One of the best things about being an incredible father is when I get to share my passions with my son. Whether it’s watching basketball or researching how to get the most out of my frequent flier miles, we just have a blast together.
And one of my biggest passions is movies. In fact, they’re pretty much my favourite thing in the whole world. So I couldn’t have been more excited the other day when I took my little miracle baby to see a movie in the theatre for the very first time. (We’ve already seen plenty of movies together at home.)
He’s three-years-old and already a huge fan of the Cars franchise, so I figured it was a no-brainer to take him to see Frozen, the acclaimed new Disney film. It’s nominated for an Academy Oscar prize and has earned a lot of money at the box office, which means it’s good and good for you.
A father-son bonding trip for the ages
The night before, I couldn’t stop talking about it. We were both so excited.
“I can’t wait to see the movie,” my son kept saying.
“Me too, son,” I said. “Me too.”
And the next day, as we were driving to the theatre, we sang the movie song…
Going to see a movie,
Going to see a movie,
Movies are fun,
Movies are fun.
Such a good song…
When we got to the theatre, I bought 2 tickets, which on a Tuesday afternoon in Sydney only cost $75 each. Of course, essential to any serious movie experience is popcorn and soda, so I bought a big tub of each, also for $75. What a bargain!
The boy immediately burrowed into the popcorn like a miner digging for gold. He only drinks water and milk, but as a special treat, I asked him if he wanted some soda. He took one look at the soda cup and said, “No thanks.”
“Are you sure,” I asked.
“Am I sure I don’t want to shove that wizard’s hat in my mouth and slurp on Gandalf’s brain? Yeah. I’m sure.”
And now it’s dark…
After a couple of precarious, popcorn-infused escalator rides, we entered the theatre. The previews were already in progress and the place was completely empty, which was lucky, since I anticipated a lot of talking from the boy.
But as we made our way up to the top row, he got very quiet. The sudden darkness appeared to be making him nervous.
“Can we go?” he asked.
I couldn’t believe it. Did I make a mistake bringing a three-year-old to a movie theatre? Did the three-year-old make a mistake by agreeing to go? There were so many questions…
“Let’s just watch the movie,” I told him in my most comforting tone.
He kept eating popcorn and stared nervously at the screen, which started to look very bright and piercing all of a sudden. And everything felt very loud.
Mickey Mouse is &$#%-ed
Get a Horse, a five-minute short pitting Peg-Leg Pete against Mickey Mouse, voiced by Walt Disney himself, began…
“Look it’s Mickey Mouse! Mickey Mouse!”
“Who the $%&# is Mickey Mouse?” he said.
Whoops. I thought everyone knew who Mickey Mouse was, you guys.
Suddenly, Peg-Leg Pete started making loud angry noises and the poor boy was terrified.
“What the $#&# is that?!” he said.
“I don’t know. He’s a bad guy. But Mickey Mouse is going to win. I promise.”
“I… I don’t think it matters if your mouse friend wins. This is going to end badly for all of us.”
When the credits came up, he was shaking.
“All finished,” he said and started getting out of his seat.
A castle of hope
Then the comforting glow of the Disney opening came up.
“Look!” I squealed. “It’s just like Cars!”
He seemed to relax! Everything was going to be all right…
Then the first shot of the movie exploded onto the screen – a close-up of an ice pick breaking through a frozen lake.
“Aaaaaaahhhhhhhh” the boy screamed. “Aaaaaaggggghhhhhhhh.”
For the next 5 minutes or so, my son sat petrified, gripping the popcorn bucket like it was the only thing saving him from the big monsters onscreen. Big monsters like this:
“Do you want to leave?” I asked.
“Oh, Christ, yes,” he said.
So we left.
Finding someone to blame
To this day I still don’t know if my son was too young for Frozen. And it’s not like there’s a rating system that tells you what’s appropriate. So I just chalked it up to taste.
“I don’t know what you were so upset about,” I said on the car ride home as my son continued comfort eating. “I was having a pretty good time. I guess the movie’s not for everyone.”
“I think that’ll be for the courts to decide.”
“Whoever’s responsible for this travesty is going to hear from my lawyers.”
“I don’t know if that’s the best way go to here…”
“They should have called that movie Loud and Dark,” he said with a mouthful of popcorn, staring out the window. “Loud and #&#^$-ing Dark.”
I think he means business, you guys.