Most people who read or write books also like plays and movies. I’ve even had the notion I should write a screenplay and started one a couple of times.
I’ve been a movie fan for as long as I can remember. It started at an early age. When I was a little kid, I lived with my grandparents in a rural West Texas town that wasn’t much more than a village. We had scant outside entertainment, no TV and barely a radio broadcast, but we always had books, magazines and newspapers around the house. This is where I learned to read and love and sometimes, if I was lucky, watch fiction.
A movie was a rare treat. Two or three times a year, “tent movies” would come to town and stay for a week or so. They would set up a big tent in what passed for the town square, line up metal chairs for the audience to sit on and show a repertoire that included everything–silent movies accompanied by piano music or “talkies” that were more than a few years old. I’m sure that’s where I saw my first western movie. Sometimes we even had music where you could sing along, following the bouncing ball on the screen. I think the price of admission might have been a quarter or less.
I found this picture on a site called “Old Magazine Articles,” which tells about the traveling tent movies. It reminds me so much of my childhood. That girl with the dark sweater, skirt and shoes and socks could be me. If you want to read more about this slice of mid-20th Century Americana, check out this website. Just a lot of people know nothing about this. Here’s a link: http://www.oldmagazinearticles.com/Traveling-Movie-Theaters-pdf
I and my great-grandpa were enthralled by those old movies. He walked the couple of miles to town every night to watch whatever was shown on the screen, good or bad. He was past 80 and practically deaf, so he had to sit on the very front row, smoking his big cigar. I’m sure the movie watchers around him loved it.
I sometimes got to go with him, though not every night. To me, what was even more fantastical than the movie was they had buttered popcorn and cotton candy. I was fascinated by cotton candy. As I recall, it cost a nickel.
Later, when TV finally came to our neck of the woods, my great-grandpa was consumed by TV. He watched every old western and never missed the wrestling matches. He usually watched alone because he had to have the volume turned up so loud no one could stand to be in the same room. Consequently, none of the rest of us watched TV and by then, the traveling movies had stopped coming to town.
I’m still trying to be a movie fan and that’s what my post is about. My husband is a movie fan, too. Or at least, he used to be. Last week, we decided to watch a 5-star movie on Netflix called “The Place beyond the Pines.” I don’t think we got half-way through it. Can you say dark and depressing?
We moved on from there to Amazon and another 5-star movie called “Winter’s Bone.” Didn’t finish that one either. More dark and depressing. Then we chose “Hello, My Name is Doris,” also well reviewed. Didn’t even get a quarter of the way through that one and I used to be a fan of Sally Fields.
We ended up watching “50 First Dates” with Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore, a movie that had terrible reviews by the critics, although it did have good reviews on Amazon from people who bought it. Believe it or not, we actually finished that one and furthermore, we liked it. Now if you knew my husband, you couldn’t imagine him watching a chick-flick like that one and enjoying it, but it presented an interesting situation and a real story. The performances were upbeat. Not one explosive car crash or loser at life.
I guess, whether it’s books or movies, I don’t want to be depressed while I’m trying to be entertained. Movies, as well as good books, were a happy part of my childhood and that’s what I still want to see. I don’t want to be broken-hearted or preached at about social issues I can’t remedy. Not that I don’t like a good drama. After all, I write “drama.” Bottom line, I just want to be entertained by a good story.
Every movie they make these days, if it isn’t car crashing and giant robots fighting, it’s dark, Dystopian themes telling me how grim the future is going to be. I don’t want to think about that. Dark and depressing isn’t where I park my imagination. God knows, I see enough of that on the news.