My father-in-law has become somewhat obsessed with his new DVD burner. He and my MIL have about five hundred thousand old VHS tapes, and he has added to his bucket list--right beneath inventing a robot that will simultaneously pressure wash his house and make him ice cream cones--the chore of transferring every single one of them onto a DVD. And making Jeff and I a copy for our own collection.
Some of these movies I wouldn't mind having, strictly from a guilty pleasure standpoint. Pretty Woman. The Firm. The Making Of Thriller. Some of them, however, I'm pretty sure will sit in our movie drawer like a hand-knit, three-armed sweater from a well-intentioned but clueless great aunt. Whitney Houston in Concert. Jaws III. Stop Or My Mom Will Shoot. The best use I can get out of these would be to use them as DVD decoys for Elsa--she can play with these, pull them from their jewel cases and load them into her Dora oven without me worrying that she's going to damage the movies I actually like. Nothing against Whitney Houston, of course. I'm sure she's a perfectly nice lady.
Anyhoo, one move my FIL copied for us was Bambi. Rollie has never seen Bambi before, and yesterday while Elsa was napping and I was trying to put the house back together after what appears to be a six-day potato chip bender, Rollie needed some downtime that didn't include him discovering how many animal figurines he could hide within the branches of our Christmas tree.
I put the movie on and sat down with my laptop beside Rollie, ready to get some work done while Rollie was regaled by animated wildlife and the happiness it surely emanated.
Yeah..... I don't know if you remember Bambi or have seen it recently, but that movie is pretty much a 67-minute-long attempt to permanently destroy your child's sense of security, his belief in the goodness of man, and his conviction that skunks are stinky and should not be brought home as pets.
I couldn't do much work while sitting there with Rollie, primarily because I had to field the multitude of thought-provoking questions Rollie started asking as soon as the opening credits finished rolling. Luckily for me, Rollie's recent interest in death, animals eating other animals and the whole Circle of Life thing has allowed me to skip over some of the more basic ideas of Animal Mortality and cut right to the chase, as it were:
Rollie (after hearing the crack of a gunshot during one of the Most Depressing Scenes In Cinema History): What was that, Momma?
Me: ...That was a gun.
Rollie: Why did it sound like that?
Me: That's just what they sound like, Love.
Rollie: Why are all those animals running?
Me: ...Because a hunter is after them.
Rollie (watching with concern as cartoonish feathers fly around onscreen--the result of panicked pheasants being blown out of the sky): Why is a hunter after them?
Me: Because...he wants to...eat them.
Me (Ay-yay-yay...here we go): That's how some people get their food.
Rollie (likely getting ready to ask another follow-up question, but suddenly realizing that Bambi is looking for his mother): Where'd his momma go?
Me (oh crap): Um...his mother got shot. By a hunter.
Rollie: Is she okay?
Me: No. She's not.
Rollie: Will Bambi find her?
Me (seriously about to cry, between Rollie's look of bewilderment at the very idea that a young fawn can't find his mother, and the sound of Bambi's pathetic little voice calling out for her): No, sweetheart. She's dead. But don't worry....his daddy is there, see?
Rollie (who will not be distracted with the fact that Bambi's emotionally distant, ten-pointed buck of a dad has just shown up to explain to the weeping baby deer that his beloved mommy quote, Can't be with you any longer): Why is she dead?
Me: Because the hunter shot her, honey.
Rollie: ...Is the hunter going to eat her?
Me: I hope so.
Rollie: Why do you hope so?
Me (sort of forgetting myself as I feel the anger welling at the injustice of animated deer everywhere): Because otherwise he would have just shot her for pleasure, and that's messed up.
Rollie: ...Why is that messed up?
The movie didn't get any better. After the mother eats it, Bambi and his cohorts get twitter-pated the following Spring. Twitter-pated. Aka, horny. Yeah, try explaining THAT one to a 3-year-old. Thankfully, the next scene was a pack of wild dogs chasing Bambi's love interest up a hill, followed by a raging forest fire. Whew--I dodged the sex talk this round!
Yeah, I think next time we're at our in-laws, I'm going to request a copy of The Deer Hunter. Why not just go for the full-on mental breakdown next time Rollie and I have a few hours to kill on a rainy afternoon?