Off to See the Wizard

It was “Movie Night” the other night.  Movie Night doesn’t fall on a specific date.  It just happens to be an evening where we’ve done all the work we need to do and eaten dinner at a decent hour.  There’s enough time left before bedtime to view some of the thousands of gigabytes we’ve recorded on the DVR.  It was my turn to pick something to watch.  Daniel looked a bit wary.

“We’re going to watch some old movie, aren’t we?” he said.  I nodded.  So much of our culture depends on references to old music and movies and television shows.  I felt it was my parental duty to educate my child so he knew what his parents’ snarky comments meant.  Not to mention, we don’t get channels with newer movies; they cost too much.

“I thought we would watch The Wizard of Oz,” I said.

Daniel snorted.  “Isn’t that a kids’ movie?”

“Aren’t you a kid?” I asked.

He didn’t have a good counter to that.

I’m worried my window of opportunity is closing with Daniel.  He’s growing up.  I think he will be able to appreciate older movies, maybe understand them from an intellectual standpoint and how amazing they were back in their day, but he won’t be able to appreciate them at a visceral level any more.  They’ll be good movies, but not his movies.  I hoped for the best.  We popped some kettle corn and took a couple of boxes of Dots down from the corner cabinet.  We made ourselves comfy on the family room couch, sharing the green throw on our feet.  We turned out the lights and started The Wizard of Oz.

Daniel got right into it.  He didn’t beg me to use the commercial skip when Dorothy started to sing.  There was concern on his face when she was trapped outside during the tornado.   Daniel brushed it off when I mentioned it.

“I knew she wouldn’t be killed in a Rated-G movie,” he said.  “Lucky for her it’s not an R.”

I pointed out how the film went to color when Dorothy arrived in Oz.  It turned out Daniel hadn’t noticed.  He just thought it was “the color of Kansas” before that.  He liked the Scarecrow and the Tin Man right away.  He thought the Lion was a jerk at first, but he grew on Daniel as the movie went on.

I got the first question when the group tried to cross the poppy fields.  “Do poppies make you pass out like that?” he asked.

“I think it’s a metaphor,” I said.

Daniel nodded.  “I get it.  It’s supposed to be heroin, but they couldn’t show heroin back then in the movies.”

“That’s true,” I managed weakly.  “Definitely no heroin allowed in The Wizard of Oz.”

I have to admit, I still think the flying monkeys are seriously creepy.  I must have looked distressed near the end of the movie because Daniel patted my arm.

“Don’t worry, Dad, Dorothy’s not going to die,” he said.  “All she has to do is keep turning over the hourglass and she’ll be fine.”  I’ve probably seen The Wizard of Oz ten times since I was a kid and I never thought of that.  It made me feel better about the whole thing.

Daniel felt the ending was kind of weak.  He didn’t like the “… and it was just a dream” malarkey.  I explained they needed the movie to have a happy ending.

“She goes back to Kansas where the neighbor is going to kill her dog and the house got hit by a tornado?” he asked.  “Some happy ending!”


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