"The most wasted of all days is one without laughter." ~e e cummings

Friday, March 17, 2017

Beauty....and Beastly

We had been looking forward to tonight for weeks. By the good fortune (luck o' the Irish) of having wonderful friends, we had the opportunity to be the guests of a real estate company for a private showing of the new Beauty and the Beast.

Molly, in particular, was counting down the hours and minutes until showtime. "I'm gonna be Belle today, Mommy. All day. And do my hair 'up and down' like Belle, too." So I hemmed and mended this worn-out, seam-ripped, too-long gown until it was fit for a princess. It took me all morning, but it was worth it. I tied her hair up in a perfect bun, which was adorably messy and loose within ten minutes. She was ready.

We arrived at the theatre early, as we do, so we could get good seats: way up high and in the back. We don't prefer to be too close to the lights or the sounds or the action. I passed out the candy that the leprechaun had smartly delivered to the kids this morning ("movie theatre-sized boxes" of Sour Patch Kids for Evan, Skittles for Molly, and Rainbow Nerds for Max) while we settled into our seats and Sam went back out to buy beers. You read that right! Beers in a movie theatre. You can get a full meal, too, but we had, again...smartly, eaten a nice, healthy, family dinner before the movie.

We are so organized and well-prepared for a nice night out at the movies!

While Sam was still waiting on our drinks, a man walked into the theatre with, presumably, his wife. "I didn't know this showing was in 3D!" he said casually, as he shuffled his drink and popcorn to better hold his 3D glasses.

And this is when we started to fall apart.

"Wait. What?!" Evan began. "I ALSO did not know this movie was in 3D. I was not told. You did not tell me. I will not wear 3D glasses. We need to leave. Let's leave. I'm leaving. Where's Daddy?"

"What glasses?" Molly asked. "Like sunglasses in a movie?"

And then Max chimed in: "Wait. Do things actually pop out at you when it's 3D? Like will the water splash us or something?"

"Alright, guys, hold on," I said, trying to remain calm but also realizing that, if it is indeed a 3D movie, we WILL not last and I WILL not get to see this movie that I (just now realized I) had been looking forward to for weeks!

"We don't even know that it IS 3D. I think we would have known when we got the invitation. I think the glasses are for a later show. We'll find out when Daddy gets back."

Evan continued to protest even remaining in the theatre awaiting an answer while I explained the difference between 3D movies and those interactive theme park "experiences" to Max. Molly seemed perfectly content with or without the shades.

Finally, Sam returned, handed me a giant, movie theatre-sized beer and immediately turned around to ask about the dimensional status of our movie...Evan leading the way.

A huge breath of relief later as we discovered that our movie was the standard, non-glasses-requiring movie, I opened the kids' giant boxes of candy and we counted down the last few minutes until showtime.

Now, I have to say, I was a fan of Beauty and the Beast before I even saw it. I love the animated classic, I love the music, I love Emma Watson (and I was so pissed at Slate for publishing that "but Emma can't sing like a Disney princess" article), I love the much-hyped ostensibly gay Le Fou subplot, and I knew that this movie was going to have to veer wildly into realms of weirdness if I was going to change my opinion on it.

What I didn't expect were the actual, legitimate goosebumps I felt during so many of the big, emotional scenes. The opening dance scene, the provincial-town hilltop scene, Be Our Guest, the ballroom scene, of course...but even others: Belle's rebuke of Gaston, her father's tenderness, the moment with the wolves when Beast saves her, then she him...and so much more. It was So well done.

But it was scary. The beginning was dark, the fight scenes intense. Molly and Max were buried deep in our chests and I could tell it was getting to Evan, too. I kept reminding them: "Beast isn't evil, he's just sad and lonely!" "This movie has a happy ending!" "Belle is fine!" and then, "Beast is fine! Remember? Just wait for the magic!"

There was one scene, though, that I wasn't prepared for....and I wasn't actually in the theatre when it came on....[spoiler alert....if you don't want to know, skip to the stars.]

Right after the scene where Belle begins to see the man within the Beast ("Something There"), I left with Molly for a potty break. It was such a lucky break. We came back to a pub scene.....and a hysterical Max. Like, sobbing. Apparently, we had missed a flashback. The scene depicted a family suffering from the plague. There was a brief, but not-to-be missed image of a doctor treating the family. The doctor was wearing one of those horrifying plague masks. Stuff of nightmares, that mask.


Max tried valiantly to pull himself together but he was just done. It was late. He was tired. It had been an intense movie. Sam took him out to the hallway, while I whisper-hissed after them "Come back for the happy ending! Don't let him leave the movie on THAT!!" Meanwhile, Evan was also asking to leave the movie and Molly, who thankfully had missed the worst part, was asking why her brothers didn't like the movie.

I convinced Evan to stay for the Furniture Strikes Back scene, one that truly did not disappoint and for which Max returned to the theatre just in time. The end of the movie progressed relatively smoothly, with many frantic reminders that there would be a happy ending, but well enough.

As the first of the ending credits rolled, I kissed Max, told him I was proud of him for bravely coming back in to watch the rest of the movie, and exhaled that we had made it through the entire film.

Annnnnnnnnnnd as I exhaled, I spilled Max's entire box of Nerds off my lap. He had probably eaten an eighth of the huge, movie theatre-sized box and those freaking Nerds spilled down from our seats, Way Up High and In the Back, cascading down the stadium seating, Nerd by Nerd, plink by plink.

It sounded like a freaking rainstick...and the sobbing began anew.

We literally could not leave that theatre fast enough. As we ran-walked past the St. Paddy's Day revelers on the pedestrian mall, Max continued to cry: "I'm not sad about the Nerds! I'm scared of that doctor! And I just don't do well at night in the dark when we're outside. And I'm tiiiiiiiiiirrrrrrrrreeeeeedddddd."

Evan distracted his own tired and over-stimulated mind by planning his actions when we returned to the house: "First, I'm gonna get some scotch tape. That'll keep the rest of these Sour Patch Kids safe and sound in this box..."

And good old Molly hiked her ball gown up by the ruffles so she didn't trip over it with her silver sparkly high-top sneakers.

All three fell asleep on the way home.

And I could really use another giant, movie theatre-sized beer right about now.

Lesson Learned:

My own family's antics aside, the movie was phenomenal. Three cheers for visual representation of interracial relationships, a gay (unrequited) love-interest, and a (reciprocal) budding gay romance. For this masterpiece, they even flipped the old "embarrass a guy by dressing him up like a girl" gag...two of the three forced into drag looked horrified, the third straight Owned that corset and rouge and winked at the camera 'cause he knew it. Well done, Disney.

And Emma, don't listen to the haters. That girl can sing.