>Mary Poppins Makes a Visit

>Sunday nights are sometimes movie nights Chez Geller. We all pile onto the couch in the basement and watch a movie and eat dinner. I spend much of the time making 1,000 trips up the stairs to the kitchen, but generally the evenings are pleasant — once they get started. As of late, movie selection has been something of an issue. Usually we let the kids pick — and we endure the ritual Star Wars (sadly, my kids love the prequels) v. High School Musical (soul destroying) v. Random Barbie Movie (bizarre video game animation and oddly feminist messages), only to find something that nobody has seen, or at least remembers seeing. We’ve discovered some terrific movies along the way — Ponyo comes to mind.

Once in a while, however, M and I choose a movie for them. Something we’ve seen, and loved. Often when we watch it with the kids, years later, it doesn’t seem all that spectacular — the Neverending Story was patchy, and that flying dog gave me the creeps. Often, a film we’re sure they’ll hate becomes a crowd favorite — like The Sound of Music (Thank heavens for that gun scene at the end, the boys were whooping with delight).

Tonight, although Bennett pissed and moaned — loudly — we managed to get them to watch Mary Poppins. Their reactions were priceless. You don’t meet the kids at first, but you hear about them and see one nanny quit … and when Jane and Michael Banks finally appear, Bennett looks at me and says,

“That’s it? Two kids?”

Yes, Bennett. Two kids. And even they can’t get their parents attention. They have their own nanny, who sleeps near their rooms, eats their meals with them, and probably gives them lessons. They probably spend 15 minutes a day with their father, and maybe double that with their mother — who was only too happy to leave them with a chimney sweep while she went off to chain herself to 10 Downing Street. So please don’t complain about a babysitter once in a while. And the next time we get a sitter on vacation, please don’t run off and re-appear hours later. Thanks.

Efram didn’t understand why the poor kids had to go to the park as though they were dressed for synagogue.. he felt especially bad for the poor boy and those yellow knee socks.

M couldn’t help but point out how bad the kids’ teeth were. One of little Michael’s front teeth was actually rotten. God bless British dental care.

Francie was completely confused: What the hell was Fraulein Maria doing in this movie? And why was her hair different? It took me a while to explain the whole concept of an actress, at which point she looked at me sadly and asked: “So she really didn’t get to marry Captain Von Trapp?”

No, she didn’t. It was all make believe. Farewell, sweet innocence — auf wiedersehen.

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