At the movies

Talking with friends yesterday, I heard about several movies that had made a difference in their lives. One friend, who is just a little bit older than me, has a list of movies that he wants to watch and discuss with his grandchildren. They are movies that carry important life lessons especially strongly. As he told me about the movies, it became clear that I wasn’t familiar with any of them. I just don’t watch many movies. It is a strange thing. I don’t have anything against movies. We raised two children, both of whom love the movies and keep up with current trends in movie making. We own a high quality DVD player, inherited when one of our children got an upgrade. Our community has several excellent theaters with lots of options for movie goers. But I just don’t seem to watch many movies at all.

I joke with my friends sometimes that I am culturally deprived. Movies are a reflection of our culture. They are a complex, team-produced art form that exists in real time. In theory, I can think of all kinds of reasons that it is a good thing to go to the movies from time to time. And when we do get around to going to a movie, I usually enjoy it.

Somewhere inside of me there is a little message that watching movies is a waste of time. Even though I can rationally disagree with that point of view, I find myself making other choices when I do have a bit of time. I can’t really imagine myself checking in with my friends and saying that one of the big events of my week was watching a movie.

My mother was raised in a strict Methodist family. Her grandparents on both sides of the family lived in the same small town as her family. They took a dim view of entertainments such as playing cards and dancing. The women in the families were staunch members of the WCTU. My mother and her sisters all had an anti-alcohol and anti-gambling bent that they expressed from time to time. It is possible that their family took a dim view of movies. It was common, in those days, for people to resist movie entertainment. But I don’t recall our mother ever saying anything negative about movies. She watched movies and we occasionally went to movies as an entire family.

Our town struggled to maintain a theater for watching movies indoors. Some years it had a reasonable bill of movies, other years it was closed more than it was open. But the drive in usually had a successful run. We’d load up everyone in the car and head to the drive in for a night of entertainment. I remember putting on our pajamas and piling in the car. On summer nights, we’d roll down the windows and we could hear not only the speaker placed in our car, but bits of sound from the other cars and we watched the movie. It was great fun.

I took my wife to movies when we were dating. It was a pleasant experience. I watched the original Star Wars Movie in a theatre at the time that my father was struggling with the cancer that would end his life. It was a great escape for me and helped me clear my mind and emotions.

I really can’t find anything in my past that was negative about movies. Whatever resistance I have had must come from my own quirky personality. I can make a rational argument for th positive values of watching movies. I just don’t get around to watching many.

I think that most of us have some inconsistencies and irrational behaviors somewhere in our lives. Fortunately for all of us, most of those irrational behaviors don’t cause others any harm. As I mentioned, our children don’t appear to have suffered from my not watching movies. They will have some stories to tell their children about their quirky father, I’m sure. They can tell about how they were in elementary school before I got around to buying a VCR. I did so partly because it made better financial sense than renting one from Blockbuster every weekend. I also had made the statement that I would buy a VCR when I found a movie that I wanted to watch more than once. My kids gave me a copy of the Disney movie, Fantasia, on VCR. They knew I enjoyed the movie and was a fan of classical music. They were right. I watched it several times after we got a VCR. Both of our kids had extensive collections of VCR tapes at one time. One of those collections is still in storage in my home. I was asked about it just the other day. “Don’t get rid of those, they’re valuable!” Maybe so. I haven’t watched one since the kinds moved out of our home.

Recently USA Today listed 10 “must see” movies for the coming summer. On the list is “Avengers: Infinity War.” Having not seen any previous Avengers, the title of the movie doesn’t appeal to me. An infinity war doesn’t seem like entertainment to me. I guess that it might be a good concept for people my age to explore. We are all mortal. No one gets out of this life alive. But despite its box office success, the movie doesn’t appeal to me.

“Deadpool 2” sounds like it could have the same reviews as “Infinity War” and no one would notice which movie it was.

“Solo: A Star Wars Story” sounds more appealing. I liked the character Han Solo and his partner Chewbacca in the Star Wars movies. “Heredity” has a nice title, but I’m not much for horror films. A film that frightened the movie goers at Sundance Film Festival is probably too scary for me. “Oceans 8” might require a movie goer who at least knows something about “Oceans Eleven.” Maybe I should watch the first Incredibles before going for “Incredibles 2.” “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” is the fifth film in the Jurassic Park franchise. I watched the first one, but never got around to 2 - 4.

Mission Impossible was a TV series with some episodes I watched. I wonder if they still have instructions that self destruct, now that nobody owns a cassette player any more. “Ant Man and the Wasp” sounds a little too weird for me.

So I guess the movie for my summer adventures will have to be “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again!” Don’t know what it is about, but the title is catchy.

And if you are a lover of movies, my journal probably isn’t going to be a good place to get your recommendations for movie watching anytime soon.

Copyright (c) 2018 by Ted E. Huffman. I wrote this. If you would like to share it, please direct your friends to my web site. If you'd like permission to copy, please send me an email. Thanks!