There is something that makes me entirely Un-America. That will leave the one visitor I had from Saudi Arabia yesterday (hi!) scratching her head, “I thought you’re supposed to be a New York Cliché?” I still fit the bill: what I am about to tell you just proves I’m an outsider who flew to the city, away from her bizarre family. Super cliché, right?
Okay, here’s the thing.
Never have I ever been to the movies with my family.
Weird right? I’m an only child, my family is only three people! The three of us have never sat in a movie theater together. Never in the history of the world. Movies were not a valued form entertainment in my household growing up. “Read a book,” was my mother’s well versed phrase. But really, movies just weren’t an option. By the time we got a VCR in my house, I was nearly a teenager. Fortunately my father took it upon himself to keep me from “freak status”. I owe it to him that my elementary school social standing remained some where above that of home schooled kids. He took me to see the amazing Disney movies that were released during my childhood: The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin. I think he enjoyed Aladdin even more than I did. So I’ve been to the movies with my dad, but to this day I have never seen my mom in a cushioned seat in front of the big screen.
We did have a TV, but it wasn’t like most televisions in American households in the early ’90s. I can’t say my mother was a remote Nazi because our TV did not have a remote. Many children have watched Sesame Street and Mister Roger’s in black and white, but I did it in 1990. I imagined Barney the Dinosaur was red and blue until my classmates started showing up with his purple face plastered on their lunch boxes.
Saturday morning cartoons were a coloring book for my imagination. We never had cable but I was allowed to watch Saturday morning cartoons. Well, under one condition: that I mute the sound during commercials. No, I am not kidding. I remember my first major act of rebellion against my mother was sneaking a listen to the jingle for Polly Pocket!
It’s kind of amazing my parents did this. Honestly, I’m grateful for it. Perhaps these a-typical American viewing trends are the main reason I grew into the unique individual I am today. In San Francisco, it wasn’t difficult to find friends whose parents also heavily restricted TV and movie viewing. Since moving to New York, I have found many more individuals who are shocked by my media void. I am notorious amongst my theater friends because nine times out of ten, when they bring up a movie, I haven’t seen it.
Take this year’s Oscar nominated films. I haven’t seen a single one of those nominated for best feature. I’m the Academy’s worst nightmare. I really only see movies in NYC if I am invited by a boy. I’ll go, and appreciate that he pays for my $14 ticket, but I can’t help thinking We’re in New York City! There are so many more interesting things to do then watch a movie that will be on Netflix in 3 months! But now that I haven’t dated in over six months, I realize how grateful I am to the boys who take me out to movies. They keep me from turning into my mother.
There are nine movies nominated for Best Picture. Here is a list of nine movies I have not seen, the top contenders for Best “I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THIS” Picture.
8. Groundhog Day
- It’s A Wonderful Life
- Back to the Future
- Gone with the Wind
- Goldfinger, or any of the James Bond Canon
- Raiders of the Lost Ark, or any of the Indiana Jones trilogy
- The Godfather
- The Muppets Take Manhattan
It is absolutely insane that I haven’t seen The Muppets Take Manhattan. But with all these movies, I don’t feel like I can just watch them by myself on a snowy Saturday. It should be an occasion when I watch these, right? I at least want to share the experience with someone who will understand what a step crossing these off the list with me will be! Any volunteers? Any one else not seen any of those movies?