As you can probably determine based on the number of reviews I post that none of you read, I'm a big fan of the cinema. For as long as I can remember I have found great joy and satisfaction from the world of film. It started with Star Wars, matured with The Shawshank Redemption, and developed into borderline obsession with the turn of the century and The Lord of the Rings series. Over the first 30 years of my life, there are a number of landmark memories that jump out because of a particular theater experience. Some of these include: 1989 - The first new movie I remember seeing in a theater. My dad took me to see Batman with Michael Keaton in the lead; 1990 - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles came to theaters and my brother I were REALLY stoked about this; 1993 - My parents took me to see Jurassic Park which remains, to this day, the greatest theater experience I have ever had and likely will ever have; 1996 - In the midst of a family reunion, all of the cousins piled into the front row of a dinky theater to watch Independence Day on Independence Day. During the surgery scene when the alien's chest cavity snapped open, my brother freaked out and ran out of the room; 1999 - The most anticipated movie of my entire life, The Phantom Menace, came to theaters and I'm pretty sure I skipped school to see it. This is also the most disappointing movie going experience of my life.
I could list many more but you get the picture. I have a freakish memory for names, places, and dates and more often than I'd like to admit these memories are hallmarked by what was happening in the worlds of film or sport at the time. I cherish these memories and I find that there is great value in the cinema if you are willing to look for it. As such, among the many things I look forward to sharing with my son, my love for film takes a prominent place. When the news that Disney had acquired the rights to the Star Wars universe was announced and a new set of films became a reality, one of the first thoughts I had was that Episode VII (expected to drop in summer 2015) could very well become Cooper's first real theater experience. Because obviously he needs to be raised in the ways of the Force.
We'll see if that ends up playing out accordingly, but in the meantime, Cooper's exposure to film has already begun. Having bristled through numerous annoying experiences involving children in a standard theater setting, I am hyper sensitive about making sure he doesn't find his way into a theater until he's capable (or mostly capable) of sitting through the movie. But thankfully, there is a loophole: the drive-in theater. The Coyote Drive-In opened just a few weeks ago on the outskirts of downtown Fort Worth and last week, on a strangely non-busy weekday, we decided to venture out and take Cooper to his first movie.
I folded down the back two rows of seats in our Honda Pilot, we laid out a heap of blankets and pillows, and all three of us stretched out in semi-comfort. Like most drive-in setups, Coyote shows double features on all of their screens and the movies for the day were Epic followed by Iron Man 3. In hindsight, it bothers me a little that Cooper's first "big screen movie" experience will include a throw-away animated film that absolutely no one will remember in a year but he isn't quite ready for the subtle nuances of Fast and Furious 6 so I didn't want to waste that on him. We bailed out in the intermission between Epic and IM3 though not because Cooper was fussing but because Lindsey was. (Something about having a baby has made her really lazy lately.) But really, the film didn't matter so much as the experience did. This is yet another in a long line of landmark memories that are attached to film and it stands as the beginning of teaching this little guy about the things that I love and hoping he'll share in some of those passions. Now if I could only figure out how to warn him about Jar Jar Binks...
Han shot first, Brian