Pondering My Practically Perfect Mom-Time…

TC reminisces about his cherished Mom-time… the movies seen and screened. The discussions had and memories that live on… Read on! – the editor

Approaching another Mother’s day without Mom has always been a melancholy event. I have been blessed to have her alive for 84 years, with the satisfaction of hearing her voice when I call every week, to compare notes, events, just the calm of her voice as she told me of her “adventures.”

All of my siblings have a different, or very close stories, of my Mom. I never was a book-nick like her, but we did have an admiration of “the Movie”. Especially the act of going to the theater to see one on the big screen.

Earliest memories of a visit to the Madison Theater and Chatham Cinema noted such 1970s-era films as Godspell, The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes, 1776, an Italian Santa Clause movie.

There were family affair movies which we saw with Dad and my siblings like The Muppet Movie, The Empire Strikes Back, and The Dark Crystal.

[mentioned in The Touchstone post]

But our version of “date night” was when it was just the two of us.

I remember going to Wildwood, New Jersey on an Easter weekend to the Twin theater to see Tootsie back in 1983. This classic comedy had many belly laughs in it, which brought memories of my mother’s cackle-style laugh. It was as infectious as my godmother’s laugh, which we always have said she was the sister my mother never had.

As an adult, the dates became less frequent. Wanting to see Oscar winning films in a pre-streaming era became a standing date, screening “Driving Miss Daisy and Shakespeare In Love.

The last one I remember seeing was the parody of the Doris Day/Rock Hudson comedies called Down With Love, which was a hoot of irony, right down to casting Tony Randall in his final film role.

A Date Night Too Far…

As the crow flies, the distance between my new home town of Vegas and my parent’s retirement home near Atlantic City (AC), is like 2200 miles. Me getting back there and her being able to visit… not really options. So away went the “just the two of us” time. And, adapt I did.

Following a tradition my sibling started (sending a DVD of a Blu-ray combo pack back to New Jersey for at home viewing), I selected a couple of titles unique to our relationship (that I knew my sibling wouldn’t be sending to her).

Help on the Way…

In 2011, the number one book sold at my newsstands and book shops at Las Vegas airport was “The Help”. That was the year the film version was released (and thusly increased sales of the book). It had an outstanding cast that included Emma Stone, Viola Davis, Jessica Chastian, Octavia Spencer, Bryce Dallas Howard, and bit parts with Allison Janney and Leslie Jordan.

I’ll admIt this was a tough one to watch the first time through and I haven’t desired to view it again. However that Christmas, I sent my mother a DVD of “The Help” (which was the only Christmas present that went out to anyone that tight holiday). Needless to say, it was a nice discussion for a good 30-minutes on the phone.

Two Years Later, Practically Perfect Mr Banks…

A personal favorite of mine, Saving Mr Banks was released two years later. It was based on the relationship between the author of Mary Poppins, P.L. Travers, and Walt Disney (the man himself).

I had met P.L. Travers years ago at Madison Public Library when she read excerpts of her stories to the huge turn out. She never came across as the woman portrayed in the film, since it was not a screening of the film, just the actual books she wrote.

The focus in the movie, it was the story about the trip to Hollywood Travers took to sign-off on the production of Mary Poppins (which was a huge challenge since Disney (the studio) spent 20-plus years trying to produce the film.

Tom Hanks was Disney, which seemed like odd casting. However, Emma Thompson as Ms. Travers was brilliant!!

She was incredible handling the challenges of alternating between an eccentric and an empathetic character — playing a non-likable role.

Running it by Mom…

I was curious to get her thoughts, and sent out a DVD.

Well, she very much enjoyed the story, which spring-boarded a discussion about the Disney spate of “why are you so mean” movies that were released in the 2010s.

Harsh assessment, you think?!?

Well, perhaps you should make some time to screen Frozen and Maleficent with that bug in your ear to see if you notice the pattern.

We also had another long conversation about the layers of the story, both fiction and in real life. I was a late bloomer in my appreciation of Mary Poppins, but I found this an essential companion piece to watch.

That’s a Wrap!

There may have been other films or television programs we discussed, but these are the two that I recall so vividly, it was as though our conversations happened just last week.

So that’s my Mother’s Day musing. Now, back to you fine reader…

Was there a film (or series of films) that you saw with your Mom? Any triggering fond memories? Any that take you to a happy place (and/or a ponder place)? Curious to hear your stories (comment below).

Thanks for reading (and pondering with me)! -TC


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