May 1, 2004

Daddy Types does Reel Moms


Let me explain that. After posting about movies for parents with babies, I decided to try it for myself.

Tuesday morning, I went to the Loews Georgetown theaters in DC for Reel Moms [sic]. I'd get all pissed about the "But dads are invited!" branding, except the movie, Laws of Attraction was, literally, as chick flick as you could get. Dads were so rare, a radio reporter covering the screening made a beeline over to me for an interview. I suggested they show Kill Bill [Hey, it's about a mom; it'd be perfect...]

There were easily 75 people there, not a bad turnout for a weekday at 11AM. I was the only dad flying solo, but two other guys turned up with woman&child. One mom said the slightly larger turnout was probably due to the film, which was a sneak preview. It was stroller gridlock, with the smart moms arriving early to get the wheelchair spots in the stadium-style theater. Everyone else parked in front.

A lot of regulars. Moms greeted each other, or came in in little clusters. Most kids sat on laps; a few asleep in carseats. Unlike our 2-month old, then, these are kids old enough to sit up on their own. With moms who've been home for at least several months to a year+.

Periodically, a small crying wave would break against the theater walls, followed by a chorus of loud shhh's (the rhythmic, baby-calming kind, not the shut-that-kid-up-I'm-watching-a-movie kind). That said, the only annoyance was the jabbering moms behind me, who clearly should've met up for coffee, not a movie. It was a decidedly liberating feeling to be in a movie with a kid and not worry about getting pelted with Dots if she cried a bit. Two points for Reel Moms.

An advance screening brought with it a rampant corporate/studio fear of intellectual property theft, as I found when a swarm of security guards descended on me and my pre-screening stroller-photo-snapping camera. Never mind that a theaterful of crying babies is more than enough to render any movie pirate's videotape utterly unsellable. The only IP infringement I saw was by one of the other dads, who stood up mid-film to quiet his kid using my copyrighted deep knee bending technique. You'll hear from my lawyers, pal.

The lawyers I had the most problems with, unfortunately, were the ones onscreen. Let me say that based on the 40 minutes I saw of it, Anthony Lane's review of Laws of Attraction was very generous. It was as saccharine a chick flick as I've ever partly seen. But what about When Harry Met Sally? Or You've Got Mail, you say? Dude, those movies are like Terminator 2 by comparison.

Maybe I'm too much of a film snob. Maybe I haven't been a parent long enough. Maybe I haven't build up enough desperation to just go to the movies. Call me old-fashioned, but it's not enough to go to the movies; I still care what movie I see.

The Daddy Types recommendation: Check the schedule beforehand, and if it's a movie you wouldn't want to see otherwise, unless your absolutely jonesing to be in a theater again, leave the Reel Moms alone.


We've been to quite a few movies and welcomed the experience though admittedly the selection could be better.

As I've been out of work for a while I've been able to go on Tuesdays as well as a Saturday morning. There were definitely many more dads (as expected) at the Saturday showing.

I went to the screening of "Laws ..." in NYC on Tuesday. It was free. When I walked into the theater, the two large usher types at the door cracked on me (in a friendly way) for being the first and possibly only Dad in the crowd. I came close to walking out on this movie (and I don't know what kept me there since it was free .... or maybe it's my slight crush on a certain co-star), but stayed on to the bitter end. Where are all the other Dads? Or are they just being more selective about their ReelMoms movie picks?

This week, the movie is either Mean Girls [Now, if it were Heathers...] or 13 under 30. I mean, I won like a hundred free tickets to 13 under 30 from Diet Coke lids, and I'm still not going.

That said, for its BYOBaby program, the Salt Lake City Madstone theater is going to show Battle of Algiers. [A New Yorker asks: What's wrong with this picture?]

I was tempted to see Laws, because I'm a sucker ten times over for romantic comedies, but Anthony Lane's comment that Julianne Moore was trying to rent a car in a wee Irish town put the kibosh in it. Reel Moms is a good program, because at a Saturday showing of Super Size Me, a crying baby and parent were tsk-tsked out of the theater FAST.

But on another note, have you noticed how movies are all about revenge: Mean Girls, 13 Going on 30 (and I paid $10 to see that), Man on Fire, Kill Bill, Troy, then Spiderman 2...

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