Entertainment: First Real Movie Theater Experience (MaiTai, Age 3)


When MaiTai was a baby, I took him to a matinee of a Wizard of Oz remake. I didn’t want him to watch the screen that tenderly and impressionably young so I hoped he’d sleep through the whole thing — and sleep he did. He didn’t miss much; it was a terrible (read: godawful) movie.

He had his first ‘big screen’ adventure when I recently enjoyed an outdoor movie with him, a showing of The Polar Express.

Tonight was his first time watching a film (The Good Dinosaur) at a traditional cinema.

Upon entering the theater, he said, “I don’t like this place.”

Well, crap.

A monstrosity of a multiplex, really a gargantuan thing with multiple full-service bars (points awarded!), bowling lanes, and other neat stuff like sushi (but no vegan sushi… loss of points!), Santikos Palladium was packed with crowds this holiday weekend.

I investigated further and found out he just didn’t like all the people. (You and me both, buddy…).

“There are too many people, I don’t like them.”

“Yeah, they’re stupid. Don’t worry about them, we don’t have to pay attention to them during the movie because the lights will be off.” (Okay, probably shouldn’t have called them “stupid” but I’m sure he was thinking it anyway… 😀 ).

“Okay!” said he, all excited. “This is going to be SO FUN!”

In our seats, he noticed surrounding moviegoers devouring popcorned butter in trough-sized containers. He said, “Mama, we don’t need nom-noms. I just want to watch the movie!”

So, no munchies for us.

He watched the perilous action scenes with his head on our arms or hand over a mouth agape in shock. “Oh no! He’ll NEVER find his way home!” he commented about the lost main character. “He’s scared!”

I told him he can look away if it gets too scary, but he said, “It’s scary, but it’s nice, this is good.”

So, scary is thrilling. I guess it was a PG-rated Pixar movie after all…

Afterward, while The Designated Dad fetched the car, he whispered in my ear that he wanted to nurse. I said okay and gathered him into my lap by the theater entrance.

He said, “They’re both yucky. But that’s okay, I’ll have some more when baby (Julep) comes out.” This is kind of how breastfeeding has been for the past few weeks.

So, maybe I should take the possibility of tandem nursing a bit more seriously…

Via Pixar Studios

**Spoilers Ahead**

The Designated Dad’s and my thoughts on The Good Dinosaur:

  • Tailored toward a younger set of children. I only noticed one adult-targeted joke, which involved the main characters getting stoned on rotten fruit and appearing hungover after a brief trippy moment. Kids might see it as a dream sequence. The film in general is soft around the edges, mild, and light on dialogue.
  • Kind of a “Lion King Lite.” A lot of scenes and character archetypes drawn from that film. For example, a father-son bonding over fireflies scene that reminds of Mufasa and Simba’s iconic “look to the stars” moment. The stampede that kills Mufasa as Simba looks on = a deluge of storm flooding that kills Papa dinosaur as his son looks on. Etc, etc, etc but I won’t bore with an abundance of examples.
  • Themes of surrendering to fear. Finding what motivates you. Friendship. Bravery. Making your mark. The importance of family.
Via Pixar Studios

MaiTai’s thoughts on The Good Dinosaur:

“It was bad. The movie with the boy and the dad was bad. I didn’t know what that box was and I didn’t know what the boy did.”

After some clarification, it turns out he was referring to the short film that preceded the feature film (it was called Sanjay’s Super Team). So, I asked what he thought of the dinosaur movie.

“Oh, that one was good. The screen was THIS big! I TOLD you it would be that big…. THAT big!”

Via stadiumseating.com






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