Saturday, July 22, 2006

monster house

I've been hearing about the Monster House movie for months now. From the moment the four-year-old saw the previews we have spoke and thought of little else. Monster House. Comes out July 21. Is it July 21 yet? There goes the neighborhood.

So it would have been unthinkable to miss the first showing. The kid was relentless. He was so relentless we got to the theater an hour early because he was so concerned we might miss seeing it.

What do you do when you get to the movies too early? You have to sit in a darkened mostly-empty theater staring at a blank screen and listening to MovieTunes, the music listened to by over ten billion people on the planet, or something. The fact that those ten billion have no choice in the matter, that they too have been corralled into an early appearance by highly demanding children, is of no consequence whatsoever. Captive audience or no, it's still an impressive head count.

MovieTunes programming is thoroughly dreadful. The jilted Nick Lachey sang his ode to leprosy, "What's Left of Me," followed by a selection from the Broadway production of "The Color Purple" ("You got to push the button/If you want to feel the train.")

If you read Alice Walker, and I read that book about six times, then you understand how euphemistic albeit twisted that lyric is.

Monster House is not your usual kids' movie. Some kids in the theater cried out loud at some parts, especially toward the end. Even the four-year-old (who curled up in his chair watching with his eyes round and his hands over his mouth) asked me to take him to the bathroom at one point, where he struck up a conversation with his imaginary friend Sherwood as he took a whiz:

"Hey, Sherwood. What are you doing here? Seeing Monster House? It's scary. You want to sit with me? Sit with me and you won't be scared."

I listened, smiling and inspecting my manicure as I leaned against the sink waiting.
He came out and washed his hands.

"Hi, Sherwood," I said. "Sitting with us now?"
"Yes," my son said solemnly. "Is that okay?"
"Sure," I said.

According to the four-year-old and his friend Sherwood, the Monster House movie is really great and they had a big time. My jury is still out. I thought the movie was really strange.

Afterwards we went to McDonald's. They piped in classical music over the P.A. while we ate. I sat there surveying the table littered with Happy Meals and paper napkins, listening to the keen of violin strings and marveling at the dichotomy. Go to the movies and you hear tripe. Go to McDonald's and get Mozart. I don't understand it. I don't understand it at all, what kind of world it is we're living in.