When I lived in Paris oh so many years ago, I went to the movies on a weekly basis. My boyfriend and I were Monday regulars since that was cheap movie day back then (not sure if it is now). After Paris, my movie-going diminished but I did have a great cheap theater near my apartment in New York so I did continue to go occasionally. One reason that my movie-going trips became few and far between was because I spent too much time dining out, and selecting a movie seemed to interfere with that. Given the choice of rushing through dinner and then going to the movies, A. and I often just chose dinner.
Then Izzy came along and my movie going days seemed to end entirely. In fact I have seen all of two movies in the past five years, Little Children, which traumatized me and The Business of Being Born which is a must see for everyone.
Izzy has led a movie-free existence as well. Since we don't have a television he hasn't much of a clue about watching or going to movies. Nor, in my opinion, does he need to. I don't think I saw my first film, Oliver, until I was about eight or so and I don't feel deprived.
Yet when I heard that the classic French film, The Red Balloon would be shown at our local historic cinema, Landmark Loew's, I couldn't resist. It was to be presented as a double feature along with White Mane.
This seemed like a perfection introduction to cinema at its finest. Even though I hadn't seen either film, I had a fuzzy memory of having read Red Balloon and assumed that the movies were child-friendly since the information stated that they were suitable for ages three and up.
We went along with two of Izzy's friends and I made bags of popcorn for all to share, having assumed that the old cinema wouldn't have any. Turns out they were popping giant batches of the fresh yellow stuff and I had to steer Izzy away from it with promises of fresh homemade. It was hard enough for me to steer myself away from it, having once been known for purchasing the bucket-sized popcorn in my teenage years, yet I managed and the kids just munched on that, thereby avoiding the giant candy bars and other movie concession junk.
Aside from the movies themselves, there was the added bonus of listening to the pipe organist play and singing along before the movies began. That turned out to be the most child-friendly experience of the day. White Mane is not meant for five year olds, let alone younger children. Izzy had to leave when he became disturbed by the poor horse, being surrounded and trapped by fire. His friend I. followed suit. The people at Loew's need to rethink their appropriateness policy. Izzy even found The Red Balloon upsetting and we needed to leave once a pack of boys started pursing the protagonist. Great films these may be, but far more suitable for eight year olds.
Izzy was slightly traumatized by the entire experience and announced his plans of not going to the movies again for a long while. Which I suppose would suit me just fine.