I Lost It at the Movies, by Martha Thomases
Last weekend, my son and I went to see Iron Man. We went in the middle of the day to a movie theater in Manhattan’s Tribeca neighborhood that is rarely crowded, so the only other people there were geeks like us.
We had a great time, and that’s what this column is about. Tomorrow is Mothers’ Day, and last week is the last time I’ll be able to go to a superhero movie with my son, without involving an airplane. He’s moving to Los Angeles next month. That’s as far away as he can go without crossing an ocean or a border.
Our movie-going habits started early. When he was six weeks old, we went to see the original Ghostbusters, with the baby in a Snugli. It’s not that we were those horrible parents who take a screaming infant everywhere, as if the world deserves to share their headache. We knew his sleep schedule, and we knew that if we fed him just before the movie started, we should have at least two hours before he woke up. And we went in the middle of a weekday when there would be few other people, and sat in the back, near the aisle, so we could make a hasty retreat if our calculations proved wrong.
Later, as he grew older, my son developed a love of comics that rivaled my own. Even though he was barely five years old, there was no way he would let us go see the first Batman film without him. Being afraid of nightmares, I found a book that explained how the special effects were done, so he’d know that Jack Nicholson didn’t really hurt anyone. The effects didn’t scare him, but he did remark on how out of character it was for Batman to use a gun.
It wasn’t just comic book movies. We liked action adventure. If a flick had Denzel Washington or Samuel L. Jackson in it, that was a bonus. Quite often, the lights would come up, we’d look at each other and one of us would say, “Oh my God, that was so stupid!” I think the worst was Déjà Vu, but Man on Fire was right up there with it.
Over the years, we’ve spent a lot of time at the movies. We’ll watch television and DVDs, too, but going to the movies is my favorite. We’ll go see almost everything. I’ve sat with my son at some of the most inappropriate films imaginable, from Chasing Amy when he was 13 to The Forty Year-Old Virgin.
Movies and comics gave us a way to talk about the world and what we do in it. We can imagine ourselves in other circumstances, and see things from someone else’s point of view.
Motherhood is a job where, if you do it right, your children leave you. It’s like all the rejection I received from men before I met my husband was good for something. My son is an amazing, creative, funny, thoughtful human being. He’s heading west to jumpstart a comedy-writing career.
Martha Thomases, Media Goddess of ComicMix, plans to attend the San Diego Comic-Con with her son.