Will we ever be able to watch a film together?
If you ever find yourself at our house for any length of time, you will find out that movies are pretty important to us. As these miserable winter months arrive, I expect that as a family, we will spend several afternoons and evenings watching films together. It has become something of a tradition. I will take either Fraboo or Boy-Boy down to the DVD shop and we will choose something for us all to watch together. We sometimes get a couple of packets of sweets to share during the performance, and when we get home we will be greeted by the smell of freshly popped corn. We’ll find Mrs L. and whoever didn’t come to the video shop with us, snuggled up on the couch under a duvet, and my selection buddy will happily join them while I put whichever movie we have chosen, into the player.
Halfway through the screening however, Boy-Boy will start getting restless and begin jumping around. This invariably happens at a critical point in the film, much to Fraboo’s (and my) irritation, and she is quite capable of making her thoughts known. Very loudly! Of course I am slightly more diplomatic but Boy-Boy recognises that some ill feeling is being directed toward him and so he calms down and stands motionless. Directly in front of the television. Once again Fraboo gets upset, and so I will take Boy-Boy off to play with his cars or a jigsaw (or we will engage the services of “the babysitter”).
When I was a kid one of the biggest treats my brother and I could ever have, was a trip to the cinema. I’ve always found the whole experience almost magical. Often we’d go out just as the sun was going down, and then wait in the queue surrounded by all those unfamiliar smells (not all of them great, depending on how many other excitable children were also there), and upcoming movie posters. All the time, there’d be the anticipation of what the film we were about to watch was going to be like. Once we got into the auditorium there would be several trailers, which succeeded in making even the most terrible films, look absolutely incredible. Then, when the film had finally finished, we’d emerge into starry night. For me, whose bedtime was 7 o’clock up until the age of fifteen this was a rare treat indeed. The whole experience was heightened for my brother and I, by the fact that we didn’t have a television at home and so watching anything was really something to be savoured. One of my happiest memories as a kid was being taken to see the original Star Wars trilogy in one sitting. I was spellbound for several incredible hours and when it had finished, we came out to a pitch black night. Despite my advancing years, this wonderful feeling has yet to desert me, and my almost palpable excitement before going to the cinema drives Mrs L. to distraction. She’ll often say things to me like “Ross, do you need to run around in the garden for a few minutes?”, only half in jest. It should therefore come as no surprise that I am keen to pass this passion on to my children.
Given Boy-Boy’s impatience when watching a film on the small screen, I am reluctant to pay for him to come to see its giant cousin and ruin a costly afternoon out, for all the other audience members. Fraboo and I however, have been to see several movies together, and although I do resent paying for a seat for her (she spends most of the film sat on my knee), we usually have a brilliant time! For me at least, it is almost better to watch a movie with Fraboo than it is with my adult friends as I am given the opportunity to see the movie from her perspective. There is no cynical after-show post-mortem, and every character is realistically portrayed even if they are totally one dimensional. She has yet to realise that the lead character will always avoid certain doom, and so the moments of peril are that much greater (especially as they are presented on such an enormous screen). There are none of the distractions that she encounters when she’s watching a DVD at home and, as we so rarely go to the pictures, the movie will be entirely new and unseen by both of us.
Recently, when we went, we were sat in front of a large family who were having a lovely time. During the trailers (which I also adore), they were making quite a din, and making it very difficult to hear what the man with the deep voice was saying. I was just about to turn around and give them a withering look, when Fraboo, in the unsubtle way of children everywhere, loudly said to me; “I hope that that those boys are going to be quiet soon. We won’t be able to hear the movie will we?”
I turned around to look at the garrulous children’s mother, trying put on an expression which said “Kids, eh? What can you do?” Unconvinced she rolled her eyes at me, and told her kids to be quiet, while I gave Fraboo’s hand a grateful squeeze. Unfortunately later in the screening I earned myself a few tutts and shushes, for sniggering, then laughing, and ultimately snorting too loudly. In my defence, it was a very funny film, but I think that poor Fraboo was mortified.
I am looking forward to the day when I feel confident to take Boy-Boy with us, and I don’t think that it is that far away. I imagine though, that someone else’s kid will turn to their Mum or Dad and ask them if that little boy in front of them can’t shut up, or at least get out of the way.