We packed up a blanket to sit on, some bottles of water and a couple of snacks, and made our way to Byrd Park with time to spare for the 8:30 curtain. Which was apparently just a suggestion of a start time, based on when it would be dark enough to project the movie onto the screen.
Apparently, the movie itself could. If you haven’t seen the new(ish) Muppet movie, the plot involves the Muppets’ beloved theater being torn down by Big Oil, unless the Muppets can raise $10 million to buy it back. Only the Muppets are has-beens and barely on speaking terms with one another. Whoa. Things are looking bleak for Kermit and the gang for most of the movie.
“I don’t think I like this movie,” The Boy said, frowning. “It’s scary.”
“Is it really scary?” I mean, this is a kid who made valentines for Alien and Predator when he was 4. “It’s not supposed to be a scary movie.”
“Well, it’s not the usual kind of scary, but still I feel afraid.” He looked thoughtful. “It ... it alters my emotions.”
We had a little talk about things that are upsetting, and disturbing, without being scary by definition. I tried to explain the concept of suspense and plot.
“Besides, you know they’ll raise the money in the end,” Tad said, cutting to the chase. “The people who made the movie won’t let the Muppets have a sad ending.”
“Then I guess I can watch it,” The Boy said, steeling himself. “I don’t think I would have been brave enough, though, when I was 5, or in my early sixes.”
“No, probably not,” I agreed. He nibbled a graham cracker and settled into Tad’s lap, where he felt more secure.
The Muppets had a telethon with Jack Black, and Tad again assured him that they would raise the necessary $10 million. Which they then did not. D’oh!
As the Muppets filed sadly out of the telethon studio, their felt heads hung low, a 3-year-old on the next blanket over wailed, “I got to leave! My brain is sad!” It was really kind of a heavy movie for kids.
I probably don’t have to tell you that there was a last-minute miracle, and the Muppets' theater was saved. And there was much rejoicing among the graham-cracker-and-blankets set. We headed home happy and tired, and with the vaguely disturbing but catchy “Man or Muppet” ballad echoing in our ears.
This Friday’s movie is Thor at the T.B. Smith Community Center on Ruffin Road. Check it out — it’s free and it’s fun. PG-13, so maybe not recommended for those in their early sixes.