I may have found a true anomaly, even for Fort Wayne — a 50-cent movie house. The holiday snuck up on us, and the forecast threatened rain off and on all day, so we decided to bag a trip to the overcrowded lake and stay in the Fort for our nation’s birthday. Isn’t that what Independence Day is all about? Doing something different? It’s what I always say, anyway.
So off we went to the movies, something we haven’t done for a while. I can’t wait until I can take Kate to “Godfather” film festivals and the like, but for now I have to sit through “Ella Enchanted.” Which, I reminded myself, at least isn’t “Garfield.” And at $10.50 for two admissions, a large popcorn and two drinks, you can’t say the price isn’t right.
What to say about “Ella Enchanted”? How about this: Sometimes Roger Ebert is too kind. And this: If they gave an Oscar for Best Rip-Off, it’d be a shoo-in. Any more would be a waste of words, but it did get me to thinking about when you start telling kids that stuff stinks. I had a neighbor who believed, strongly, that it’s wrong to express value judgments to children on things like movies, TV shows and books. He thought you had to respect children’s opinions, and if they thought “Dragonball Z” was art, well, then that’s what it is.
Not surprisingly, I disagree. “How are they supposed to develop standards of taste?” I asked. The conversation went nowhere. But it’s something I’ve wondered about ever since, because I’ve loudly and frequently shared my opinions about TV and books and movies with Kate since she was big enough to listen. I tell her she can watch Mary-Kate and Ashley TV shows and movies, but we’re not buying book versions of the same stories, because they’re for dull-witted children who can’t be persuaded to read otherwise, so check out this Narnia story instead. This is going to blow up in my face one of these days, I know; her teenage rebellion will probably take the form of writing novelizations for Strawberry Shortcake cartoons, or at the very least I’ll insult someone’s mother. But I don’t care. I remember my mom scowling when a second-grade birthday-party entertainment included seeing “It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World.” But she took me to see “The Godfather” when I was in seventh grade, something lots of parents would have found equally inappropriate. I got the message: ’70s cinema rules.
But for today, I told her I thought “Ella Enchanted” was OK, but “Shrek” was better. We’ll leave the rougher film criticism for a few years down the road.
I did a little traveling last week. There’s nothing like flying into Fort Wayne, especially from O’Hare, to convince yourself you live in a first-class city. How long has it been since you boarded a plane from a major airport and didn’t use a jetway to do it? At O’Hare, you get to Fort Wayne by passing through gate F1, going down some stairs, crossing a long stretch of tarmac past three or four small, idling jets in whatever cursed airline feeder service has the contract at the moment. Then you board your own Fort-bound aircraft by climbing the steep stairs the fold out of the main door. Where are we going? you think. East Methane? No, East Methane probably has a bigger airport.
Advantages: 1) You don’t have to wear roller skates to get from one gate to another, because there are only eight. 2) Free wi-fi in the airport.
And now the sun is setting on the Fourth of July, so it’s off to the fireworks. Which are already going on in our neighborhood at the moment — the illegal stuff sold on every corner for a month previous are now exploding right outside. You have to sign a form saying you plan to take these illegal fireworks out of state to detonate them; astonishingly, these documents are ignored! We stopped at one of these models of modern capitalism today, to buy sparklers (legal). The clerk sat smoking under the “no smoking” sign, but she let us pet her pit bull puppy. Somehow, I think this says everything there is to say about it.
So happy Fourth of July! Set off some rockets’ red glare, or the terrorists have won!