I have been taking my daughter Emma to the movies since she was a tiny baby. I was first employed by the Santa Monica Mirror as their film critic the same year Emma was born, or thereabouts, (I also started OW that year as well).
The way it worked was this. I would drive around in the car in order to time her nap perfectly to the film, for fear of disturbing other movie-goers with her talking or crying. Nowadays, if you go to a movie theater in the valley, you don’t have to worry so much about babies since everyone brings them in and no one cares if they make noise.
Most of the time, I would get to see the movie without incident, just a sleeping baby on my shoulder, or a nursing baby half asleep. The bottom line is that until she was an active toddler in preschool, she accompanied me for my job. She has grown up with movies, naturally. Even still, her movie-going experience has been limited to kid movies. If there is a kid movie opening, I will take her to see it, no matter how bad it is. Usually she likes even the bad ones, like The Last Mimsy. Lately, though, we’ve been watching other movies together. I have shown her the Duck Soup with the Marx Brothers. Titanic, which she has seen three times already. The Departed, The Godfather movies, Pride & Prejudice and a few others. She is at the age (8, almost 9) where she can manage a full length feature and get most of it. I still keep her away from horror movies because, frankly, it’s hard enough getting her to sleep in her own bed.
So last night we watched Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein and that was a winner. We’re still laughing about it this morning. Turns out, it was the perfect Emma movie. It was funny as hell and also contained just enough about a monster, Frankenstein, so that she sort of felt like she was dipping her foot in the horror genre, which all kids are drawn to.
There is no one to replace Mel Brooks, I realized last night. Ditto Gene Wilder. Ditto Madeline Kahn. The next movie we’ll watch together will be Blazing Saddles. I’ll have to wait on High Anxiety (my favorite Brooks movie) until I can introduce her to Hitchcock. The education is on.