This past Saturday night I decided it was time to dig in my heels. Dave and I had been talking about our sons’ unmet milestone for some time and since the boys had shown little no to interest in crossing the threshold, it seemed like as good a time as any to give them a little shove nudge.
“You are ACTUALLY going to MAKE us do this?” Noah asked, raising one eyebrow.
“Yes. I am,” I replied, trying to raise one eyebrow back at him, but to no avail. Whenever I attempt that look, I resemble someone who smells something really bad and has a piece of dust under their eyelid. It usually humors my son to watch me try, but that night he wasn’t in the mood to be cheered. He was cornered and he knew it.
“But we have friends over!”
“Indeed. They can join you in this critical endeavor.”
Chase then attempted to play the Daddy card, an age-old tactic that relies on turning Dave and me against one another. It is often successfully employed, but not on this night. We were united and our friend Mo was with us, equally committed to giving our charges the culture they so depserately needed. There was no backing off now. The time had come for our boys to watch Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
In a small way, I had some empathy for my children. I mean no kid wants to be told by their ancient parents what movie they “want” to watch. And Ferris Bueller doesn’t exactly have the most compelling synopsis.
“It’s about a kid who cuts school – and the crazy things he does!” I attempted to make it sound exciting as Dave began the process of downloading the movie onto the iPad and streaming it onto the television. I prayed the technical set up would go quickly as the boys (and their friends) were beginning to mutiny.
“Why don’t we just watch Mythbusters?” offered Chase.
“How about Tower Heist?” suggested friend Ben.
“Inception!” Noah tried again.
“How about War Games?”
This last idea came from Noah’s friend Ian. Clever kid — as War Games could easily be dropped into our bucket list of movies our boys must see before heading off to college. However, Dave quickly recognized this tactic for what it was — a means of distraction designed to infiltrate our rock solid front. As the kryptonite began to work on Mo and me and we started to explain the premise of War Games to the kids, he quickly finished downloading Ferris and ordered everyone to sit down.
Which they did. Begrudgingly. For about a minute.
Then they were sucked into the V-O-R – anyone, anyone? The VORTEX of our youth and completely enjoyed themselves for the next 103 minutes. I’d like to brag that I KNEW they would love the movie. I could have given them the big SEE I TOLD YOU SO after the final, final credits. But I didn’t. Because despite my conviction that they must see this film, I secretly lacked the certainty that they would relate to a movie about a cool kid in 1986.
Because, by definition, nothing could be cool in 1986. Because I was cool in 1986 and according to the transitive property… well you get the picture.
But we really hoped that they would like it. As parents, there are certain childhood experiences you want to share with your offspring for purely nostalgic reasons –and movies certainly apply. If they like the movies that you liked, everything in the world is as it should be because that means that they are LIKE you. And though most of us are laotheto admit it, we want our children to be just like us. You do. Just say it.
Admittedly, my children are not JUST like me. In fact, unlike me, they produce very little estrogen. Thus, I will spare them the mandatory viewing of Steel Magnolias, Beaches, and Terms of Endearment. But coming off the Ferris Bueller success, they can expect to be required to watch Better Off Dead, Die Hard and Stand by Me in the coming months. Because with God as my witness, my sons will not go through life not understanding the biblical references of Two Dollars, Yippe Kay-Ay Mother F$%&er And Chopper, Sick Balls!
Chalk it up to my needing to recapture my lost youth by vicariously living through my sons… or even call it paybacks for having to sit through The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl with them in 2005. Regardless, I think Family Movie Night is going to get a little more interesting coming off this success with Dave and me as executive producers.
So, MoB readers – help us out here. What other movies should our kids HAVE to watch before they move out of our house (and we cant control them anymore)? Please weigh in below and we’ll start the Netflix queue. In the meantime, here ‘s a litte reminder of what our boys almost missed.