07 February 2014

Everything Is Awesome

To say I love movies is perhaps something of an understatement. (I’m sure my wife would tell you that.) Perhaps obsession is more accurate. To the point where I think of episodes in my life as scenes from the movie of my life. (Follow?) As in, this is the scene where my sons and I dance around the living room to a killer soundtrack by Elvis Costello. This is the scene where we drop him off for the first day of school. This is the scene where he meets his brother for the first time.

So, obviously, sharing movies with my kids is big. Introducing him to the Incredibles or the Muppets or Buzz and Woody, these have been some of my favorite experiences as a parent. And since he was 3, we’ve been trying to get him to a theater. I have a very clear memory of my first movie with my dad (no, really) and it was an experience I couldn’t wait to have, a memory I wanted to create with our son.

When he was 3, we did try. And we spent less than a minute inside a theater, in a disastrous, aborted attempt at seeing The Muppets with Jason Segel and Amy Adams. It was too loud, too dark, we saw a few seconds of a trailer. Ever since, he’d always say, “I’ll wait for the DVD.”

Like he’s somebody’s grandmother.

For a while, I thought I might have to wait all the way until December 2015 when they release that first J.J. Abrams Star Wars movie (he’ll be the most appropriate age of 7 at that time), but then something else happened. And this time, we had him. With just three little words.

The Lego Movie.

This one seemed custom-built, specifically designed for him. One, he loves Legos. Two, the main character shares our son’s name (more or less). Three, they both have brown hair (he pointed out to us). Four, they both have cowlicks (we pointed out to him). Five, in the TV ad, they played “Wake Me Up” by Avicii (one of his favorite tunes).

He was sold. He just had two conditions: He wanted popcorn and jelly beans as a movie snack. That we could do.

So we’ve been waiting. And then, out of nowhere, we heard about an advanced screening, the week before the movie opened. And we scored tickets. The Doozer was very excited.

That morning, there was a blizzard. Which we braved in order to get him to the theater. They handed us 3-D glasses. Hopefully that wouldn’t be a problem. He didn’t say anything about it, but really, I can’t imagine what it would be like to see a move in the theater for the very first time and for it to also be in 3-D. That has to be jarring, as much as he seemed to roll with it.

All around us, kids were laughing hysterically. Meanwhile, the Doozer asked for jelly beans. Then popcorn. He watched the film, very serious, almost stone-faced. His expression inscrutable. The wife and I kept sharing looks. Was he enjoying it? Was he asleep? It was hard to tell behind those glasses.

Every once in a while, he’d chime in about a particular minifigure in the film that overlapped with his collection. Or when things would appear that he’d seen in Lego sets on the Internet or in a store. So he was at least paying attention.

Meanwhile, I’m loving every second of it. The movie is brilliant and hilarious and inventive—pretty much everything you would want from a Lego movie. This is our new favorite movie, I kept thinking. We’re going to get the DVD and wear it out. I see a Lego Movie-themed 6-year-old birthday party, an Emmett with the Piece of Resistance Halloween costume. Also, when does the sequel come out?

And then, things started to get hairy onscreen for our heroes toward the end of the second act (as they are wont to do). And finally the Doozer had a reaction to the film:

“I want to go! I don’t want to watch anymore! I don’t like this!”

We tried to cajole him. To reassure him. Suggested that he cover his eyes. Just for a moment. But he was adamant. He wanted to stop watching. He wanted to leave.

I didn’t get it. I mean, he’s watched lots of movies, doesn’t he know what’s going to happen? He’s seen the Grinch have a change of heart and return Christmas to Whoville; he’s seen the Scooby-Doo gang solve countless mysteries and reveal that scary monsters are just disgruntled guys in suits; he’s seen Rocky and Bullwinkle escape from the dastardly clutches of Boris and Natasha; he’s watched Carl Frederickson rescue Russell the Wilderness Scout, Kevin the Bird, and Dug the Talking Dog from the nefarious explorer Charles Muntz.

Surely, he must realize that these minifigures are going to escape these dire circumstances and triumph over Lord Business’ evil plans?

“I don’t want to watch anymore! I want to go!”

And so the wife took him to the lobby for several minutes. I stayed in my seat, watching the film, my joy diminishing by the moment. Sure, the film was still entertaining, but it was just different now. Our son was scared. He didn’t like it. He was over it.

No second viewing, I thought. No DVD. No birthday party, no costume, no nothing. Guess maybe I jumped the gun on that whole new favorite movie thing. Thanks, Doozer.

The credits rolled and the Doozer had not returned to his seat. I was crushed. But then, it turned out he and his mom had stood in the tunnel, watching the end of the movie. We asked him about his favorite part of the day. The movie? The snacks? The fact that his brother wasn’t there?

He told us it was the movie. Awesome!

Back at home, he asks me a lot of questions about what happened. He’s unsure about certain plot points. I tell him that he will probably understand it more after he sees it again sometime. He informs me that he never wants to see it again. Awesome.

But then, as the days go by, he keeps bringing it up. He’s still asking a lot of questions about the movie. Talking about it. Talking about the toys. About Lord Business and Wildstyle and Cloud Cuckoo Land. Almost a week later now and he seems just as interested as ever.

So if you’ll excuse me, I have a DVD to pre-order on Amazon. (Quickly, before he changes his mind.)

1 comment:

  1. I'm a little behind on your blog, but have to agree - this was an awesome movie. I bet Doozer will grow to adore it, and if not, it will still hold a special place in his heart. And, in 30 years when they "reboot" the franchise, he will remember his childhood and look forward to that movie's release, so that he may take his own children. Circle of life!