The Academy Awards are on television tonight. I can’t decide if I should watch the parade of glamorous, professionally made-up and dressed movie stars march up and down the red carpet and then up the stairs to the stage, where they will go on and on and on some more about how much they appreciate receiving the award and how everyone “really likes me!” until the orchestra conductor finally sighs loudly, raises his arms, and silently begs the orchestra to begin playing with his eyes while simultaneously mouthing, “Just play anything … anything to shut her up!”
The reason I can’t decide if I should torture myself with all of this Hollywood glam is for one reason … I haven’t seen one of the movies nominated for Best Picture this year. When “Atonement” hit the theaters, I was in the next theater watching “The Water Horse.” I heard “Juno” had a fabulous storyline from a lady in the movie theater restroom, but unfortunately, I was viewing “National Treasure” down the hall. Johnny Depp is gorgeous even with white make-up covering his handsome face, but I was singing along with “Alvin and the Chipmunks” instead of gawking at his beauty in “Sweeney Todd.”
As a parent of young children, I don’t see real movies –the kind with a plot, characters I can relate to, and interesting dialogue. I see G-rated, cartoon movies with storylines that a three-year-old can easily follow and with chipmunks, horses, and rats as main characters. This is why I can’t tell you who “Michael Clayton” is or what the heck “La Vie En Rose” means in French or whether “No Country for Old Men” is a movie about all the men over 65 years old in America who suddenly decide to move to Canada, where health care is free.
Don’t get me wrong … I’m not complaining. To be honest, I know the day will be coming soon when I’ll pick up my soda cup halfway through the movie and all the Diet Coke won’t be mysteriously gone, and when I reach into the large popcorn I just purchased five minutes ago at the snack bar, there will be more than three kernels left because four little hands haven’t been ravaging the same sack. I also know the day will be quickly approaching when I don’t have to miss half of the movie because I’m wiping something in the restroom besides a nose and when I don’t have to smuggle in juice boxes and candy, because if I didn’t, I’d be paying $65.00 for four people to see a movie and eat a measly snack instead of the normal $35.00. I know it’s not going to be long before I don’t feel really, really tall because I’m only one of ten people over three feet tall in the movie theater.
I’m pretty sure I have an answer for my problem. I think Hollywood should create an awards show for only children’s movies. That way, parents of mini-moviegoers can “ooh and aah” over the cartoon horses, rats, and billy goats who show up in limousines with beautiful cartoon women hanging on their furry legs, parade in front of the cameras in their designer cartoon gowns and tuxedos, and then, just as the lights dim, dramatically take their seats in the cartoon theater.
Best of all, all of the parents will all be very, very familiar with all the nominees, their movies, and even the directors because of course, we will have viewed the movie first in the regular theater, then in the dollar theater, and then in our house approximately 450 times after the much-anticipated release of the DVD. We will have watched all the outtakes and the behind-the-scenes interviews with the directors, puppets, cartoon characters, and the computer animators. We will know all the words to the movie soundtrack because of course, we will have listened to the CD a total of 325 times while driving to school, day care, and the grocery store over the past few months. Finally, during the awards ceremony, if a cartoon character rambles on too long, there won’t be an orchestra that subtly reminds the character that he or she needs to zip it and hightail it off that stage. Instead, there will be a computer animator who simply grabs his big eraser and rubs the chipmunk, billy goat, or beast right off the television screen.
In the meantime, I may decide to watch the Oscars tonight just out of curiosity because there may be a day in futuristic America when I’ll have the time to rent one of these award-winning movies and actually watch it without having to get up off the couch to break up a fight or pour some juice or help with homework.
Of course, by then, I’ll be babysitting the grandkids.