Watched Changing Lanes on DVD; this time with Mum. It was frightening how nervous I felt… I even considered ‘pulling the plug’ by saying “gah, let’s not watch this tonight!”
It’s not as if it’s a film that particularly means anything to me. I admired it and was relieved it ended well despite the rapid pace of disasters, but I remember how difficult it was to watch the first time.
It can be difficult to please Mum where films are concerned. She likes very light and funny things (The Ice Age and The Wind in the Willows); whodunnits (Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot); non-Hardy period drama if tastefully done (Larkrise to Candleford and Cranford); things we have read (Hornblower and Sharpe).
She’s less keen on anything ‘horrible’, ‘dreary’ or ‘boring’, though one day she put Die Hard II on and laughed at much of it! I’m inclined to think she is wary of anything she doesn’t normally watch, and would like some films better than she thinks she will. I had that kind of fear about Robocop, Terminator and Alien but finally watched and grew to respect them. There are still things I refuse to watch (Omen and Final Destination), but as I started watching both of them, I know for sure they’re not my cup of tea!
Tonight I suggested we watch a DVD, just for a change, and showed her our DVD collection (in about 5 boxes). Things like Johnny English, Robin Hood (Prince of Thieves), Legend, iRobot, Artificial Intellligence (AI), Emma, When Harry Met Sally, The Postman, Waterworld, The Hogfather… and she picked out something we have watched about three times very recently (National Treasure 2), saying “all the rest are boring.”
Since the whole point of watching a DVD tonight was because I was tired of sitting through repeats of repeats, I baulked. “You watch repeats of Who Wants to be a Millionaire? every night then call these boring? And we watched that one quite recently.”
She looked puzzled. “Did we?”
“Oh. Well, you pick one, then.”
Instead I found another box of DVDs. “That one in there, Changing Lanes, is quite good. I bought it recently.”
“Play that one.”
So we settled down to watch it, and my stomach was full of butterflies. What if she didn’t like it? It might be more violent or upsetting than I remember, and then I’d feel terrible for making us both watch it, especially as I had refused to accept her own choice. And though I find stuff hard to watch at times, I find them even harder to watch in company. Perhaps we should have gone with National Treasure 2 after all.
When I watch a film nobody else likes, I worry that it give away flaws in my character… “how could Diddums enjoy that?! It’s all explosions, aliens, bad jokes and drug dealers!”
I remember I wanted to watch a history thing when we were on holiday; I hoped it would be interesting and dramatic, but instead it was rather mean and horrible, and it got worse and worse… finally the others snapped at me and glared, as though to say “how could you want to watch this??” I felt betrayed by whoever made the thing! I didn’t like it either, but felt as though the producers had shown up my lack of judgement.
Wouldn’t it be safer to watch the films everybody else likes, and not suggest anything myself? But tonight it was too late; I’d tipped my hand.
Changing Lanes began, and the various characters were droning away about their own downbeat affairs, and all I could think was “this is boring. Do you think Mum is bored? Will they go on like that for the rest of the film? I don’t think they do, but what if I’ve forgotten how dull and gloomy it really is?”
I got so twitchy that I nearly said “this is depressing, don’t you think? Maybe we should just watch the other DVD.” But the film had only been running for two minutes! I asked myself how I would feel about the film if I was watching it on my own again… that was easy. I’d just settle down and watch it… quite happy. Give it time.
Mum seemed interested; even smiled when the two main characters ran into each other. I knew for sure she was enjoying it when she went out of the room and asked me to pause the DVD so that she wouldn’t miss any of it. (We were at the bit where the lawyer was having a heart to heart with his wife). We had a quick break and got something hot to drink, then finished watching it… it was good.
Great… but I’m going to have to stop hanging my own self-belief on whether or not other people like what I like… that’s daft! I know we couldn’t possibly like all the same things — and whether or not we do, it’s only because we see different things in the films. One person might see violence; another would see interesting characters or a vein of humour.
When we had finished Changing Lanes, we went back to Who Wants to be a Millionaire?, looked at each other scornfully, and said “that’s ridiculous, how can people not know that?” Secure (once again) in each other’s regard.