Yesterday, I saw The Constant Gardener.
My quick review: I respected the filmmaking, but I can’t say I loved the movie. Throughout the entire film, I was so far ahead of the Ralph Fiennes character that I found myself thinking more about African theatre, diplomatic passports and shallow-focus lenses than what exactly had happened to poor Ralph’s wife. However, I’ll probably see every movie Fernando Meirelles makes. He’s terrifically talented.
More interesting than the movie itself was the film-going experience: it was my first outing to a Monday Morning Mommy Movie at The Grove.
The whole Mommy Movie concept is pretty basic. Every Monday morning, the theatre shows one of the new releases. Generally, it’s not a kid’s movie — last week, it was The 40-Year Old Virgin. Parents are allowed — encouraged — to bring infants. The theatre lights aren’t turned down all the way, and there’s table set up for changing diapers. There’s also a stroller-parking area outside the theatre.
Depending on whether or not you have a baby, this is either the best thing that ever happened, or a quick descent into Hell. I don’t think anyone accidentally bought a ticket for the Mommy movie, but if they did, I’m sure they quickly got their money back.
At first, I thought I wasn’t going to be able to enjoy the movie over the constant din of fussy infants, but it’s amazing how quickly you tune it out. It’s all a matter of expectation. If you expect a quiet movie theatre, one crying baby will ruin it. If you expect noise, it doesn’t bother you a bit.
One phenomenon I hadn’t expected was the seven-minute rule. I don’t know if it’s really seven minutes, but next time you’re at a dinner party, pay attention to the ebb and flow of conversation. About once every seven minutes, it gets really quiet for some reason. Then in starts up again.
It turns out, the same thing happens with babies. One minute, the auditorium will be filled with cries, then it will suddenly get quiet. It’s spooky. And welcome.
The whole think struck me as a particularly ripe arena for a Wedding Crashers-style comedy about guys looking to pick up MILFs, since it would be so easy to strike up a loaded conversation about onesies, breasts, and butt paste.
For the record, “Mommy Movies” is pretty heterosexist, but I’m not getting up on my soapbox. There were only a handful of dads in the audience. Most weeks, I’ll be one of them.