"Snakes. Why did it have to be snakes?" - Indy
If Indiana Jones grew up in Houston, he wouldn’t be creepy about snakes, but instead about fire ants. The picture above is of a fire ant magnified fifty gazillion times.
I remember going to see Raiders of the Lost Ark when I was a kid. I’ll guiltily admit why I went: here was a movie that had Han Solo® in it. I had seen each and every crappy movie that Harrison Ford was in between Star Wars™ and Raiders, hoping that they would not be filled with great gulps of suckage. Sadly, each movie (Heroes??, Hanover Street????) attempted to crush my youthful hope into jaded cynicism. It was like Hollywood© was attempting to do its best to make me hate movies.
It was before the Internet, so I hadn’t heard anything about Raiders of the Lost Ark before it showed up in our little two-movie-theater-town (two showings at each theater a night, except on Wednesdays). Note: two theaters in a small town wasn’t so bad. I learned when I was fourteen that the theater down the street (which showed only R-rated movies) trained their ticket-takers that “cash-in-hand=17.” Oh, the education!
I sat down in my usual fold-down theater seat (before you can drive, if you were a kid you had a usual seat, since VCRs, DVDs, and iPods® had yet to be invented by Al Gore, though Al had invented the first video game, the ALtari™ several years earlier) and prepared mentally to be horribly disappointed again.
No! There he was, Harrison Ford, in a movie that didn’t suck! I floated home with that light feeling in the chest, that feeling of having been uplifted by the ultimate in coolness.
Fast Forward, er, Skip Chapter . . . .
While The Boy was growing up, the Indiana Jones™ movies were released on DVD. I hesitated buying them. First, fifty bucks was fifty bucks, and that was an expensive proposition for movies I’d already paid to see. Second, it’s not like The Mrs. and I were going to sit around and watch them on a Friday night. Or a Saturday night. Heck, we could get into R-rated movies if we wanted to.
Now The Boy is 7. I’ve noticed him enjoying things that aren’t cartoons, and decided it was time. I bought the trilogy on DVD. He walked by my desk after the helpful folks over at Amazon had delivered it.
“Hey,” The Boy remarked, “Indiana Jones™, I’ve heard of him.”
“Seen an Indiana Jones™ movie yet? And,” I continued, “where, exactly, little Mr., did you learn to pronounce ™?”
“Nah, haven’t seen one. And, really, Dad, all the kids at school say ™, all the time!”
I let the whole ™ thing drop. Let The Mrs. handle it. “Want to watch an Indiana Jones™ movie?” said the spider to the fly.
“Well,” hesitating, “I guess.”
The Mrs. and I sat down on our couch, and I hit ‘play’ on the remote.
As Indy walked through the thick South American jungle, into the temple, and retrieving the gold idol, I could see The Boy watching with rapt attention. When Indy replaced the golden idol (which, by the way, is mooning us) with the sand, The Boy clapped his hands excitedly.
The Boy watched Indy run from rock marbles, jump chasms, fly in planes, hate snakes, retrieve the Lost Ark while Nazi’s turn into piles of goo (sorry if I spoiled the whole ending for you) and, finally, put it in a big government warehouse where they keep wooden boxes, probably filled with government forms for requisitioning wooden boxes, or, perhaps they keep our secret government hamster army.
The Boy started the movie in the chair. The Boy ended up on the floor in front of the television, in rapt attention, and, according to my mother, ruining his eyesight. I had to keep an eye on him to make sure he didn’t get sucked into the movie, and have to live in a government box. The Boy would then have to fend for himself against our crack US Hampster Force. I couldn't live with that sort of guilt.
I think I’ll show The Boy the next two Indy movies. Then? I’ll make him watch Heroes or Hanover Street.
Just because I’m mean.
But I won’t make him watch Witness, because even I’m not that mean.