This afternoon my Mom and I went to see White Christmas in the theater together. Watching it has always been a yearly tradition, but this was the first time either of us had seen it on the big screen. I was looking forward to it because it’s always nice to spend time together, and the movie is an important part of Christmas to her. While I knew it would be an enjoyable way to spend the afternoon, I had no idea just how cool of an experience it would be.
These days I don’t generally get all that excited to see a movie in the theater. I’m a bit spoiled in the theater type of experience department because I don’t have a traditional TV in my living room. After the last one died, I discovered that it was cheaper to get a 110” pull down screen and a LED Projector than it was to replace my TV, so I opted for that route. Now it’s like sitting in the theater all the time.
Even with that as my “normal”, it was still an amazing experience to go see White Christmas in the theater. Now I want to re-watch it here at home, so I can rewind it or pause it every time I notice something new. If I’d had that feature available today, there would have been a LOT of it going on because it was literally like watching a movie I’d never seen before! No, obviously the plot didn’t change but when Bing Crosby’s face is 20+ feet tall, you notice a few more details than on a 32” screen.
I knew the man had blue eyes but WOW! If it had been filmed today, I would have assumed the intensity of that blue was a CG effect or contact lenses. I also took note of all sorts of things in the opening scene regarding the Army Uniforms they were wearing. Obviously, I’d seen the scenes before and knew they were wearing uniforms, but I never really noticed all the specifics of them or the types of weapons they were holding. Those are the minute details that get lost on a small screen but are impossible to miss when they’re larger than life.
The next little detail that I can’t believe I’ve missed in all the 30 some years I’ve been watching the movie was the definition in Vera-Ellen’s legs. Holy cow! I have always made note of her almost disturbingly tiny waist, but I’ve never looked at her legs in quite that way. I can’t say I’ve ever been terribly fond of the song and dance routines in movies, they’ve just never really held my attention, until today that is!
That scene where she taps just her toe while the others watch close-up is mind blowing. The speed with which her muscles tensed and relaxed to make her tap that fast was incredible to see. All things considered, it’s probably for the best that I was previously ignorant of this aspect of the movie as it might have drastically altered my perception of the film, particularly during those formative teenage years.
The other big difference I noticed was that in the past, I always felt like I was in the family living room watching the movie. Today it was like being IN the film, transported back into another time where everyone smoked pretty much constantly, and men were both gentleman and potentially walking lawsuits if it were present day. Feeling fully immersed in the cinematic environment, I also noticed so many more things about the wardrobes and behaviors of the extras in the background and little inconsistencies where you can tell they spliced two takes together.
All in all, I have to say that the most memorable part of the whole experience was sharing it with my Mom. Call me a Momma’s Boy if you want and I’ll proudly agree with you. I love my Mom and I loved spending the afternoon going to the movies together just the two of us and sharing a familiar experience in a whole new way. With all the focus on giving the perfect gift this time of year and the material side of the holidays, it’s easy to lose sight of what really matters. Sometimes the best gift you can give or receive is quality time with the ones you love. That will be what you remember years from now, not the things they gave you or you gave them.
My Mom gave me the best gift possible today, her time. And I can’t think of a better way to thank her (other than giving her the same gift) than to try and pay it forward and encourage all of you to think of some way to give some of your time to those you love this year and not just a physical gift. Find some activity to do together, or something special that has been a part of your own family traditions and share it with them. Enjoy every moment of it and soak in all the details of the experience so that you can commit them to memory and hold them close in your heart for years to come.
Thank you for sharing some of your time with me to read this today and for allowing me to share mine with you! No matter what you believe, or what celebration you choose to take part in, together we can make it a truly wonder-filled holiday season!