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Alltop, confirmation that I kick ass

Author: toni

~ 11/18/09


I’m always on the prowl for movies that I can watch with my kid. More specifically, movies we can BOTH enjoy.

And lemme tell you, for several years now – since I had my kid – that has been a challenge. My movie-going pleasure has been stifled by motherhood. And that’s sad given that I once could safely say that I had seen every movie nominated for the Oscars.

Instead, now I can safely say that I have seen every animated film that has been released since 2003, the year after Julia was born. And dozens of others made before then.

For example, we own all the classic Disney animated films and every Barbie movie. I have been subjected to them at least a hundred times. That’s about 99 more times than I would have liked.

In the name of mommyhood, I have had to sit through such abominations as “Shark Tales” and “Unhappily Ever After”, oh, and that last “Ice Age” movie. And the only good thing that has come out of it is the time spent with my daughter. And, yes, I consider it quality time even if I’m snoozing through some of it. Especially since she doesn’t know that I’m snoozing.

But now Julia, who is pushing 8, is getting to the age where we can actually watch some more sophisticated fare together. Stuff I actually enjoy myself. Case in point: The Harry Potter films. I love those films. But a grown woman can only watch Hermione turn back time so many times before she starts wondering how to turn back time herself and regain all the hours lost watching, well, Hermione turn back time.

So recently, when the Ang Lee version of “Sense and Sensibility” (one of my all-time favorite movies) came on cable, I got a magnificant idea. I would watch it with Julia!  

You see, I’m a huge Jane Austen fan. Yes, I know it’s cliche. But tough cookies. I enjoyed the books. In fact I went on a classics binge early last year and re-read her books back to back (along with some Melville and Hemingway for the proper testosterone balance).

Anyway, “Sense and Sensibility” seemed a perfect mommy-daughter movie night choice since there’s nothing really objectionable in it. Unless you count Willoughby’s cadish behavior when he abandons a young woman with child (his child). But Julia knows enough about real life divorces and single parenthood that this wouldn’t come as a shock to her…sadly.  

And as I said, I adore Lee’s version of Austen’s novel.  I remember seeing it when it came out and I cried my eyes out when I saw Willoughby on horseback watching the nuptials of Marianne and Colonel Brandon from afar. And knowing he would, indeed, as Elinor had said earlier, always regret her. TAKE THAT Willoughby, you cad who married for money instead of love!

Of course in real life the actor who played Willoughby went on to marry Emma Thompson after her marriage to Kenneth Branagh crumbled due to his affair with Helena Bonham Carter who eventually dumped him for Tim Burton who simultaneously dumped his longtime girlfriend Lisa Marie for Helena Bonhma Carter. But, ahem, that’s another scintillating romantic drama entirely.

The bottom line is… Julia agreed to watch “Sense and Sensibility” with me. I admit, part of what sold her on the idea was the fact that Snape, Trelawney, Umbridge and Minister Fudge from the Harry Potter movies were all in it.  Also the long dresses. She’s a big fan of the long, flowing dresses and would wear them daily if and I quote “it wasn’t too hot.” Julia does not like to sweat.

So we sat down Sunday night and snuggled in front of the movie. And guess what?! She never got bored! She never wanted me to turn it off. She DID have to ask me to clarify things periodically. It wasn’t the British accents so much as the flowery language that threw her from time to time. But she was with it! My kid really got into that Jane Austen!

And as the movie came to its close, and Willoughby rode away up the hill, a lonely figure on horseback. And as Emma Thompson and Hugh Grant held hands, and Alan Rickman and Kate Winslet got into their wedding carriage and the gold coins tumbled through the air in super slo-mo, I turned to Julia and asked:

ME: Did you like it?

JULIA: Yeah. Can we rent the sequel?  

Yep. That’s what she asked. Well, it was a logical question given her movie watching history. There isn’t a Shrek or Little Mermaid or Halloweentown that doesn’t have some kind of sequel or two or three.

ME: Honey, there’s no sequel to Sense and Sensibility.

JULIA: What do you mean there’s no sequel to Sense and Sensibility? WHY NOT?!

And as she looked at me with inquiring eyes I grappled with how best to answer. Would I explain that Austen, who died at the age of 41 of Addison’s disease, never wrote one? No. That wouldn’t explain why the studios never made one.  So should I tell her that even money-grubbing Hollywood movie studios wouldn’t dare mess with a classic for fear of backlash from all the Austen-ites out there?  Nah. Too much information. In the end I simply said:

ME:  There’s no sequel because we’ve already gotten to happily ever after.

She nodded and smiled. That, again because of her movie watching history, was something she understood perfectly.

Next. The Keira Knightley version of “Pride and Prejudice”, methinks.

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  1. What about “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies?” That’s as modern a sequel as you’ll find.

    Comment by bruce — November 19, 2009 @ 11:36 am

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