Sunday, October 30, 2016

Not only Shocktober, but also Choctober


As we busy ourselves each October with viewings designed to scare us, we tend to forget that Halloween also means candy.

Lots and lots of candy.

That might explain the choice of movie for the so-called "Sleeping Bag Cinema" at the Lost Lands Festival, a two-day family-friendly music festival in nearby Werribee at which attendees can camp out Saturday night (Sunday night too, since Monday is a single workday squeezed in before a holiday, meaning many people are taking it off). Not only can they, but we did, so my six-year-old and I decided to go to the movie, despite its 9:30 start time and despite the fact that we had both already seen Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory within the past year. He'd actually seen it twice, I think.

I don't worry so much about his repeat viewings, because he's a kid and they tend to obsess over things they like, but my own repeat viewings rarely need to involve seeing a movie I've already seen twice in the same year. If it's something new that I've just discovered and I can't wait to see it again, that's one thing. But if it's at least the second and third viewing of a particular movie, it often feels like overkill -- even something you love.

And I don't love Willy Wonka. I like it a lot, but it was not among the movies I watched regularly as a child -- in fact, I don't think I first saw it until I was an adult. That means I have no sentimental attachment to it, and judge it merely on the basis of its effectiveness as a movie. About which I have sort of mixed feelings, as you remember from this post, which I wrote only two days after last seeing it -- just seven months ago on March 29th.

So I was dragging my feet a little bit on actually attending, especially after a long day in the sun in which I had spread three-and-a-half beers over six hours. (So, really only enough to make me tired.) But the novelty of watching a movie in my sleeping bag under the stars -- with my son, no less -- won out.

As soon as the conveyor belts of chocolate over the opening credits came on screen, I knew we'd made the right choice. My son and I were not actually eating chocolate -- we'd opted for a $5 bag of hot buttered popcorn that someone enterprising entrepreneur had whipped up for us -- but the amount on the screen was enough to sustain us.

Unfortunately, not for the whole movie. He got scared by the boat scene, which indeed had thrown him for a loop last time but had not prevented him from finishing the viewing. Then again, that viewing was at home on our coach and easy to finish. This one was pushing past 10:30 and quickly becoming one of the latest times he'd ever stayed awake. Besides, he had to go to the bathroom.

His old man was perfectly fine with that. Despite some Coke to pep me up, I remained unpepped enough to doze off not once but twice, cozy there in my sleeping bag.

So I don't get to log it as an official repeat viewing. We heard Violet Beauregard turning into a blueberry from farther and farther away as we crossed the road back to the campsite and used the portable toilets. In fact, the sound from the movie was almost enough that we could have kept listening to it from our tents, but thankfully, sleep overtook us soon after we returned.

Not for long, as you might expect from camping. The kids actually did great, but my wife and I felt lucky to steal 45 minutes here and there, and it was the kind of sleep that was so unsatisfying that you couldn't have sworn for sure that it actually happened. I greeted the arrival of 5:30 with exquisite relief, as I could actually get up and start doing things and not keep pretending to try to sleep.

But that's another story. The story I want to tell you today is how my son and I bonded over chocolate, popcorn, Halloween, a past-your-bedtime movie under the stars, sticking the Scotch tape I found in my backpack on each others' faces, and hopefully, a dawning love of cinema.

And now I've just told it.

1 comment:

Wendell Ottley said...

Awwww! What a cute, touching story. My kids are teenagers now, so I don't get to have those types of experiences, anymore. I'm jealous.