Monday, July 10, 2017

Not the curmudgeon he thinks he is

I've been getting more and more examples over time that my nearly seven-year-old does not hate "baby movies," even though he professes to. But Sunday was the coup de grace.

First a little background.

We recently got The Lion King out from the library, I think at my instigation. However, unlike other recent animated classics I've successfully pushed on my kids, this wasn't one of those where I'd planned to sit down with them and watch it. That's in part because The Lion King has never been a personal favorite. I didn't see it until more than a year after its release, and I've only seen it that one time. (I remember the exact timing of my viewing, October 1995, because I watched it with a girl I was dating at the time.)

My own partisanship or lack thereof was not a decisive factor in it making its way into our DVD player, probably because the younger one (age 3) still loves anything with animals in it. He's as much of a stereotype for his age as the older one is with his love of Pokemon and anything where someone has a gun. But the older one watched and like The Lion King too.

At some point we also acquired The Lion King 2: Simba's Pride from the library, which I have not seen and would have not played a role in selecting, since I've got a bit of a bias against straight-to-video sequels, whatever they may be. It turns out my wife was responsible for this one, not because of any interest or experience with it (she never even saw the original) but probably because my younger one found it in her presence and she added it to the stack. I wasn't even aware it was among our 30 or so library videos (they let you take out 50 at once!) until the younger one said he wanted to see it. "There is no Lion King 2," I even said when he said he wanted to watch it, forgetting for a moment about Simba's Pride and thinking that the fact we didn't have it was sufficient enough to negate its existence entirely. He proved me wrong on both counts.

It didn't get watched the day he originally talked about watching it, but he did select it as "his choose" for Sunday morning TV time. Usually in this scenario, the older one suffers through 20 minutes of the movie (at most) before declaring it now time for "his choose," which is fair enough, as you shouldn't have to suffer through an entire movie you don't want to watch.

But this time it wasn't a problem. This time, in fact, the older one never even took a choose. This time, in fact, the younger one stopped paying attention to Simba's Pride while the older one sat there, rapt, watching it to its completion.

I still would have written this post if that were all that happened. But it gets better.

When Simba's Pride finished, the older one said "I want to watch it again."

With a bit of a laugh, I clicked the back chapter button until he was at the beginning again.

Now normally, I wouldn't really want my children to watch two entire features' worth of screens before we got going on our day. That's a bit too indulgent. But when it comes to movies, I like to encourage their interest, and besides, I was handing over to my wife around 9:30 so a friend could come over to watch baseball with me on his computer. (Yes, I have an Australian friend who not only likes baseball, he even pays for the baseball package.) Consequently, I don't know how much of his second viewing he actually got through, but the fact of it at all was what interested me.

I'm crazy for movies, and I can only think of two definite times I've watched the same movie twice in the same day, and only one of those instances can be described as roughly consecutive. Now, kids are a bit more obsessive in this regard than adults, but it's certainly something he's never done before in a good four years of watching movies.

I still would have written this post if that were all that happened. But it gets better.

This morning, when I was getting ready for work, Simba's Pride came on again. It's school holidays, so we're letting them watch TV on weekday mornings as well. I was escorted out of the house with that pretty beautiful song "He Lives in You" that plays over the opening credits.

I still would have written this post if yada yada yada.

When I got home from work today, the kids were having "quiet time," which is code for "mummy and daddy are exhausted from a full day of entertaining you and now you must watch TV." Again, it's an allowance on a weekday made possible by school holidays.

Guess what was playing?

So this is clearly the most obsessive behavior my son has ever displayed toward a movie. Even the ones he says he loves he probably wouldn't watch more than twice in a week, and not likely on consecutive days in any case.

So now I simply must see this movie myself.

Since we have both the original and the sequel -- at least until our renewals run out -- I talked about making it a double feature one night when my wife is out of town at the end of this month. I planned to do it on my own to further my cinematic education (a refresher on The Lion King is always useful), and to be able to relate to my son on a topic he loves. But when I mentioned I might do that, he said, "Can I watch it with you?"

That might keep him up until 11 o'clock at night, but how can I refuse an offer like that?

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