My son meets The FlySep 30, 2019 01:59PM ● By Beacon Senior News
“Come on, son, watch this movie with me.”
“Seriously. It’s very scary. It’ll get you into the mood for Halloween.”
My son looks at me with a somewhat more than skeptical eye.
“You’ve said that before. Remember (title of film redacted)?”
I look down and remember that disaster. Wow. When I was a kid, that movie scared the daylights out of me. But when an opportunity arose to watch it again on cable TV (with my son), I see that what scared me as a youth left me confused, bewildered and outright embarrassed as an adult. And my son was none too pleased with having wasted an hour and a half watching a corny movie, with corny acting and laughable special effects.
“This….is different,” I say somewhat timidly. I play the guilt card. “You know, when I was your age, my dad was already dead. I’d have given anything to watch a scary movie with him…”
“All right, all right,” he says with frustration.
Giddily, I lead him to the living room and explain to him how this movie totally creeped me out as a kid. After the popcorn was popped, we settled in to watch the 1958 version of "The Fly."
My son’s skepticism in my movie choices is not unfounded. On more than one occasion I have guilted him into watching some TV show or movie that was special to me when I was a kid. Far more often than not, we both went away from the movie disillusioned.
Were my tastes in film really that bad? Or did things change over the years? I think the answer is mostly the latter.
In the past, most movies reflected life as it was back then. A hero saves a damsel. Many (but not all) of those movies were sexist and offensive to modern sensibilities. Interestingly, the ones that have aged well don’t usually follow those patterns. They were different back then, and have consequently come into their own now.
So as I sat down with my son to watch Vincent Price in "The Fly," I thought about that. Here, the heroic scientist has made some awful decisions and has gotten himself into something of a pickle, to say the least. I won’t give away any spoilers, but the scientist turns to his wife for assistance. Unfortunately, he asks the nearly impossible and only gives her a short time to complete the task, after which he decides on a drastic solution.
It had been decades since I have watched "The Fly" myself, but as I did I thought about how well the movie had aged. The scientist’s wife was strong and capable. The males around her were condescending and protective. In the end, they saw, to their horror, that she was right all along.
“Hey,” my son piped in during the film, “This movie is pretty good.”
And it hadn’t even got to the best part yet. If you have seen the movie, you know what I’m talking about.
To this day, if I am doing something that requires my son’s assistance, I will mimic the movie and say “heeelp meeeee…” to him. In the past, he always thought that I was just weird and I never bothered explaining where that came from. But finally, THAT scene came on.
“Oh, wow,” my son said quietly, “So THAT’S why you do that.”
After the movie was over, he remarked how much he enjoyed the film. “Ok, Dad. You made up for (title of film redacted).”
“Thanks,” I say, accepting the unusually high praise. “You know, Turner Classic Movies is playing The Music Man, which is a great music…”
“Dad. Stop. Just stop.”