|By Tony Russell|
During our courtship, my wife-to-be and I set a U.S. record for
walking out of movie theaters during the show. I'd ask her out--say
to see the latest Ingmar Bergman film. We'd seat ourselves, and
before too long she would begin to radiate boredom, alienation, or
Out we'd go.
Our teenage daughter laughs at the two of us, struggling
futilely to find a movie we can both enjoy. My wife likes uplifting
films, where a widow/orphan/plucky nun wins respect/love/dignity or
just suffers on behalf of others. I, on the other hand, am deeply
suspicious of any film labeled "heartwarming." The only thing worse
is a "two thumbs up" rating from Siskel and Ebert. "Thumbs up what?"
No, my taste runs to what my daughter calls "guy films."
"What I'm looking for," I tell her, "is one where people get thrown
through plate glass windows, where cars smash into each other, where
"I know," she says. "A 'guy film'."
That may say something about innate differences between the
sexes. But my daughter has the true moviegoer's perspective. She can
enjoy Enemy of the State or Mission Impossible II for what it is--a
genre picture, heavy on the technology, but a superior specimen of its
kind, even if you're not crazy about the kind. Like meeting a lovable
So I'll drag home on Friday night, depleted from the workweek,
and find my jangled nerves soothed by the crack of gunshots, the
whoomp of explosions, the din of colliding cars. And while I sit in
the living room watching Dustin Hoffman in Hero or Charlie Sheen in
Hot Shots or Woody Harrelson and Wesley Snipes in White Men Can't
Jump, my wife reads a book in the bedroom, no doubt brooding over what
possessed her to marry someone with such a suspect sensibility.
Everytime she hears me burst into laughter, it must be like being
thrown through a plate glass window. Like being smashed into by an
automobile. Like having a building detonate behind you.