There is nothing like going out to watch a movie – for two or three hours one can forget about life’s annoyances, troubles, aches, anything. Within this brief period one can get immersed in the lives of other people, experience their happiness and sorrow, love and hate, triumph and tragedy. In the Philippines, it is probably the cheapest, most available form of entertainment, next to gossiping with one’s next door neighbor (lol) – plus, there is even no limit on how long you can stay inside the freezer, err, theater (that is, if you can handle the freezing temperatures inside). That was one of the reasons why Baggy and I would often go out on Friday nights every week, back when we were still both teaching at UP Diliman. SM City was just a jeepney ride away.
Our first date, in case you’re interested, was actually spent watching a movie at Shangri La Cinema. The movie was Wuthering Heights, starring Juliette Binoche (a vision of beauty) and a pre-Voldemort, dashing and handsome Ralph Fiennes. And take note, I still remember the next movie we saw together – it was Mrs. Doubtfire. What made that moviegoing experience more memorable was that right after we got out of the cinema, some friends of mine saw us. At that time, we were not an item yet, so I was a bit embarrassed to be seen going out with a co-faculty member. 😛
Even here in Japan, where a movie ticket costs a whopping Y1,800, or roughly P700, Baggy and I wouldn’t mind shelling money just to watch movies. However, unlike in the Philippines where we watched movies indiscriminately, here we are forced to choose which ones to watch. Or, if we feel like scrimping on the budget, sometimes we just wait for the 1st day of the month, and take advantage of their discounted offer of only Y1000 or P400.
When I was pregnant with Aya, Baggy and I would frequently go to the cinemas for LFS. We knew then that once the baby was born, we wouldn’t have any opportunity to spend late nights at the movies. So right up to my ninth month, huge belly and all, I endured sitting for 2 hours or more inside the moviehouse, not minding the cramps afterwards! On the eve of Aya’s birth, Baggy and I watched an LFS of The Scorpion King at Cineplex here in Tsukuba. It was probably the excitement of seeing The Rock, or the exhaustion of having to sit for a couple of hours, that I wasn’t able to sleep the whole night, not knowing that I would go on labor in just a few hours!
As soon as Aya was old enough, and much to the disapproval of her sensei at the daycare, we took her to the movies with us. Her first movie was the animated feature, Nemo. Of course, for about half of the movie I had to stand and rock Aya in my arms to make her still. We took her several times afterwards, even once during an LFS. It was a one-time thing, you know. That is because the next time we took her to another LFS, they made us go out of the theater because minors were not allowed to watch after 9 pm. Shocking! Kainis! Wala naman ganyan sa Pinas ah. Yes, even with accompanying guardians. And yes, even if I argued (in vain) that she would be sleeping anyway, so what was the big deal about it? They refunded our money and profusely apologized, but we felt like we were cheated somewhat. Apparently, the first time was a fluke – they just didn’t notice us then. That was (almost) the end of our LFS nights.
As far as I can remember, there was only one other time when Baggy and I were able to go out on a LFS together – that was the time when my Mom was here with us. I asked her to look after Aya, who was sleeping anyway, while we snuck out for a movie time together.
Until last week, that is. Fortunately, my usually evil sister Lai wasn’t feeling her usual evil self, so I mustered the courage to ask her and look after Aya for the night. And so with much excitement and delight like kids out on a field day, we finally snuck out to watch our first LFS in what seemed like ages. It so happened that The Departed was still in showing. Hey, it won an Oscar award for Best Picture – it must be worth seeing!
More than the movie, of course, was the chance to go out with Baggy and have a little quality time together at the movies again. Just the two of us, eating nachos and sipping coke, eyes fixated on the wide screen. And no, we don’t hold hands anymore like we used to (corny ba?). We sat there and forgot about the world outside, even our daughter Aya, if only for a moment, enjoyed the story unfolding before our eyes, and most of all, simply enjoyed our precious company together.
Despite the gore and violence, The Departed was a real treat. At first, it doesn’t seem like an appropriate choice, given that this was our first LFS in ages. A romantic movie would have been the more appropriate choice, wouldn’t it? But clearly, this is a case where the following applies: “It matters not what movie you watch; it’s whom you watch with that matters.” That’s how I view it anyway.
How about you? Watched any movie with a special someone lately?