Author’s Note: I am linking up with themommymess today and recycling one of my “old” posts for you to read. This particular post was from last year when B went to his first “real” movie. Enjoy!
I used to love going to movies.
I used to love sitting in a comfy chair, enveloped by darkness, munching on some snack (sometimes popcorn, sometimes Raisinets) and sipping my Diet Coke. Husband will point out that if there is a theater that serves an Icee, I’m all over that. There is just something about being drawn into a movie and sharing that experience with others.
Then, you know, things change. First, it was the cost of going in the evening – so we started doing matinees. Then, even that got expensive. Next was the supersizing of concessions – I really didn’t need to pay $6.00 for a tub of popcorn when I all wanted was a small bag that was $5.00. Then it was those wonderful people that I used to enjoy sitting next to in the theater – as in, they were replaced by rude, obnoxious, chatty aliens that would constantly check their phones for the most recent text.
Finally, my son came along. As well documented here, he is Webster’s definition of “ants in the pants”. Not only is he on the spectrum but he is “unofficially diagnosed” with ADHD. This means that not only does he sometimes behave inappropriately in social situations, he does it at break-necking speed and without focus. So, we just never bothered to take him to a movie, as it would probably either end in one of two ways:
1. After lights dim, Mayor Bee will promptly find a way to scooch out of his seat and run around the theater, or
2. The “awesome” stereo surround sound will promptly scare him into the next dimension.
The two scenarios above just don’t seem tempting to spend $30 on a 2 hour movie. Heck even buying a DVD to pop in is challenging. We have yet to finish Where the Wild Things Are, though now he will tolerate Rescue Heroes Movie on his personal DVD player.
Last year I heard about The Autism Society and how they sponsor “Sensory Friendly Films” with AMC Theaters. “Sensory Friendly” means that the lights are up, the sound is down, and the expectation that everyone sits in their seats is lowered. It sounded awesome. There was in even one in our area (an advantage to living in a major metro region). However, we just never made it for one reason or another. They happen once a month, on a Saturday at 10:00 AM – and either we had something going on or I just didn’t think the movie was worthwhile to see. (I still want to get my money’s worth!).
Well, lo and behold, Bee’s new aftercare sent out a flyer last week advertising a potential new venue for a sensory friendly film. A small local theater was willing to show The Lorax as a special event. I imagine it was a trial to see if they can generate weekday business (besides movies, the theater has comedy and other special events). Husband agreed to stay home with Mayita so that I could take Mayor Bee.
Now, the theater is not fancy by any means. It’s proudly “old school” in the fact that it’s still the original 1931 structure with two screens, no stadium seating and small drink cup holders.
And for a kid who never went to a movie theater before, he did pretty good. He was VERY excited about getting the popcorn. He was proud of that fact that he sat in his seat and munched popcorn. I would have to keep asking for popcorn and he would put EXACTLY one kernel in my palm. Gee, thanks buddy. When I would ask for more, he would put…you guessed it, one kernel in my hand. Also, in my proud “Mommy of the Year” clip, we shared a Diet Coke. The theater ran out of lemonade, and I wasn’t smart enough to sneak a juice box in my purse. To be fair – I wasn’t sure how “dim” the lights were going to be. I was not about to get booted for illegal juice box smuggling.
The experience itself was “almost” normal. The lights were dimmed, though not to “pitch black” status. The sound was turned way down but it was perfectly fine to hear. We were able to get up and go to the bathroom with minimal disruption. Most importantly, everyone there knew that these were special kids and sometimes, well, shit just happens. Like Mayor Bee constantly asking where the Lorax was going or what the little boy in the movie was doing (thankfully whispering at least). Or towards the end when Mayor Bee kept hopping on his seat to keep himself awake. Or the little boy in front of us who would have an outburst every few minutes. Some kids had to have a break out of the theater for a bit. And there was no judgment.
There was even a little boy from his aftercare, who recognized him in the lobby, who wanted to sit next to him in the theater. Watching the two little boys chat on and on about seeing “the cool movie Lorax” and how they are going to read it in school the next day was just so cute.
As for the movie itself…well, I mean it’s cute. The animation is AWESOME – for example the trees looked like swirly cotton candy and character’s hair (say, Audrey’s) simply float in the air. Bee liked the musical numbers with the guitar (then again he loves anything with a guitar). But really…how can you stretch out a book into a full length movie? Besides, there is absolutely no rhyming in the dialogue. At least it had a happy ending so I didn’t have to explain that to him.
But we did have to bring the popcorn bag home to show Daddy.