Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Watching Movies With a Four Year Old

I've been stuck at home more than I'd like of late. I don't really feel well enough to be driving around, and even if I did there would be the worry of feeling weak before driving home. I'm keeping Danny occupied with a varied film study curriculum. You wouldn't imagine there are that many opportunities for expanding your child's education watching say, The Mummy, but in fact, there are. At the very least, Danny now understands that real archaeologists don't sit about in the Egyptian summer heat in ties and sport coats examining perfectly gleaming objects plucked from the tombs only moments before. Then, we talked about how the British Museum led the expeditions and stole all the antiquities from Egypt while Britain was a colonial occupier. Yeah, I'm a real joy to watch a movie with. There's always one like me, isn't there?

I've been trying to stick with what I would consider classics. I realise this would probably be open to debate.

I had to laugh at Danny's reaction to Old Yeller. He enjoyed it, but I really expected him to get choked-up when the dog had to be shot, as I could remember being really upset the first time I saw it. Danny just sort of shrugged and said:

"They had to do it, the dog could have infected the livestock."

Yep, that's pretty much it. I didn't grow up on a farm with livestock, and Danny has. Amazing how matter-of-fact children can be.

Danny was less impressed with The Wolfman, which is sort of understandable. If I found it slow, there's little wonder a four year old did. Creature from The Black Lagoon, was enjoyed (and watched a few times now) as was Night of the Living Dead. We took a break from monster movies to watch The Day the Earth Stood Still, and today we settled in after lunch to view one of my very favourite movies, War of the Worlds. I had Mr. Eat The Blog rent the original, though honestly I thought the remake was pretty good. I wanted to hate it, but viewing it twice now, I have to admit it worked.

I wish we lived in a place where it would get screened occasionally so Danny could have the experience of watching it on something larger than a 12 inch television screen. It still looked great, but I just know the Martians would have been so much more impressive in a theater.

Every time I watch War of the Worlds it strikes me how well the lighting worked-like they hired Thomas Hart Benton and Edward Hoper as colour consultants. The whole film looks like it was inspired by their paintings. Anyone know if that was the goal? Google isn't much help with this theory.

Not surprisingly, Danny loved the movie. I mean, how could you not? As the movie ended I was afforded one of those wonderful glimpses parents sometimes get of how their child will be as an adult. Danny sat there quietly for a good two minutes after the movie ended, just sort of processing it all in his head, before he finally stretched and went in the living room to play, still absorbed in thought. In a modern school setting, this would surely get him scolded-children are expected to quickly transition from one activity to another snapping their attention here and there as though surfing the radio dial. Sometimes, you just aren't ready to put away your scissors and construction paper to have story time. I'm so relieved to know my child is capable of being absorbed in thought. Maybe keeping him away from television for the first three years was worth it.

Now I need to find a copy of Little Shop of Horrors (the local video store doesn't have it-I know, WTF?! How can you not have Little Shop of Horrors?) because Hy-Vee is selling Venus fly traps and I'm exactly the sort of mother that would do that.

Seymour...feed me.....feeeeeed meeeeee.

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