Boyhood

I saw this movie the other day and it unhinged me. The boy grows up too quickly. Right? That’s the reality around my house too.

One of my classmates said this movie changed her parenting. She no longer yells at her kids because she realizes that life goes by in a blink of an eye. And she is trying to savor her children while they are home.

The film was shot over 12 years with the same cast.

I was particularly moved by the mother’s plight, played by Patricia Arquette. She has to hustle so much to provide for the family. And yet, the kids idolize their father who only shows up occasionally. I relate. So many times I feel like a workhorse. In my quest to provide for the kids, emotionally and financially, I may miss out. I may not always make the best choices. I may not get all the fun.

My heart breaks that the sister, Lorelei Linklater, has to grow up. The most spirited child, she becomes a surly, monosyllabic teen. Ugh. I worry this will happen to my spirited children.

There are scenes of an alcoholic stepfather. As moviegoers, we want our preteens to rise up as heroes in their alcoholic families, defending one another or speaking out against injustice. But children cannot mount a mutiny over the tyranny of an alcoholic leader. Their helplessness’s heart-wrenching.

Families are going to be okay. Much as we worry, endlessly, about our kids’ possibly embarking on drunk driving or texting when driving or excessive Xbox use or getting pregnant. All that. There’s a message throughout the film of resilience. It’s going to be okay. Our family is good enough.

When I went into the movie theater, the ticket collector, an older gent, told me, “I love this movie. Everyone loves this movie.” I do, too.

I just wish boyhood would last.

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Iron Man Ignored the Kid

The iron man and us
The iron man and us (Photo credit: Bev Goodwin)

I love summer blockbusters. I also love French films and independent films and basically any kind of films (though, true fact: I have never seen an X-rated movie, unless flipping around and catching Robin Byrd on cable counts!)

I just love losing myself to the dark of any movie theater.

But something kept rattling in my brain after seeing Iron Man 3. I was disturbed by the way Iron Man treated the kid who had rescued him. He totally ignored the kid.

Iron Man seemed to think a dark roomful of toys/tech equipment could replace the presence of a loving adult.

See, the kid in the movie had been abandoned by his dad, and no surprise, when Iron Man showed up, the kid assumed he was a dad figure. And when the superhero needed help, the kid was helpful. (This is not a spoiler. I think it’s fairly obvious that the kid will be useful to Iron Man.)

iron man 3But then the kid was not rewarded for being there for this father figure. In the end, the only thing the boy received was all kinds of digital devices for him to tinker with. This is his reward?!? The kid needed a frozen yogurt with the dad figure, or a picnic in the park, or, yes, the proverbial, game of catch.

In this room of tech equipment, the product placement of FiOS plastered all over the huge flatscreen TV was jarring and obscene. I was totally taken out of the movie and felt I’d landed in a stupid commercial.

So the message on this Father’s Day weekend seems to be: you want to be a good father? Buy your kid off, get them tons of tech stuff so they can play alone in a dark room. And then you can retire, alone yourself, in your own dank and dark digital kingdom. That’s Hollywood.

This is relevant to my life right now because my son is being punished (I won’t go into the details). And his tech equipment is taken away. He is clueless as to how to survive. I’ve suggested fro yo, a picnic, or a game of catch. But like Iron Man, our superhero, he’d rather be alone with his devices than outdoors with his friends or dad or sports or, even, ice cream.

I find this choice sad — not nearly as thrilling or active as an action film or life could be.