So my parents’ disappointed love affair with the cinemah continues apace and apparently it’s all my fault for setting those crazy kids up.
I now get regular deflated updates on the status of their Netflix relationship. Basically, it would seem they’re dating for lack of anything better to do, going out with the guy you go out with just to have something to do on Saturday night. I mean, my dad has mastered tie-dye and stained glass and woodturning and rock stacking and indignant letter writing, eh, might as well move on to movie watching. My mom has mastered the art of being sick for over a quarter century, so it’s only a matter of time before a movie stumbles across her line of sight to make her forget she’s “sick” for approximately 93 minutes, even though I’m still crossing my fingers for that magic movie. Uhm, I think it’s called “The Afterlife.”
Turns out, my parents watched “On the Waterfront” and liked it, although Mom had to insist that Brando was not good-looking. Not her type. No way. Never.
“Tracey, he was NOT good-looking.”
Okay, Mom, whatever. Calm down. He was gross. Fine. You’re right.
Dad said, “We’re gonna watch ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ next. Whaddya think?”
WhaddyI think? Uhm ….. uh ……. I think they should see it, and I think they will hate it. HATE it. HAAAAATE it.
I performed a verbal pirouette around THAT one, leaving it open, giving fair warning. I mean, they’re still bitter and ramped up about Citizen Kane and somehow these things all come back on my head. If I recommend a movie they hated, I have “gone against the family” and it’s all my fault and how oh how could I do that to them?
Recently, I told Dad to put a bunch of Hitchcock in his queue and he did.
So they watched Rear Window. And they did not like Rear Window.
Last week, we were at their house. Dad had printed out his queue and handed it to me to peruse. The two of them started in on poor Rear Window.
“I did not like Rear Window,” said Mom.
“Yeah. I don’t like Hitchcock,” said Dad.
“Okay,” said I.
“Well, it wasn’t suspenseful at ALL,” said Dad.
“YEAH,” agreed Mom.
“Okay,” said I.
They glared some blame at me.
“And what was Jimmy Stewart’s problem??” said Mom.
“What do you mean?”
“Well, he was a grouch!”
“I think that was just …. who his character was in that movie, Mom.”
“AND he didn’t want to marry Grace Kelly,” she continued.
“YEAH,” said Dad.
“Who doesn’t want to marry GRACE KELLY??”
Mom was out of her mind with indignation.
“I dunno. Do YOU want to marry Grace Kelly?”
I am a jerk.
“Tracey, come on.”
She glared at me some more. I think I’m the sole reason her face does that.
“Okay. Well, maybe don’t watch anymore Hitchcock, I guess.”
“Yeah. I like to be uplifted when I watch a movie,” said Dad.
You have to understand. My dad is Walter Mitty. He lives in his own little world and it’s not the world the rest of us live in. It’s nice where he is. It’s Disney, uncomplicated and sunny all the time. Even with mom’s “illness,” he lives in this place. Before she got sick, it was more of a vacation place he visited once in a while, but now he’s bought some land, built himself a cabin, probably stacked some rocks, and moved there on a permanent basis. It’s nice where he is, you see. There are no storms on his horizon.
So I began to rattle off a bunch of sports movies that I think he’d find “uplifting.” The Rookie. Hoosiers. Remember the Titans.
Then I mentioned The Mission and described it to them. It’s a bit of a litmus test. I threw that out there knowing there’s a good chance they won’t like it. I think it’s uplifting, in its own way, but maybe not in the way Dad means. He wants happy endings, not sacrificial endings. Still, if they don’t like The Mission, I am adopted. (I can hear it now. “Tracey, I didn’t like Robert DeNiro in that movie.” “He was a bad guy.” “People were naked.”)
Dad got out a pen and dutifully wrote all my suggestions down. Mom commented randomly.
“I don’t like that George Clooney.”
“He’s in some new movie called The American.'”
“Uh-huh. Uhm, what’s wrong with that?”
“Well, he is NOT an American!”
See what I deal with?
“Uhm ….. wha …..”
“He doesn’t behave like an American.”
I don’t want to have this conversation.
“I don’t like the way he behaves.”
“Or that Glenn Close either.”
What has she done lately to make ANYONE mad? Besides, I’m pretty sure she doesn’t even know who Glenn Close is.
I glanced down at the queue and said, “Well, if she bugs you that much, you should take Paradise Road off the queue. She’s in it.”
“Ohh, Tracey. That won’t make a difference. I can still WATCH a movie she’s in.”
“Uh-huh. We’ll see.”
She rolled her eyes at me.
Dad put a quiet question mark next to Paradise Road.