Retirement and bondingI love the movies!

Ever since I was a boy growing up in our small farming town in Southeastern Idaho, I’ve been enthralled with the big screen. My mother would drop me off at our local theater on Friday nights with a quarter in my pocket; 20 cents for the movie ticket and a nickel for a bag of popcorn. Excitedly I would run through those swinging doors to meet my friends and become engrossed by the antics of Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis or Ma & Pa Kettle. I hid underneath my coat during the shower seen in Psycho. And I watched with wide eyed admiration as John Wayne rode off time and again after the bad guys.

My love for the movies continued on into adulthood. As the theaters became bigger and better with cup holders, plush seats and surround sound, I was in my element. To me, nothing beat a few hours at the multiplex with a bag of popcorn, a soda and the big colorful screen bombarding me with images and sounds that made the worries of life melt away, even if only for a short time.
Retirement hasn’t changed any of that. In fact, it’s made it better. Without the time constraints of an occupation, I’m free to go to the movies anytime I feel like it.

And I do! Sometimes by myself, sometimes with Diana, sometimes with a friend. In fifteen minutes from my house I can be at the local 25 screen multiplex enjoying the latest feature and forgetting about the world outside. I usually take in about four or five movies a month.

And even if the movie is no good, I love every minute of the experience.

That was why I had a wisp of nostalgia as I watched my fifteen year old nephew disappear into the throng as he went through security at the Phoenix airport after an impromptu three day visit.

Matthew had always just been a little kid to me. Growing up in faraway Nebraska with his family, his mother being my youngest sister, I had always considered him and his youthful interests incompatible to me and my daily routine. So when I picked him up at the airport a few days earlier, (“Matthew needs some adventures in his life.” Said my sister over the phone) it began a comradery that was never expected.

Full of energy and youthful exuberance, Matthew wanted to see everything; the desert, the swimming pool, a baseball game. His appetite for anything new and exciting was infectious.

When I suggested we go see the new “Batman vs Superman” movie at my usual multiplex, I was launched into a vision of his world that I had never seen before.

Matthew wants to be a director. At fifteen years old he possessed an exuberance and awareness of the art of movie making that blew me away. I was astonished to watch him open up and talk about his dreams and aspirations of being in the movie making business. His knowledge and understanding of the subject was rare even for someone twice his age.

I was amazed when he told me that he had even been in contact with a college in Southern California, Dodge College of Film and Media Arts. He has been emailing them and they have encouraged him, at his young age, to pursue his love of film.

I thought back to my days as a fifteen year old. Back then I had no idea who I was, or what I was capable of doing. Let alone what I wanted to do with my life. I just wanted to chase the girls and be with my friends.

As I sat and listened to Matthew over these three days. He was no longer just a little kid to me. He was someone with a dream.
So our trip to the multiplex to see “Batman vs Superman, Dawn of Justice” was not just a romp at another movie. With a fellow movie buff at my side, it became a study in art and film direction.

I knew this movie was getting bad reviews. From what I was reading, Batman vs Superman was a stinker of a movie. Everything was getting trashed; from Ben Affleck’s acting to the over blown special effects. But being neutral movie aficionados that were, Matthew and I went into the theater with open minds.

The critics were right. We sat in the back row and struggled through the three hour slog of a movie. On our way home, Matthew mentioned that they could have built a nice children’s hospital for the $250 million that it cost to make the movie, a remarkable observation for a fifteen year old.

Once home I asked Matthew if he had ever written a movie review. After he replied that he hadn’t, I suggested that we collaborate on one for fun and he agreed. We hammered away on the computer and came up with an honest review that was based on our mutual feelings for the film. In honor of my fifteen year old, new found movie buddy, I offer it below for your perusal.

Where should we start?

A mish-mash of explosions, laser-tonics, Kevin Costner tossing rocks onto a pile on top of a mountain and a climatic, inexplicable appearance of a giant, gooey creature which wreaks havoc on everything and everyone.

This movie is unbearable to sit through. Especially the last thirty minutes, which is nothing more than dozens of ear-splitting blasts over and over again. Leaving movie goers with the urge to run screaming from the theater with their hands covering their ears.

The only saving grace was the superb performance of the character who played the villain, who really showed his chops despite the entire movie working against him.

Matthew and I have already planned out his visit to Arizona next year. After seeing and reviewing whatever big budget blockbuster movie might be out at that time, we will take a road trip to Southern California to visit the campus of Dodge College.

I always wondered what kind of kid Matthew would turn out to be. Now I know.

I wish I was fifteen years old again.