Sunday, November 25, 2007

Happenings: Surprise, Surprise--Decidedly Tolerable Movie Viewing

Circumstances beyond my control brought me and three others—who shall remain nameless—to an 11 a.m. showing of Disney’s Enchanted this Thanksgiving weekend. Seeing a movie isn’t typically noteworthy, but this was a rare occasion to behold what it’s like to be a kid these days in SCV.

I didn’t know how popular Enchanted would prove to be against such irresistible competitors as Bee Movie and that Magic Emporium monstrosity. Walking in, the theater looked virtually empty. Then I realized that most of the audience came only half-way up their backrests. This explained why the noise coming from the crowd, usually a dull hum, was a high-pitched trill. As my eyes adjusted to the theatrical gloom, I realized that an alarming number of these youths (at least two, which is two too many) were wearing princess costumes. The question, it seems, is no longer “Why the hell are you wearing a princess costume, you little freak?” but “Why the hell aren’t you wearing one?” When will our valley realize that deficient self-esteem is only half the problem that a surplus of the I'm-a-special-beautiful-princess-look-at-me brand of self-esteem is?

I credit a lack of crying and screaming to the fact that it was mostly dads taking their kids to the theater that day. Whilst Mom shopped or imbibed or did whatever else it is that decent society women do early on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, fathers were left to chaperone the kids. Wisely, their progeny were sedated with soda and candy (i.e., experiencing a sugar-induced coma as opposed to hyperactivity), and the screen provided plenty of visual treats as well. It’s amazing but true: kid movies can be quiet movies.

As for Enchanted itself, the film received a 92% on Rotten Tomatoes[1], an excellent score reflecting 85 positive reviews nation-wide. And despite initial apprehension, I have to say that I agree. This was the autumn of anti-war dreck (e.g., Lions for Lambs, In the Valley of Elah…) that failed miserably, and Enchanted was a delightful departure. The clever movie was funny, at times hilarious, and entertaining throughout. I cannot tell you how much good it did my heart to see Susan Sarandon beat down by a conservative princess on the big screen. I was slightly bothered by the fact that the leading man falls in love with a leading lady whose mental capacity was equivalent to that of the movie’s average nine-year-old viewer, but I guess you can’t have it all.

Despite generally enthusiastic praise for the film, Slant writer Nick Schager[2] poopoos it for reinforcing negative female stereotypes. He claims the movie says a girl’s place is being pretty and waiting for prince charming to arrive. I’m sorry, Schager, but not all little girls grow up wanting to write bitter, little-read movie reviews for a living. No, just like Enchanted's Giselle, some little girls grow up wanting to get married to wealthy divorce attorneys and to spend their days going shopping with their daughters. And in Santa Clarita, those dreams really do come true.

[1]Reviews here
[2]The full review is here


Anonymous said...

I love it! My boyfriend and I comment on this all the time, you really hit the nail on the head!

"When will our valley realize that deficient self-esteem is only half the problem that a surplus of the I'm-a-special-beautiful-princess-look-at-me brand of self-esteem is?"

Anonymous said...

Those dreams come true but they don't last. The lawyer husband is going to be cheating with another princess within a year of getting hitched.

Ditto on the self-esteem. Not every kid is special.

Anonymous said...

I take offense... not all mothers dream of someday going shopping with their daughters. They dream of days spend shopping without their daughters, while Sugar-Daddy Dearest has said daughters at the movies.

A Santa Claritan said...

Ha! Point taken, anonymous; point taken. I forgot that Mommy needs princess time too.