In the past few years, I've thought about my parents more than ever. I think it's for a couple of reasons. Mainly because as I'm maturing (he says) I've come to see them more as people and less as parents. They're still my parents, but our relationship as parent/child has changed over the years, as is proper. They're more like friends to me now. Recently, I've started going to movies with them. Around Christmas time, the three of us went to see The Missing. This is a movie that my dad's all about. It's got Tommy Lee Jones, cowboys and Indians, guns and slave trade, and witchcraft. It's basically a supernatural Western film. I hadn't gone to the theatre with my mom and dad for years, it seems. We've watched videos at home, of course, but it's a whole nother atmosphere, watching at home. What I discovered when the three of us went to the movies, though, was that I had become the parent and my parents the children. Seriously, the two of them were monsters.
"Who is that supposed to be?" asks my mother. She's sitting between me and my father.
I say, "Watch the movie and find out."
"I think that's her father," says my father. It sounds like he's trying to whisper, but not really.
My mother turns to me and says, "Your father thinks that her father." She smiles as if my dad is a great detective.
I say, "You two have to be quiet. There are people around us. It's the theater, be quiet, okay?"
My mother smiles at this, as if she knows something I don't. Are they doing it on purpose?
Later: "What's he doing?"
"Well that guy had that coming to him."
Laughter from my mother. "Did you hear what your dad said?"
"Will you guys just be quiet??"
"Take him over the cliff!! That's right, that'll teach him!"
We made it through the film finally, and a good time was had, and luckily it was a crowded cinema. Only about ten other people, so there was not a mob at the end. The next week my dad and I went to see Cold Mountain, and we were pretty quiet, so I started to wonder if somehow the two of them only talk through movies when they're together, playing off each other somehow. Turns out during Cold Mountain, I was the one who made noise. I couldn't help it. Every time Renee Zellwegger's character, Ruby, said something, I cracked up.
Cold Mountain was a great film. You can pan what you want, but the one thing about that film (and the book) that is interesting, is its perspective on the Civil War. We have created a wrongful image of the South, as well as the North, due to the outcome of that war, and due to the, yes of course wrong-headedness of slavery. But with films and books like this one, we can revise that image to see a truer South come into the cultural consciousness. And for that, I appreciate the movie.
Plus Ruby was a gem.