This week is different. In an effort to not ruin a brand new movie experience for anyone, especially one as groundbreaking as Gravity. Near the end of this post, like always, I will assign a best actor, actress and quote, but that’s as far as it goes. So what does lie in the following paragraphs? A quick (I promise) story.
As we movie lovers know, the magic that movies hold are not just in the stories themselves. We often have memories of moments that were made memorable, even magical, because of movies. Though I don’t visit the movie theatre as often as I would like (I’d go multiple times a week if time and money were no object. I would also eat a lot more lobster and take my kids to Disney multiple times a year.), I have had the privilege of seeing monumental movies in the theatre. I can say that I saw movies like The Empire Strikes Back, E.T., The Lion King, Schindler’s List, Titanic, Forrest Gump, Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Avatar, Les Miserables, and this week’s winner, Gravity all on the big screen. Each time I remember other details of the day or night that it happened because those were such memorable films. I am sure that as you read this you have a list of movies just like that where you could/would say the same thing.
So here’s the story…
It was a Saturday morning in 1980. On a twisty, narrow rural road near Irishtown, New Brunswick. at the crest of a hill sat a red and white mobile home trailer with a small add-on piece that served as a TV room, small bedroom, and small garage. A mom in her early 30’s is home with her kids while her husband is working and she brings to them a glorious stipulation. If they would clean the TV room really well, she would take them to the city (Moncton) to see a movie that had been advertised on their black-and-white TV for weeks: Disney’s 15th animated film, Lady and the Tramp. As any mom would know, the plan was to take them to the movies anyway, but as long as you’re giving them such a special treat out of the blue like that, might as well get them to earn it. Might as well get some free work out of it too.
The kids were so excited they cleaned the room as if the ghost of Walt Disney himself and a collection of his characters in anthropomorphic form could show up any minute. Being one of those lucky kids I can attest to how fast and thorough we were. I can remember even adjusting the little armrest covers on one of the chairs. I would even say that when we swept in there we actually moved furniture to get behind them all. I don’t even do that today as an adult! Well, I make my kids do it.
Anyway–permanently shifting now from third person to first–I remember waiting for my mother to come in and inspect that TV room. She was very impressed. In fact, she still talks today about how she couldn’t believe just how clean we got that room.
It took about fifteen minutes to get to the theatre and the entire way we sat in that old Dodge Duster watching the telephone poles whisk by enjoying that feeling in our stomachs that we remembered having on Christmas morning and on our respective birthdays. We had grown up seeing movies advertised on TV, but had never gone to watch one in a theatre. Plus, this was a Disney movie! We had also grown up watching The Wonderful World of Disney on Sunday afternoons. We had seen so many scenes from their movies, but only scenes. We just knew from watching Disney’s stuff on television that this movie wouldn’t disappoint.
We parked in downtown Moncton and walked to the theatre that was on Main Street. I loved the look and smell of the lobby. Sitting in the seats almost didn’t seem real. The screen was enormous, and we would find out in moments that so was the sound. I loved the movie, just like I knew I would. The most memorable scene may be yours as well when you think of Lady and the Tramp. It was Tramp sharing his meatball with Lady preceded by their iconic accidental kiss. Oddly enough, this is a scene that Walt himself initially didn’t want to include.
That’s where it all started for me. It’s not a movie I watch often. I can’t even remember the last time I saw it. And it’s not a movie that makes it to any of my favourites lists, unless I was to make a list of favourite Disney animated films. (Note to self: make one.) But it’s a day I will never forget. So many more stories could be told of my trips to the theatre over the last 30+ years, but this was the first one. I love that memory. And now back to our regularly scheduled program:
Congratulations Gravity. This is your week.
And the Oscar goes to:
Best actress: Sandra Bullock. She has certainly proven herself since her days of While You Were Sleeping and Speed. She’s won best actress at the real Oscars in the past, and something tells me it won’t be her last.
Best actor: Truth be told, Gravity is the only movie I’ve seen of these three, and by the time March rolls around we could find out that one of the fine actors in any one of these movies earns a trophy and I snubbed him. But I’m going to give this Oscar to Martin Freeman who plays Bilbo Baggins. I love him in everything I see him in, which is a lot lately.
Best quote: “You’ve got to learn to let go.” – Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) in Gravity.
Tomorrow I am taking my family out for shopping with our gift cards we got for Christmas and then to see a movie, also with gift cards found under the tree. So far the plan is to see Frozen. Yup, a Disney movie. Speaking of which, we’re also planning on seeing a movie about good ol’ Walt–Saving Mr. Banks–with my sister sometime in the next couple of weeks. Ah, so many movies, so little time.
To you my fellow movie lover, may the adventures in story-watching continue!