A couple of days ago I wrote about my life-long fondness for trashy movies. I used the excuse (the first of several to ensue) that I'd grown up with them--that not much else was available when I was a kid in the 1950s. So ... a habit formed. And since I neither smoke nor drink (okay, once upon a time I did), I figure I'm entitled to at least one self-destructive habit?
But there are other reasons for my sitting in movie theaters where I hope I will recognize no one else in the audience (shame, shame, shame on me for being there!): My profession.
Yes, I often went to see a bad movie because (or so I told myself) my students would be seeing the film, and I always liked being able to talk with my seventh and eighth graders (or, later, high schoolers) about popular films, TV shows, music, celebs. Because I didn't have time during my teaching life to watch a lot of television (and I lost interest in popular music after Woodstock--a topic for another post one of these days), I did the next best thing: subscribed to People magazine and, later, Entertainment Weekly. I read through those magazines each week and earned thereby a sort of idiot's familiarity with popular singers, actors, whatever.
But movies? I've always loved them--always--so on the weekends I would try to see the films that I thought the kids would see--as well as films that Joyce and I knew were more ... worthy. One exception: Neither of us likes horror films, so I have never seen those franchise series films like Halloween, Friday the 13th, etc. No, films with roaring chainsaws and creepy folks with machetes leaping out from the darkness and supernatural whatevers appearing in mirrors just before they slaughter you--none of that has ever appealed to me ... okay, it scares me. So when my students talked about horror films, I feigned knowledge. (Teachers are very good at that.)
Not that movies about Harry Potter, Bella Swan, et al. are "trashy," but they are films I never would have gone to see if I had not been teaching. (I actually ended up getting hooked on the Potter novels--read them all in a single week that saw me do little else--Joyce was out of town, so I didn't even have to be polite to anyone.)
Here's a story about the first Twilight film (2008). I had read the first novel in the series--just to see what was going on--knowing that most of the young women in my classes had read the books. I recognized right away that I was not the audience for the novels (shouldn't I have know that ahead of time?), and I also read it on my Kindle so that people at Starbucks wouldn't see me reading it and wonder if I were some kind of perv.
On 9 November 2008, Joyce and I went out to Montrose (West Akron) to see the film. The theater soon filled to capacity, and as far as I could tell, I was the only one there with a Y chromosome. Then, just before the lights went down, here came two sheepish high school boys with their dates. I was on the aisle, and when they got close, I stopped them and thanked them for coming. Everyone laughed. (Whew.)
I made the mistake of laughing at a couple of things in the film--one was the early scene in the cafeteria when we see the vampires for the first time. I laughed out loud when I saw them and received for my glee some ferocious shhhhhhing from many young women around me. (Later, I laughed a couple of other times when I "shouldn't" have--and earned the same response.) BTW: There's a funny parody of that cafeteria scene in the SNL database--here's a link.
We saw a couple of the other Twilight films but quit going when I retired in 2011. So ... I don't know about the wedding of Bella and Edward--and all that ensued.
One more: I also went to see the first Kick-Ass film (2010), mostly because I was giving at talk at Western Reserve Academy in January 2011 (about "transformations") and wanted to allude to that film as an example of how transformation is an ingredient in superhero comics and movies. I mentioned the film in only a single sentence--showed a photo of the poster--and got a nice laugh.
See? A trashy movie earned me some points! QED.
SO: REASON/EXCUSE #2 FOR ATTENDING TRASHY MOVIES: HELPING ME COMMUNICATE WITH MY STUDENTS.
TO BE CONTINUED ...