laptop open the entire movie, missing the innuendos and small important points, and at the end declared how badly it sucked.  We did not bond then, but I did learn not to introduce her to my favorite movies, when she was committed to multitasking during them.  I'm old, but I can learn.  I also learned that it's tough to bond with a theater wall separating you.  As I said before, Char and Molly have their movie thing, but the boys and I have ours, and that is fine.  I'll take Green Lantern over the Notebook every time.  Occasionally we all watch a movie together and bond, but it's a rare event in my house.

    At the house I grew up in, I don't remember going out to the movies much, but we would lay around the living room watching movies on the TV as a family sprawled out and draped over various pieces of furniture (It resembled more of a
CSI crime scene most nights than a family movie viewing).  
Bud and Lou with the Andrews sisters
 We'd watch the Abbott and Costello movies on Sunday mornings after church or the Wonderful World of Disney showing on Sunday nights,and I still get nostalgic when I find these on the guide today.  As I got older, I remember when my folks got watching "The Graduate" one night and forgot that I was still up lying on the floor and watching too. I still can't watch that movie today, without thinking I'm going to be sent to bed at any minute.  A few years later, we had a repeat incident with the movie "10" (Weird that it starred Dudley Moore too) and I was certain that I was going to be sent to bed in the middle of the scene where Bo Derek jogs in slow motion down the beach, but, Thank God, I wasn't. Yes, Dad and I bonded watching movies together too.

     Wow, this is a long one (That's what She said).  I suppose I've pontificated enough on whether it's possible to bond while sitting, mostly silently, in a movie theater or in a cozy living room watching a movie.  The blog wouldn't be complete without the mention of our favorite family bonding movie, "It's a Wonderful Life".  We make time, each Christmas season, to try and watch this as a family and we definitely bond during it.  Maybe we connect with the altruistic George Bailey who does for others, but never goes out and pursues his dreams, until he realizes that all along he had them in front of him.  Hmmm, kind of sounds like this kid I know who took a girl to Arthur one time....



8 comments:

Christine Wilson-Simonson said...

Once again, you got me to thinking....While there is little to no television watching on what you would call a regular basis in our home..the remote is usually in the hands of my offspring who will only cuddle with me now if SHE gets to channel surf. (I'll take what I can get) I retain veto power..but don't often use it)Invariably, her choice in entertainment borders on the morose....CSI...Burn Notice...and Criminal Minds...We bond like crazy when she reveals the real culprit and I totally miss the clues...and ya...I know the shows go a long way toward educating a person on how to get away with murder...but were bonding...lol

Bill said...

Christine,

I'm right there with you, I received season 1 of Dexter for Christmas and my 18 year old and I watched the entire thing over a period of weekend days, mostly together. You haven;t seen morbid, until you've seen that show.

Dan Yarger said...

I wholeheartedly agree that you can bond over movies; all of my friends whom I have kept into college are people I have seen countless movies with, whether at their house or the theater. There's just some sort of magic in the medium that bonds people. I also enjoyed watching dexter with you dad, it's times like those; spent together as a family, sharing in an experience, whether it be a tv show or a movie or even just dinner, that are the highlights of my times at home.

Daphne Mays said...

Not to mention all the silly lines that you repeat in any remotely similar situation! Maybe not the BEST form of bonding, but you certainly can bond through movies! Hmmmm... So maybe I ought to watch more of them when the rest of the family does!

cdyarger said...

Thanks for mentioning "It's a Wonderful Life". I got almost the end of the blog and thought "What?!? Where is THE movie?" We do bond as a family over that one; not a dry eye in the house when we are done. I agree - what's more fun than quoting a favorite or popular movie? Unless of course you have two boys in your house and they are quoting "Adventure Time", right Dan and Nolan?? Great blog!

Anonymous said...

I even KNEW it was Char you took to Arthur and you got me. I was reading thinking "Didn't he tell me once that was he and Char's first date?". Great blog cousin Bill.......

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