If you had told me a week ago that I would ever like anything even remotely associated with Larry the Cable Guy, I would have raised my eyebrows and felt your forehead. But that was B.C.--before Cars.
When Pooh came to stay with me a few days last week, I thought it would be fun to expose him to his first movie theater experience. I will be the first to admit that things didn't look good starting out. Pooh was startled by the sheer size of the screen and the loudness blaring from the speakers. Further, he was too light to hold the fold-up theater seat open, so he was convinced it was trying to eat him. The last straw involved previews of other shows which did not deliver on the "talking cars" I had promised him. The room was weird and dark and unfamiliar, and Pooh let me know in no uncertain terms that he was ready to go "back to Googie's house."
I, however, had just spent $5.50 for my own ticket (two-year-olds get in free), $3.25 for popcorn, and another $3.25 for a Pepsi (outrageous--but I won't go there right now). Since I had made what amounted to a sizable investment, I was determined to find a way to make this work. We moved to a secluded spot three rows from the back of the theater, and I hoisted Pooh onto my lap (I have no trouble holding the seat down). With our popcorn perched in the cup holder to our left and our Pepsi occupying an equidistant position on our right, Pooh began to relax. It helped that some of the previews featured Smurfs, the Toy Story gang, and Winnie-the-Pooh. By the time Cars 2 came on, we were pretty happily settled in.
I had not seen the original Cars movie, so I was introduced to the vehicular cast right along with Pooh. The buck-toothed tow truck that spoke with a backwoods Southern drawl quickly became his favorite. To my surprise, it soon became obvious that "Tow-Mater" or just "Mater" for short features the vocal, uh, talents of Larry the Cable Guy. Surprisingly, it seems that Larry, in dropping the plaid shirt along with his other more obnoxious physical attributes and raunchy subject matter, becomes a bit more bearable when he is just a voice in a kids' cartoon.
I'm sure that the subplot was entirely lost on Pooh, who has no context for things like love triangles (really!), fuel wars, and international espionage. But he dearly loved the frequent intermittent scenes involving racing and chasing, engine revving and tire screeching. The noise and loudness were no longer issues as he cheered Mater's buddy, Lightning McQueen, to the finish line of the Grand Prix.
I won't say our movie adventure was without repercussions. For the next couple days two toy school buses careened neck-and-neck down my upstairs hallway, one Weeble-driven and the other belting out the melody of "Skip to My Lou" on batteries that must have been on their last ounce of acid. A bucket of micro-machines got dumped out dangerously close to the air conditioner vent. To my surprise, a replica of the ever-lovable Mater himself even emerged from the plastic tub where our Happy Meal-type toys live.
When I tried taking Sooby to the show at the same age, A Christmas Carol was just a little too scary with ghosts and clanking chains and all. So we switched rooms and took in The Blind Side, featuring lots of football action that she was OK with. But that Winnie-the-Pooh movie should be playing next week when she comes to visit for a few days, so I think we'll try again. At four, she knows what to do with popcorn and a Pepsi, and at her size I don't think the seat will try to "eat" her.
However, if Larry the Cable Guy turns out to be the voice of Eeyore, we may have to go down the hall and check out those Smurfs. I can handle him as a tow truck, but a donkey may be too close to what he really is during those times he wears the plaid shirt.