November 9, 2012

A Canuck in Kantuck: Let’s go to the movies

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — In a few hours, in the middle of the day in the middle of the week, my husband is going to take me to the movies. I have to admit, it’s one of my favorite things in the whole world to do.

The first movie I ever went to was with my best friend Kristin. Her auntie Glenda took us to see “Annie,” and I remember every last detail of the movie house: the red carpet, the yellow popcorn, the wide, shallow stairs leading upward to the theatres, the ticket stub she handed me that was mine alone. The movie itself was tremendous and I wanted all of it: the dog named Sandy, the red, curly hair, I even wanted to be an orphan a little bit so I could be discovered by Daddy Warbucks, whose name I thought only sounded Ukrainian, not symbolic. Kristin and I each got the record that year for Christmas and we learned all of the lyrics, which I can still to this day recite.

When I was single and extremely poor, going to a matinée was something I did nearly every weekend and I was up on all of the best films. I almost always had $5 to spare and I could sit back in the comfortable seats and escape the winter for a while. My favorite times were when I was the only one in the theatre. Then, I would put my feet up on the chair in front of me (admittedly always a little worried the usher would tell me not to, though not so worried I didn’t do it) and relax with my bowl of popcorn, which I would always get buttered because I was always skinny back then. The best was during Oscar season when the Winnipeg movie theatres would bring back all of the films that had been nominated so you could brush up on the contenders before the big night.

Going to a movie with my husband is something that happens only rarely, in part because he’s always working and in part because he doesn’t feel the same way about movies as I do. As we all know, most of the best movies are the most depressing movies just as the best books are the saddest and, silly boy, he would rather avoid things that are depressing. And yet, when I can get him to dive into one, he has the most amazing insight afterwards and we can talk about a good movie, one that really seeps into you, for days.

My favorite movie of all time is “Out of Africa” and I know almost every word. I’ve seen it about 50 times — I have an old, battered copy of it on VHS — and every time I come away convinced I need to move to British East Africa and run a coffee farm. The music, the airplane, Robert Redford, the safaris, the clothes, the lions, the sadness — all of it is so tremendously romantic and beautiful it makes me ache.

However, there are other favorites too. Every November when I’m beginning to feel festive, I watch “When Harry Met Sally,” and every December while I’m wrapping presents I watch “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.” We introduced Gabrielle to two other childhood favorites this year: “Dirty, Rotten Scoundrels” and “A Fish Called Wanda.” She loved Scoundrels and has since carried on the Tara and Matthew Kaprowy tradition of watching it very, very frequently. As for Wanda, well, though my parents had let me watch it at the age of 12, I had neglected to remember that they had taped it after it had been edited for TV so all of the swearing and most of the sex was bleeped out. Gabrielle watched it with increasingly widening eyes and though she did get the funny bits, I think she came away from it simply overwhelmed.

Today we’re off to watch the new James Bond film if it’s out or “Argo” if it’s not, which my parents saw and said is very good. Honestly, I’d be willing to watch “Alien vs. Predator” or even “Snakes on a Plane” if it means I can go to a matinée with my husband, get a big bowl of popcorn and nestle into the world of make-believe for a couple of hours in the middle of the day in the middle of the week.


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Now that school is out, what are your family’s summer vacation plans?

A. No major plans. We will probably hang out around Laurel County.
B. Going to the beach!
C. Kentucky has a lot of wonderful state parks, and we plan to visit a few and enjoy quality family time.
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