Manhood at the Movies

Going to the movies with my dad and brother involves a simple set of tacit rules: never go on a weekend; don’t sit right next to each other; and if you want popcorn get your own. Or at least your own vessel so that fingers never risk touching. Same thing with leaving one seat open between each of us and at either end—elbows or knees should never touch. If it’s too crowded to take up the six required seats then we don’t go.


It has been suggested—mainly by our wives—that we have intimacy issues. But that’s the whole point of the irregular movie night, to make shit of the crap that gets thrown on the big screen and appreciate the rare film that moves you. It’s the comments afterwards that are usually more entertaining than the movie anyway.

The last movie I can remember us enjoying was Inception. Action, intrigue, plot, good acting, cool visuals, great story—we were all pleased. Usually it’s much more hopeless, like Fast and Furious Fuckall 5. Even with the lowest of expectations, midway through my brother and I glanced over at our father, a car junkie and action-movie devotee who idolized Steven Seagal’s glory years (1998, 1992?) before he got too fat for his ponytail. Dad can watch five movies a week. Dad looked as if he’d be enjoying himself more if he shit his pants. And that’s why we go to the movies.

Until last week. We were on our way to see Bad Teachers, each of us indifferent in our own way. At a stoplight I asked if it was too late to see Horrible Bosses, and my dad said, Super 8 might be worth the special effects. My brother asked why the hell we were going. The light changed and we were on our way to get margaritas and Palomas at the local Mexican place.

We hung out talking for three hours. Had a few beers on my dad’s stoop. Talked politics, economics, plans. Heard stories I hadn’t heard in my lifetime. Talked in those idiosyncratic patterns distinct to and distinct from each family. Not having a movie to hash over gave us a lot more to discuss. Best Movie Night Ever.

Next month we’ll most likely go back to a movie. But knowing our options will surely make for a better selection.



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