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Thursday, 14 February 2013

West Side Story, South Park and Fight Club: A Mother's Love Affair With Movies

I'm more excited, nervous, anxious and proud about this next piece than any post on my blog - that is because, thankfully, I didn't write it. My good friend Ellen W did.

Ellen is this stupidly smart woman I met in Scotland while I was studying for my masters. She has two young kids and I badgered her to write something. The result is the charming little piece below.

Enjoy the first guest post.


I’m not much into films. In fact, scrap that. I used to be into films. I used to watch films all the time. Every day, sometimes several a day. But then I became a mother. And now, my free time is precious. Too precious to potentially waste it on yet another predictable rom-com masquerading as something interesting. So now, I use films like medicine, prescribing the ones I know I’m not allergic to for specific ailments.

If it’s a cold, wet Sunday afternoon and I have some menial task to do (like peeling a mountain of potatoes or rebuilding my son’s Lego - again), I put on West Side Story to ease the drudgery. I sing and cry and am completely emotionally wrecked by the end of it. “Bernardo muerto!” Ugh, gets me every time. Classic interpretation of Romeo and Juliet.

Which leads me nicely onto the next one. When I am an emotional wreck, when I haven’t left the house for days, and I’m rocking the ‘exhausted crack whore’ look that all mothers rock at some point, I need something that’s going to pick me up and make me laugh at the pitiful excuse for a human being that I am. The film that does that is South Park the Movie. I know every word to every song. I giddily prance around like gay Satan, I march like a soldier at the USO Show bit, and I do awesome impressions of all the SP kids. I’m going to use this to embarrass my children when they are naughty teenagers. I promise.

And last but by no means least, we come to the film I put on when I want to speak every word of a movie over the top of the actors: Fight Club. Yes, at the age of almost-30, I *still* know all the rules of Fight Club. And yes, I have to do this alone, as it annoys the crap out of my husband. In fact, I have to watch all these movies alone due to the sheer singy-dancy-cringyness of it all. Not that I care, but other people don’t take kindly to it. When I take the notion to watch a film, this is what happens:

Husband: “What movie you putting on?”
Me: “West Side Story.”
Long pause.
Husband: “I’ll go and read in the bedroom for a bit.”
I smile to myself and start doing vocal warm-up exercises.

Huh, it appears I actually do like films after all. Maybe I’ll stick on Fight Club tomorrow...