I love going to the movies! It’s kind of a family tradition – to this day, if I get together with my parents and siblings, there is almost always an outing (or two) to a movie. My first job as a 15-year-old was working as a ticket and concessions seller at locally owned movie theater in my hometown while I was in a body cast from armpit to hip. I would help myself to buttered popcorn and soda while peering through the curtains in the doorway that separated the lobby from the theater, watching forbidden movies that had ratings above my PG status.
Many of my most vivid memories have to do with movies – like the time my folks took me and my sister (both of us under 12) to see Krakatoa East of Java. In this outstanding work of cinematic art (that’s my sarcastic voice, just in case you couldn’t tell) there is a love scene in the movie where the voluptuous woman is either seducing or being seduced by a handsome man and she begins to slowly unbutton her shirt. My father immediately became very flustered and alarmed! He thrust money at my sister and told us to both go buy some popcorn and whatever candy we wanted. By this time, voluptuous woman had her shirt unbuttoned all the way and was sliding it off of one shoulder. Dad pushed at us a little bit, “Go! I’m really hungry for popcorn! Go fast!” He was acting very suspicious! We narrowed our eyes at him, but started up the aisle…slowly…looking back at the movie as we went. By the time we reached the curtained doorway, voluptuous woman was down to her pointy Playtex bra and handsome man was advancing upon her with hunger in his eyes and hands outstretched.
We understood then that dad hadn’t wanted his innocent girls subjected to such debauchery. So, of course we stood in the vestibule for the next 10 minutes, covertly getting a little lesson in the art of doing the dirty on a heaving, ramshackle ship just before a volcano blows the whole area all to hell – only scampering to the snack bar when we saw our dad starting up the aisle to find us.
I saw the first Star Wars movie fifteen times within three months. I had a crush on pouty Luke Skywalker and bad boy Han Solo made certain parts of my anatomy tingle.
While watching Star Wars, I would recite along with the dialog and hold animated conversations with my friends about the merits of X-wing fighters – yes, I’m ashamed to say I was a Talker. But it was Star Wars, for God’s sake – only the greatest movie of all time! The sequels and prequels weren’t bad either – but let me warn you, they can be a bit confusing and slightly terrifying if you happen to drop acid beforehand.
There were movies, like Jaws, that terrified me to the point that, to this day, I still have trouble swimming alone – even in a pool. Or Grizzly, which totally put a damper on ever hiking alone, or at night, or maybe ever. There are movies that I hate – not because the movie was horrible, but because the memories it conjures are still painful, even a decade or more later.
When I was 14 or 15, a friend of mine told me that one of the theaters in town was having an all-day marathon of every Planet of the Apes movie made: Planet of the Apes, Beneath the Planet of the Apes, Escape from the Planet of the Apes, Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, and Battle for the Planet of the Apes. Over eight hours of Charlton Heston, those “damn, dirty apes,” and tons and tons of movie food.
My dad was not thrilled with the thought of me spending an entire Saturday sitting in a movie theater instead of doing something productive, but I had already gotten the go-ahead from my mom, so I did a hair flip and smirked at my dad a little as I walked out the door. It was my basic, snarky, annoying teen behavior those days.
I have to mention here (if you haven’t picked up on it already) that I love movie food! I’ve been known, more frequently than I care to admit, to make a meal out of buttered movie popcorn, M&M’s, and soda – and over the course of 8 hours (even more when you figure in the intermission between each show), I ate a lot of movie food! By the time the marathon ended, it was past my bedtime and I was exhausted and feeling more than a bit queasy. When I got home, I changed into my jammies and got into bed, but sleep was elusive. Not only was my head full of images from the movies, but my stomach was rolling and making alarming sounds. Just moments later, I realized that, like the volcano Krakatoa, I was about to experience a violent eruption.
I made it to the bathroom just in time and hugged the toilet while I purged every bit of movie food I had ingested that day. In between heaves, I weakly called for my mother, who was in her room and couldn’t hear me. However, my father, who was on his way to bed, came to the bathroom door and watched me retch into the toilet a time or two. I finally noticed him there and turned my pitiful eyes in his direction – certainly my sorry plight would cause him to immediately go into doctor mode and he would ease my suffering! Instead my father waited until I hurled another deposit into the toilet bowl and then he simply said, “Serves you right,” and walked away.
Don’t get too outraged on my behalf. While I cursed him between dry heaves then, I totally get it now. Hormonal, bitchy, teenage girls with attitude are the worst – and just because they happen to be your daughter doesn’t make them any easier to deal with. And sometimes, even when you are an adult and a parent and should be totally above it all – it just feels so damn good when Her Snarkiness finally gets a tiny taste of karma. There was a reason my mother cursed me with, “I hope you have one just like you!” But I got the last laugh — none of my children were as horrible as I was.
What is your favorite movie of all time — or the one that caused so much trauma that you still are freaked out by it? Do you agree that movie food is a totally acceptable dinner? When you were a teenager, were you ever snarky or were you always angelic?