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     Volume 8 Issue 65 | April 17, 2009 |

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Straight Talk

Movie Madness

Nadia Kabir Barb

I have to admit that I love going to the cinema. In all these years I cannot recall ever having met anyone who does not enjoy a trip to the local movie theatre to take in the latest film on offer. For a couple of hours or so you can leave your worries and daily anxieties at the door, sit in the darkened auditorium and embark on a journey that might make you laugh out loud, gasp in horror, cringe with embarrassment or make you brush away a tear or two. It is truly escapism in its best form. I know many people will say that reading is just as effective if not better in its ability to transport you to far away countries, allow you to live vicariously as the protagonist of the story or walk with characters into the past, present or future. And I would have to agree with this point of view. However, to me it is not just about watching the film that makes it so pleasurable but all the paraphernalia that goes hand in hand with it. Reading a book is usually a solitary activity, but going to the movies can be a social event --- something you do with family or friends. Going to the cinema is also a recreational activity that in some way transcends economic or social status. It caters for the masses and a rickshaw puller is just as entitled to watch any film of his choice as is the most influential businessman.

When our children were still little, my husband and I would try and catch a film every now and then but what we discovered soon after they were old enough to go to the cinema with us was that watching films that had a rating for viewers over the age of 12 would become a rarity. These days when people ask whether we have seen any of the latest releases, the chances are we haven't. However, you could ask us about any kids' film screened in the last fifteen years and we are almost certain to be an authority on them. Sad but true. Although I am sure I am going to miss having an excuse to go and watch these kids movies once all of my children have outgrown them.

In fact we just got back from watching a film called 'Monsters and Aliens' which was shot in 3D. Having been to only one other 3D film a few years ago and having been exceedingly disappointed, my expectations for this film were generally low. To be honest it did not really matter whether the film was a great one or not. It was just fun being with my family and a couple of friends and if worst came to worst and the movie turned out to be dire we could moan and groan about it and point out its numerous flaws to each other. As it happened, once we obediently put on the 3D glasses and watched the computer generated animated film on screen we were all rather pleasantly surprised and thoroughly impressed. At times it felt like objects were coming straight at you and felt an inclination to move out of the way. I am amazed at how technology has come along in leaps and bounds in the last decade and it looks like 3D films are going to pave the way forward.

If you ever happen to go and watch a film with me especially these days, you will quickly realise that the words 'movie' and 'popcorn' are synonymous to me. You cannot have one without the other, so part of my cinema going ritual is to arm myself with a bag of popcorn and munch my way through the film although it never seems to last beyond the first quarter of the show. Talking of popcorn, it reminds me of a film I went to watch with my mother and aunt just a couple of months ago. At one point in the film where the audience was palpably anxious about what was going to happen next and literally sitting on the edge of their seats, I noticed my mother frowning at me and my aunt trying to hold back her amusement. As I silently asked them what the matter was, they both gestured to my popcorn. Unbeknownst to me I had been causing somewhat of a distraction to my two companions by generating quite a bit of noise with the rustling of my precious bag of popcorn and steady crunching. What can I say, eating popcorn is a noisy business!

Going to the movies with the kids can also be at times unpredictable. On one of our film outings my youngest daughter asked if she could have a slushy which is a drink made with crushed ice and juice and we had no objections. She then requested some nachos which were accompanied by a tomato salsa and a somewhat dubious looking cheese dip. Once again we capitulated and headed off to take our seats with our numerous snacks and drinks in hand. Halfway through the film my daughter grabbed my arm and pointed at her clothes, to my dismay all the way down the front of her dress and her white socks was the slushy! To make it worse there was blue food colouring in the drink so her white socks were now blue as were parts of her dress. We hurried off to the bathroom and managed to wipe off as much of the neon blue liquid as possible. As we returned to our seats, my initial relief at having averted one disaster was very short lived. There on my daughter's seat were the nachos, salsa and cheese in one big gooey mess! Not a pretty sight. Off I went again, this time in search of tissue paper or paper napkins. Let me tell you it was quite a task scraping most of the gunk off the seat and I prayed fervently that it would dry off before the next show! Needless to say that for that particular film I probably missed most of the crucial parts so I may just have resort to watching it on DVD when it comes out.

A bit of escapism never hurt anyone so I am looking forward to my next visit to the cinema. I can almost hear the popcorn calling out to me...


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