It started innocently with a text from my brother-in-law on a Sunday morning.
“Brad, do you and CJ want to come see Battleship with us? Movie starts in an hour.”
Without thinking, I read the text aloud.
CJ’s ears perked up. “Dad, can we go see Battleship. Oh please, oh please, oh please, oh please.”
“If you want to go, you have to ask nicely,” I said sarcastically.
“C’mon, Dad,” he pleaded with me.
“Let me think about it.”
The first thing I did was read the reviews to see if the movie was any good. Heck, if I’m spending $40 it better be good.
CJ followed me around like a lost puppy until I finally acquiesced.
“Okay, we can go.”
He hugged me for five minutes straight.
The reviews weren’t bad and, as I love going to the movies, the two of us sported grins until we reached our seats.
After 37 previews, a quick nap, a few commercials, a shocked glance into an empty wallet, and half a dozen stern warnings to not use our cell phones, I was no longer feeling the love. Out of spite, I was ready to text the world.
Finally, the movie started and my smile returned. With snacks in hand, we were really enjoying ourselves.
Then, halfway through the movie, they introduced the aliens and all hell broke loose.
“I’m scared, Dad.” CJ held on to me for dear life.
He covered his eyes and I covered his ears. It passed—ttemporarily.
A few minutes later, the aliens reared their ugly, alien heads again. He peeked carefully through the fingers covering his eyes before blurting out, “I have to go to the bathroom, Dad.”
We raced to the bathroom to relieve our bladders I naively thought.
“I want to go home. I’m scared.”
“Are you sure? Your cousin is inside waiting for you to come back.”
He was torn and I was annoyed. I spent $40 on a movie and was hanging out in the men’s room. Additionally, I felt betrayed by Hasbro for marketing the movie around a kids game and making it so damn scary. What’s next—a slasher movie based on Connect Four or Old Maid, a movie based on the card game about an aging, bitter woman who seeks vengeance, Charles Bronson style, on every man who ever spurned her?
I wanted to see the end of the movie but it was his call.
“I want to go back,” he said.
I wanted to hug him and say, “I love you, man,” but chose the parental route instead. “Are you sure, CJ?”
“Yeah, I’m sure. Let’s go!” He ran back to the theater and I followed closely behind.
Thankfully, he enjoyed the rest of the movie and without covering his eyes.
On the way home, he thanked me profusely. “That was so much fun, Dad. I loved the movie.”
I smiled. The scary, alien fiasco was behind me.
Later that night, we put the kids to bed and Diane and I reflected on another enjoyable weekend. We quickly nodded off to sleep.
A few minutes later, CJ ran into our room screaming. “The aliens are coming!”
Diane comforted him. “What’s wrong, baby?”
That night he barely slept, which meant Diane and I barely slept. But I knew that would not be the end of it—not by a long shot.
The next morning, my daughter got wind of what happened.
“You should have checked to make sure it was appropriate. I think that movie’s PG-13. CJ’s only seven.”
And you’re only 10 and making way too much sense, I thought to myself.
“PG-13, not appropriate,” my wife added.
These two are going to gang up on me for the rest of my life, aren’t they?
I tried to point out that my friend brought his son, so I assumed it was age-appropriate. But my daughter would have none of it.
“If your friend jumped off a bridge, would you jump, too?” Damn she was good and had already mastered the annoying motherly clichés.
I knew I wasn’t going to win so I quickly changed tactics and admitted my mistake. “I shouldn’t have trusted my friend. I should have done my own research on the movie.”
My wife approved. “Now you’re getting it.”
I vowed it wouldn’t happen again and saw CJ and I enjoying the new Spiderman on the big screen in the near future.
“The aliens are coming!” CJ shouted as he entered the room petrified.
At that moment, I knew I’d be watching Spiderman by myself on the small screen.
My wife and daughter’s angry gazes quickly confirmed that for me.
Copyright © 2012, Brad Manzo